This is my first manga review and what better way to start than to tackle up Watase Yuu’s classic mangas.
FUSHIGI YUUGI GENBU KAIDEN
Mangaka: Yuu Watase
Manga Release Date: August 2003 (early chapters in Japan) September 2005(North America)
Genre: Romance / Fantasy / Reverse Harem
I am really picky when it comes to reading fantasy mangas. I planned to read this when the first 11 chapters came out but held back because I wanted to binge on this manga so bad without getting stuck on cliffhangers, not to mention, the whole waiting game for the next chapters to come out… and boy I’m glad I did! This here is one of Watase Yuu-sama’s masterpiece!
Although, Genbu Kaiden was a prequel to the orginal FY (Mysterios Play), the story can perfectly stand on its own. Those who have not heard of the first FY would still be able to fully enjoy this book. In addition, those who were a fan of the first FY will automatically fall inlove with Genbu Kaiden.
Set in the early 1920’s of Japan. The story revolves around the main character Takiko Okuda, a 17 year old girl who lives with her sickly mother and her father, a well known scholar who’s been currently busy obsessing about translating a particular book (The Universe of the Four Gods). When her mother passed away, Takiko blamed her father for his neglect and decided to destroy the book out of sheer anger. The moment she opened The Universe of the Four Gods book, she was transported into an unfamiliar foreign land called Hokkan, where she gets caught up in a difficult dilemma she couldn’t easily shake off. In order to get back to the real world and to save Hokkan from doom, Takiko must fulfill her destiny as the chosen Priestess and summon the celestial beast of Genbu together with the seven celestial warriors as the prophecy has foretold.
Okay, so plot wise, it’s not anything different compared to the original. It still follows the same story line: Gather the celestial warriors and summon the great beast! But mind you, once you start reading the story you’ll notice how much different the story events are portrayed. Genbu Kaiden has more depth and details and is probably a little darker compared to the first FY series.
To start of, the main character Takiko is by far the most promising character in FY Genbu Kaiden. She is very different from Miaka (Suzaku Priestess from the first Fushigi Yuugi). She’s smart, athletic, can fight battles on her own and her way of thinking is very realistic, selfless and mature. I believe Yuu Watase has improved in brandishing a stronger heroine this time after taking into consideration countless feedback from fans regarding the main heroine of the first series (Mi-chan). Unlike most MCs in reverse harems, Takiko Okuda has the will and prowess of how a real priestess should be and it’s definitely not in a Mary Sue kind of way. This chick got some backbone!
NGL, I like Miaka and her story in the first FY… but then Takiko happened… and I’m just like “woah this babe is hardcore!”
Although I love the suzaku seishis to heart, the Genbu celestial warriors are the REAL DEAL. I’m not even exaggerating. I fell in love with all of them. Each characters have strong back stories that didn’t came out forceful in the plot line. I think Yuu Watase has profoundly written the Genbu Seven as these fierce likable individuals to set an example for the next set of seishis and priestesses to come. They do not play around when it comes to where their loyalty stands and the hardships they put up with in this series are AGAINST ALL ODDS.
My favorite episodes are probably the last 5 chapters where we get to see all of the Genbu Seven fight 100,000 enemy soldiers. They are indeed the best and probably the strongest of all the seishis in the Universe of the Four Gods.
One of the reasons why I love reading Yuu Watase’s works are her drawings, they are absolutely beautiful. Even the details of each character’s clothing were as clear as day. She did made an itty-bitty change with her art style in Genbu Kaiden compared to her old works e.g. the first Fushigi Yuugi, Alice 9, Ayashi no Ceres (like the character’s eyes and the shape of their faces seemed more elongated) but it is not something to frown upon really. The characters, as expected are still gorgeous.
Of course, what’s a Yuu Watase branded manga without her famous romantic tropes? Expect love triangles, through-thick-and-thin romance, sudden breakups and makeups and a band of extremely gorgeous men swooning over the main heroine. (ohoho!)
My whole reading experience with Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden is a very gripping one. I had to take a few breaks just to get my breathing in check (laughs). It’s a very enjoyable ride. I like how the story did not focus on the romance factor at all. I believe that it had the perfect blend of comedy, captivating drama toppled with a lot of compelling action packed moments. I have gotten attached to these characters to a point that I’ve cried with them, laughed with them and fell in love. The bittersweet ending broke my heart to pieces but seriously it is worth all the tears.
Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden is such a beautiful story and undoubtedly a superior reverse harem manga choice. I would rate this a 5/5 and would recommend this to all shoujo fans out there, a must read!