Watase, Y. (2003). Fushigi Yugi: the mysterious play, vol. 1: priestess. San Francisco: VIZ, LLC. ISBN: 156931957x
Annotation: A modern Japanese junior high girl, looking for a break from constant, intense studying, finds herself transported through a magical book into a fictional ancient China.
Reaction: I really liked Miaka Yuki. She seems like a relatively normal, relatable 15 year old girl dealing with the pressures of her mother’s high expectations and just trying to get through the school year.
I think this is a book junior high girls can really enjoy as they, like Miaka, prepare for high school. It’s full of fun, handsome men and 12-14 year olds can happily imagine themselves in Miaka’s shoes. The story is intriguing, and I like that the reader sees her family and friends worrying about Miaka when she gets whisked off into the book. It’s kind of refreshing that there are legitimate consequences to her adventures; no “time moves differently in Narnia” here.
I really like that, in the first volume, at least, romance is not the main focus of the story, though Miaka can’t be blamed for her crush on Tamahome. She’s not fickle and doesn’t waffle her affections between the two male leads (though teenage girls do have the right to change their minds about every few minutes about their crush). I also like that the strongest character, physically, is a woman, who has some unfortunate jealous issues that I hope are resolved in later issues. Girls reading this series don’t need to see an awesome lady treating another female the way Nuriko treats Miaka, though this issue could start a discussion about how that is unacceptable behavior.
Media Used: No media listed.
Author’s Website (in Japanese)