Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play: Vol: 7 Castaway by Yuu Watase

(8.0/10)

Written way back in 1992, much of Yuu Watase's art closely resembles that of the characters from Dragonball Z, though it is this style that shaped Western interest in all things manga and anime. Here Miaka is still on her quest to win her friend Yui back and she can only do this if she performs a summoning to ask Suzaku for her wish to be her friend again. After a summoning ceremony, Miaka is given another chance by the oracle Tai-Yi-Jun.

By getting the sacred treasure in Genkai's country, Miaka will be able to summon Suzaku. The oracle gives them objects they can use if they need to battle; a sword, and a deadly metal fan. You get the idea they are in for a hard time if things go wrong with their search. After the death of one of their warriors, they might not be able to summon Suzaku at all, and it would also mean that Miaka would have to fight Yui, who still regards her as her mortal enemy in that world.
With cover art that always inspires, using her ability for some fun compositions in traditional inks and vivid colours; Watase was one of the top shojo (female manga) artists around. As all the characters in this particular volume are all in Chinese period dress, it is evident that she has studied and researched the various costumes men and women would wear. On occasion, Watase will chat about her novels, the characters and other things in the side panels and also there will be a couple of pages where she will highlight a character with a portrait and some facts about him/her.

This time around it is about Mitsukake. There are also other pages with a cool portrait, Nakago who apparently looks good with a whip and some comments Watase makes about the character, and the entertaining Fushigi Akagi: The Malicious Place No. 7 suggested by an avid reader.

Although the story is designed for older teens it has already had the issues of manipulation and rape, so it is clearly made for an older audience as it has some shirtless men in it as well. One of the stipulations the oracle places on Miaka is that if she is to properly summon Suzaku, she can't have relationships with her celestial warriors - even Tamahome is out of bounds as she must stay a virgin for it to work.

Miaka has more trouble to deal with while she is away than she thought; her mother is concerned about her making the grade at school in the modern world even if she considers Yui a friend and Tamahome thinks he will go crazy if he can't get close to the one he loves. He does offer Miaka some comfort, but that's for the readers to enjoy.

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