Fushigi Yuugi: The Manga

{Warning - this page contains spoilers}

The manga comprises 18 volumes - thirteen of which cover the events in the fifty two television episodes and the final five cover, roughly, the events in the second OVA. The first OVA is a misnoma and has no connection to Watase-san's manga at all (Which is why I object so strenuously to the idea of Amiboshi's death!) These volumes are referred to by Watase Yuu herself as "part one" (1-13) and "part two" (14-18).

In the English translation of the manga, all the character and place names (except for the characters and places set directly in Japan) were put into Chinese equivalents, making Nuriko's Chou Ryuuen "Tiao Liu Chuan". To begin with this confused the heck out of me, and even now I can't remember half the chinese names of the characters. But since they aren't correct, it really doesn't matter. Now I have some of the Perfect World volumes, it's clear that the Japanese names used in the anime and Gaiden (logically) also apply to the original Japanese manga. (Although I admit I do like Bei Jia as a name for Hokkan. Is that bad??)

This section of the site mainly covers differences between the anime and the manga, because they do exist!

Part One (Vol I - XIII)

In truth, the manga for the first thirteen volumes and the anime follow one another fairly closely, in terms of scenes and storyline.

There are, also, a few very important points to note which the anime sails past innocently, probably due to constraints of time and screen. These are as follows:

Chiriko in the anime is very, very much a restricted version of his actual self. Although he isn't the most emphatic and prominent of the characters in the manga, Chiriko's role is a lot more defined, as is his personality. What isn't made clear in the anime series is that when Chiriko's character does not appear on his foot, his advanced intelligence and composure deserts him and he becomes something of a below-average intelligence cry-baby. Often this happens at extremely inopportune moments, and was actually the original reason for why it took him so long to join up with the other Suzaku Shichi Seishi. In the anime series, Chiriko is never portrayed really as his without-character dopier self...however fleeting reference is made to his character not being visible in the anime. Of course, unless you happen to KNOW that Chiriko's character is vital for his intelligence...that really doesn't help the situation any at all!

Chiriko's bond with Tasuki is also a lot more prominent in the manga than it is in the anime series, which is a knock on effect of his restricted character portrayal. Mitsukake also suffers from a slightly more limited representation, but not to the degree Chiriko does.

Tasuki's absence from Reikaku-zan
Tasuki's reason for being away from the mountain is not given in the anime. However, in the manga, it's made clear that the reason he wasn't at Reikaku-zan when Miaka arrived (and the reason Eiken was able to get the tessen) is that he was off hunting a cure for the old boss's illness.

THAT infamous shipwrecking!
In the anime, Soi's first proper attack against the Suzaku Seishi comes aboard the ship to Hokkan, and the entire scene among the 'amazon' women and the cross-dressing Seishi is omitted. Although this exists in part as an omake for the first OVA series, there is quite a lot of plot missing here from the actual television show version. It properly introduces Soi as a female warrior, making it clear that on their past encounter, Miaka and company really didn't register that Suboshi's rescuer was a woman. It allows Soi to use her feminine status to fool Miaka into trusting her, and gives her, probably, a stronger introduction into the story (it also makes it clearer why Soi is the Seiryuu Seishi being involved so much at this point). From a humour perspective, also, it's fun to see the Seishi dress in drag and Mitsukake carted off to the prisons for not being able to carry it off. However, in contrast to the amusement ending of the omake, Mitsukake's imprisonment carries with it a threat of blinding and other unspeakable tortures. It's a nice sequence showing the teamwork of the Seishi! It also shows that Nuriko, although he's going to cut his hair off a few pages down the line, is actually still very feminine (he's highly indignant at the suggestion of one of the women that all of the Suzaku party are men!)

Miaka's Shikkonki
The disease that Miaka contracts when travelling through Choukou in search of a cure for death is portrayed in the anime, but there are a few things not clearly explained. The most significant being, to me, that the disease actually makes her blind. In the anime, she staggers around the place looking for Shouka who is right in front of her. This makes no sense at all, really, unless you know that she's meant to have been blinded by the disease that's taken root inside of her. In the manga, the first thing she sees after the fight is over is the symbol on Mitsukake's palm. This is portrayed in the anime, but in a rather weaker way.

Keisuke, Tetsuya and the Shijin Tenchishou
Tetsuya and Keisuke's search for information about the Shijin Tenchishou is more widely explained and involved in the anime than it is in the manga, although in the manga there's a little bit more explained about Okuda Einosuke and his involvement. In the manga, the copy of the Shijin Tenchishou in the library is his translation of an ancient Chinese scroll. Because it's translated into Japanese, Miaka can read it (unlike in the anime where she can't read the Chinese characters, only Yui and Keisuke/Tetsuya can). This makes her communication with the characters a lot more logical - it's actually explained somewhere in the manga that that's why Miaka can speak to the characters but can't necessarily read their written language.

Miaka's ribbon, and the magic hint ball
In the anime, Miaka is connected to the real world and her brother by the ribbon she gives him before returning into the book. In the anime, it's strands of her hair caught between the pages. The burning of the ribbon is much more deliberate than the burning of the hair and the ribbon has more significance, Miaka being worried about losing it because of losing her connection to her brother.
Equally, in the anime, Miaka is given a mirror by Taiitsukun to use to search for the other Seishi, after the scroll is stolen. In the manga, it's a red hint ball (which reappears in Eikoden and finally comes to grief at the hands of the resurrected Nuriko).

Nakago, Miboshi and Kodoku
I think Nakago is not quite as unpleasant a character in the manga than he is in the anime. I mention him here simply because of one scene where Tomo accuses him of not being able to rape Miaka because it reminds him too much of his own past. It's never spoken of directly in the anime - in fact, the indication is that the Emperor of Kutou rejected Nakago as a 'toy' because of his being a Suzaku Seishi. However, the manga hints that Nakago may have been raped in the past (a fact confirmed by the Nakago novel, in fact) and that his memory of his mother's own assault and the consequences prevented him from inflicting the same fate on Miaka. (We'll never know for sure if he was strong enough to break the Suzaku barrier around Miaka, but I would think it's highly likely...) In the manga, Nakago gives up his memories willingly to Tamahome when he is killed in battle, almost as if it is a relief to be able to let go. As he dies, he sees Soi and his mother waiting for him, and I think it's an indication his tortured self is finally set at peace. In the anime, this isn't shown, and Nakago is very cagey about the fact Tamahome is able to peer into his soul and see the reasons for his behaviour so clearly.

The poison Nakago uses to control Tamahome (Kodoku in the anime, known as Diedu in the manga) is not clearly explained in the tv show, but in the manga it is made clear that it is Miboshi who created it for Nakago's use in this matter.

Miaka's wishes.
In the anime, Miaka wishes for the return of Yui, the sealing of Seiryuu and the restoration of Tokyo to how it was before the battle ensued. She makes no wishes for Tamahome to be with her in her world, instead trusting it to fate and faith that somehow they'll find one another again.
In the manga, Miaka's wishes are different. She still wishes for Yui's safety and for the sealing of Seiryuu. But the second wish also includes giving Tamahome the power to beat Nakago, and her third wish includes making Tamahome somehow a part of her world. It is this wish which, in a roundabout way, helps to bring Tamahome to life as Sukunami Taka.

This may or may not be a deviation, but whilst the manga refers to the village where Amiboshi later turns up as "Near to the Sairou border", the anime simply states that it is a Sairou village.

The Death of Mitsukake
I actually think this is much better handled in the anime than the manga (sorry Watase-sensei) because the magnitude of Mitsukake's sacrifice and the true impact of what he intended to do is painted much more clearly. Also, Chichiri's reaction to it is very emotional and moving - though this does not appear in the manga, as that volume simply ends with Mitsukake's death.

PART 2 (Volumes XIV-XVIII)

Part two, as Watase-san herself dubs it, was written under fan demand for more Fushigi Yuugi action and in some respects gives a more in depth view to some of the characters than the earlier volumes were able to do, exploring families and backgrounds in far more detail as well as Tamahome's transition to a man of Miaka's world. Watase-san herself has said that the true central character of these volumes is not Miaka but Taka/Tamahome, and a lot more of it is spent in the 'real world' setting.

The anime version of part two has nothing to do with the OVA 1. (There are two novels which tell the story of what allegedly happened between volumes 1-13 and volumes 14-18, however they also actually contradict the manga a little bit by existing. The manga makes it clear that Chichiri and Tasuki haven't sen one another since the day Tamahome and Miaka disappeared back to the real world. Sanbou Den (the novels covering the time after the return of Miaka and Tamahome to the real world) indicate the opposite - that Chichiri and Tasuki have fought together since then. Unless Tasuki has forgotten or is lying...this is one of the times where the original manga continuity does not match up with the additional information and it's up to readers to decide which path to follow.

Variations between the manga and anime for part two are as follows:

Amiboshi is not dead!
Most importantly to me is that despite the fact Amiboshi is killed saving Yui's life in the animated first OVA sequence, this never actually happens in the manga. Amiboshi is still alive and well and Watase Yuu actually refers to him as such at one point alongside a sketch of Amiboshi as an older teen boy. I have issues with the idea that Amiboshi should be so easily killed...I have a feeling there could be more to tell in that story, if someone wanted to do something with Amiboshi and his future as Kaika in Hokkan. But either way, he is not dead in Watase-san's original portrayal of the series, and none of the Seiryuu Shichi Seishi play a part in the later volumes of the story, anyhow.

Tasuki's family
Tasuki's family are hilarious. I really, really wish that they had been animated, just for the fun of it, because his older sister Aidou alone cracked me up. Tasuki's family is never shown or explained in any of the animation, but in the manga you really begin to appreciate why it is he hates women so much! His father is a shadow of a man who people don't really notice, even when he's in the room. When Miaka and Taka first get pulled to the other world again, they arrive at Tasuki's home farmstead, where he saves them from a demon. In the anime, Tasuki does save them from a demon, however at that point they seem to be just randomly wandering the countryside. In the manga, however, Tasuki is soon brought to book for 'slacking' by his indignant older sister Aidou, who seems blissfully unaware of her younger brother's strength, status or power with the tessen and who isn't afraid to clip him round the ear for shirking his duties. Tasuki's evident embarrassment at his sister's full on behaviour, coupled with his mother's scolding for using the tessen at the dinner table (another monster) is just too funny. Poor ol' Tasuki! Unfortunately Aidou is the only one of his sisters we get to see (although the rest appear in a short story in Perfect World) - I suppose it's probable that the others are married and settled by this time!

Nuriko's family and the scene in Eiyou
Nuriko's family is portrayed in more detail than Tasuki's in the animation, since we do get to see his brother Rokou. It's not made totally clear, however, that Nuriko's family are in trade in fabrics/textiles, or that his parents are still alive but away from home. (We don't get to see his parents at all during the course of this). Whether or not Rokou actually sees Nuriko in the manga is unclear...the indication in the anime though is that he does. In the manga, all of the travelling Seishi including Miaka go to pray for Nuriko's soul and Taka joins them later. (The manga scene is quite funny, with Nuriko being told to hush up while they pray for him, and Nuriko obediently settling down to pray himself). Rokou is also more welcoming to the Seishi than he is in the anime (where he is quite bitter towards them for his brother's death) although this does change when they attempt to break Nuriko's childhood keepsake.

Mitsukake and Chiriko
Guess who gets short shrift again in terms of character appearance!
Actually Mitsukake's appearance in the OVA animation is quite strong, really, because he comes forth to save Tasuki's life just in time and he talks Chichiri round when Chichiri is about to give up. In the manga, though, his role is more significant. It is not Nyan Nyan who comes looking for him, but Nuriko, and you discover that he has been looking for his stone but with no luck.
As for Chiriko, there are two very significant parts he has which are glossed and left out in the animation. Firstly, that it's Chiriko who first realises that the other Tamahome is a fraud and who plots a way of bringing him down. And secondly, Chiriko's visit to his own family home with Hotohori, where he discovers that he has a nephew named after him because of his brave and honourable deeds as a warrior of Suzaku. Chiriko's own acceptance of his identity and the fact that he can be strong with or without his character on his foot is a key part of Taka coming to grips with himself and finding the strength to forge on and win in the end. Poor Chiriko...neglected again!!

Tasuki's attempted suicide
In the anime, this is fairly simple - Tasuki turns the tessen on himself, blasts fire everywhere, Miaka and Taka fall backwards down the stairs and Mitsukake turns up in the nick of time to save them. In the manga it's a little bit more graphic and complicated. Mitsukake is brought back by Nuriko just in time to intervene and save a badly burnt Tasuki, but it is Taka who dives forward to try and save him, thrusting his cloak over him and yelling at him to talk to them. Mitsukake uses his powers but for a while they don't know for sure that Tasuki is still alive, and it takes Taka insulting him to bring him around. There is more indication here as well that Tasuki is being controlled from afar by someone giving the orders. Chichiri is also already aware by this point that his former friend Hikou has some kind of involvement in something, tying the whole events together nicely into one combined episode (rather than the two seperate episodes it comes over as in the animation). The bond between Tamahome and Tasuki is far more strongly pushed forward in the manga than it is in the anime, also.

Miaka's family
Miaka's (bitch!) mother and her stepfather are aware of Taka and disapprove of him completely. The impression I get from the end of the manga is pretty much her mother saying "do what you want with your life" and walking away from the situation as if almost disowning her, though I might be being harsh. The indication is in the manga that Miaka is going to drop out of school to marry Taka. (However, if you take Eikoden as any kind of canon, Miaka and Taka don't actually marry until three years down the line, which might suggest she had a change of heart, finished school and decided to marry after her graduation). None of this is put across in the manga, and Miaka's mother plays no part in the OVA at all.

Suzaku and the watch
In the later volumes, it is not the power of Taiitsukun which helps Miaka, but Suzaku himself who seeks to have Miaka help him and also help Taka in the process by gathering the memory jewels. Suzaku seals himself inside first Miaka's watch and then Miaka's pager, in order to keep in close contact with her despite the attempts of the enemy to destroy him. This means that Miaka and Taka can generally only spend one hour of real world time in the book world at a time this time around - something not explained in the animated version of the story.

Miisu/Miiru and Renhou/Shigyou Ren
These two are much more manipulative in the manga. Miisu plots to make it seem like Taka seduced her, making Keisuke angry (Keisuke being in love with Miisu at this point). Shigyou also attacks and then uses the former president of the student council as a foil for his trickery...it's a much more sinister school set up involving far more demons and darkness from Miaka's classmates and friends than is shown in the OVA 2.

The story of the scroll.
Though it's never explained in the anime properly, the scroll that Miaka and Taka use as their medium is actually the original version of the Shijin Tenchishou (Genbu Kaiden readers will know that it is this which Okuda Einosuke transcribes his text from right at the start of Genbu Kaiden, thus beginning the legend when he brings his book to Japan). Most of the history/legend/culture surrounding the scroll, it's origin and all of that is omitted from the animated OVA

Naturally there is more detail given in the manga about Tenkou and Keisuke and Tetsuya know about who he is before it becomes clear in the anime. However, it also explains that his were the glowing eyes worshipped by Nakago in the original series. This is never explained properly in the animation, so the connection between Nakago, Tenkou and the glowing orbs in the fire could be easily overlooked if you hadn't happened to read the manga....