|Name:||Fushigi Yuugi (ふしぎ遊戯)|
|Date(s):||1992-1996 (manga), 1995-1996 (anime), 2003-2013 (Genbu Kaiden)|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
|External Links:||author's website (Japanese)|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Fushigi Yuugi is the story of a pair of normal Japanese schoolgirls who get sucked into Ancient China through a mysterious old book. They each become the priestess of a god (Suzaku and Seiryuu) and must try to summon them with the help of the gods' seven celestial warriors. The girls are forced to become enemies because they are the priestesses of the gods of rival countries. Over the course of the series, they discover that two other girls a generation before had the same experience.
The vast cast of characters from at least four time periods means that the fandom has vast numbers of different pairings of all flavors. Ship wars are (or were) common, and there are large contingents of canon pairing shippers, alternate straight pairing shippers, and yaoi/slash pairing shippers.
The four main gods will be familiar to fans of other series including Onmyouji, Yami no Matsuei, Yuu Yuu Hakusho, and many others. They are Suzaku, Seiryuu, Genbu, and Byakko. These are four direction guardians from Chinese mythology and also correspond to four constellations.
The teams of seven celestial warriors take their names and characteristics from other constellations associated with these four.
In 2003, Yuu Watase created a prequel to the original series called Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden that follows the story of Takiko, the priestess of Genbu and first of the four priestesses to be transported into the world of the book. The series was completed in 2013 with 12 volumes. While taking place in the same universe, the time period and location are different from the original series. The series never managed to grow to its predecessor's same level of popularity in fandom during it's run and an anime was never made. Characters and events from this timeline are briefly touched upon in the original series.
Yuu Watase has expressed interest in creating another prequel to Fushigi Yuugi for the priestess of Byakko. A oneshot prequel was released in February 2015 but a date for the series's release has yet to be confirmed. It started in 2015, but with a story mostly unrelated to Byakko (though it provides an origin story for the Seiryuu warrior Miboshi).
Two years later, the proper Byakko tale, Byakko Senkei, was started. The lead character from Byakko Ibun features heavily in the story.
The fandom was heavily comprised of bishounen fans who watched mainly to see the beautiful boys in action, or romance fans who were hooked on Miaka and Tamahome's love story. Miaka-bashing was a popular sport among the former crowd, leading to strong defenses of the character. 
The Seiryuu warriors were hugely popular for their tragic backstories and generally being cool villains, especially Nakago and twins Amiboshi and Suboshi. Tomo was more divisive, being seen as ugly and creepy due to his laughter and theater makeup, though other fans loved him for being a canon homosexual and having a surprising amount of depth. Seiryuu priestess Yui was generally more popular than Miaka, loved by fans for suffering "realistically" and being a smart, vengeful antihero type; it was later on that fans would start to dislike her for unfairly blaming every misery of hers on Miaka, who unflinchingly continued to love and believe in her and used her first wish to Suzaku to save her.
The third OAV, Eikoden, introduced a new heroine in Mayo Sakaki. A schoolgirl who fancied herself in love with Tamahome's reincarnation, Taka, she stole the Universe of the Four Gods and forced herself into the story in order to win Tamahome's affections all for herself. Her selfish actions and overall nasty attitude won her the hatred of many fans, even those who didn't like Miaka found Mayo to be infinitely worse.  Others would bring her up in the endless debate on whether Miaka counted as a Canon Sue, citing her as a prime example.  Eikoden did have its fans in those excited to see the reincarnated Suzaku Warriors, however.
Tasuki and Chichiri were easily the most popular Suzaku warriors, to the point where even bashers of the heroes would leave them out of their hateful rants. Self-inserts and OC romances with Tasuki were hugely popular on Fanfiction.net.
Seiryuu warrior Ashitare was despised by Nuriko fans for killing their favorite character, though some would later pity him due to Nakago's poor treatment and later killing of him.
Nuriko, one of the most popular characters in the series, is clearly intended as an okama--a Japanese word (slur, really) that refers to effeminate, usually homosexual, exceedingly camp crossdressing men. Like most okama in Japanese pop culture, Nuriko doesn't map well onto Western notions of gender and sexuality, which results in multitudinous interpretations of the character and frequent flamewars in English-speaking fandom. Like other okama, he is also an offensive caricature in many ways, though he is unusually developed and sympathetic compared to characters in series like One Piece. Initially portrayed as a catty bitch who hated Miaka for catching Hotohori's attention, Nuriko quickly became more sympathetic and well-rounded once his true gender was revealed and more of the Suzaku warriors were discovered.
He is also the center of controversy due to differing interpretations of his "love confession" towards Miaka. Some fans feel it erased his homosexuality and blamed Miaka for "converting him with her Mary Sue powers," but others tried to debunk this claim by pointing out that Nuriko proclaimed his love for all of the Celestial Warriors within the same breath, meaning his feelings for Miaka were decidedly not romantic. Rarer were the Nuriko/Miaka shippers who wanted to see his confession as romantic. The discourse about his sexuality rages to this day, with many fans eventually deciding Nuriko was bisexual.
There is also the interpretation that he was meant to be an actual transgender character, causing many fans in the 2010s to become angry at the reveal that his crossdressing was Nuriko's method of keeping the memory of his dead sister alive.
The central canon romance is Tamahome/Miaka. This couple is both popular with fans and widely parodied for their tendency to say each other's names over and over (which was a big anime trope in the 90s). It's also gotten a lot of hate for that reason, in addition to fans thinking their romance stole the spotlight from more deserving pairings.
Pairings with Nuriko are also very popular, particularly Hotohori among fans who felt Nuriko deserved to have his love requited. Tasuki was more common, though, with fans who accepted Hotohori's apparent heterosexuality and preferred the dynamic between Nuriko and Tasuki. Tasuki himself was also very commonly shipped with Chichiri and Miaka, to the point where fans felt Tasuki/Miaka was a better couple than Tamahome/Miaka. Tasuki's old friend Kouji was another popular ship for him.
Fans of the Seiryuu side loved the Yui/Suboshi ship for the angst factor and Suboshi's undying devotion to Yui. Fics were mostly full of angst and tragedy, but some ended happily with Suboshi surviving or being reincarnated into the modern world, much like Tamahome becoming Taka. This caused some conflict with Yui's canon boyfriend, Tetsuya, whom fans would either ignore or paint as unsympathetic so Yui could run back to Suboshi.
FY features a Twincest pairing of Amiboshi and Suboshi.
Yuri was extremely rare in FY fandom, with the only truly prominent pairing being Miaka/Yui. Some fans interpreted her anger and jealousy as being over Tamahome stealing Miaka away from her, despite her insistence of the other way around. Tamahome even points out in volume 8 that Miaka's the one Yui is jealous over, rather than him, and Yui's speech to Miaka shortly before summoning Seiryuu confirms this; "I couldn't find a place between you and Tamahome."
Nakago/Tamahome was popular with fans who enjoyed the twisted, hateful mind-fuck element of their interactions. Nakago's canon relationship with Soi was loved as well due to the overwhelming tragedy, though pairing him with his silent admirer Tomo was also common.
Reincarnation and AUs
The bulk of the plot takes place in Ancient China (or an alternate reality Ancient China?), and numerous popular characters die over the course of the series. In addition, the canon itself makes use of reincarnation to grant some of the characters their happily ever after. This has led to a significant number of fixit stories involving reincarnation, usually to present day Japan or wherever the fic author is from.
Linkes & Resources
- Fyfanfiction (defunct)
- Fushigi Yuugi category on fanfiction.net
- Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden category on fanfiction.net
- Fushigi Yuugi tag on AO3
Websites and shrines
- Tasuki no Miko's Fushigi Yuugi Page
- Fushigi Yuugi Novel translations by Tetris no Miko
- Defy The Stereotype! Banner rotation 1 Rotation 2
- The Nuriko Shrine