Mayo Sakaki is a 16-year-old girl who attends Yotsubadai High School. Upon finding “The Universe of the Four Gods” in a trash bin at the park, Mayo soon discovers that the story remains incomplete. In the unfamiliar world of the book, Mayo must come to terms with her own life and the unhappiness within it.
A four-part OVA that follows on a few years later from the previous two. Miaka and Taka have gotten married and Miaka has just announced that they will be having a baby. However, young student Mayo, who has been in love with Taka herself for some time, is furious. So when a battered copy of The Universe of the Four Gods keeps finding her, she takes it home. When she starts to read, the book projects the story of Miaka and Tamahome/Taka into her mind. The book beckons her in and, thinking about her own unhappy home life and her unrequited love, she disappears into the book against the pleas of her coach, Miaka’s older brother. Meanwhile, Miaka falls unconscious and is hospitalised.
Mayo soon realises that she is the new priestess of Suzaku. Not only this, but she is also carrying Miaka and Taka’s child. When she realises that Taka has also entered the book once more to save her, she decides that she doesn’t want to be a priestess and save Konan. She just wants to remain here and become Taka’s wife. When Taka refuses, Mayo threatens to put his unborn child in danger and the darkness in her heart grows. All the while a fake Suzaku is murmuring to her, feeding off her darkness and using it to strengthen itself and destroy Konan and its lands for good.
Plenty of Fushigi Yuugi delicious melodrama here. It’s addictive and I’m going to miss it now that there’s nothing to get my fix from. Also, there’s decidedly less of Miaka, which is a bit of a plus at this point. Mayo may be an unhappy, horrible bitch (with an unconvincing backstory on why she’s this way), but at least it pushed the storyline in a more unusual direction. Yui and the crew from the real world have some obligatory appearances, emerging at Miaka’s bedside while she’s unconscious and trying to communicate with those in the book. Perhaps it was for convenience this time, but it seemed to be pretty damn easy to communicate with one another between worlds this time. I mean, at one point Taka’s mobile phone started ringing. Really? Perhaps the OVA assumes the the audience vaguely knows about shared objects between the worlds being able to enable communication, but hopes that they don’t know much about how it was used in the original series. I’ve mentioned in earlier Fushigi Yuugi OVA reviews that it pays not to be too attentive to things like the lore and the laws of the connections between the world. It’s more about sitting back and enjoying the ride else you’ll just spoil the enjoyment for yourself – and these OVAs have been all about enjoyment for me.
Once again, I loved the characters and it was great to see them again. It felt like things had finally come full circle to see those of the Seven that fell in the original series reborn as small children with little knowledge of their previous life, but slowly came to re-realise their destiny. On the other hand, Chichiri himself doesn’t seem to have changed, but Tasuki got a lot hotter. This isn’t explained, but I wouldn’t put it past it just being a development in animation and all of a sudden it’s like “Let’s jazz him up a bit”.
Speaking of the animation, this has improved leaps and bounds from the original. You don’t notice it to begin with, and some elements are quite subtle, but the fake Genbu, Byakko, Seiryu and Suzaku that are terrorising the lands are done in 3D, which surprised me when I first saw them. They were a little jarring at first, but found its stride eventually, particularly when they were interacting with collages and houses and we could see their shadows and backgrounds through their translucent bodies. It didn’t take away from the traditional feel that Fushigi Yuugi has always seemed to have, either.
The pacing and plot were steady and enjoyable and I think that this one was perhaps my favourite out of all the three OVAs. It didn’t spend its time re-hashing over old stuff and giving characters screen-time just for the sake of it. It also tied up all loose ends and we finally have a name for Miaka and Taka’s little daughter that we saw at the end of the last OVA – Hikari. Very fitting and satisfying. Despite its flaws, or maybe because of them, the Fushigi Yuugi franchise will always be one of my favourites. It’s a retro title that I can’t help but indulge in again and again.