Fushigi Yugi: lapses of logic

Fushigi Yugi: lapses of logic

There are many great things about Fushigi Yugi. In a long line of stories about girls who get sucked into another world, Fushigi Yugi has great characters, unexpected plot twists and one of my favorite endings in anime. However, I’m well aware that the series’ flaws stand out to others, who tend to complain that the series becomes unnecessarily dramatic, and that they don’t care for Miaka because she’s so dumb. But what I personally had a bigger problem with was the series occassional lapses of logic. Since I will be talking about several major plot points, if you haven’t read or watched Fushigi Yugi you may want to stop reading here.

Near the beginning of the series, Nakago makes a promise to Yui not to kill Miaka. This promise comes back when Yui comes back to the real world after summoning Seiryu, and Nakago threatens Yui that he will break their promise unless she uses Seiryu’s power to grant his wish to become a god. The problem I had with this, however, is that over the course of the series Nakago tried several times to have Miaka and the Suzaku seishi (celestial warriors) killed. For example, when the celestial warriors travelled to find the Genbu shinzaho, Nakago sent Soi to try to kill them by electructing them in the water. And when the celestial warriors were searching for information about the shinzaho they are attacked by Ashitare, who was brutally beaten by Nakago so he wouldn’t fail in killing Miaka. There were also several occassions in which Suboshi attacked Miaka right in front of Yui, and she didn’t try to stop him from almost killing her, thus diminishing the importance of Nakago’s promise.

But there is another inconsistency in terms of Yui’s characterization. From the beginning of the series it’s made clear that Yui is much smarter than Miaka – she was the one who was able to read The Universe of the Four Gods, which was written in an obsolete form of the Chinese language. When Yui returns to the world of the book and becomes the Priestess of Seiryu after believing she was raped, Nakago intentionally keeps the fact that the priestess has to be a virgin a secret from her. However, I felt that there was something off about Yui’s naïveté . If Yui is so ‘smart’ and so familiar with Chinese culture, why then did it never cross her mind that the priestess is supposed to be a virgin and thus she shouldn’t elligible? Even I knew that priestesses are traditionally virgins, and I’m not exactly an expert on Asian culture. I’m not saying that Yui should have been able to figure out that Nakago lied to her about being raped, but she should have least questioned if she would be able to become the priestess. Still, this lapse in characterization could possibly be excused not only due to Yui’s fragile mental state but also because of Nakago’s manipulations.

The last lapse of logic in the series is one I’m not actually sure if it actually happens in the manga, since I’ve only watched the Fushigi Yugi anime. In the middle of the series, Keisuke, who in the real world was reading about Miaka’s adventures in the book, finds a strand of Miaka’s hair which allows him to talk to her. When he warns her that she should leave the book because things might become more dangerous, no one else can hear his voice. But in the series finale when Miaka, Yui, Tamahome, and Nakago have made it to the real world, Keisuke calls into the book so the other celestial warriors can help Miaka, and upon hearing him Chichiri and Tasuki travel to the real world as well. I never understood why they were able to hear him this time, and the only explanations I could think of were that a). maybe Miaka’s return to the real world ‘opened up’ the communication lines between the book and the real world or b). there was some sort of explanation given for this plothole in the manga that was never given in the anime. 

Still, not all of the changes made to the anime were bad, and one change in particular actually fixed a plothole in the manga. One of the major dilemmas throughout the series was Miaka and Tamahome’s struggle to find a way to stay together, since as a character from the book he couldn’t remain in the real world, while Miaka couldn’t stay in the book. When the Priestess of Byakko Suzuno asked Byakko for she and Tatara, the celestial warrior she loved, to stay together, Byakko told her that was the one wish he could not grant, and the two were separated until their deaths. In volume thirteen of the manga, Miaka and Tamahome ask to remain together and their wish is granted when Tamahome returns to the real world reincarnated. However, the anime changes Miaka’s last wish and instead she asks Suzaku to restore the world to the way it was before they battled Nakago. She decides that wishing for her and Tamahome’s happiness is something she shouldn’t ask Suzaku, and she is told that it isn’t the gods who grant wishes – it’s human will. I really liked this change because not only does it assert that Tamahome’s reincarnation was due to his love for Miaka rather than their wish being granted, it also shows how much Miaka had grown as a character. The character development and increasingly tragic story is what makes Fushigi Yugi as great as it is, so for as many flaws as it has, I still can’t help but love the series.

11 thoughts on “Fushigi Yugi: lapses of logic

  1. I’m not sure that Yui knew that Nakago had been trying to kill the Suzaku Senshi. Given the extent of his other manipulations it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that he kept Yui out of the loop on that one.

    Thanks for posting this.

    1. While you’re right that Yui probably didn’t know how many times Nakago tried to kill Miaka and the others, there were times he or Suboshi attacked them right in front of her and she didn’t say anything. But Nakago is probably my favorite villain of all time because he manipulates everyone in the series.

  2. I actually never really thought about the plot holes until you mentioned them. It has been a long time since I’ve watched the anime and I barely remember how some of the stuff like Keisuke calling out to the warriors to help in the fight in the real world in the manga played out.

    Since you mentioned them, I agree how some of these things sound silly when you think about them. Yui may not have been able to connect the “priestess usually has to be a virgin” thing due to her trauma over thinking she got raped, but it’s something any logical and educated person would have noticed or brought up when it came time to doing the summoning.

    When Miaka thought she got raped by Nakago, yes, she was distraught over it but she immediately remembered that as a “tainted” priestess there was no way she would have been able to summon Suzaku. Makes you wonder how a supposedly less intelligent girl like Miaka could come to this conclusion and not Yui who is supposed to be the smarter of the two.

    1. Many of these things I noticed right away, but the thing about Yui not realizing that she should be inelligible to become priestess if she had been raped didn’t bug me until I rewatched the series.

      That’s a good point about Miaka, although right before Nakago tried to rape her he told her the reason he was doing it was so she would be inelligble to become the priestess. As an aside, that was probably my second favorite story-arc in the series after the TV series’ ending. But still, you’re right that it makes no sense that it never crossed Yui’s mind since she’s the smarter of the two.

      1. I actually found the first point my biggest problem with the series in terms of inconsistencies. I haven’t finished the series yet, so I didn’t know about the promise, but this inconsistency is already bothering me in the form of Tamahome confronting Yui about her needing and loving Miaka (which she does not deny) and then her doing things to hurt Miaka, the person she supposedly wants most to love her back.

        The priestess thing I thought was fine since the book is just a fantasy rendition of ancient China. Yui might have assumed that virginity didn’t matter in this fictional world. What mattered was that she was from another world. I don’t find that too hard to swallow and Miaka didn’t know about the virgin deal either until the oracle pointed it out to her and then Nakago later made sure she knew that loss of it meant being unqualified. Also, the same part hints that Nakago may be keeping the virgin deal from Yui. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did ask and he just told her that all was required was that the priestess is female and from another world.

        For the last part. I can’t confirm what happens in the manga because I haven’t reached that part, but when I do, I’ll be sure to tell you.🙂

    1. Thank you so much! A lot of these things I didn’t realize the first time I watched the series because I was so engrossed in the emotions and the storyline, but after rewatching it I realized there were several problems concerning consistency.

  3. Good point! I didn’t even realise them. What I’m curious about though is how Miaka didn’t have a problem about being ‘eaten’ or dying as a sacrifice to Suzaku whereas Yui and even Takiko (Genbu) where dying.
    I don’t know if that’s been explained already but I can’t remember -.- it was just bothering me /le sigh/

    1. Yeah, Miaka didn’t exactly have a normal reaction…she was afraid of being eaten for maybe half of a second then realized that her friends made so many sacrifices so she could summon Suzaku, and she probably got over that fear too quickly to be considered a realistic reaction. Plus, since she knew Suzuno wasn’t devoured she may not have been as afraid as she *should* have because there was a chance she’d survive, which she did.

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