Fushigi Yugi: the ultimate seven

Fushigi Yugi: the ultimate seven

When I watched Fushigi Yugi‘s anime, by the time Miboshi, one of Yui’s seven seishi (celestial warriors), was introduced, it became obvious that Yui had gotten the short end of the stick. While Miaka’s celestial warriors upheld their duty to protect her and all care about her deeply, Yui’s team often put their own motives ahead of her well-being. Now that I’m reading Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden, I began to wonder: of all four sets of guardians, which seven celestial warriors would I want to be part of my team if I were a priestess trapped in the Universe of the Four Gods? I thought it might be fun to write about, so here are my picks:

Tamahome

Status: Suzaku Celestial Warrior

Reason: I chose Tamahome because above all, he’s fiercly loyal to Miaka and willing to do anything to protect her. He always bends over backwards for his teammates, and is a great big brother to his many siblings. Tamahome is very kind, and basically the perfect boyfriend – not to mention the fact that’s he’s hot doesn’t hurt either.

Tasuki

Status: Suzaku Celestial Warrior

Reason: Tasuki controls fire, which is a great advantage to have on your side. But aside from his power, Tasuki is a funny character who is quick to anger, and while he always puts on a tough guy act it’s obvious that he cares deeply about his comrades. And despite the fact that he claims to hate women, he cares very much about Miaka’s feelings, which is evident not long after he is introduced and gets his ass kicked when he refuses to fight a brainwashed Tamahome at Miaka’s request.

Nuriko

Status: Suzaku Celestial Warrior

Reason: Because Nuriko is probably my favorite character in all of Fushigi Yugi. He’s haughty yet somehow wise, and he is usually the shoulder Miaka turns to cry on. While the other celestial warriors often tease him for being a crossdresser, he always manages to appear cool. Nuriko is also one of the strongest celestial warriors, so having him on your side can only be a benefit.

Uruki

Status: Genbu Celestial Warrior

Reason: Of all of the love interests in Fushigi Yugi, Uruki is probably my favorite. Usually Yuu Watase’s male characters are a bit too perfect: they are willing to give up everything to be with the woman they love, are perfect at everything they do, and are great-looking to boot. While these things are true of Uruki as well, he also has an angtsy cynical side to him that has been caused by the fact that his father wants him dead. The fact that Uruki is a prince means he knows the land well, however, it also has made him a target for assassins, which is an obvious detriment. Still, I’d choose Uruki because he has many interesting quirks: not only can he control wind, but when he uses his powers, he turns into a girl! I can only imagine how jealous that would make Nuriko.

Namame

Status: Genbu Celestial Warrior

Reason: Of all the celestial warriors, I truly think Namame is the best one. He’s tiny and made of rock, so you’d think he wouldn’t be very helpful but the truth is actually the opposite: because he’s so tiny he can protect priestess Takiko without ever being seen! Namame is also a shapeshifter, which allows him to turn into a horse the celestial warriors can travel with, as well as a dome the warriors can sleep in. Thus, I would choose Namame because he’s probably the most practical of the celestial warriors. And he’s cute.

Inami

Status: Genbu Celestial Warrior

Reason: I have to respect Yuu Watase for deciding to make a character like Inami a celestial warrior. While most of the celestial warriors are young men who open up the opportunity for romance with the priestess, Inami is a middle-aged woman who you’d never suspect to be a warrior. Although she’s not the strongest seishi, she’s a confidante and source of wisdom to Takiko, which makes having her on your side beneficial. And her power includes the ability to trap people with her hair, which is pretty cool.

Nakago

Status: Seiryu Celestial Warrior

Reason: At first glance, choosing Nakago might not seem like a wise decision. He manipulates Yui into believing she was raped and convinces her to betray her best friend, all while using the other Seiryu celestial warriors to his own benefit. But Nakago is by far the most powerful of all the celestial warriors, and it literally took all seven Suzaku warriors to defeat him. But the real reason I’d choose Nakago is more from my perspective as an audience member: because I truly think Fushigi Yugi wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good as it is if Nakago weren’t in it.   

And those are my choices! I feel bad for not picking any Byakko celestial warriors, but considering the fact that the Byakko storyline hasn’t been fully fleshed out yet it shouldn’t be too surprising. Which celestial warriors would you guys pick to be on your team?

So…Japanese girls like it rough, huh?

So…Japanese girls like it rough, huh?

In keeping up with the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d take a look at the most popular romantic scenarios in anime and manga. Last year, Goo asked its female users the following question: “Of the typical scenes in a romance manga, which would you want to experience in real life?” Here were the top 10 choices:

  1. Being hugged from behind and told “I love you”
  2. Being asked out in a slightly forceful manner, e.g. “You’re going out with me today”
  3. Being patted on the head and told to “Do your best!”
  4. Discovering that their male confidante was in love with them
  5. Turning to look behind them and being kissed by surprise
  6. Having someone worry about them and look into their eyes while asking “what’s wrong?”
  7. Being fought over by more than one man
  8. Being grabbed by the chin and kissed suddenly
  9. Seeing him off at the train station and being dragged on to the train at the last second
  10. Having him wipe their tears away while saying “Don’t cry”

    Romantic, huh?

Number three seems more like how you’d treat a pet than a girlfriend, so I don’t see the romance in it at all. I’ve definitely seen it, though – I believe Sano does this to Mizuki in Hana-Kimi. Being asked out on a date in a forceful way I’ve seen done by Tsukasa in Boys Over Flowers, which lead to a disastrous (yet intriguing) date. I’m definitely not a fan of number nine – someone dragging you on a train at the last moment seems pretty selfish to me, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen this one in any anime or manga. Some of these scenarios are very fun to read whenever they occur in manga, especially numbers five and eight. These two just scream Yuu Watase: probably my favorite forced kiss is with Takiko and Uruki in volume of Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden. Another great example is between Naoki and Kotoko in volume two of Itazura na Kiss, which is the first sign that Naoki has feelings for her. And, for some reason, many of the forced kisses I can think of in anime are initiated by the rival (losing) love interest like Soshi in Absolute Boyfriend and Fuji in Sand Chronicles. And being fought over by more than one guy is in pretty much every shojo manga and it’s mother (although once again Yuu Watase is the queen of this cliché. No wonder she’s so popular). But in real life, I’m pretty sure having more than one person interested in you, while a confidence-booster, wouldn’t exactly be fun.

Takiko and Uruki

Naoki’s ‘take-that’ kiss with Kotoko:

Naoki and Kotoko

 And yet another forced kiss:

Soshi and Riiko
 

What’s interesting about this list is how forceful a lot of these scenarios are. In my opinion, a lot of these scenarios aren’t so desirable or sweet once you place them into a real life context. Being grabbed by the chin and kissed or being asked out in a demanding way are only romantic depending upon who does it: if a guy you don’t know or don’t like did this you probably would be pretty scared or pissed. But what it really comes down to I guess is different cultural values: many Japanese males are shy, especially when it comes to romance, so this helps explain why Japanese women want more assertive men because there aren’t as many men who are openly romantic, and thus this is reflected in manga. So this begs the question: which came first? Did the fantasies of real life Japanese women influence the pervasiveness of romantically assertive men in manga, or was it that these male characters in manga shaped women’s real-life desires? Or maybe it’s a little bit of both. And some of these fantasies definitely appeal beyond Japanese audiences: I have to say, I’d love to have number one done to me. I guess I like it rough, too. 😛

Yuu hugging Miki from behind