Fushigi Yuugi, can be considered as one of the most popular shojo anime series since mid-90's. The story concept seems to be somewhat similar - a girl who was transported to the other world and guarded by the (cool) men in order to succeed a quest. Like any other fantasy adventure anime series I watched, this one makes me well interested and intrigued as well.
The manga was originally created back in 1992 up to 1996 and came alive as an anime in 1995. Average senior high school students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo ("Julie" in Tagalog-dub) were landed to the National Library and they found an ancient, magical book known as The Universal of Four Gods. Unfortunately, the two girls were transported to the ancient China from thousand years ago. Both of them become separated and Miaka ends up to be a "chosen one" and was destined to be a priestess of Suzaku and she must gather the Seven Celestial Guardians of Suzaku. Meanwhile, Yui was also become a priestess but a priestess of Seiryu and must gather seven guardians of Seiryuu which they are against the Suzaku. Yui turned out against Miaka and tries to stop her. In other subplot, Miaka's brother Kenny along with his male friend read about the adventures of Miaka being the priestess of Suzaku.
While the story of Fushigi Yuugi come up in twists in various situations like adventure and romance, who could love the romance between Tamahome (one of the Celestial Guardians of Suzaku) and Miaka plus add some love triangles between them. Anyway, at the first season of Fushigi Yuugi where Miaka gathers seven guardians were steadfast and puts up comedy scenes like some characters being super deformed. Still, the story wasn't much on harm and you don't need a reason for getting to hooked for the fantasy-shoujo theme. In other words, Fushigi Yuugi can be very good one.
As for Miaka's character development, at first season she seems to be clueless yet funny who has tough responsibilities she must accomplish in her home world. Later on, as she realize being the "chosen one" (priestess of Suzaku) she become determined and courageous despite she was saved many times from being captured by the enemies. Aside from being funny, I didn't notice about her charm or appeal but instead she played a role being in the middle of love triangle romance and the dramatization. At least, every episode Miaka learns something that would help her allies like her seven guardians, she changes the world for the better good.
In the season 2 intrigues me as I watch them. As Miaka found out the Seven Celestial Guardians of Suzaku, Yui turns out against Miaka as she found out the Seven Celestial Guardians of Seiryuu. Filled with Yui's tragic memories, her anger and jealousy over Miaka and Tamahome seems can be a huge punchline. Another thing about Fushigi Yuugi is that they contain mature-ish scenes which quite inappropriate to the younger viewers. I wouldn't want to see Miaka being half-naked or naked although I'm a teenager now.
Many of the anime scene's can be raised from serious to silly lines, from drama to comedy. The dialogue is much fine although sometimes can be quite disturbing. The music scenes can be few but there is opening and closing theme songs can be fun to listen to. The character designs seems you're expecting them Japanese rather Chinese but it's not very bad. One of the Seven Guardians of Suzaku, Nuriko can be intimidating to investigate if he or she's a man or a woman. Honestly, I rather vote Nuriko as a woman so there will be a female Celestial Guardian of Suzaku.
Overall, Fushi Yuugi really captures a lot of good elements. There are large cast although few of them were strongly developed, while others only stable or wasn't much deep. With the adventure-fantasy theme, plus the drama, tragedy, comedy, heavy romance, fighting scenes, and a lot of rivalry it's pretty assuring that Fushigi Yuugi can be the very reason why it became popular shoujo anime. I still expecting to catch up it's episodes every weekday nights plus weekend afternoons in replays on TV5. Here's the opening theme here and closing theme of an episode here.
Happy Valentines Day, everyone!