Fushigi Yuugi, also known as Mysterious Play, is a series that was created by Watase Yu and first appeared in manga format in 1992. The series completed its run in 1996 with eighteen volumes. Fushigi Yuugi proved to be a fairly popular series and was made into an anime with fifty-two episodes. The TV series followed the plot of the first fourteen volumes of the manga.
The last four volumes of manga were animated in the form of OAVs. The first Fushigi Yuugi OAV is fairly confusing and is an attempt from the animators to link the TV series to the second OAV. Its plot is unique and does not appear in the manga at all. The second OAV is a concise, animated version of the last four volumes of the manga. There is also a third OAV based off of the Fushigi Yuugi novel, Eikoden.
In addition to the manga and anime, a series of novels have been written by Nishizaki Megumi and illustrated and supervised by Watase Yuu. The first six novels tell us about the pasts of the characters in Fushigi Yuugi. So far, the pasts of Tasuki, Chichiri, Nuriko, Amiboshi and Suboshi, Hotohori and Nuriko have been revealed to us. Novels seven and eight are titled Eikoden and continues the story of Fushigi Yuugi after the eighteenth volume of the manga. More novels are planned in the future (the next novel should tell us about Tamahome's past) and there are plans to have all novels animated.
Fushigi Yuugi can be placed in the shoujo genre. It's about a young girl, Yuuki Miaka, who is a normal school girl studying for her high school entrance exams. While in the library with her best friend, Hongo Yui, Miaka is called towards an old book (Shi Jin Tenshi Sho - Universe of the Four Gods of Heaven and Earth) in the restricted section. Upon opening the book and reading the introduction, both girls are whisked away to a world similar to ancient China. They are assaulted upon arrival by slave traders but are rescued by a handsome young man with an Ogre symbol on his forehead.
Soon enough, the girls find out that they have been transported to the world inside the book. Yui has returned to the real world and Miaka remains in the Shi Jin Tenshi Sho. Searching for the young man who rescued her earlier, Miaka ends up in the capitol and the story unfolds as she becomes Suzaku no Miko (Priestess of Suzaku).
The world inside the Shi Jin Tenshi Sho is divided up into four equal parts. The northern empire, Hokan, is governed by the turtle god, Genbu. The eastern empire, Kutou, is governed by the dragon god Seiryuu. The southern empire, Konan, is governed by the phoenix god, Suzaku. The western empire, Sairou, is governed by the tiger god, Byakko. Each of these quadrants have seven constellations.
Each of the priestesses have seven warriors (Shichi no Seishi - Warrior of the Seven Constellations) named after the seven constellations of their respective regions and these seven warriors are equipped with special abilities.
Fushigi Yuugi is a series full of hardships among friends, lovers and family. While some of it may be cliche, it's a story that's certainly worth checking out if you get the chance to. The plot has many twists and turns and the characters are all unique and lovable in their own ways - even the antagonists have their own special charm.