Book Reviews · Manga · POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020 Update: Week Thirty-Two

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far! My week has been a bit busy, mostly due to a doctor’s appointment and a trip to the lab for blood work (all routine stuff, nothing serious), but it’s been a good week nonetheless. I’ve had the chance to do a significant amount of reading and writing this week as well, so I’m going into the weekend feeling like I’ve accomplished quite a bit.

This week, I completed the first of my three remaining POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompts! This brings my total number of completed prompts up to 48 (out of 50). I’m feeling really good about my progress right now, and I’m confident that I will be able to complete this month’s reading goal without any difficulty.

A book set in a country beginning with “C”…

This week I decided to re-read Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play, an 18 volume manga series, created by Yû Watase. The series is about a junior high school student named Miaka Yuki, who finds herself transported into the world of a book called The Universe of the Four Gods.

Arriving in the ancient Chinese kingdom of Hong-Nan (in Japanese, Konan), Miaka meets the kingdom’s handsome young emperor, who asks her to protect his kingdom by becoming the Priestess of Suzaku. In order to find a way back to her own world, Miaka agrees and is tasked with bringing together the “seven constellations of Suzaku,” seven unique individuals who are destined to protect Miaka and help her gain Suzaku’s powers.

Miaka’s job is not an easy one, however, as a neighboring kingdom has declared war on Hong-Nan. The kingdom of Qu-Dong (Kutô in Japanese) is looking for their own priestess, and they may have found her…in the form of Miaka’s best friend.

Fushigi Yûgi is one of my all-time favorite manga series. I first read the manga when I was a high school student, not much older than Miaka herself, and I fell in love with the story and characters. Watase has a real talent for creating compelling stories and characters, and her art style is absolutely breathtaking. She includes a lot of detail in her artwork, and also does a great job with action and fight sequences.

Though Fushigi Yûgi is a shōjo manga series, I think the story will appeal to most manga readers, regardless of gender. Yes, there is a love story that is central to the plot, but the books also contain a lot of excitement and action, humor, and drama. Readers should be aware that some of the books do include elements which may cause emotional distress, including: unwanted sexual advances, rape, references/attempts to kidnap and sell young women into slavery, torture, and attempted suicide. Viz Media, the current publisher, has given the series a T+ rating, which indicates that it is considered more appropriate for “Older Teen” audiences. I tend to agree with this rating.

If you prefer anime to manga, there is an anime adaptation of Fushigi Yûgi, which is phenomenal. The anime version was one of the first subtitled anime series that I ever collected (on VHS, believe it or not), and it remains one of my favorite anime series to this day. The anime follows the manga extremely well, and includes a fantastic cast of voice actors. I generally prefer watching anime with subtitles, so I cannot speak to the quality of the English dub. Personally, I would recommend watching the series in Japanese, with subtitles.

If you have the opportunity to read the Fushigi Yûgi manga and/or watch the anime, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. If you do enjoy the manga, there are two additional Fushigi Yûgi series that you may be interested in checking out. The first is Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, which ran for a total of 12 volumes. The other is Fushigi Yûgi: Byakko Senki. The first volume of this series was released earlier this week, on August 4th. I currently do not know how many volumes the series will have when complete, but I am very much looking forward to reading it.

As you probably already know from last week’s update, beginning at 8 PM (EST) tonight, I will be participating in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Reverse Readathon. Like I did for the previous Readathon, I will be posting quarterly updates about my progress here on The Unapologetic Bookworm. If you would like to follow my progress a bit more closely, I will also be posting frequent updates on Twitter @UnapologBkworm.

Next week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update will be back to its normal Saturday morning post time, but I hope you’ll check back frequently next week for book reviews and a special post on National Book Lovers Day. I will also be celebrating my birthday here on The Unapologetic Bookworm next week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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