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Manga / Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden

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Welcome to the Legend that started them all.
Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden (ふしぎ遊戯 玄武開伝, Mysterious Play: Genbu's Opening Legend) is the first prequel written by Yuu Watase to the popular manga/anime series Fushigi Yuugi. The series was serialized from 2003 to 2013 (though it went on hiatus from 2008 to 2010) in a total of 12 volumes. Soon spinned into 5 volumes of Drama CDs depicting the first 5 volumes of the manga, and a Visual NovelFushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden Gaiden ~Kagami no Miko~ for PlayStation 2, PSP, and Nintendo DS, marking the first ever video game adaptation for a Yuu Watase work.

In the year of 1923, roughly 60-70 years before Miaka and Yui encountered the book and around ten years before a girl named Suzuno did so too, novelist Einosuke Okuda came back to Japan from China obtaining the original Chinese version of an ancient ceremonial scripture called The Universe of the Four Gods (Shi Jin Ten Chi Sho) where he worked tirelessly translating them into Japanese and bind them into book form. Neglecting his ill wife Yoshie and stressed daughter Takiko Okuda, who recently moved from Tokyo to Yoshie's hometown for her mom's further care, has to put up with a new school life, and being constantly teased by her classmates for having a sick mother.

Onto the moment when Yoshie actually died, the father and daughter went into a quarrel that led to Einosuke having an I Have No Son! spit out towards Takiko. Grieved of loneliness, and uselessness, Takiko took the translated book from her father and was going to rip it apart until the book suddenly starts to shine bright and absorbs her into the book, becoming the legendary Priestess of Genbu.

The seven Celestial Warriors' backstories and point-of-views play an important part in the storytelling of this work. According to Watase, compared to the previous work, the viewpoints are more evenly distributed around the interactions between teammates as to just the heroine's character/love development POV. Therefore you might notice some surprising tropes that can only be found in the character sheet.

The ending chapter was published in Flower Magazine's Spring Issue in February 14th, 2013, and the final volume in May 17th, 2013. This marked the end of the story spanning 10 years of publishing. Starting August 28th, 2017, 4 years after Genbu Kaiden, Watase kicked-off her final part of her Fushigi Yuugi saga—Fushigi Yuugi: Byakko Senki; which continues the time setting directly after the end of Genbu Kaiden's story event.

Late Arrival Spoiler Warning: Unmarked spoilers will be present, for those who haven't read the story, please self-advise. This author is known for her rather harsh manipulative tendencies towards her characters, so for your sake of sanity, we strongly recommend you to NOT flip those spoiler blanks unless you have a heart strong enough to hold everything in.

This story presents the examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Takiko for Uruki, and Firuka for Hagas.
  • Badass Crew / True Companions: The Genbu Celestial Warriors along with their miko, being the first miko out of all four, and team of all 28 seishis of the world to appear. Compared to the future Suzaku and Seiryuu Teams, they are on average, dangerously powerful and badass to the near extreme. Their miko can wield a weapon, the majority of the warriors work very close together as a group, and their relationship is more like a family unit. Literally all bare Elemental Powers, and whom all has to pave way through the hells of prejudice, suppression, and racism to make a better status for the future seishis to come. And this trope pretty much sums up the whole story...
  • Betty and Veronica: Mr. Osugi, Takiko's first love (Betty) and Uruki (Veronica).
    • Tomite (Betty) and Uruki (Veronica).
  • Big Brother Mentor: Soruen towards Uruki, Hikitsu towards Tomite.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hikitsu and Tomite pulled it off, twice. First was to save their crew plus lots of other people from a big fire, second was to save Uruki and Takiko's ass from soldiers.
  • Bittersweet Ending -> Earn Your Happy Ending: Yes, both Takiko and Einosuke did die in the end, but before Takiko reached her moment of death, she managed to use two wishes to save the country and two Emperors of Hokkan note  managed to go down in just minutes of time, in which allows Uruki to ascend to the throne as Emperor. Eventually giving their country, Hokkan the peace and prosperity they wanted. To thank their priestess and king on their sacrifice of relationship, the people of Hokkan wished for generations in hopes to have Takiko and Uruki reincarnate and live Happily Ever After.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Celestial Warriors' consequence of summoning a beast god, in this case, Genbu. For the duration of their priestess's chant to summon the beast's physical appearance, all seven warriors have to surrender their powers onto the priestess, and are at their most vulnerable state. This is the main reason why Tomite and Hikitsu did not survive, because they fell victim from the enemy's undercover attack during the summon.
  • Call-Forward: These two guys chuckled over this conversation at the time, but little do they know they would be the ones to fulfill that...
    Hikitsu: "...Even if you say that, I don't think we'll have the chance to meet The Suzaku Warriors anyway. This country (Konan) is peaceful now."
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: The augurs. It's taken as granted that, whatever they speak is the pure truth as telling a lie would cause them to lose their prophetic powers. Though it's revealed that two augurs have lied in the course of the story. One was the augur in a small temple, who lied to Shigi and Hien when they came after the priestess and warriors. The other was the augur who told Temudan about his son killing him if Genbu's legend were to come true... though she admits she didn't really lie about that.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: And only the Fushigi series out of the whole genre/industry is capable of keeping the fangirls demanding MORE of them!
  • Central Theme: As per Word of God, life and death
  • Color-Coded Elements
    • Uruki's scarf is green.
    • Tomite's navy blue tribal outfit.
    • Hikitsu's light blue tribal outfit.
    • And Namame's purely made of yellow dirt.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Genbu Kaiden pictures tend to have a green theme going on, as the example picture above proves. The Genbu marks are black and most of them are depicted wearing black clothes, with Genbu's heavenly light being shown with silver.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends / Pair the Spares: It seems Tomite is headed there with Hikitsu's sister Aila.
  • Cue the Sun: Due to impending ice age, the Hokkan sky has been overcast for months. When Takiko makes her wish for spring, the sun finally comes out.
  • Darker and Edgier: Think this is Fushigi Yuugi from two hundred years ago? Think again.
  • Dramatic Irony: Because Tomite, Hikitsu and Takiko's fates are Doomed by Canon, the narrative will indulge in this trope. There's Tomite and Hikitsu talking about not meeting the Seishi of the other Gods, Tomite falling in love with Alia right before the summoning etc etc...
  • Due to the Dead: A chapter features Yoshie Okuda's Buddhist funeral. Additionally, Takiko, who has just returned to Japan, passes out in the middle of it... and soon she finds out that she's about to die of the same tuberculosis that killed her mom.
  • Dying Moments of Awesome:
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Despite taking 10 chapters note  to be officially introduced in the story, Hikitsu already made his appearance in Watase's various splash illustrations since the very first chapter.
  • Elemental Powers: The first four are the resident Four-Element Ensemble.
  • Family of Choice: Due to Takiko and each celestial member lacking in various family elements due to their country's discrimination and ill fate, have made them unite into one Badass Family of their own.
    • Bash Brothers: This is what Uruki and Tomite are if you take out the Love Triangle thing between them. The two of them are the closest in age note  and shoves similar splashes of hot temper onto each others' faces. But in the end they did proved to be very close, trusting, and depended on each other throughout various obstacles.
    • Blood Brothers: Hikitsu and Tomite. And not only are they bond brothers, Word Of God said that both of them "came from the same ancestor!"
      • In Tomite's case, his dad died early in his childhood, but came into contact with Hikitsu at the same time. So not only does he admires Hikitsu as this cool big brother to have, but also looks up to him as a substitute Father figure.
      • While Tomite was having his heartwarming moment of sealing his brother pact with Hikitsu note , Uruki and Hatsui just joins the fun note . Which serves as an indirect acknowledgment of the bond they all share together.
    • Designated Parents: Hikitsu and Inami.
      • Inami lost both her husband and her unborn child when she was a young adult, therefore it comes naturally for her to fill in as a Parental Substitute towards all of her fellow teammates, since most of them are not even half her age.
      • Hikitsu on the other hand was ditched by his entire tribe, leaving him with only his little sister. Therefore he's forced to mature very early and has to hone all the nurturing and survival instincts to help him and his sister survive.
    • Like Brother and Sister: According to Word of God, this is how Takiko and Tomite are, despite the fact that it's pretty clear that Tomite was developing some unrequited romantic feelings for Takiko through their two almost kisses, his rivalry (and a bit of inferiority complex) with Uruki, and how he mutters that he guesses he didn't have a "chance" when Takiko tells Tomite that she is in love with someone else from her world in Volume 4.
  • Fanservice: This is a Yuu Watase work we're talking about here, so we're guaranteed to get packages full of shirtless scenes and beyond for BOTH genders of her characters.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The country of Hokkan is a spinoff of Mongolia, which includes both Inner Mongolia of China, and The State of Mongolia (aka. Outer Mongolia) the sovereign nation.
  • First-Name Basis: Unlike the Suzaku and Seiryuu warriors in the future, all Genbu warriors preferred not to be called by their Celestial names; it was proved especially clear with Tomite and Uruki, the first 2 warriors Takiko encountered. That's why Takiko referred them by their birth names for a good length amount of time until they slowly accept their Celestial identities. Once these two got used to their Celestial names, they were shown to be more comfortable in persuading the later recruited members to use their Celestial names.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since this is a prequel, the reader goes into the manga knowing that Hikitsu, Tomite, Takiko, and her father Einosuke will not survive.
  • The Four Gods
  • Healthy Country Air: Mrs. Okuda is suffering from tuberculosis at the beginning of the story. The family moves from Tokyo to Morioka, hoping that the mountain air would improve her health. The other students in Takiko's new class gossip constantly about it, and the Okuda family takes great pains to keep Mrs. Okuda's illness a secret, for fear that the social stigma would jeopardize 17-year-old Takiko's marriageability.
  • Hidden Depths: Out of all characters, it is Hikitsu that you have to be cautious of. By far, he has the most tropes in the character sheet, and he never showed the majority of them within the storyline at all.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Uruki failed to spit it out to Takiko thanks to Tomite minding his own business.
    Uruki: "Now I realize...that I..."
    Tomite: "Hikitsu, wait!"
  • Kneel Before Frodo: After she makes her wishes and dies, all of Hokkan bow before Takiko finally fully acknowledging their priestess
  • Love Triangle: Mr. Ohsugi/Takiko/Uruki and Tomite/Takiko/Uruki.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: Tomite came charging into his tribe's hotspring attempting to notify them that the enemies are near when Takiko just started drying herself from her bath. But then his mom just went out for his blood instead.
    • Uruki and Tomite (again) also did this move while Takiko was bathing in the second premium drama.
    • Takiko really only spied on Shigi bathing in a river by accident. She noticed at this point that Shigi was an eunuch.
  • Parental Abandonment: Actually, all of the main crew have this background.
    • Takiko's mother Yoshie dies of tuberculosis in the first chapter, and her father Einosuke is never around because he was researching the Shi Jin Ten Chi Sho to find a way to save his wife, not to mention the fact that he never wanted a daughter to begin with. He apologizes for the last part, though.
    • As for Uruki, it was prophesized when he was born that when Genbu was summoned he would kill his father. As a result, his father is after his life, even going so far as to ally himself with the force trying to destroy his own country, even though he is a member of the royal family. It is these actions that lead many to believe that this will turn out to be a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
    • In literal terms, Hikitsu and his sister. His whole entire village ditched them because his powers were too powerful and horrifying to his tribe, and his tribe believed in the superstition that he as a Celestial Warrior was a curse upon them.
    • Hatsui and Urumiya's parents have been dead since their childhood.
    • Even though he's the most luckiest dude of the group with a very supportive mom all alive and well, and was raised up with a comedic personality, remember that Tomite's dad died when he was a kid too.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Tomite, the one and only comic relief there is. And we all should really thank GOD for not killing him till the very darn second-to-last chapter, otherwise all readers would really become blood-thirsty monsters on the author.
  • Power Trio:
  • Refusal of the Call: Would you wanna come out of the closet when it's said that being selected as Celestial Warrior is doomed as a complete curse to mankind and all people of your entire country will discriminate against you? ...We think not. Literally every single Genbu Warrior that Takiko encountered openly refused to join her as their initial reaction once she introduced herself as the Priestess of Genbu. Except for the very very last one.
  • Right Under Their Noses: The Urumiya Retrival Arc has The Genbu Team split into two teams: Team Takiko, Hikitsu, Inami, and Namame goes undercover posing as servants of the Hokkan palace to retrieve information on the location of Urumiya Tegu from the inside, while Team Uruki, Tomite, and Hatsui searches the outer walls of the cave where Tegu is potentially hidden to see if they can find a physical breakthrough without using their powers to avoid Tegu's detection and repression.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Uruki and Firuka.
  • Shout-Out: The journey to The Konan Country sure is a lot of fun for the gang.
    • Uruki and Hikitsu wore the same kind of top, but Uruki gets even with one unbuttoned just like some future Suzaku seishi guy name Tamahome.
    • The owner of the fabric store where the Genbu gang purchased their local clothing is Nuriko's ancestor.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Takiko and Hagas.
  • So Happy Together: Takiko and Uruki get shanghaid into a marriage right before the Kutou army invades. It's also the last moment of peace for all of the Genbu Warriors before Takiko summons Genbu, and the deaths of Hikitsu and Tomite.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The American manga originally spelled names to Limdo, Hagus, Chamka, Ayla, Anlu and even used chinese names sometimes, like Téwulan, Zíyí and Fei'yan for Touran, Shigi and Hien respectively. Later releases went with the Japanese names for them and opting for romanization as Rimudo, Haagasu, Aira, Anruu and Chamuka.
  • Spy Fiction: The Urumiya Arc. Where Takiko went undercover into the Hokkan Palace, top it with Hikitsu's secret agent abilities to play it out perfectly.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Actually averted - the parts that take place in Japan happen in Morioka, the capital from Iwate prefecture.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Inherent in all of the priestess' due to the nature of the summoning. Uruki and Takiko's fates are also a foregone conclusion established in the original manga.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The necklace of Anlu the Oracle, twice over. It serves as a reminder for Takiko of Anlu and the sacrifices needed to summon Genbu. Later, Uruki is wearing it as a reminder of Takiko. Bonus points for also being a Memento MacGuffin first allowing Takiko to talk to Naname and later as the Shinzahou.
  • World-Healing Wave: Two of these take place, as the two wishes Takiko manages to make before dying:
    • First, Hokkan is about to be consumed not just by the upcoming war with Kutou, but by a glacial era that would be a MASSIVE disaster since Hokkan itself is made of steppes and plains. Takiko tells Genbu "Return spring to this land once more", Genbu accepts and the climate changes accordingly, saving the country from being covered in ice for what could be centuries.
    • Second, the wish that follows is basically one "for all the living things of this country to be restored to what they once were". Genbu fulfills it via creating a miraculous water that spreads through the country, healing wounded soldiers (which makes both sides of the Hokkan/Kutou war stop their fighting) and melting the snow away...