An Informal Presentation of the Characters of Fushigi Yuugi

Left side (counter-clockwise from top left)

Taiitsu-kun & Nyan Nyan
The old woman and two young girls in the upper left corner: A wise old lady who never lets you know all of what she knows, not because she's impartial, but because of her wry sense of humor. The little cat-girls are a combination of pets and wizard's-assistants. Technically she's not involved in the contest, but she's backing the Suzaku group (red phoenix god).
Genbu no seishi:
Tomite and Hikitsu
The guys in black & yellow in the top center of the left-panel: They're short-term characters with plenty of potential for speculation...for instance, what do two male spirits who are locked alone together in an ice cave for 200+ years do to pass the time? Why, play "icicle darts" and kill passing nosy tourists, of course; what were you thinking? They're also out of the current contest, but they provide historical background.
The Seiryuu team, out of war-ravaged Kutou-province. How very familiar they are with the three P's: Power, Pain and Pleasure.
The man in the painted mask: An experienced torturer and manipulator who prefers to work from the wings. He's always "dressed to the 9s" in Chinese operatic costume (according to a Chinese friend of mine) and with a stronger sense-of-self than the rest of his troupe, he's a contender for supremacy.
The child with a third (evil) eye: A full-fledged psychopath...think what would happen if a Western cherub figure (or a young lama, as in the Dalai Lama) was actually a front for a malicious demon-worshipping sorcerer and you'll get the point. He has an important purpose, but we don't meet him until the end.
The werewolf: Part fiercely wild wolf and part intimidated dog, there's not much that's human left in him. Contrary to some inclinations, he doesn't get/have any robotic parts...his big claim to fame stems from his determination to please Nakago and his unquestionable loyalty to the pack.
The intense boy with the hovering ball: The "evil twin"...he screws up a lot of good opportunities to be either truly malicious or truly helpful simply by being too eager. He's always out to prove himself and live up to his brother's expectations - whether he fails or not is an exercise left to the reader.
The striking young woman in armor: She may wear revealing armor, but she ain't Xena...very powerful in her own right, she's formed a strange bond with Nakago. I couldn't tell the status of their power-balance because neither really dominated the other - she's a combination of "devoted wife" and "jealous mistress" with some "magical love-slave" thrown in for spice. Just because her hair's in pigtails don't make her Sailor Moon, either...
The flute player: The "good twin"...he's something of an anachronism - a 60's peacenik (aka. anti-war activist, hippie, flower-child) stuck in a magical version of ancient China. He's got his own special flute-magic, but his priorities and loyalties are really confused...for some reason, he reminds me of Ryoga of Ranma 1/2, but I can't say why. I never felt that he was developed enough in the series, but there's always fanfiction.
Yui and Nakago
The blondes: The Seiryuu no Miko and her chief warrior. Since they're primary characters, I'm giving these guys their own page. So far though, there's only this picture.


Suzaku & Seiryuu - the avatars of the Red Phoenix and Blue Dragon, respectively - don't mess with them or their women (Miaka and Yui).

Right side (counter-clockwise from top left)

Byakko no seishi:
Subaru and Tokaki
The happy-looking older couple: More historical warriors, they're also one of the only examples of "happily-ever after" that you'll find in this show. She's the magician, and he's the grizzled warrior, and even though he still leers at lusty (or should that be busty?) young women, they're totally devoted to one another. They make no claims of impartiality, they openly help the Suzaku team.
Byakko no seishi:
The sad-looking man with long hair and shoulders: A friend and contemporary of Subaru and Tokaki, who's patience and gardening skills are not to be sneered at. Although he didn't have a large role, he reminds me somewhat of Kurama, the fox in Yuu Yuu Hakusho, with his mysterious nature and good looks.
The Suzaku team, out of serene Konan-province. The three S's - Spirit, Sacrifice and Struggle - are not unknown among this group.
Mitsukake & Tama
The short-haired man and his cat: Is there a doctor in the house? Yes, but it's his cat who gets all of the best lines and who does impressions...poor Juan (his other name) just stands around most of the time looking rugged and stoic. Some people have written him more lines though, so maybe his strong, silent persona won't last too long.
The fox-faced monk: There's just something about a man in a mask and a cape...his aura of mystery and wisdom come honestly and hard-won. My favorite character (definitely a hard choice) for a lot of reasons that I won't go into here, but he's much more than a wizard, confidant or advisor. The level of complexity and development in this character (and a few of the others) is on par with what I'd expect from a good fantasy novel.
The purple-haired effeminate young person: How often do you find the perfect friend? An occasional cross-dresser (I won't say which-way ;) who can be strong and sensitive, hilarious or serious, kindly supportive or fiercely aggressive, for whoever needs that and in any situation. Lots of fan stories have been written on this character, because the extensive information provided in the series just scratches the surface - Nuriko's that versatile...and that much loved/adored/ get the idea.
The man of the flaming hair: A minor pyromaniac who has the manners of a highway robber (b/c he is one!) and the endearing personality of all bad boys. He chafes a bit at having to play 2nd or 3rd fiddle to Tamahome (and Nuriko) but he realizes that his old gang didn't have guys (or girls, either) that looked as pretty as the men in this gang (although something about Chichiri reminds him of his old buddy...). He also realizes that it's much nicer to have a younger sister-type like Miaka to pick on rather than having a bunch of older sisters who made him learn the "Dance of 1000 Fans"...he still doesn't feel complete without his fan...
The little boy with the pony-tail: Children do make good characters sometimes, they're not always props and mouthpieces. This guy is somewhere in between though, possibly because he's not present during much of the anime. He is intelligent and polite, though - a rare combination in most young TV characters nowadays...
The sad-looking man with long hair but without shoulders: He's actually more caring and kind-hearted than his initial appearance would suggest. I thought that he was more interesting when the hot fires of passion stirred his blood - there was nothing "womanish" about him. He's the Suzaku team's best swordsman and as the only royal personage, his grace, style and finesse are really unmatched by any except perhaps Nuriko.
Tamahome & Miaka
The star-crossed lovers: The Suzako no Miko and her chief warrior. I've given these two a special page. So far though, there's only this picture

Outsiders (not shown, but they exist somewhere - think "outside the banner")

Keisuke: As Miaka's older brother, he's often confused. He has a tendency to panic, especially when Miaka's involved, because he'll always remember that day when he lost Miaka in the food court of the local mall while checking out some hot babe working at one of the stations. (That's my joke for where her obsession with food came from!) He doesn't think much about girls...who's got the time when you've got a little sister like Miaka?!

Tetsuya: He's Keisuke's buddy and is a much more relaxed customer (always wears trademark shades). He has a secret crush on his best friend's little sister's best friend (i.e. Yui) which is kinda sick when you think about it, because she's kinda like a cousin or something. He's more interesting than a simple hanger-on, and he gets more play in the later parts of the series.

Random question: What if FY were set in the American countryside with the warring factions recast as opposing cliques in a high school? - I have some strange late-night ramblings on this, but that's available by personal-request only... -Oddly enough, I found a story similar to this idle thought, years after watching Fushigi and doing the original version of this part of the site. The series is called 'Hana yori Dango' (Eng: Boys before Blossoms) and it's simply amazing.

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