CJAS can't show all the anime in the world, so sometimes we have to choose. Last year, we finished Maison Ikkoku, and we needed a new series to show. The possibilities were narrowed down to Marmalade Boy and Fushigi Yuugi. As you will see tonight, Marmalade Boy won. I didn't vote for it.
Fushigi Yuugi is a fantasy-genre anime about two junior high school girls who are transported to a world based upon ancient China (supposedly it is China). One of them becomes the Priestess of the Phoenix and must gather her seven warriors to call forth the Phoenix. The Phoenix can grant you any wish you want, so this is her way home. The romantic plot develops after a few episodes and becomes quite engaging. It is never petty or shallow, unlike a certain other show.
Don't get me wrong, I like Marmalade Boy; it's a pretty good series, but I'll tell you why I prefer Fushigi Yuugi. First, the settings: I'd say that Marmalade Boy occurs in a normal world with normal people, but that's not quite true. Her parents just aren't normal; if you saw the first episode last week, you know what I'm saying. Fushigi Yuugi is set in a fantasy world, and usually I prefer that to everyday earth because if I wanted everyday earth, I'd walk outside instead of going to CJAS. That is just a personal preference. As for the characters...
Miki is realistic herself in that she overreacts to absolutely everything in her life. She's at that age, and many people go through a teenage angst stage. I just don't find it appealing to watch. Miaka (the star of Fushigi Yuugi) may at first be similar, but because of the events in her life, she becomes a strong leader. She learns to be true to herself and what it means to hurt and to sacrifice for those important to her. The other characters in each series do have plausible personalities, and they are endearing, but those in Fushigi Yuugi have one big advantage. They're COOL! Most of us in the audience here are in college, and we have no desire to act like high schoolers anymore. I will admit here and now that I want to be Tamahome (the male lead in Fushigi Yuugi). He is really cool and turns out to be a deep character. He has some flaws (a bit money-loving, especially early in the series), but inside, he is caring and warm. I'd like to say more about him, but I'd have to give away major plot points. All of the Marmalade Boy supporting roles are plain high school students: one a bit cool and aloof, one a bit rambunctious and bullyish, one just plain indecisive. Each of the Phoenix Warriors has a separate past that has formed his identity. Even the enemies have reasons for acting as they do, and you like them as much as you find them, well, bad. Both shows have their share of stereotypical things but not enough to hurt them.
The worst thing about Marmalade Boy: "super-pastel-mode." When Miki finds herself in a situation that is very emotional or upsetting, the colors change to become more pastel than they were before (I didn't think that was possible). It is funny the first time, but it gets annoying quickly. Actually, I find that that applies to the whole show. At first, I liked it and found it amusing, but after a while, it became pathetic and unwatchable. The characters show no growth or development; eventually, the plot has a few twists and turns, but the characters remain a constant, and they don't learn much from their experiences. Now I've seen some of the episodes of Marmalade Boy twice, and I didn't enjoy them nearly as much, if at all. The episodes of Fushigi Yuugi that I have seen more than once I still want to see yet a third time.
On a slightly side track, the music for Fushigi Yuugi is far superior to that in Marmalade Boy. It's exciting or sweet, sometimes mystical. I think it has both variety and consistent appeal, but I suppose music taste is personal. The music is also more complicated (on a theory-type level), which makes it more interesting.
What does the common CJAS member like yourself have to do with this? You can change what we show. You can join the e-board and be in control; you can walk up to your nearest e-board member and tell him or her: "Give me Fushigi Yuugi, I don't want to see Marmalade Boy!" You can make a difference, and we will have to listen to you, so please do as I urge and take a stand for what you want to see.
Oh yeah, and enjoy the rest of the showing!!