Fushigi Yuugi is the story of two young girls who are magically transported into another world (ancient China) by the power of a strange artifact called the Book of Four Gods of Heaven and Earth. Strikingly original as this plot is, this series has many distinctions (both good and bad) that separate it from other similar shows (such as Escaflowne and Inu Yasha). But I won't get into any of that in this article (as it's the beginning of the school year and everyone should make up their own minds about the series). I'll just do a semi-brief rundown on all of the main characters introduced to date.
The Good Guys (and Girls)
Yuuki Miaka - The heroine of the series, Miaka is your ordinary not-too-bright, ravenously hungry, high school entrance examinee. Aside from having as much common sense as your average brick and constantly getting herself and her friends into trouble, she has about as much subtlety as a beached whale. Yet, she is also kind and generous and always tries to do what she thinks is right, so I guess it all balances out in the end. Since arriving in China, she has discovered that she is actually Suzaku no Miko, the chosen one of the phoenix god Suzaku.
Tamahome - As Miaka's guardian, Tamahome has his work cut out for him, the more so since he is also Miaka's lover (though not physically, since Suzaku no Miko must stay pure. Too bad). You'd think with two girls from the future in love with him, he'd be on easy street, but his life (to put it in a nutshell) sucks. Recently, a spell was placed on him by Nakago that made him lose his memory and switch sides. He got over that, but only after totally reaming Tasuki and nearly killing Miaka. Even more recently, his family was killed by Suboshi. What can I say, it sucks to be him. At any rate, he's now rather pissed off at the Seiryuu Seishi. Tamahome has the character of the Ogre on his forehead and his power is that he is a ticking time-bomb of fury. Well, okay, I lied, so he's not. But, he can open a major can of whupass on anyone who crosses him.
Hotohori - Aside from being the emperor of Konan country, he is also one of Suzaku's Seishi (and in love with Miaka). There really isn't that much to say about him, aside from the fact that his power (like most other Suzaku Seishi) seems to be the ability to fight really well. He's also very handsome, and incredibly modest about it. "I'm so beautiful it's scary."
Nuriko - Nuriko is a princess at Hotohori's court who is (not so) secretly in love with him and the fourth Suzaku Seishi. Only... she is actually a he. Nuriko's power lies in his inhuman strength (don't get him pissed off 'cause he'll literally throw trees at you).
Chichiri - Now he is (in my opinion) the coolest character in the series. Not only is he emotionally balanced, but he is the strongest and most versatile of the Suzaku Seishi. Not that he has very much physical strength, but he is a monk with lots of mystical powers, including teleportation. He's also the funniest character in the series and the only one who can even try to go head-to-head with Nakago (as of yet). While his demeanor is lighthearted and funny, he has also had a tragic past and a scar on his face that mirrors that in his heart. Above all else, he is The Man.
Tasuki - Before his current job of loafing about the palace as a Suzaku Seishi, Tasuki was a mountain bandit. He tries to play the part of a tough guy, but he's really a softie. His power seems to be that of beating the crap out of people (like most other Suzaku Seishi), but he also has a magical fan that can hurl a wave of fire at his enemies. All in all, he's one of the cooler Seishi.
Mitsukake - There's not really much to say about Mitsukake. He has the power of healing and acts as their doctor, particularly after Nakago reams the living crud out of all of them (again). Like many of the others, someone he loved died a long time ago, but now he hangs around because that's what a good Seishi should do. However, he has a cat, and so he deserves to be mentioned.
Chiriko - The last of the Suzaku Seishi really hasn't done much, aside from arriving late and coming just in time to save everyone else with a leaf whistle. Chiriko's a 13-year-old genius boy who's studying for the governmental exams (most people studied for decades before taking those). He, like Hotohori and Nuriko, looks like a girl.
Taitsukun - She is the ruler of the world (though you wouldn't know it from looking at her). She often helps Miaka and her Seishi and was the one who gave copies of the Book of Four Gods to each of the four countries. She's also about as ugly as she is old -- which is saying a lot.
The Bad Guys (and Girl)
Hongou Yui - Yui is Miaka's best friend, and for the first fourth of the series, she was Miaka's only support while Miaka was stuck inside the Book of Four Gods. When Miaka got out, however, Yui was sucked in, only to land in Kutou (the rival kingdom of Konan). There, she was physically assaulted by a group of men and later attempted suicide. Currently, she is serving as Seiryuu no Miko and blames Miaka for not being there for her during her time of need (Miaka was a little stupid and didn't realize that her friend got sucked into the book in time). Yui is also in love with Tamahome, which is another bone of contention between the two.
Nakago - It's almost funny. The Suzaku Seishi go to Kutou country for one reason or another. Nakago appears and beats the snot out of them. The Seishi accomplish their task but almost don't survive. They go home to Konan. The cycle repeats itself. It's not really clear what his objectives are, but for some reason, Nakago is the single most powerful character and the leader of the Seiryuu Seishi, as well as the Shogun of Kutou. Not only does he have fighting skills topping those of Tamahome, he's as strong or stronger a magician than Chichiri. All I can say is ouch.
Amiboshi - He was a Seiryuu Seishi sent to infiltrate the Suzaku Seishi by pretending to be Chiriko, and he did a very good job at it, managing to almost kill Miaka and the first six of her Seishi. His powers revolved about his flute and with it, he could control the ki of others. Amiboshi committed suicide by leaping into a raging river after being touched by Miaka's pure heart and failing in his mission.
Suboshi - The twin brother of Amiboshi, Suboshi is also one of Seiryuu's Seishi. After learning of his brother's death, he placed the blame on the Suzaku Seishi and for revenge, slaughtered all of Tamahome's family. Being none to pleased with the act, Tamahome nearly killed him before he could escape.