Fairytale romances awaken the imagination and sets hearts beating. It can take our breaths away or remind us how much we want a love that’s possible in spite of the odds. Miaka’s and Tamahome’s love story in Fushigi Yugi is a love that defies all odds and succeeds.
The set up for this story is very engrossing and a full blown fantasy. Miaka and her best friend Yui encounter the Universe of the Four Gods which sucks them unexpectedly into the book’s world. Before they know it, the two teenage girls are in another time period set in ancient China and they become willing or unwilling characters in a magical book. Along the way, they meet Tamahome who rescues them from an attack. This meeting and along with everything else that happens in Fushigi Yugi becomes the will of fate. Instead of Miaka and Yui being merely two passive onlookers in a strange land and world, their roles within the Universe of the Four Gods become much more significant than they realize. Both girls are destined to be priestesses of opposing regions and both end up becoming enemies through clever manipulation, misunderstandings, and love.
Miaka and Yui end up falling for the same man who rescued them and it causes complications. Throw in a smart, strategic, and conniving leader of Seiryu named Nakago and you have a formula for disaster when both girls are forced to battle it out for the affections of Tamahome and pretty much the fate of their worlds. Since this is a post about my views on the love story of Miaka and Tamahome, I won’t get into the intricacies of this love triangle. I want to explain why I really enjoyed the gradual development of Miaka’s and Tamahome’s love for each other and how it is tested, grows, and transcends all the obstacles thrown at them.
The first time I read Fushigi Yugi and watched the anime to go with it, I got swept up in the relationship between Miaka and Tamahome. Obviously from the very beginning anyone can see that these two are meant to be together. Sadly, Yui never had a chance with Tamahome. Many will wonder why Tamahome would be attracted to a ditzy, goofy, and food obsessed girl over Yui who is intelligent and has an air of grace and sophistication about her. I believe the reason for Tamahome’s attraction to Miaka is because they are similar in personalities. Both are kind of dopey in their own way. They can act like total goofballs in front of each other without the other judging the other person harshly. Both are obsessed with something. Miaka’s obsession is with food and can eat an entire feast built for an army. Tamahome has an obsession with money and making lots of it. Despite their faults, they share the same positive values.
Both love fiercely and will gladly sacrifice themselves for the ones they love without hesitation. Tamahome’s obsession with money comes from wanting to help his family with the finances so they can get by on their humble living. He is very family oriented. Miaka has a big heart and doesn’t give up easily. There are times when she falls into despair, but eventually she picks herself up and keeps going. When it seems Yui is lost to her, Miaka refuses to believe that. No matter how many times Yui tries to hurt or torture her in the worst possible ways, Miaka will not abandon her best friend. She is determined to bring her friend home even if it means sacrificing her own happiness with Tamahome.
Miaka and Tamahome as a couple makes sense because they are similar in so many ways. Their interactions in the beginning of the series before they even find themselves falling for each other feels natural and right. Although they have just met each other, they are able to tease and bicker with each other as if they’ve done it for years. They know what buttons to push and they also know what to say to each other when they need a serious talking to. This is a classic portrayal of a soul-mate. Somehow these two are supposed to be together despite the strange predicament of their meeting––Miaka is real and Tamahome is technically a fictional story book character. This romance isn’t supposed to be possible, but it happens anyway.
This couple encounters all sorts of obstacles and tests to their relationship. As if Yui doing whatever it takes to tear Miaka and Tamahome apart isn’t enough, we have incidents where Tamahome becomes brainwashed by Seiryu into thinking Suzaku and Miaka are his enemies, Miaka thinking she gets raped by Nakago, and Miaka and Tamahome finding out that they can never be together because Suzaku isn’t capable of granting their wish to stay with the other in either world. There are plenty more like the ones I’ve named, but Watase makes sure to put this couple through a lot. In spite of all the suffering and sadness Miaka and Tamahome have to endure as a couple they still get through it somehow. To see them go through what they go through, it makes their love stronger and tougher than what it was before. If they have to battle the very pits of hell to get back to each other then they will. It shows how pure their love truly is. Something as special as their love can never be truly broken. In fact, their love ends up being a powerful weapon against the defeat of the Seiryu warriors. Without it, despair and destruction would have destroyed both their worlds if they caved into the doubts, fear, and anguish they face as soon as they decide they are the only one they could ever love.
Miaka’s and Tamahome’s love story transcends everything. It’s both epic and fantastical as the flight of the phoenix in Fushigi Yugi, Suzaku’s animal form. I like to think that their love story is one that gets torched in the flames a lot, but like the phoenix, they rise from the ashes reborn and ready to take flight. There is a renewed vigor in them, a hope that replaces the despair they just experienced. As long as they have each other and remember to have faith in their love then anything is possible.
Miaka and Tamahome may have been told it is impossible for their wish to be together to come true, but somehow it does happen. I really think their love is so powerful that having Tamahome get reborn in Miaka’s world as “Taka” made it possible. It’s kind of like it’s own magic in a way. A love like the one they have is so rare that they both know to cherish the time they have with each other. It’s uplifting in so many ways and indulges the romantic in all of us. Love like that is hard to find in our own world, but it’s something to aspire to. Maybe love can’t be as epic as Miaka’s and Tamahome’s is, but it does show that love and relationships are about work. If there is a reason why you fell for the person you fell for, you need to fight to keep that love no matter what. Miaka and Tamahome fought and they came out triumphant in the end. It’s a beautiful message to think about.