| SPOILER WARNING!!
- "Herein contains the tale of a young lady and her quest to gather the seven Constellations of Suzaku together. And if you, the esteemed reader, should read to the story's end, the spell contained within this book shall bestow upon you the powers of the heroine, and grant you your wish. For indeed the moment the page is turned, the story will become reality."
- —The Universe of the Four Gods, Manga Chapter 1
The Universe of the Four Gods (四神天地書) is a book from China. It was found and brought to Japan by Einosuke Okuda in 1923. It has the power to draw a reader into its story, thus making them part of the tale. In Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden, Einosuke Okuda's daughter, Takiko Okuda, is pulled into the book and begins the journey that prefaces Fushigi Yuugi: Byakko Senki and Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play.
- "This book's different from the others. It seemed like it was put there especially for me."
- —Madoka, to Misaki regarding the book
In the real world, the book was brought from the Shizou Temple in the mountainous regions of China to Japan by Einosuke Okuda during the Taisho era in 1923. Consumed with the legend of the wish-granting book, Einosuke threw himself into his translating work in an attempt to save his wife, Yoshie Okuda, who was sick with tuberculosis. In the process, he neglected his only child, Takiko, who took care of her mother in her father's absence.
When her mother died, Takiko, angry at her father, attempted to destroy the book that forced a wedge between him and his family. But instead, she was transported inside the book to the Universe of the Four Gods where she became the Priestess of Genbu.
Although he had been translating the book for years, Einosuke was unaware that the story and its legend inside the book were truly real. While Takiko was inside the book, he read along and followed her adventures, noticing how the written words changed as Takiko made decisions. It was truly a living novel.
After summoning Genbu, Takiko contracted tuberculosis. As she succumbed to her illness, she was allowed three wishes before she began to be devoured by the Beast God. Seeing how his daughter was in great pain, Einosuke killed himself and, with the power of the book in his hands, killed Takiko. He left a will/letter his assistant, Takao Osugi, explaining what happened and instructed him to destroy the book.
A few months after Einosuke and Takiko’s deaths, Takao returned to Tokyo and tried to fulfill his employer’s final wish, but he soon discovered the book was indestructible. Takao then elected to hide the book where no one could find it, however, before he could dispose of the book, the Great Kanto Earthquake hit the city. As the building collapsed above him and his wife, Tamayo, Takao told his eight-year-old daughter, Suzuno Osugi, to open the book for her protection. The child then entered the book as her father and mother perished in the earthquake. Upon returning from the Universe of the Four Gods, Suzuno was sent safely back to Tokyo and the book was presumably lost.
Ten years after the disappearance of the book, Suzuno found it again in her school's library. While it did not initially react to her presence, the book later it unleashed its magic and transported Suzuno into the world inside where she became the Priestess of Byakko.
According to Keisuke, the book will always be in want of a priestess, as the cycle must continue in order for the universe inside the book to live on. In exchange, three wishes are granted to the sacrificial priestess, who traditionally uses most of them to save the world of the book.
The first to enter the book is Takiko Okuda in 1923. She enters the book three times.
- 1st Arrival: Takiko tries to destroy the book during a fight with her father Einosuke, which causes the book to react to her presence, taking her inside.
- 2nd Arrival: Takiko briefly returns to Japan to attend her mother's funeral. After a heated conversation with her father, she is transported back inside the book right before the ceremony.
- 3rd Arrival: After the Celestial Warriors of Genbu make Takiko return to her world to escape her fate of being devoured, she decides to return to finish her mission and dies inside the book.
Takiko is followed by Suzuno Osugi, who enters the book at least twice.
- 1st Arrival: To save his daughter from the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, Takao Osugi sends Suzuno inside the book. After only a few hours in the book, Suzuno is sent back to Japan.
- 2nd Arrival: In 1933, a teenaged Suzuno finds the book in her school's library and takes it home. Having discovered its origins and her role in the story, she decides to return the book to the library. On her way, she is attacked by military students who hold grudges against her fiancé, Seiji Horie, and the book transports her back inside during the scuffle.
After Suzuno's adventures, the book is stored away in the National Library in Tokyo. In the 90s, the book is rediscovered by Miaka Yuki and Yui Hongo in the restricted section.
- 1st Arrival: In the manga, Miaka and Yui arrive inside the book and then return to Tokyo together. In the anime, Yui is sent back to the library while Miaka remains inside the book.
- 2nd Arrival: In the manga, Miaka runs away from home after a fight with her mother and secretly returns to the book.
- 3rd Arrival: After returning to Tokyo for only a few hours, Miaka re-enters the book and her adventures continue almost exclusively inside the world of the book until the OVAs.
- 1st Arrival: In the manga, Yui arrives with Miaka but they promptly return to Tokyo together. Writing the experience off as a shared-illusion or dream, Yui does not wish to discuss the book any further. In the anime, Yui is sent back to Tokyo alone.
- 2nd Arrival: In the manga, after hearing that Miaka is missing, Yui breaks into the National Library in search of her friend. In both the anime and manga, it is here where Yui re-enters. When Miaka is sent back to Tokyo by Taiitsukun, Yui is taken inside the pages of the book. She remains inside until the Final Battle between Konan and Kutou.
Timelines Inside The Book
- "What a weird book"
- —Misaki, to Madoka regarding the book
There is no set rule for the passage of time inside the book. Generally, time passes more quickly in the book than in the real world and an hour in the real world can mean a month in the book. Whoever enters the book can spend years there and will return to a time not too far from when they left reality. This was first shown in the original series when Miaka returned to Tokyo for a few hours and then entered the book to find that three months had passed.
There have been instances of time in the book behaving slower than time in reality. In Byakko Senki, Suzuno first arrived in the book as an eight-year-old before leaving quite quickly. When she returned ten years later, less than a month had gone by in the book itself.
In the original Fushigi Yuugi anime, after Miaka and Yui meet Tamahome, only Yui is sent back to Tokyo while Miaka remains inside. Yui begins reading the book, experiencing the same physical sensations as Miaka due to their connection through their school uniforms. After Miaka returns and Yui takes her place, Keisuke and Tetsuya Kajiwara take turns reading as Miaka re-enters the book to rescue Yui.
In the original Fushigi Yuugi manga, both Miaka and Yui are sent back to Tokyo almost immediately after meeting Tamahome. Miaka then re-enters the book alone, unbeknownst to Yui. While Miaka is missing in the Real World, Yui senses what happens to her friend but she is not aware of the school uniform connection, as she is not reading along. When Yui discovers Miaka's true whereabouts, she goes to the National Library to retrieve her. Yui only begins to read along when Miaka gives herself a near-fatal wound inside the book and is promptly sent back to Tokyo, switching places with the nearest potential priestess, Yui, in the process.
Watase repurposed this reading-along subplot in Genbu Kaiden, as Einosuke follows along with Takiko's journey inside the book.
Powers and Limitations
- It generally only Accepts One Priestess At A Time
- According to Yui, the book can take and bear to make a priestess summon a beast god one at a time. This is the explanation why Yui was devoured even before she made her third wish, and normally, a priestess would only be devoured when she makes her third wish. The sudden appearance of two beast gods on a single day causes this.
- The book itself cannot be destroyed by any human forces but there have been many attempts. Takiko was sucked inside when she tried to rip it apart. Months later, Takao Osugi tried to destroy it with several different methods (including sealing in a Shinto shrine, using an industrial kiln, etc.), but all of them failed. He intended to either bury it in the mountains or throw it into the sea, but he was killed before carrying the out the deed.
- Selective Magic
- The book's teleportation magic only acts up around a person who can play a role that needs to be filled in the story. The role that the book needs to sustain itself is often the role of a Priestess and it targets young females to bring into the story. But it is not exclusive to Priestesses: In the OVA, Tamahome was sucked back into the book to essentially "play" his part of a Celestial Warrior of Suzaku again after spending months in the real world with Miaka.
- The magic does not activate its powers when it is not around a "chosen" person, such as a Priestess. This is shown when the book's power deactivates when Suzuno's school friend, Sachi, is around. Its magic is only available when the targeted person is alone or in danger: in example, the book reacts to Suzuno and her boyfriend Seiji are about to kiss while home alone, and sucks her back in when Seiji's cruel classmates corner her and try to molest her.
- Connection Across Worlds
- A speech connection or signal can be made in the two different worlds when two same objects are found on two people, one in the book and one in the real world. A few examples are Miaka and Yui's school uniform, Takiko's hair ribbon, and Miaka and Keisuke's strands of hair.