Fushigi Yuugi, originally a manga written by Yuu Watase, is a classic anime, that became so popular, it inspired 3 OAV series', and encouraged Watase to write the prequel to the series, more than 10 years later.
Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play, is about a 15 year old girl Miaka Yuuki, and her best friend Yui Hongo. Miaka and Yui are in the library when Miaka sees a mysterious bird lead her to the restricted room of the library. There, Miaka finds a mysterious book, and her and Yui are pulled into the world. Miaka and Yui meet a mysterious man who saves them from slave traders, but Yui is thrown back out of the book, and the man has left, leaving Miaka all alone in this Ancient Chinese world. Miaka meets with the man again, and they end up at the palace, and through circumstances, Miaka is charged with the duty to gather together the seven senshi of Suzaku, and save Konan from destruction!
I know that makes no sense, but in a nutshell, Miaka fell into Konan, an Ancient Chinese world, where the whole world lives on the idea of the Four Gods in Chinese Mythology. Miaka is in the south, where Suzaku, the Red Bird (Pheonix in some translations) protects the country. Each God has 7 constellations (or in this case, the 7 senshi). So the constellations have taken the form of 7 warriors, and Miaka needs to gather them to summon Suzaku, who will grant her 3 wishes.
The animation itself is smooth, and well done, until about the second season (ep 27+) where the animation seems to take a bit of a plunge at times. The colouring is also very vibrant at times, but others, it's very muddy looking, and monotone, because everything seems to be in the brown colour tone, except the hair of Miaka's senshi. The most remarkable thing in the animation, however, is the eyes. When the animators but their mind to it, they draw some beautiful, bright, colourful eyes.
The music in this falls into an olden style theme, mostly Chinese sounding. However, they have their theme, and ending theme that do not fit that theme. And one thing you need to know about Fushigi Yuugi, is if you want to hear more of it's music, be prepared for trumpets. Lots of trumpets.
Anyways, the theme song is fairly slow at first, but then seems to almost have dance feel to it. It's nothing remarkable. The ending theme, however, is a dance song, but also has a fairly sad tone to it, fitting the series well, I feel.
The voices, English and Japanese, I have to mention, are wonderful. I love it in both languages. The voices fit the parts perfectly.
There is a whirlwind of characters. Be prepared to remember some names. The main characters are essentially Miaka, Yui, Tamahome, and Nakago, but you have the supporting cast (that consists of atleast 12 senshi, only including the Suzaku and Seiryuu), and about 13 more characters I can name off the top of my head.
While most characters have well-done development, because of the mass amount of characters, some of these character appear almost personality-less, most notably two of Miaka's senshi, Chiriko and Mitsukake, and two of the Seriyuu senshi, Tomo and Miboshi (I'm not counting Ashitare because he practically never talks, and well... if you want to sure, he has no personality I suppose). Watase herself never really developed these characters, so they continue to suffer, even onto OAV's, and even in their songs. But for the characters she does focus on, they are all very different, and it's not hard to pick a favourite.
For all the bad things I have said, this series has an amazing fanbase, and I personally think it has high replay value. Everytime you watch the series, you find something you missed, but I remember the first time I saw this, and I was an addict, most literally. I couldn't wait for them to release the next VHS (and boy did they have alot... 14). I know of people that do dislike this series, but for the most part, everyone has something about this they liked, and it usually lies in the characters themselves, particularily the senshi.
C'mon, for a series that spawned so much merchandise, character songs, OAV's, etc, how can it not be enjoyable?
Well yeah, the OAV's aren't enjoyable, but the series itself is fun to watch over and over again.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
The story is a bit different from the manga, and justifies this beginning a bit more. Miaka and Yui are pulled in to the book world, but they both return (in the anime, it's only Yui). Miaka gets in an agruement with her mother, and runs back to the library, getting pulled into the book again to set her free of the pressures of her real life. The manga honestly has a stronger beginning, and gives you more sympathy for Miaka as the protagonist.
Even though my above comments aren't the best, this is me looking at it critically. If you don't, and just watch it for enjoyment, I can guarentee anyone who loves the romance genre of anime will like this.
Yes, Miaka and Tamahome can be terribly annoying. They are my least favourite characters after all... But the first time I watched the series, I LOVED those two, it's just been 9 years since my first watching, and I've developed a series dislike for their constant crying for each other.
I know I sound negative, but I do recommend this series to anyone. Anyone. It's a classic, and for it's time, it was an incredibly original plot. (Yes, we know in Inu Yasha that Kagome travels between worlds, however, Fushigi Yuugi predates Inu Yasha quite a few years. Fy being originally published in the '92 region and manga, while Rumiko was making Ranma 1/2 still at that time (she published the first Ranma in '93) so it's not possible that InuYasha could be more original than FY, because it wasn't made at the same time. It's possible Rumiko could have gotten ideas at that point (I can't find the year for InuYasha)).
ANYWAYS, just watch Fushigi Yuugi. I'm going so off track here, because I like talking about how original the series is, and how much I love the characters. (Me? I'm a Tasuki fangirl)