Saiyuki (manga)

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Saiyuki
最遊記
(Saiyūki)
Genre Adventure, Shenmo, Fantasy, Comedy, Supernatural
Manga
Written by Kazuya Minekura
Published by Enix
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Monthly GFantasy
Original run February 18, 1997January 18, 2002
Volumes 9
Original video animation
Directed by Takashi Sogabe
Music by Yuriko Nakamura
Studio Tokyo Kids
Released April 23, 1999August 27, 1999
Episodes 2
Manga
Saiyuki Gaiden
Written by Kazuya Minekura
Published by Enix
Demographic Shōnen (1999-2003)
Jōsei (2003-2009)
Magazine Monthly GFantasy (June 1999-February 2003)
Monthly Comic ZERO-SUM (November 2003-July 2009)
Original run June 1999July 2009
Volumes 9
Anime television series
Gensomaden Saiyuki
Directed by Hayato Date
Produced by Ken Hagino
Tetsuya Watanabe
Tomoko Gushima
Written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Music by Motoi Sakuraba
Studio Pierrot
Group TAC
Dentsu
Licensed by
ADV Films (2003-2009)
AEsir Holdings (2013-present)
Network TV Tokyo (2000-2001)
English network
Original run April 4, 2000March 27, 2001
Episodes 50
Anime film
Gensomaden Saiyuki Requiem: A Requiem for The One Not Chosen
Directed by Hayato Date
Produced by Ken Hagino
Tetsuya Watanabe
Tomoko Gushima
Written by Hayato Date
Music by Motoi Sakuraba
Studio Pierrot
Group TAC
Dentsu
Licensed by
ADV Films (2005-2009)
Released August 18, 2001
Runtime 95 minutes
Manga
Saiyuki Reload
Written by Kazuya Minekura
Published by Enix
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Monthly GFantasy
Original run March 28, 2002June 27, 2009
Volumes 10
Original video animation
Gensomaden Saiyuki: A Sin of Hope
Studio Pierrot
Group TAC
Dentsu
Released September 19, 2002
Anime television series
Saiyuki ReLoad
Directed by Tetsuya Endo
Music by Daisuke Ikeda
Studio Pierrot
Group TAC
Dentsu
Licensed by
Network TV Tokyo (2003-2004)
English network
Original run October 2, 2003March 2, 2004
Episodes 25
Anime television series
Saiyuki ReLoad GunLock
Directed by Tetsuya Endo
Music by Daisuke Ikeda
Studio Studio Pierrot
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Network TV Tokyo (2004)
English network
Original run April 1, 2004September 23, 2004
Episodes 26
Original video animation
Saiyuki Reload: Burial
Directed by Koichi Ohata
Music by Daisuke Ikeda
Studio Studio Pierrot
Released April 27, 2007
Episodes 3
Manga
Saiyuki Ibun
Written by Kazuya Minekura
Published by Enix
Demographic Jōsei
Magazine Comic ZERO-SUM special edition WARD
Original run December 28, 2009 – ongoing
Volumes 10
Original video animation
Saiyuki Gaiden
Directed by Naoyuki Kuzuya
Written by Hajime Sasaki
Studio Anpro
Licensed by
Released March 25, 2011November 25, 2011
Episodes 3
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Saiyuki (最遊記 Saiyūki?) is a manga series by Kazuya Minekura which was serialized in G-Fantasy from 1997 to 2002. The story is loosely based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West (Xiyouji). In 1999, the Saiyuki OVA by Tokyo Kids was released. A year later it was adapted into an anime series by Studio Pierrot. The Gensomaden Saiyuki: Requiem movie appeared in theaters in Japan in 2001. A sequel to this movie is the Gensomaden Saiyuki: Kibou no zaika OVA, which is actually animation taken from an interactive game.[citation needed]

There are two sequels and two prequels to Saiyuki; Saiyuki Reload (最遊記RELOAD?), a manga sequel adapted into an anime, and Saiyuki Reload Blast are the sequels while Saiyuki Gaiden and Saiyuki Ibun are the prequels. Saiyuki Reload Gunlock (最遊記RELOAD GUNLOCK?) is an anime sequel to Saiyuki Reload. Saiyuki Gaiden had a few chapters adapted into the original anime and its own OVA that has been produced by Studio Pierrot and was dubbed into English by Sentai Filmworks, using the original voice actors of Gensomaden Saiyuki.

Plot[edit]

Saiyuki is the story of four anti-heroes: the monk Genjyo Sanzo (or just "Sanzo"), the monkey king Son Goku, the half-demon Sha Gojyo, and the man who turned into a demon Cho Hakkai (formerly known as Cho Gonou). They have been dispatched by the Sanbutsushin (the Three Aspects of Buddha, who relay the orders of heaven) to travel to India to stop the possible resurrection of the Ox-Demon-King, Gyumaoh. Along the way they are beset by inept assassins, bad weather, and their own tragic personal pasts. Meanwhile, the villains, two unlikely confidants, Gyokumen Koushou (Gyumaoh's concubine, a demon) and a mad scientist, Dr. Nii Jianyi (a human), continue their attempts to restore the long-dead king. These experiments, a forbidden mixture of science and magic, spawn the "Minus Wave", infecting all of the demons in Shangri-La with madness, shattering the fragile peace that once existed between humans and demons.

Concept[edit]

Saiyūki is the Japanese name for Journey to the West, or Xīyóujì (西遊記 "Record of the Journey to the West") in Chinese. While Saiyūki is normally written "西遊記", or "Journey to the West", Kazuya Minekura writes the title as "最遊記", or "Journey to the Extreme". This is her pun, as both are pronounced saiyūki.

Saiyūki is not the first anime to adapt the story of Journey to the West, with the more famous Dragon Ball series being a primary example.

Minekura's Sanzō-Ikkō bears only a superficial similarity to the original four in the Chinese novel. Their names are the same as the names of the characters in the Chinese novel, but given Japanese pronunciations. 500 years prior to the start of the series they had met and become friends as gods in heaven before being reincarnated on Earth as mortals and becoming reaquinted just prior to the start of the series with no memories of their previous existence.

  • Genjyo Sanzo (玄奘三蔵) is Xuánzàng (玄奘) or Táng-Sānzàng (唐三藏, Tang's three scriptures). A gun wielding quick to anger monk, who nevertheless befriends his travelling companions. Son Gokū looks up to him as his guiding 'sun'.
  • Son Gokū is Sūn Wùkōng (孫悟空), or the Monkey King. Despite being of child like appearance and possessing little magical ability Gokū is the least changed of the main characters in this adaptation, the gods consider him a unique and heretical being as he was born from the earth. He was locked in a cave for five centuries and his memories erased, when his coronet 'demon limiter' is removed he becomes a berserker attacking friend and foe.
  • Cho Hakkai is Zhū Bājiè (豬八戒), a pig monster. His original name, Cho Gonou is actually Zhū Wùnéng (豬悟能), the Buddhist name given to Zhu Bajie by Guan Yin when they first met in the original novel. This adaptation swaps the literary personalities of Cho Hakkai and Sha Gojyo, Cho Hakkai in this manga is a kind and mild mannered scholar skilled in magic, after the kidnapping of his lover he killed over a 1000 demons in a failed attempt to rescue her and later seek revenge, accidentally bathing in the blood of a 1000 demons made him become a demon himself.
  • Sha Gojyō is Shā Wùjìng (沙悟淨), a water demon, classified as a kappa in some translations. This adaptation swaps the literary personalities of Cho Hakkai and Sha Gojyo, Sha Gojyo in this manga is a womanising, gambling and gluttonous halfbreed water sprite. As a bastard his fathers wife was driven mad by grief by him (his red hair and red eyes demonstrating he was a half breed) and was physically abusive to him despite his love for her. His elder half brother was forced to kill his own mother to prevent her killing him.
  • Gyūmaōh is Niumowáng (牛魔王) Ox King, in this adaptation he had been killed 500 years earlier by the war prince Nantaku, the primary antagonist is instead his concubine Gyokumen Koushou who is attempting to revive him by the heretical combination of science with magic, the side effect of which had driven nearly every demon in the land mad with bloodlust.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

The Saiyuki manga comprises five separate series:

  • Gensoumaden Saiyuki, 9 volumes, complete. This manga was serialized in the non-gender-specific manga magazine Monthly GFantasy.
  • Saiyuki Reload, 10 volumes, complete. It was serialized in the monthly Japanese Jousei manga magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum and completed its run in the August edition of 2009
  • Saiyuki Reload Blast is currently serialized in Monthly Comic Zero Sum
  • Saiyuki Gaiden, completed at 4 volumes, was published quarterly in Japanese shōjo manga magazine Zero Sum Ward. Saiyuki Gaiden was completed in May 2009. This series takes place in Heaven, 500 years before the first Saiyuki series. The plot is based around the four main characters of Saiyuki in their past lives, and details exactly what it was they did to get thrown out of heaven.
  • Saiyuki Ibun, currently running in Zero Sum Ward follows Priest Koumyou Sanzo in his days before inheriting the Sanzo Title.

Anime[edit]

Gensoumaden Saiyuki is distributed in North America by ADV Films and comprises 50 episodes, which has a large amount of material added for the anime. The sequels Saiyuki Reload and Saiyuki Reload Gunlock are licensed by Geneon in North America, and consist of 25 and 26 episodes respectively. Saiyuki Reload is faithful to the manga from the fourteenth episode and onward, having deviated from it for the first 13 episodes. Saiyuki Reload Gunlock also starts off deviated from the manga, until midway into the series, but strays from it during its finale. Due to the change in licensing, the English voice cast is not consistent throughout all three series, and the characterization and general feel of the series may change noticeably in the second and third installments.

Enoki Films holds the US license to Saiyuki under the title Saiyuki: Paradise Raiders, yet ADV chose not to use this subtitle. There has also been a movie (Saiyuki: Requiem) adapted into English that is also licensed by ADV. A new OVA has been released by Studio Pierrot, which covers the "Burial" arc of the Saiyuki Reload manga; it is called Saiyuki Reload: Burial. The studio is currently working on producing an OVA based on of Saiyuki Gaiden.

Live Action Musicals[edit]

Saiyuki Kagekiden & Saiyuki: Dead or alive, which had the same cast, & a man in drag playing the role of Kanzeon Bosatsu.

Video games[edit]

Saiyuki Reload Gunlock game cover

On March 18, 2004, in Japan, a Saiyuki Reload role-playing video game was released by Bandai for the PlayStation 2. The player is an original character who journeys with Genjyo Sanzo, Son Goku, Sha Gojyo and Cho Hakkai. The player commands the four in menu-based battles that allow for attacks, special attacks, and combination attacks. The game tells an original story, and Bandai included a bonus Saiyuki Reloaded voice CD for those who pre-ordered.

Saiyuki Reload Gunlock was released in Japan on August 5, 2004, by Bandai for the PlayStation 2. This fighting game features a total of eight playable characters including Sanzo, Goku, Gojyo and Hakkai as well as Kougaiji, Chin Yisou, Kamisama, and Hazel. Playable game modes include traditional single and multiplayer modes, as well as Practice Mode, Watch Mode, and a story-akin Dramatic Mode.

Reception[edit]

During its premiere as an anime program the manga Saiyuki sold more than 3,200,000 as of Volume 6 estimation by ComiPress.[1] Meanwhile the manga Saiyuki Gaiden and Saiyuki Reload continues to be at the top 10 weekly Japanese ranking chart whenever a manga volume debuted. In 2000 Genjo Sanzo won the best Male Character for an Anime at Animage Grand Prix. In 2006 Saiyuki Reload was listed by PUFF (also known as Manga Oscars) known by many fans as one of the definite study guides for those who appreciate manga, as 10th in Long Stories categories. Meanwhile the anime Gensoumaden Saiyuki won the Animage Anime Grand Prix Award in 2000.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Historic Shoujo Manga Circulation Numbers". Comipress.com. 24 May 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 

External links[edit]