Saiyūki (TV series)
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|Created by||Yuji Sakamoto|
|Country of origin||Japan|
|No. of episodes||11|
|Running time||84 minutes (Ep.1,11)
54 minutes (Ep.2-10)
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original release||9 January – 20 March 2006|
Saiyūki (西遊記?) is a 2006 Japanese historical TV drama based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West. It is a successor to the popular 1970s TV show Saiyūki, known outside Japan as Monkey. There have been three dramas and one special based on Journey to the West that have aired previously, making this one the fifth adaptation in Japan.
Fuji TV made an unusual decision to air this on 9pm every Monday, a primetime slot usually reserved for romantic dramas, hoping to capture both the young and the old by making this choice. While the series started off with viewership nearly reaching 30%, its rating gradually sank, barely making it at 20% at one point; the last episode finished off with 24.7%.
Rather than producing a second season, Fuji TV and Toho produced a feature film version of Saiyūki, that was released in Japan on July 14, 2007. The film was a box office success, becoming the 8th highest-grossing film of 2007 in Japan. The whole plot of the film is loosely based on chapters 32-35 of Journey to the West, Son Gokū trying to save a kingdom (with the help of a young princess) usurped by King Gold Horn and Silver Horn. The DVD was released on January 1, 2008 in two formats: a single disc version with audio commentary and trailers, and a 2-Disc limited collector's edition with documentaries and making-of featurettes; it has also been released to both DVD and Blu-ray Disc in the United Kingdom, under the title Monkey Magic: The Movie.
- Son Gokū - Shingo Katori
- Sanzōhōshi - Eri Fukatsu
- Cho Hakkai - Atsushi Itō
- Sha Gojō - Teruyoshi Uchimura
- Princess Rin Rin - Asami Mizukawa
- Kadono Takuzo
- Takuya Kimura
- Rieko Miura
- Keiji Mutoh
- Hitomi Takahashi
- Shaku Yumiko
- Ayumi Ishida
- Masaaki Sakai—Portrayed Son Goku in the original Monkey series, appeared here as Buddha.
List of Episodes
|#||Translated title in English||Original title in Japanese||Directed by||Japanese viewership||Original air date|
|1||Land of Fire||火の国||Kamasaku Sawada||29.2%||9 January 2006|
|2||Land of Hot Springs||温泉の国||Kamasaku Sawada||24.8%||16 January 2006|
|3||Land of Dreams||夢の国||Kamasaku Sawada||23.8%||23 January 2006|
|4||Land of Sands||砂の国||Gaku Narita||22.5%||30 January 2006|
|5||Land of Children||子供の国||Gaku Narita||22.1%||6 February 2006|
|6||Land of Forest||森の国||Kamasaku Sawada||20.6%||13 February 2006|
|7||Land of Ghosts||幽霊の国||Hiromasa Kato||21.2%||20 February 2006|
|8||Land of Time||時の国||Gaku Narita||20.9%||27 February 2006|
|9||Land of Flowers||花の国||Gaku Narita||20.7%||6 March 2006|
|10||Land of Separate Existence||滅法国||Kentaro Takagi||20.5%||13 March 2006|
|11||Tenjiku||天竺||Kamasaku Sawada||24.7%||20 March 2006|
Selected pieces of score from the series, as composed by Satoshi Takebe, were released on 1 March 2006 by Avex Trax
The Original Soundtrack to the film, also composed by Satoshi Takebe, was released on 1 August 2007 by Rhythm Zone
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- Eri Fukatsu shaved her head for her role as Sanzohoshi.
- Traditionally, the role of the monk has been played by a female in Japanese dramas.
- The theme song, "Around the World," is performed by Japanese pop group Monkey Majik, who took their name from the theme song of the original Monkey series, "Monkey Magic," performed by Japanese group Godiego.
- Journey to the West is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. It was written during the Ming Dynasty, in the 1590s. Its attributed author is Wu Chengen.