I'd say something about the holiday season but I wont. Instead I'll say enjoy the free loot and take advantage of all the steam sales.
Reaching the Journey's End soon, we look at the final quarter of the two shows. Now I'm not including the final episodes of the two, nor the movie in Saiyuuki. The reason? One of those final impression posts.
Monkey - Episode 40 - Episode 51
Spoiler warning: If you ever what to have any respect for the pilgrims, avoid episode 44 "Such a Nice Monster".
I say this because I had my feelings broken in the first half of it. The episode follows a demon whose wants to be a dog and desperately wants companionship like any other dog. The gang attack him because they think he's evil. And I can't help but think (and you'll have to forgive me for sounding Australian for a second) "What a bunch of cunts!" Just look at him!
Is that something evil? Now I could go into this episode in great detail. Calling out the themes and how it has more relevance in today's time as well as the pseudo ancient China time setting. But I don't want to. At least for a c-blog mini-series with a self imposed deadline anyway. I will say that the heart strings were pulled.
Speaking of pulled, I'm pulling away everything I like about Tripitaka. Saiyuuki's Hoshi works because he's not the whining hypocrite that Tripitaka is. Every time I see him I think of him as a child asking mummy dearest for a particular brand of candy then "flipping his shit" in anger when he doesn't get it. And it doesn't matter if he gets his way, he's not going to let of such a "betrayal". "No violence!" He screams as he's once again tied up awaiting rescue from demonkind. And throughout the course of the series, Tripitaka often detours from the pilgrimage to help anyone in need. In episode 49, "Stoned", a demon kid is disowned since he doesn't know magic. When Monkey offers to teach him Tripitaka flat out refuses on the grounds that they really need to go to India. I'll leave it at that.
I'm also finding it tiresome that the show doesn't seem to be going anywhere. And why should it? Monkey was popular. They could literally go on for ages. And speaking as someone who attempted to read the book, Journey to the West, it took 300 pages before it even covered 1/4 of the first episode. But it feels like you can just see one episode and be done with it. Saiyuuki is at least working towards something. Or at least I think so but more on that later.
The hope of some closure is still there and hopefully when I see the finale, I'll either be relieved or really angry.
Seriously. I will be pissed off.
(Sonic in Ancient Chinese days.)
Saiyuuki - Episode 8 - Episode 10
What's the best way to write a clip show episode while trying to make it appealing?
Include a time travelling demon of course!
Episode 8 reminded me of the better things in Saiyuuki. The brotherhood element of the pilgrims. The use of comedic timing. All things that, when compared to season two of Monkey, simply out-trumps it's original. Ok so I've indeed bitched about the extremely formulaic plot but from the episodes I've watched, 3 out of 9 episodes seems like a decent number to get away from the "paint by numbers" structure.
And as far and interesting demons go, this time travelling one is on my top 3 demons of Saiyuuki. Especially in the costume department. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's just the simplicity of it.
Or maybe its just this \/
Yeah. Yeah. That's it.
Moving on, episode 9 builds on Gojou's backstory as his former overlord appears and we see Gojou's loyalty be put on the fence between demonkind and Hoshi and co. I've also found out where the budget went. In a massive CGI undead army. I gather that they've been saving up for this. First things first, interesting CGI in the entire series (not the best but hey, small budget). However biggest cop out is when Goku is bracing himself for a mighty battle only to find out it's just the main bad guy. No army.
I was readying myself up for an awesome battle scene, popcorn at my side. I've said before Saiyuuki's fighting scenes are worth every viewer's time. For a good 5 minutes I was in viewer-shock. It turns out some high authority told the overlord to lay off the troops. It's obvious they couldn't afford re-summon the undead horde again and all I can do is tip my hat.
...If it weren't for the terrible one-on-one fight. It made the fights from Monkey seem like a Bruce Lee flick. But whatever. I'm more concerned about that higher authority. Because the episode never named them. I have a strange feeling that Saiyuuki is doing something that Monkey never, ever, did. A subplot for the series. And in that regard I like Saiyuuki's writing better than Monkey's. Provided they ACTUALLY follow up on it rather than just leave it hanging.
And on a related note, Rin-Rin. She's been established as a thief but my plot guessing brain of mine tells me there must more to her then that. The fact she knew Gojous backstory was the first flicker in the back burner. Come to mention it, for several episodes her knowledge of demonology is rather questionable. Yeah, I'm certain the writers are planning something interesting with her.
Of course, the above was written around the time I finished episode 9 so this may change. Hang on a sec...
[An episode 10 later...]
But never did I expect that subplot to pull such a cord with me. Yeah, Monkey had ONE episode that got me emotional. This!? The writers are pretty good with the emotional and not only that, they've introduced subplot. A continuing one at that. See, Monkey always went for the spectacle and the episodic. You could watch one episode and be done with it. And believe me, throughout this mini-series I've been tempted to myself. I used the same logic with Saiyuuki but I'm honestly surprised that it broke that.
So then I guess you've guessed where the edge is going to?
The Edge: Saiyuuki
As I type this I look back at all my complaints against Saiyuuki. Repetitive, plastic, etc. But despite that Saiyuuki has outclassed Monkey. As I've mentioned before, Saiyuuki is the spiritual successor to Monkey. I originally thought that meant they'd make a carbon copy. Now I'm under the impression that this might not be the plastic formulaic show that I once knew.
As we reach a new year we must close with this one. So must be this mini-series. (He says without a trace of alcohol in him) Which is why I ask you to join me for one last time for Comparison to the West.
...What? The new year is next week and this mini-series wont be concluded in 2012?
Pfft! As if! How about...an hour from this c-blog post?
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