The path to comparison enlightenment is upon us. Will we embrace it? Or spit it back and ask for $50 instead? Personally I would take the $50 as there's some stuff I've been eyeing- THE POINT IS, that this is where we take a look at the final episodes of Monkey and Saiyuuki as well as the Saiyuuki movie.
[Quick sidenote: The Saiyuuki movie is widely avalible in the west. They've subbed it and released it even. Although they don't call it Saiyuuki, its called "Monkey Magic". Better title then The Karma Saiyuki is all I'm saying.]
Now rather than try to condense the Saiyuuki portion I'm going to split them so you'll be reading three sections in addition to the edge.
Right, let's start some Monkey Magic!
Monkey - Episode 52 (At the Top of the Mountain)
Tripitaka's mum gets sick and dies. Monkey impersonates her to convince Tripitaka to carry on with the journey. No I'm not kidding, that's what they were going for their final episode. Now I'm not sure if they intended to make another season. I try not to look up the facts and just treat the show on it's own merits. I guess it fits in with the whole "journey as long as life" but this is just stupid.
What about this journey? Wheres the closure? NONE! They just continue. I'm sorry Monkey, the nostalgia glasses and fanboy pants are burned forever in the pits of disappointment and despair. I was hoping there'd atleast be a fight scene or two to keep me going but no.
I'd say atleast the reset button doesn't exist. I could also say that Tripitaka finally acknowledges that he's a hypocrite and if he dismissed his pupils, he'd be dead. But I wont. Because this is something that should've been dealt with AGES ago.
Think of it this way. Fine, the show doesn't nessessarily have to end with them making it to India but for google sake at least have them at the understanding that this journey may go on till the end of time or some form of closure.
I'm still trying to find a reason to like the episode.
Saiyuuki - Episode 11 (Final Chapter: Tenjiku)
Now I'm not a religious man but if I ever were to pick a faith, after seeing this, it wouldn't be Budhism. After finally reaching Tenjiku (the Japanese word for "Anchient India") the pilgrims are told that only Hoshi can enter, not the "filthy demons".
The part I would have an issue is when the monks at the shrine question why Hoshi would be stupid enough to walk all this way. No cloud, no horse, nothing. And laughs at him, all except for Roshi who looks so ashamed of his peers. Finally the reality drops. Hoshi is to become the sutra to save humanity. He needs to die to be reborn as that sutra. I don't wish to insult a faith, I respect them all, but why would Buddha himself allow something like that?
And thus the true plot of the episode begins. Will Hoshi really sacrifice himself for the good of the world?
Of course he bloody would. That man goes out of his way for everyone. I guess what I'm saying is will Goku and co resuce him and defy Buddha himself?
Well ok you know the answer to that to.
Now before I continue I want to just jump for joy for a minute or two. Before I started watching Saiyuuki, I heard that there were celebrity cameos throughout the series. Unfortunately I don't know many actors, except for one. Masaaki Sakai. Who? The original Monkey. Now several things come to mind:
1. After many years, the man can still weild a staff and pull off some crazy tricks.
2. The english voice actor for Monkey, David Collings, did a fantastic job making an english version of Masaaki's voice.
3. ZOMG! ZOMG! ZOMG! IT'S MONKEY!!!
And then the final joke in the series is revealed.
Yeah. That just happened. I fell out of my seat in laughter when I saw that. And finally closure. They get the sutras, they make their way back to China and then-
The sutras are blank. So off they go back to Tenjiku. I get they want to make more of these but lets face facts. They've completed their goal. If they're blank then why even go again? I guess they just love the thrill of the journey but I'd rather call shenanigans.
Still, its a nice alternative to the ending Monkey gave us and I'd rather not go on about it any longer so lets move on.
Saiyuuki - Movie ("Monkey Magic")
A little backstory. A few years ago I picked this up because I heard someone remade it. Before starting this blog mini-series I found out that this movie is supposed to be treated as season two of Saiyuuki. I can't recall my thoughts about movie back then but after watching it now, my feelings about it go along the lines of this:
Good but not great.
It can pretty much be mistaken for an episode back in series one. They find a town. Demons are causing havoc. Hoshi volunteers the gang against their will. You know this dance well enough. They reuse some of the gags from the show in addition to maybe one or two other gags and some material that would pass for a Saturday morning kid's show.
Back in the 90's.
What I will say is that for a remake, it's done something that I've been waiting since episode one. A "cloud VS" scene.
And its awesome! It's made clear that the budget was put into what they've always wanted to include but never could afford. Evil flying cloud? Check. Headache headband ACTUALLY tightening? Check. Giant dragon? For 3 glorious minutes but check!
Oh and the whole Goku "super saiyan" thing? Theres another level.
Another thing I can finally do is make a quick comparison. The bad guys here are Gold Horn and Silver Horn. Interesting fact: In Monkey the characters of the same name are a male and female demon couple. In the Saiyuuki movie they're brothers.
Ok, fair enough. From watching the last episode of Saiyuuki, the show can do whatever it wants with the characters as far as I'm concerned. The writers seem to know what they're doing.
The Edge: Saiyuuki
Saiyuuki is by far one of the best remakes I've seen. It's not trying to be Monkey, it's clear they want to go above and beyond. I find myself wanting to watch more and more Saiyuuki rather than Monkey, which says a lot because I'm on record as a Monkey fan. (Otherwise this blog wouldn't exist.) So I'm going to go with Saiyuuki for creating a world that drew me right in.
And that, my friends, is that. Theres no more content for me to see. My journey is over. But like most journeys theres always an epilogue. The afterthought to all of this and believe me, I wish to share them with you. The series is over, the next post will be a bonus feature where I'll finally add up all of the edges I've given out over the course of this series.
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