Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monkey Magic

The Chinese legend of the rather anarchic Monkey King and his Buddha-inspired journey to save the world was, in the form of the TV series Monkey [aka Saiyuki] (Japan-1978 to 1980), required afternoon viewing for me and many others back in the early 80s. The two irascible Pigsys, Sandy, Tripitaka and of course Monkey were hilarious in their ongoing struggle with moral imperatives and demons -- and from recent viewings on DVD, their adventures still hold up as great television, despite dated SFX. Unbelievably, the show was even well-dubbed, with voice actors who put a distinctive stamp on the characters.

The story was adapted from Wu Chengen’s classic 16th Century Chinese novel, Journey To The West (Xi You Ji), a social and political satire that proved startlingly modern when I was inspired to read it out of enthusiasm for the show.

Well, now Monkey comes (once again) to our screens, on DVD at least -- after a highly successful theatrical run in Japan -- as Monkey Magic (Japan-2007; dir. Kensaku Sawada).

You can check out all the details -- and view the trailer -- at ScifiJapan.com.

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