It is with great pleasure for me to announce that ADV Films is releasing Saiyuki (lit. Gensou Maden Saiyuki) to DVD. Perhaps not the most intelligent of anime titles, Saiyuki is still an infectious fantasy romp that is sure to entertain.
The story is based very loosely on the classic Chinese book “Journey to the West” where four mismatched companions travel west through China. The world of Saiyuki is the mythical lands of Togenkyo, where demons and humans live together happily. Unfortunately, a dark mass of negative energy starts sweeping the land from the west, turning the demons into mindless, vicious beasts. The source of this wave is from the efforts to reawaken the Demon King Gyumao. A group of adventurers are sent to stop this and return the world to normal.
The leader of this group on a mission to foil the dastardly plot to resurrect a demon king is the booze-swilling, gun-toting, tobacco-smoking monk Genjo Sanzo. His companions are Son Goku, Sha Gojyo, and Cho Hakkai. Don’t worry about these names, they will grow on you eventually. Together they hop from village to village fighting demons turned bad, rescuing damsels in distress, cracking witty jokes, and kicking some rears.
The plot might seem overtly simple, but as the series progresses, you discover a nice depth to character development and get involved with the story. This is truly a story about a journey where the destination does not matter, but the experiences learned along the way. I have not yet seen the first season, but I am already hooked.
The art style caters to females, I must admit. All the characters are “bishounen” or “pretty men” and take a while to get used to. Speaking with a high bias, I was never interested in bishounen shows until this one. I’ve also shown parts of this series to a group of guys and they liked the action and plot. All together, I think I can safely say this series is all ages and all gender friendly. I highly recommend this series if you’re interested in a fun adventure.
Original Manga: Kazuya Minekura
Official Website: ADV Studios
Fan site: www.saiyuki.com