Monkey Goes Wild About Heaven

MonkeyAn elemental force of nature born from a stone egg, Monkey began life as a stone monkey, but now assumes human form in his ongoing battle of order against chaos against a legion of demons. But while he seeks to bring order to the world around him, Monkey’s love of this fight against the havoc demons means that he’s a chaotic whirl of action, often leaving collateral damage in his wake. To sate Monkey’s considerable ego when he tries to storm Heaven itself, the title of Great Sage, Equal of Heaven, is bestowed upon him, and he is put in charge of Heaven’s orchard of magical peach trees. Monkey promptly begins eating the peaches, whose magical properties make him immortal, and becomes infatuated with Lady Vega, consort of the Emperor of Heaven. He’s willing to start a war in Heaven to win her, and two fighters are sent to stop him – and they fail. The Emperor of Heaven banishes both of them to Earth, turning one of them into a pig and the other into a water spirit, and then summons the help of the Buddha. Assuming a female form, the Buddha assigns Monkey a task, which he thinks is easily accomplished…but in fact he fails and is also banished to Earth.

written by Mamoru Sasaki and Isoa Okishima
based on the story by Wu Ch’Eng-En
adapted by David Weir
directed by Yusuki Watanabe
English dub directed by Michael Bakewell
music by Micky Yoshino / theme performed by Godiego

MonkeyCast: Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka), Shirô Kishibe (Sandy), Toshiyuki Nishida (Pigsy), Takao Inoue (Emperor), Yatsuko Tanami (Buddha), Emi Shindo (Lady Vega), Maki Carcer (Demon), David Collings (Monkey’s voice – English dub), Maria Warburg (Tripitaka’s voice – English dub), Gareth Armstrong (Sandy’s voice – English dub), Peter Woodthorpe (Pigsy’s voice – English dub), Frank Duncan (Narrator – English dub), Cecile Chevreau (Buddha’s voice – English dub), Miriam Margolyes (Voices – English dub), Peter Marinker (Voices – English dub)

MonkeyNotes: The airdate shown here reflects the BBC2 premiere date rather than the Japanese premiere date on NTV. Monkey is a satirical Japanese take on the 16th-century Chinese novel Saiyuki (a.k.a. Journey To The West), a staple of Chinese literature that has been adapted dozens of times, both more faithfully told and more bizarrely told (it’s also the basis for the Dragonball franchise). Monkey initiates what is now apparently a tradition of casting a woman as the young male priest Tripitaka.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Monkey Turns Nursemaid

MonkeyMonkey is trapped inside the base of a mountain for 500 years, thanks to a magical seal placed there by the Buddha, who wishes him to learn patience. Emissaries from the Buddha drop by to check on him over the years, but do not free him. They also free a dragon imprisoned in Heaven, sending it to Earth on a mission to help a young priest on a quest. Monkey also meets this young priest, Tripitaka, who is heading westward to retrieve lost Buddhist scriptures, and talks Tripitaka into removing the Buddha’s seal, freeing him. But even Tripitaka was expecting to meet Monkey: he puts a magical headband from the Buddha on Monkey’s head, and can tighten it at will to ensure Monkey’s obedience on their journey. Fortunately, Monkey still loves to fight demons, which comes in handy when they try to bring Tripitaka’s quest to a premature end. The dragon also comes in handy after it changes itself into a horse.

written by Mamoru Sasaki
based on the story by Wu Ch’Eng-En
adapted by David Weir
directed by Jun Fukuda
English dub directed by Michael Bakewell
music by Micky Yoshino / theme performed by Godiego

MonkeyCast: Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka), Shirô Kishibe (Sandy), Toshiyuki Nishida (Pigsy), Atsuo Nakamura (Warlord), Eishin Tono (Demon), Homare Suguro (Priest), Akihiko Hirata (Emissary), Yatsuko Tanami (Buddha), David Collings (Monkey’s voice – English dub), Maria Warburg (Tripitaka’s voice – English dub), Gareth Armstrong (Sandy’s voice – English dub), Peter Woodthorpe (Pigsy’s voice – English dub), Frank Duncan (Narrator – English dub), Cecile Chevreau (Buddha’s voice – English dub), Miriam Margolyes (Voices – English dub), Peter Marinker (Voices – English dub)

MonkeyNotes: The airdate shown here reflects the BBC2 premiere date rather than the Japanese premiere date on NTV. Atsuo Nakamura also appeared in the Japanese TV series The Water Margin, which had been adapted by David Weir prior to production of Monkey, as well as in the film 47 Ronin. Eishin Tono (1942-2000) appeared in Ultraman Taro. Akihiko Hirata (1927-1874) appeared in numerous entries in the Godzilla and Ultraman franchises (playing Professor Iwamoto in the latter), as well as films such as Sayonara Jupiter, Fugitive Alien, and Atragon.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Great Journey Begins

MonkeyNot long after Monkey and Tripitaka set out westward, they are accosted by a priest who is able to change into a raven at will, warning them of evil spirits who will interfere in their journey. During their first stop, they meet Pigsy, one of the guards exiled from Heaven, and after a brief fight ending in a stalement, Pigsy is asked to join Monkey in guarding Tripitaka on the journey. An encounter with Sandy, the other outcast from Heaven banished to Earth and turned into a water monster, adds another ally the group, and a chance meeting with a general who claims to embody the spirit of a thousand tigers adds a new danger. Can Monkey fight off an entire army of tigers after being blinded by their king?

written by Tetsuro Abe
based on the story by Wu Ch’Eng-En
adapted by David Weir
directed by Daisuke Yamazaki
English dub directed by Michael Bakewell
music by Micky Yoshino / theme performed by Godiego

MonkeyCast: Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka), Shirô Kishibe (Sandy), Toshiyuki Nishida (Pigsy), Hajime Hana (Tiger General), Toshiko Tsuyama (Priestess), Hiroshi Yanagiya (Priest), Sei Hiraizumi (Tiger King), David Collings (Monkey’s voice – English dub), Maria Warburg (Tripitaka’s voice – English dub), Gareth Armstrong (Sandy’s voice – English dub), Peter Woodthorpe (Pigsy’s voice – English dub), Frank Duncan (Narrator – English dub), Cecile Chevreau (Buddha’s voice – English dub), Miriam Margolyes (Voices – English dub), Peter Marinker (Voices – English dub)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Monkey Swallows The Universe

MonkeyMonkey, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy encounter a local on their journey, and he warns them of cannibalistic demons on the road ahead. Monkey tricks Pigsy – who wasn’t paying attention to this warning – into scouting ahead by himself. When Monkey goes to look for Pigsy, his friend is nowhere to be found…and a demon drop a mountain on his back, which will eventually crush him. Sandy and Tripitaka are surrounded by demons and taken prisoner. Tripitaka’s very flawed retinue begin bickering about one another’s weaknesses. Once he frees himself from the mountain, demons are sent with a magic bottle to absorb Monkey’s body and soul. Monkey takes it upon himself to infiltrate the demons’ ranks and defeat them, tricking them into thinking he has a bottle that will engulf the entire universe. Using all of the magic available to him, Monkey might just live long enough to free his friends…or be recaptured.

written by Hiroichi Fuse
based on the story by Wu Ch’Eng-En
adapted by David Weir
directed by Daisuke Yamazaki
English dub directed by Michael Bakewell
music by Micky Yoshino / theme performed by Godiego

MonkeyCast: Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka), Shirô Kishibe (Sandy), Toshiyuki Nishida (Pigsy), Kenji Tamiya (Silver Horn), Ryohei Uchida (Golden Horn), Yuzuru Yamaguchi (Cannibal #1), Hideya Niiyama (Cannibal #2), David Collings (Monkey’s voice – English dub), Maria Warburg (Tripitaka’s voice – English dub), Gareth Armstrong (Sandy’s voice – English dub), Peter Woodthorpe (Pigsy’s voice – English dub), Frank Duncan (Narrator – English dub), Cecile Chevreau (Buddha’s voice – English dub), Miriam Margolyes (Voices – English dub), Peter Marinker (Voices – English dub)

LogBook entry by Earl Green