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