This on-the-road-let’s-fight story is about a band of
four adventurers and their magical jeep are on their way Westwards,
entrusted with re-establishing harmony between the demons and the
humans. They encounter both hospitable small-towners and aggressive
demons. The scene of the fights is invariably the village, not the
boring, plot-less country-side in between.
Based on the Chinese ‘Monkey’ tale in the 1590 novel
Journey to the West, the four characters are: the monk Genjyo
Sanzo, the monkey deity Son Goku, the half-demon Sha Gojyo and the demon
Cho Hakkai. Their camaraderie is infectious. You feel like you want to
be around them, to watch them in action. They have a very enviable
self-assurance and they fight with unimaginable confidence.
The show does not take itself seriously, providing
quite a few opportunities for us to laugh. The solution to the problem
‘how shall we defeat this enemy’ is not always straightforward but
always entertaining and surprising.
My one bone to pick is that amongst all this
frivolity, the episodes are dreadfully formulaic and hence predictable.
They have double-distilled the art of conflict-resolution based
narrative… with bland results.