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Monkey Magic (2007)

Monkey Magic: Journey to the West comes to the big screen like never before in the 2007 film Saiyuuki! Also known as Monkey Magic and Adventures of the Super Monkey, this is the latest in a long line of adaptations of the Wu Cheng'en tome. One of the four great Chinese classics, Journey to the West, or Saiyuuki in Japanese, is about the adventures of Tang Dynasty monk Tripitaka and his mischievous magical disciples as they journey to India to retrieve the Buddhist sutras. This fantastical allegorical tale has been adapted countless times for the big and small screen, notably in classic Chinese films like Ho Meng Hua's The Monkey Goes West series and Stephen Chow's The Chinese Odyssey series. In Japan, Saiyuuki also inspired many adaptations including the anime series Dragonball and an immensely popular TV series in 1978. Fuji TV took a leap of faith in 2006 with their own brand-new 11-episode Saiyuuki starring Katori Shingo of SMAP as famed monkey king Son Goku. Actress Fukatsu Eri (The Professor's Beloved Formula) plays monk Sanzo Hoshi (Tripitaka), echoing the gender twist of the 1970s series. Ito Atsushi (Densha Otoko) and Uchimura Teruyoshi (Zebraman) complete the square as lecherous swine spirit Cho Hakkai (Pigsy) and water demon Sa Gojou (Friar Sand), with updated personalities and powers. The TV drama was such a huge success, it was followed up with a feature film in 2007, with the original cast reprising their roles. Helmed by TV director Sawada Kensaku, feature film Saiyuuki retains the narrative quirks, zany energy, and colorful demons that made the drama so fresh and entertaining. The manic comic powers of Katori Shingo show no signs of abating as the gang of four takes their journey to the silver screen. This time, they encounter a princess whose parents have been turned into turtles by two powerful demons, played by Kaga Takeshi (Death Note) and Kishitani Goro (Ryű ga Gotoku). Son Goku and company head for the mystical mountains to battle the demons
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