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Saiyuki
by chohakkaifan on February 12th, 2012, 5:35am

Rating - 9 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 4 out of 5
Characters - 5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 5 out of 5
Overall - 4.5 out of 5

Click here for series information

Plot/Story
Saiyuki is the story of four anti-heroes: the monk Genjyo Sanzo (or just "Sanzo"), the great youkai sage Son Goku, the half-youkai half-human Sha Gojyo, and the man-turned-youkai Cho Hakkai (formerly known as Cho Gonou). They have been dispatched by the Sanbutsushin (the Three Aspects of Buddha, who relay the orders of heaven) to travel to India to stop the possible resurrection of the Ox-Demon-King, Gyumaoh. Along the way they are beset by inept assassins, bad weather, and their own tragic personal pasts. Meanwhile, the villains, two unlikely confidants, Gyokumen Koushou (Gyumaoh's concubine, a youkai) and a mad scientist, Dr. Nii Jianyi (a human), continue their attempts to restore the long-dead king. These experiments, a forbidden mixture of science and magic, spawn the "Minus Wave", infecting all of the youkai in Shangri-La with madness, shattering the fragile peace that once existed between the two races.

Characters

Genjo Sanzo- a Buddhist high priest, he is the one who brings the group together on order from the Sanbutsushin and the Goddess of Mercy. he is also the one who released Goku from his five-hundred year long imprisonment. He carries the Makai Tenjou, one of the five holy scriptures said to have cause the creation of heaven and earth but mostly relies on his gun in combat (a Smith and Wesson). Some youkai go specifically after him due to an old belief that "if you eat a high priest then you will become immortal". He has little tolerance and gets angered easily, happily able to hit and threaten his teammates if any of them happen to bother him. He smokes, drinks, swears, and is probably the worst example of a monk you could possibly run into.

Son Goku - A cheerful boy of legend who uses a magical staff known as the "Nyoi-bo". But he also has a darker side hiding under the diadem upon his forehead (his youkai limiter) as "the great sage equal to heaven" Seiten Tensei. As the Seiten Tensei he is wild, destructive, and cruel, not to mention near invincible. Born from the earth itself he was punished five-hundred years ago by the gods for unknown reason and lost his memory in the process. It is Sanzo who eventually releases him from his imprisonment and becomes something of a foster-father to him. A student to Hakkai and younger-brother figure to Gojyo, he is the youngest physically and mentally of the group.

Sha Gojyo - a half-breed between a youkai and a human, Gojyo is plagued with the taboo of having blood red hair and eyes, the symbol of his mixed blood. His weapon is the shakugetsujou, a metal staff with a sickle and chain attached. Being raised by an abused mother, he grew up knowing the streets more then anything else and lives from day to day off of sex, alcohol and gambling. Because of this he is known to the others as a pervert. He and Goku get into many arguments like brothers would and is often scolded and criticized by Sanzo. Hakkai is his roommate and best friend.

Cho Hakkai - he is the mild, polite and level-headed member of the group and often spends his time working as the "mother-figure" to the others. He rarely displays anger but when his temperament shows he is usually the scariest of the bunch. He owns a pet dragon named Jeep who works as the Sanzo-parites mode of transportation due to it's ability to shape-shift. Cho Hakkais original name is Cho Gonou and comes from a dark past which eventually caused his once human body to turn into that of a youkais. Found near-death by Gojyo, he is taken in and the two eventually become best friends and roommates. He is then later tracked down by both Sanzo and Goku. Physically, the second strongest of the group, he is the only one of the group susceptible to the Minus Wave.

Drawing Style

Original is the best word to describe it. Unlike most manga this is not smooth round and bubbly. Due to the nature of it being about four guys fighting their way across the world they are often depicted with a more rugged angular style that is nothing like an other. The author, Kazuya Minekura is known for such. The best aspects of her art have to be the way she does folds in clothes and he character foreshortening. All her action shots are completely superb. There are times when the anatomy seems a little off or there should be more background, but it is often compensated with amazing ink-work and creativity. Her color work is especially appealing with her use of layered copics.

Enjoyment

An amazingly good story with action, dark undertone, and splashes of comedy. The characters and their unique personalities are what make it. Some times the plot gets a bit repetitive, but the moment shines through usually with the overall plot. The cliffhangers always keep you wanting more. Has mainly a female fanbase due to it's mostly male cast but has potential for male fans as well. A classic and must read that's been going on since 1999 and close to completion.

Overall

4.5 Minor issues here and there, but usually what it lacks it tends to make up for in other areas. Not for the light of heart due to it's excessive violence and mature themes.
 
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