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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/15/2006 Archived Entry: "Anime review: Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, Vol. 1"

Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, Vol 1. (DVD)
Geneon

Review by Tom Good

Though it is a Volume 1, this series is a sequel to the earlier series Saiyuki Reload. It is loosely based on the Chinese classic story The Journey to the West (also known as Monkey). The original story concerns a monk who journeys from China to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures, and it has provided inspiration for many anime and manga including Dragonball. In this version the monk carries a gun, smokes cigarettes, and sometimes drives a car.

More than most anime, this one stakes its success or failure on the look of the art. It does have a cool, modern style. There is something instantly appealing about the idea of a handsome, brooding, gun-toting monk whose companions are demons and part-demons. But even though there are funny plot points, like the episode where the party gets menaced by a group of bears, the writing was not quite clever enough to make me really excited about this series.

Many of the scenes feel oddly static, and this distracted me after a while. Often the camera pans or zooms over a picture that contains little or no real movement. It started to seem like an anime without enough animation, almost like a slide show, though one with very nice pictures. Some viewers may enjoy this style more than I did, so I would recommend renting it to find out whether it works for you.

Replies: 1 Comment

Oh my God, I LOVE Monkey. And I'm really annoyed I can't find my copy now. Of course I haven't looked for it in years, but, still...

My favorite parts are with the Budda and when the Goddess of Mercy has to rescue them, even before she has time to do her hair. Great stuff, a little slow in places, but overall worth it.

I had no idea that's what this anime and manga series were about. I knew I liked the cover art, which was all I looked at. This makes it much more interesting.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05/15/2006 09:01 PM PST

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