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|Average Rating: 7.00|
Sarah scored this with 7/10. Disagree?
The unlikely quartet of warriors for the forces of good, the Sanzo party (gun-toting priest Genjyo Sanzo, irrepressible monkey boy Son Goku, chain-smoking, womanizing kappa Sha Gojyo, and uptight Cho Hakkai, master of the little dragon Hakuryu) are still on their Journey to the West (India), observed with interest by the manipulative gods and shadowed ever more closely by their enemies. And after several short adventures, the series builds to a tense conclusion by – at last – developing a longer story that places the four into real danger. Their adversary this time? None other than ‘god’ himself.
Sha Gojyo has gone missing. And the other three are at a complete loss without him. Of course it’s impossible for any one of them to articulate their true feelings about this to the others; they’re men, after all. So Sanzo starts smoking too much, Goku plays the whiny kid, and Cho Hakkai is soon fed up with the both of them. So it’s a relief when they decide to go and search for him. “We’ll find him for one and kill him.”
Retracing their steps, they soon encounter magical barriers and a Fog Maze in which shadows of the past appear to confuse and demoralize them. It seems that they are pitted against a truly powerful being who appears to them as a young, fair-haired priest, his beautiful face marred by a single scar, whose scarlet prayer beads are a lethal weapon. And he has Gojyo.
After so many short stories, it was good to see this series settle into a longer narrative at last and generate some genuine tension. Up until now it’s been hard to care too much about the fates of these four ill-matched anti-heroes as they drink, squabble and smoke their way to the West. But now they are pitted against an enemy who – even though he may not be what he claims to be – is strong enough to bring them all down and steal the precious scripture from Sanzo. Is someone else pulling ‘god’s’ strings?
I am a great fan of Kazuya Minekura’s manga and it’s really pleasing to see her original artwork in the opening and closing sequences. Let’s face it; her men are hot! However, these images also highlight the fact that – from the character designs to the animation itself – ‘Saiyuki Reload’ the TV series has not enjoyed the benefits of a big budget. Frankly, in places, it looks downright shoddy, often relying on cost-cutting stills, with dialogue over and other moneysaving tactics.
Another quibble: there are only three episodes on the final volumes of ‘Saiyuki Reload’, with very few extras – although the brief ‘gag’ clips following each episode provide a nice, wry (and sometimes downright silly) anime equivalent to the four-panel omake often found in manga.
At last ‘Saiyuki Reload’ conjures up some genuine dramatic tension, with the Sanzo party forced to face up to an invincible opponent – and their own inadequacies.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||7 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Sun, 21 Sep 2008|
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