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Saiyuki - Journey Begins (Vol 1)
Saiyuki - Journey Begins
Vol 1
Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
UR     2003     2hr 5min

Once, demons and man lived together in harmony. But when a band of rogue demonic forces sought to resurrect a diabolical monster, dark spiritual energy began to cover the land-and the demons decided mankind was no longer...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Adv Films
Format: DVD - Color - Animated
DVD Release Date: 04/29/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 5min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Japanese
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

Finally, one for the girls too!
paxnirvana | Seattle, WA USA | 04/13/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Yes, three hot biseinen and one ever-hungry bakazaru (stupid monkey)! The official review above mentions how 'loosely' this is based on the classic "Journey to the West" but frankly Saiyuki is far closer to the classic legend than the much-touted Dragonball. Which *still* isn't saying much, unfortunately... ... If you want the original legend, Amazon sells some very nice translations, but if you want broody fun, handsome main characters and plenty of off-beat adventure, give Saiyuki a try.There are dozens of anime series out there that feature girl-heavy casts all panting after one or two main male characters - the stuff of most 15-17 year old boys fantasies, it seems - and a powerful marketing force, at least in most producer's eyes. But half the world's population is female after all... this is an action-adventure series that still appeals to the boys for it's frequent use of rather slapstick humor as well as violence, but it's slanted to the girls too with a whole pack of angst-ridden characters just trying to survive in a strange and ever-changing fantasy world. That's another point to mention; this is an odd amalgam of fantasy/modern times. Just go with it! There are guns and jeeps and cigarettes but also horse-and-wagon transport, rural life, magic and apparently fuedal political structures. There is no real attempt made to explain the rational behind the world's setting, but then a great deal of anime asks you to accept even wilder premises, so Saiyuki doesn't break the mold that much. Except for the fact that the some of the 'villians' are more sympathetic at times than our heroes! You'll hear the term 'bishounen' tossed around a bit on anime reviews, but that just means 'pretty boy' and is more commonly used because so many anime series tend to be about high school aged protaganists - however, 'biseinen', as I used it above, means 'pretty men' and that's a huge distinction. Because the Saiyuki men certainly ain't boys... except for Son Gokuu. Expect a bit more 'adult' humor and situations because of that.

I bought the NewType USA with the preview CD with the initial episode for this release on it. And the dub, frankly, stinks. The voices aren't distinct enough to make the characters unique and the 'Americanizing' done to the script drastically alters at least one of the main character's personality. Nope, sorry, Hakkai is NOT a foul-mouthed surfer-boy as he seems in the preview. He's supposed to be a soft-spoken, polite and rather reserved man. I shudder to think of what else ADV has changed about the dub story as well, given just the inital preview. So I suggest you watch the subtitled version instead to get the real Saiyuki experience. And no, this isn't a profound anime experience like "Spirited Away", but then, it's not touted as such. This is character-focused action-adventure that occasionally asks some interesting questions about loyalty, friendship and determination. But it's not deep and it leaves a great deal of it up to the viewer - or at least it did in the original.I only gave this DVD 3 stars for ADV's version of Saiyuki based on the horrible dub preview disk. But if the subtitled version available on this DVD sticks to the actual story (and rumor has it that it does *whew*) then it's still worth the price. Frankly, I'm an otaku-anime-geek who only ever watches subtitled versions anyway but I understand the economic necessity of dubs for the general viewing audience - I just wish the material was treated with more respect by the importing companies. And while this means anime is coming over to the US faster and faster all the time, it's disturbing that companies like ADV feel it's their right to change the original stories so much. Leave it be. The cultural differences aren't *that* hard to explain - and the changes in the dub that I saw weren't improvements at all, in my humble opinion. They were just annoying. But join Genjo Sanzo, Cho Hakkai, Sha Gojyo, Hakuryuu and Son Gokuu on their journey West! It's a heck of a ride..."
Extremely limited animation?
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I suspect that the Amazon review only watched the first episode, which does, in fact, feature still shot fight scenes. The rest of the series is not like that at all. The lack of coherent storyline comment is also erroneous. Saiyuki is made up of several short story arcs and stand-alone episodes, but the basic story is quite clear and easy to pick up on. I found both the subbed and dubbed versions entertaining; despite violence and the dark tone, this is a funny series. All four main characters have interesting pasts and sharply defined characters, and they soon feel like old friends.Son Goku shares the same basic characteristics here that he does in the original "Journey to the West", Dragonball, and all the other stories he's appeared in: he's eternally hungry, an excellent fighter, and he has a feral, almost uncontrollable side which could be dangerous to his friends. He's also adorable. Don't be misled into thinking this has anything to do with Dragonball (a series I'm also fond of).Anyway, there's 5 eps per disc and 50 eps total, plus a gorgeous movie and 2 OVAs, so go ahead and take the plunge! Saiyuki is great fun."
You gotta start somewhere
chiefraz1 | Watervliet, NY United States | 11/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Journey to the West has been done in hundreds of differant ways with this being one of the latest versions. Is's nice to see Sanzo being this sexy dude with an attitude, instead of a wimp who breaks down into tears when things go wrong. Actually I like the English dubbing, the voices are just fine to me and by watching both the english and japanese versions of the story, gives one a better appriciation for the differances in culture and how the story is perseved."
Fighting Evil with a Twist
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 08/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"There is no lack of anime series that feature a group of people going an epic journey to fight evil. Whether they involve card decks or swords the offer enjoyable, but fairly predictable fare. So my first reaction when reading the announcements for Saiyuki was to put it on my 'someday' list. Well, 'someday' has arrived, and with it the surprising discovery that Saiyuki is much more than another adventure story.It starts out unassumingly enough. In an alternate world of Chinese mythology, demons and humans have coexisted peacefully until recently. Now, many have dropped all restraint and are actively at war with humans. Sanzo Genjo, a priest, has been assigned by his gods to seek out the source of this crisis and bring it to an end. Accompanying him are three 'peaceable' demons. Son Goku, a monkey king, Sha Gojyo, a semi-human water sprite, and Cho Hakkai, a full blooded demon with a pet dragon who does double duty as a jeep.Behaving more like a rock band on tour than a group of do-gooders, this team sets out through Asia headed for the source of the mystery in India. They fight, drink, wench, and eat their way across the countryside. For the most part, the plot itself is straightforward, bash demons, save young maidens, and indulge in other heroics with a good jolt of comedy.There is a serious side to their antics, and, layer-by-layer, we discover parts of the true stories behind each of out heroes. We also get to meet the villains, and discover that there is more to them than meets the eye. There are no classic 'pretty boys' in this series. Certainly, Saiyuki is a much more complex story than its surface would imply.What makes the tales unique is the dialog and byplay between the companions. They play as a group of guys who share a bond, not as archetypical bold heroes. And they are very much adults (all in their 20's or 500's). Anime (or films) that depict this kind of male interrelationship are almost non-existent, but the writers have done a successful job of creating characters and dialog which is entertaining (if a bit blunt), but lacks any 'cute' overtones. The result is an interesting story, much fresher than the norm for it's genre. It has a somewhat rough artistic style, but the animation is solid. The dubbing is a bit milder than the subtitles but is close in spirit. I feel that from the onset, Saiyuki is worth viewing."