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A Really Really Quick Gallery Tour: Contemporary CGI

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Saiyuki (Studio Pierrot, 2000+)
Source: TV
Layers: 1
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Added 4/24/2008
Updated 7/2/2019
Saiyuki, like Dragonball Z, is an adaptation of the classic Chinese tale The Journey to the West. The classic story concerns a Buddhist priest who undertakes a perilous pilgrimage over the Himalayas to India, in order to obtain copies of scriptures unknown to Chinese worshipers. On the way, he is joined by four companions, all demonic in origin, who have been told that they will achieve celestial merit by helping the pilgrim. Each has his peculiar twist, and the medieval tale develops an episodic, picaresque flavor that is retained in this anime telling.

Except that the characters have picked up a strong flavor of film noir, especially the cynically dry monk, Genjo Sanzo. He's joined by a libidinous half-demon companion Sha Gojyo, the glutton Son Goku (originally a monkey god of prodigious powers), the scholarly Cho Hakkai, and the helpful dragon Haku-ryuu, who turns into a jeep big enough to transport the others from town to town (in the original story, he turns into a horse with infinite capacities for hauling baggage).

Based on a manga by Kazuya Minekura, (1997-2002), the story was made into a 4-episode OAV, then hit its stride with the Gensoumaden Saiyuki TV series (2000-2001) produced by Studio Pierrot. Since then, the same principals (not making it very far to India in the process) have appeared in two more OAVs, a movie, and two additional TV series, Saiyuki Reload and Saiyuki Gunlock.

Not being a DBZ person, I was reluctant to consider collecting from this series, but Vapalla and Tex-chan showed me so much wonderful art from this series (courtesy of my favorite animation team, Studio Pierrot) that I couldn’t help starting to look for lively sketch sets. And, as it turns out, Pierrot took an interesting approach to the series, using a "Ken Burns" strategy of panning very slowly over stationary images of the characters, alone or in groups, while other characters spoke their lines. This saved quite a bit of effort in animating the images and especially lip-syching the lines. But it also meant that the images had to be absolutely top-notch since they stay on the screen for a much longer time than normal.

So I’ve always been impressed at the detail and craftsmanship of Saiyuki art, even though I’m shamefully behind in watching even what I’ve been able to get of the series. As with other series, I’ve organized my collection by character.

The Good Guys

Here is where I collect the group images of the Sanzo group, along with solo images of its chain-smoking, scripture-seeking leader and of Gojyo. I’ve opened a separate gallery for my compelling images of ...

Son Goku

A lustrous pearl of mani he is indeed,
Immune to all spears and swords.
He could be good;
He could be bad;
Present good and evil he could do at will.

'Nuff said.

The Bad Guys

The life of the Sanzo group is, of course, made all the more lively by the sheer variety of enemies they make along the way. This section highlights some of these, who, as always with anime villains, have an integrity and a charm all their own.

    Previous: Rozen Maiden (Nomad, 2004, Studio Deen, 2013) Next: Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club (AIC, 2006)    

Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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