In the 1970s, Journey to the West was made into a Japanese TV series called Saiyūki or in English, Monkey or Monkey Magic. It was a HUGE cult following in the UK and Australia. My brother loved it along with the Water Margin. I have fond memories though looking back: some of the voices, by British character actors, are very much of their time and a bit Charlie Chan uncomfortable. Though I believe some British East Asian actors like Burt Kwouk and David Yip provided some of the voices too.

I would have love to have seen a subtitled version but not seen one at all.

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Best of all was the funky theme tune from Godiego, basically the Japanese version of Boston. Most of the cast still work but alas, the beautiful Masako Natsume - who played Tripitaka as a gender neutral cleric - died very young at only 27.

This also explains the episode of Spaced when Simon Pegg’s Tim says he wants to Monkey - not A monkey - and does the titular characters trademark gesture to summon his cloud of transport.

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Here is an 18th century version of the book with a cool dog headed creature!

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