History Literature / JourneyToTheWest

18th Mar '18 11:09:51 AM spydre
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Added DiffLines:

* {{Doorstopper}}: As per usual with the Chinese classics, unspooling all those logograms into letters can bulk the text up to ~2000 pages. Due to the book's episodic nature, more "Western friendly" translations deal with the problem by sticking only to the essential stories.
16th Jan '18 6:37:49 AM PaulA
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** This is partly because Chinese mythology largely does not have specific hardline rules regarding powers. Some deities have specialties, but very few specific limits and even less regard for rules like physics. Wukong maanges to stay in over-powered territory and avoids going into Mary-Sue territory because Journey to the West is still a Chinese story. The overarching theme is that Heaven still holds all the cards, and you are merely a pawn on Heaven's chessboard. You can't fight destiny or change your fate. As a political allegory, Wukong is refreshing as a character with the ability to see the truth and the strength to see it through, no matter how powerful the higher authority is or how restrictive the class hierarchy is. It's a novel concept for a culture deeply steeped in Confucianism's idea of don't rock the boat.

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** This is partly because Chinese mythology largely does not have specific hardline rules regarding powers. Some deities have specialties, but very few specific limits and even less regard for rules like physics. Wukong maanges manages to stay in over-powered territory and avoids going into Mary-Sue territory because Journey to the West is still a Chinese story. The overarching theme is that Heaven still holds all the cards, and you are merely a pawn on Heaven's chessboard. You can't fight destiny or change your fate. As a political allegory, Wukong is refreshing as a character with the ability to see the truth and the strength to see it through, no matter how powerful the higher authority is or how restrictive the class hierarchy is. It's a novel concept for a culture deeply steeped in Confucianism's idea of don't rock the boat.
15th Jan '18 11:20:18 PM heroisback
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** [[spoiler: This is what led to the incident with the Scorpion-Woman, as even Buddha and Guanyin didn't want a damn thing to do with her.]]

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** [[spoiler: This is what led to the incident with the Scorpion-Woman, as even Buddha and Guanyin didn't want a damn thing to do with her.]]



* TricksterArchetype: Sun Wukong, the devious and rebellious monkey.

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* TricksterArchetype: Sun Wukong, the devious and rebellious monkey.monkey, is China's most well-known trickster.



* ZergRush: Wukong can create numerous clones of himself. A Zerg Rush of Wukong clones is nothing to sneeze at. This doesn't work with the Yellow Wind demon (who blows the clones away like straw) and the Gold Horned King and Red Boy (who both torch the clones into oblivion).

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* ZergRush: Wukong can create numerous clones of himself. A Zerg Rush of Wukong clones is nothing to sneeze at. This doesn't work with the Yellow Wind demon (who blows the clones away like straw) and the Gold Horned King and Red Boy (who both torch the clones into oblivion).
oblivion). Otherwise they can be frighteningly effective, as every Wukong flies around wielding the same staff he does.
15th Jan '18 10:23:43 PM heroisback
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* AchillesInHisTent: When Wukong quits the quest (sometimes at the same time as being fired by Tang Sang Zang) he goes back to his kingdom of monkey demons.
* ActionGirl: Several she-devils qualify as this when they're not busy seducing Tripitaka.
* AdaptationalAttractiveness: The original novel gleefully describes how hideous Tripitaka's three disciples are at every opportunity ("face like a thunder god"), and it's even a minor plot point at several parts. Most of the adaptations - especially the cartoons - tone this down a ''lot''.
* AdaptationalHeroism: The portrayal of Sun Wukong and Tang Sanzang in the novel aren't so noble compared to the more popular adaptations. In the original, Sun Wukong lacked mercy in countless instances and Tang Sanzang was continually naive and acts inconsistently or even hypocritically. Their two-dimensional individual characterization and negative portrayals can both be explained by dissonance with today's values and also by the fact that the novel's main characters was intended to be an allegory for the state of a ''single'' individual's spiritual journey - Each character represent a different aspect.

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* AchillesInHisTent: When Wukong quits the quest (sometimes at the same time as being fired by Tang Sang Zang) he goes back to his mountain kingdom of monkey demons.
demons, and does not come back until Tang Sanzang has been turned into a tiger and everyone has been trounced by the demon. Bajie is sent to plead for Wukong's help, but he doesn't succeed until he tricks Wukong by saying the demon was insulting him.
* ActionGirl: Several she-devils qualify as this when they're not busy seducing Tripitaka.
Tripitaka. Bonus points if they are animal demons and have fighting styles that match, i.e. spider demons.
* AdaptationalAttractiveness: The original novel gleefully describes how hideous Tripitaka's three disciples are at every opportunity ("face (Wukong apparently has red eyes and a "face like a thunder god"), and it's even a minor plot point at several parts. Most of the adaptations - especially the cartoons - tone this down a ''lot''.
* AdaptationalHeroism: The portrayal of Sun Wukong and Tang Sanzang in the novel aren't so noble compared to the more popular adaptations. In the original, Sun Wukong lacked mercy in countless instances and Tang Sanzang was continually naive and acts inconsistently or even hypocritically. Their two-dimensional individual characterization and negative portrayals can both be explained by dissonance with today's values and also by the fact that the novel's main characters was intended to be an allegory for the state of a ''single'' individual's spiritual journey - Each character represent a different aspect.aspect of human nature.



* AliensAndMonsters: The obstacles the pilgrims meet on their journey are nearly always caused or exacerbated by some immortal creature, and the solution is nearly always for Sun Wukong to beat that creature senseless. Maneuvering the creature into a place where the Monkey King can attack it draws out the plots.

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* AliensAndMonsters: The obstacles the pilgrims meet on their journey are nearly always caused or exacerbated by some immortal creature, and the solution is nearly always for Sun Wukong to beat that creature senseless. Maneuvering the creature into a place where the Monkey King can attack it draws out the plots. This can be read as political messaging: in Heaven's large bureaucracy, Wukong and co. must fight the corrupt demons abusing the mortal populace. Afterwards, the misbehaving Heavenly creature is taken back to Heaven to be dealt with.



** When Wukong demands a place in Heaven near the beginning, he gets assigned the job of Heavenly... Stable Boy. This becomes a ChekhovsSkill later in the story because all horses gain an innate respect/fear for Wukong because of this.

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** When Wukong demands a place in Heaven near the beginning, he gets assigned the job of Heavenly... Stable Boy. This becomes a ChekhovsSkill later in the story because all horses gain an innate respect/fear for Wukong because of this. Cultural joke because monkeys were once kept with horses because people believed they could keep horses healthy. Wukong's literal title for this job is "Ban Horse Plague."



** Sun Wukong manages to thrash the entire celestial army, but Erlangshen matches him in single combat. Also an example of ConservationOfNinjutsu.
** The Buddha is the one who finally and definitively subdues Wukong by dropping a mountain on him.
** Wukong also respects/fears the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin because she's got a bunch of equipment that can genuinely hurt him (she's the one who crafted the Headband of Agony), but also because she's usually nice to him.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: Xuanzang and company after they successfully bring back the sacred scriptures.
* BadassBoast: These are frequent and often in verse. Usually proceeded by "Listen to my recital."
* BigDamnHeroes: Sun Wukong and Zhu Bajie do it ''all the time''.
* BladeOnAStick: This is ancient China, so expect to see spears and halberds everywhere.

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** Sun Wukong manages to thrash the entire celestial army, but Erlangshen Erlang Shen matches him in single combat. You can read more into this if you remember Erlang Shen is supposed to have the same powers as Wukong. Also an example of ConservationOfNinjutsu.
ConservationOfNinjutsu.
** The Buddha is the one who finally and definitively subdues Wukong by winning their bet and dropping a mountain on him.
him.
** Wukong also respects/fears the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin because she's got a bunch of equipment that can genuinely hurt him (she's the one who crafted the Headband of Agony), but also because she's usually nice to him.
him and helps them out.
** In the book it's implied that the Big Three Religions/Representative Heads (Buddhism\Buddha, Taoism/Laozi, Confucianism\Jade Emperor) are having a power struggle in the background. Buddhism consistently wins out in many instances, although Laozi likes to show off every now and again too. The author also makes it a point that Buddha is the one that beats Wukong, and that Wukong has only kowtowed to three people: Buddha, Guanyin, and Xuanzang.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: Xuanzang and company after they successfully bring back the sacred scriptures.
scriptures. At least, Xuanzang and Wukong do. Bajie and Wujing were already immortals in the first place, and Wujing gets the best promotion as arhat. The dragon horse gets to be a naga.
* BadassBoast: These are frequent and often in verse. Usually proceeded by "Listen to my recital."
" Can be about everything from powers, to weapons, to really simple things. In later chapters, Wukong and Bajie do this just to recite their backstory for the demons' benefit.
* BigDamnHeroes: Sun Wukong and Zhu Bajie do it ''all the time''.
time''. The dragon horse tried it once, but didn't succeed. Wujing does not get to do this.
* BladeOnAStick: This is ancient China, so expect to see spears and halberds everywhere. And long, swoony poetry about their weapons.



** One FetchQuest was to get a magical fan so that they could blow out a supernaturally powerful volcano and pass through the area unharmed. Unfortunately, said magical fan was owned by [[MamaBear the mother of]] Hong Hai Er, whose ass Wukong had soundly kicked in an earlier story arc.

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** One FetchQuest was to get a magical fan so that they could blow out a supernaturally powerful volcano and pass through the area unharmed. Unfortunately, said magical fan was owned by Princess Iron Fan, the [[MamaBear the mother of]] Hong Hai Er, whose ass Wukong had soundly kicked in an earlier story arc.arc. Princess Iron Fan is not very welcoming. Unfortunately, they not only cannot continue on the quest without blowing out the volcano, the volcano was created by Wukong when he burst out of Laozi's Eight Trigrams Brazier.



** Wukong's weapon is an iron rod that is able to [[RetractableWeapon grow]] to an enormous size and is said to weigh ''8100kg''. (Acquired, full size, from an undersea dragon king that had no idea what to do with it. Which was then shrunk with monkey magic. And put behind Wukong's ear.) It also qualifies as SimpleStaff, or at least this is how Wukong usually uses it.

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** Wukong's weapon is an iron rod rod/cudgel that is able to [[RetractableWeapon grow]] to an enormous size and is said to weigh ''8100kg''. (Acquired, full size, from an undersea dragon king that had no idea what to do with it. Which was then shrunk with monkey magic. And put behind Wukong's ear.) It also qualifies as SimpleStaff, or at least this is how Wukong usually uses it.



* CasanovaWannabe: Bajie, who started the series blackmailing a girl to serve as his eventual bride and fights a continual battle against gluttony and lust. (The whole reason he ended up as a pig-demon in the first place was that he made inappropriate remarks to a fellow goddess. In one translation, he actually committed sexual harassment/tried to rape her.)
* CaveBehindTheFalls: Sun Wukong's home and some other fiendish lairs.
* CelestialBureaucracy: All of reality works because of the Emperor issuing decrees to lesser officials who do a given duty. For instance, he tells a water dragon where to send rain. Sun Wukong occasionally uses his connections/influence with certain officials to acquire some object or other objective.
* CelibateHero: Xuanzang is a celibate monk, but keeps getting abducted by beautiful women and female demons who find him attractive, good to eat, or ''both''. The big deal, is that [[AffablyEvil the female demons]] only want him for sex, which depending on the monster is either physically harmless (Xuanzang considers it AFateWorseThanDeath) or OutWithABang. Either way, they want ''him'' to make the first move and keep it consensual. Then there's the part that by having him consent to sex, he would be breaking his vows which is kind of important.

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* CasanovaWannabe: Bajie, who started The story introduces you to Bajie as a demon that Wukong must subdue, because he pretended to be a normal man and convinced a rich man to marry off his daughter to him. After he got drunk at the series blackmailing a wedding and his disguise wore off, he locked the girl to serve as his eventual bride in a part of the house and refused to let her leave. As the story goes on, Bajie fights a continual battle against gluttony and lust. (The whole reason he ended up as a pig-demon in the first place was that he made inappropriate remarks to a fellow goddess.Chang'E, the goddess of the moon. In one translation, he actually committed sexual harassment/tried to rape her.)
) Bajie does not improve by the end of the story, although that's largely because he represents the base human desires/id, including sexual desire.
* CaveBehindTheFalls: Sun Wukong's home and some other fiendish lairs.
lairs. Wukong's home is literally behind a giant waterfall. He becomes the Handsome Monkey King by betting the other monkeys he could jump through the waterfall. He does, finds the beautiful cavern home, and duly is crowned the Monkey King.
* CelestialBureaucracy: All of reality works because of the Emperor issuing decrees to lesser officials who do a given duty. For instance, he tells a water dragon where to send rain. Sun Wukong occasionally uses his connections/influence with certain officials to acquire some object or other objective.
objective. For someone who was sentenced as a criminal twice by Heaven, he gets along shockingly well with many Heavenly immortals. During the quest he manages to borrow a number of precious objects from other immortals, and also gets a few of them to help him fight off the demons.
* CelibateHero: Xuanzang is a celibate monk, but keeps getting abducted by beautiful women and female demons who find him attractive, good to eat, or ''both''.''both'' because of the rumor that eating Xuanzang would grant you immortality and magical power. For female demons, they get the option of not only eating Xuanzang, but also having sex with him to achieve the same goal. The big deal, is that [[AffablyEvil the female demons]] only want him for sex, which depending on the monster is either physically harmless (Xuanzang considers it AFateWorseThanDeath) or OutWithABang. Either way, they want ''him'' to make the first move and keep it consensual. Then there's the part that by having him consent to sex, he would be breaking his vows which is kind of important. Because monks believe that you should preserve your inner "essence" and not have sex, having sex was believed to remove some of that essence from you. Logically, male demons could do the same thing. A pity the author didn't think of that.



* ChronicHeroSyndrome: The Journey would not have taken nearly so long if Xuanzang didn't insist on helping everyone they met along the way. However, this is part of the point of the journey; we find out a certain number of trials is demanded by the Buddha as part of their quest to reach enlightenment, and he even adds an extra one after they've finally gotten the scriptures and are on their way back because he realized they're still one short.

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* ChronicHeroSyndrome: The Journey would not have taken nearly so long if Xuanzang didn't insist on helping everyone they met along the way. However, this is part of the point of the journey; we find out a certain number of trials is that 81 trials/hardships are demanded by the Buddha as part of their quest to reach enlightenment, and he even adds an extra one after they've finally gotten the scriptures and are on their way back because he realized they're still one short.short.



* DoNotTauntCthulhu: Wukong finally meets his match with Buddha, who imprisons him for 500 years.
* EnlightenmentSuperpower: Many of Sun Wukong's powers, including the shapeshifting, the ability to summon duplicates of himself, and the ability to leap large distances in a single bound, were gained as side-effects of studying the secrets of the universe under the sage Subhuti. Subhuti eventually asked him to leave when he realized he was more interested in the superpowers than the enlightenment.

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* DoNotTauntCthulhu: Wukong finally meets his match with Buddha, who imprisons him for 500 years.
years under a mountain after he wins their bet. The bet was that Wukong could somersault out of Buddha's palm. He does, and sees five pillars at the end of the earth. Wukong writes Great Sage Equal to Heaven was Here, and then pees on one of the pillars, and somersaults back. Then Buddha shows him his hand, which says the same message on it and even smells faintly of monkey pee. Buddha then flips his hand over and traps him under the Five Phases Mountain to lie there until Guanyin recruits him for Xuanzang's journey.
* EnlightenmentSuperpower: Many of Sun Wukong's powers, including the shapeshifting, the ability to summon duplicates of himself, and the ability to leap large distances in a single bound, were gained as side-effects of studying the secrets of the universe under the sage Subhuti. Subhuti eventually asked him to leave when he realized he was more interested in the superpowers than the enlightenment.enlightenment, and forbids Wukong from telling anyone who he learned his skills from.



* EvilTwin: The whole team ends up with their own Dopplegangers; naturally, Sun Wukong's is the hardest to deal with.

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* EvilTwin: The After Wukong is falsely accused of murdering some bandits, Xuanzang kicks him out of the group again and Wukong runs off in tears. Then Xuanzang runs into another Wukong that knocks him out and steals their stuff. By the end of the story, the whole team ends up with their own Dopplegangers; naturally, Sun Wukong's is the hardest to deal with.with. Buddha later explains the fake Wukong is actualy a six-eared macaque, although the animal had never been heard of before and never again makes an appearance in the series. The fake Wukong could represent Xuanzang's own false beliefs about Wukong's character, and at the end he is set right. Conspiracy theories have suggested it could have been Wukong's own double, and he did it to get back at Xuanzang.



* GiantSpider: The Seven Spider Ladies.
* HornyDevils: At least three female demons (the Scorpion Woman, the Earth Flow Lady and the Jade Hare) are very beautiful and want to achieve immortality by taking Tripitaka's "yang". (or having sex with him, if you prefer.)

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* GiantSpider: The Seven Spider Ladies.
Ladies. Bonus points for them being sexy and having webs everywhere.
* HornyDevils: At least three female demons (the Scorpion Woman, the Earth Flow Lady and the Jade Hare) are very beautiful and want to achieve immortality by taking Tripitaka's "yang". (or having sex with him, if you prefer.)) Literal evil temptation.



* IAteWhat: Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing trick some Taoists into drinking [[ToiletHumor their urine]] by passing it off as holy water.
* ImpossibleTask: Jumping out of the Buddha's palm. Monkey's legendary leap only takes him to the end of the Buddha's fingers.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Zhu Bajie's rake. Other examples include pots, bells, cymbals, an iron gorse, a scraper and a pestle. That said, a weapon that looked very much like a rake was actually used as a part of Chinese warfare at one point.
* InASingleBound: Wukong can travel "108,000 ''li''" in a single backflip.[[note]]That's about 35,000 to 45,000 kilometres depending on what definition you use for "li", an ancient Chinese unit of length that has varied considerably over the centuries. For comparison, the length of the equator is about 40,000 km.[[/note]] It's basically hyperbole for "a very long distance" and OneHundredAndEight is a significant number in Buddhism.

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* IAteWhat: Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing trick some Taoists into drinking [[ToiletHumor their urine]] by passing it off as holy water.
water. The Taoists get mad and challenge the four travelers to various magical challenges, like meditating on a stack of tables, using magic to survive decapitation, and taking a bath in boiling oil. Wukong makes sure to succeed in all of them, and then uses the challenges to kill off each of the Taoists.
* ImpossibleTask: Jumping out of the Buddha's palm. Monkey's legendary leap only takes him to the end of the Buddha's fingers. It's an allegory.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Zhu Bajie's nine jade-toothed rake. Other examples include pots, bells, cymbals, an iron gorse, a scraper and a pestle. That said, a weapon that looked very much like a rake was actually used as a part of Chinese warfare at one point.
* InASingleBound: Wukong can travel "108,000 ''li''" in a single backflip.[[note]]That's about 35,000 to 45,000 kilometres depending on what definition you use for "li", an ancient Chinese unit of length that has varied considerably over the centuries. For comparison, the length of the equator is about 40,000 km.[[/note]] It's basically hyperbole for "a very long distance" and OneHundredAndEight is a significant number in Buddhism.Buddhism, because it's a multiple of nine.



* InformedAbility: Tripitaka's much-vaunted holiness is undercut by his tendency to tell petty lies, his readiness to torture Sun Wukong, and the fact that his Buddhist stoicism breaks down any time he thinks his journey might be delayed. He also stops asking his disciples not to kill after the first couple of times.
* InspiredBy: The historical journey of Xuanzang to India - except he did it with a handful of human assistants and even made a few legs of the trip by himself.

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* InformedAbility: Tripitaka's much-vaunted holiness is undercut by his tendency to tell petty lies, how easily he can be swayed by Bajie, his readiness to torture Sun Wukong, and the fact that his Buddhist stoicism breaks down any time he thinks his journey might be delayed. He also stops asking his disciples not to kill after the first couple of times. Allegorical as he represents the normal person and their struggle between human nature and englightenment.
* InspiredBy: The historical journey of Xuanzang to India - except he mostly did it the entire thing himself, occasionally with a handful of human assistants assistants. Real Xuanzang is also a badass: When he left he defied the emperor's order that no one leave the kingdom and even made a few legs snuck out, therefore putting himself at risk for decapitation. The Buddhist Sutras he brought back and translated became the basis for East Asian Buddhism, and his detailed records about his journey and what he saw became the foundation for historians' understanding of the trip by himself.Silk Road.



** All the gods in the series, to some extent, are this. They know full well that they can subdue all the monsters on Earth and save countless humans, yet they refuse to do so. It's only when the monsters get in Xuanzang's way that they decide to take action. The fact that many monsters were formerly their pets, and only became monsters because they failed to contain them increases their moral failing.

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** All the gods in the series, to some extent, are this. They know full well that they can subdue all the monsters on Earth and save countless humans, yet they refuse to do so. It's only when the monsters get in Xuanzang's way that they decide to take action. The fact that many monsters were formerly their pets, and only became monsters because they failed to contain them increases their moral failing. Sort of excused by saying that Heaven orchestrated this whole journey for Xuanzang, and made sure there were enough demons along the way to challenge him. But Heaven can also just be cruel in general...
** In one story, a kingdom had been suffering under a heavy drought for years, because the king once had an argument with his wife and he got so mad he overturned the table of offerings for Heaven onto the floor. Then he let the dogs clean it up. To answer this double insult, Heaven organized for a mountain of rice, a mountain of flour, and a padlock hanging above a single lamp. Until this one chicken ate all the rice, and one dog licked up all the flour, AND the padlock finally melted, Heaven would not grant rain to the kingdom.



* JustEatHim: Some larger devils try to get rid of Sun Wukong by swallowing him. They end up with an awful case of stomach ache to say the least.
* KillerRabbit: Even a ''goldfish'' can turn into a fearsome ogre.
* KilroyWasHere: Wukong leaves his name (and piss) on what he thinks is a mighty pillar when trying to escape from Buddha's grasp. Nope, those were Buddha's fingers.

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* JustEatHim: Some larger devils try to get rid of Sun Wukong by swallowing him. They end up with an awful case of stomach ache to say the least.
least. In some stories Wukong realizes how effective his threats are when he says them inside someone's stomach, so he actively finds ways to get swallowed in order to rescue Xuanzang.
* KillerRabbit: Even a ''goldfish'' can turn into a fearsome ogre.
ogre. To make it worse, it was one of Guanyin's goldfish, and the demon had been forcing the village to sacrifice small children for him to eat once a year.
* KilroyWasHere: Wukong leaves his name (and piss) on what he thinks is a mighty pillar when trying to escape from Buddha's grasp. Nope, those were Buddha's fingers. It's an allegory.



* LetsYouAndHimFight: Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing each fight Sun Wukong before discovering that they're on the same side.

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* LetsYouAndHimFight: Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing each fight Sun Wukong before discovering that they're on the same side. Then they each give up their demon lifestyle and become one of Xuanzang's disciples.



* LivingForeverIsAwesome: There are no end to mortals who 'cultivated their conduct' and/or 'refined their spirit' to become immortal and love it. The Wuzhuang temple has a community of immortals because of a tree that produces life extending fruit and are extremely protective of it.
* {{MacGuffin}}: The scriptures in the Thunder Monastary are the reason for the pilgrimage.
* MadeOfIndestructium: Wukong survived being thrown into a godly fire, said to be able to '''kill immortals and gods''', for '''49 days'''! That he had previously gorged himself on the Peaches of Immortality, the Elixir of Immortality, and the Pills of Immortality helped. In fact, all the fire did (having originally been used to produce the immortality medicines) was cause them to harden inside his body, making him not just immortal but [[NighInvulnerable Made of Diamond]] as well. The smoke of the fire also affected Wukong's eyes, granting him the ability to see through illusions, disguises and transformations. Some versions of the story however state that Wukong survived because he stood in the currents of wind made by the fanning of the servants to keep the fire going. Either way, Heaven really screwed itself over big time.
* MisterSeahorse: Although it was averted before something actually happened, there is a section of the novel (beginning in chapter 53) about Sun Wukong [[spoiler: going to retrieve a pregnancy antidote because Zhu Bajie and Xuanzang unknowingly drank magical pregnancy-inducing river water flowing through a town filled with nothing but women]].
* MorphicResonance: An extreme case -- although his 72 transformations include many perfectly shaped animal disguises, Sun Wukong can only turn his ''head'' into that of a human and must conceal the rest of his body.

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* LivingForeverIsAwesome: There are no end to mortals who 'cultivated their conduct' and/or 'refined their spirit' to become immortal and love it. The Wuzhuang temple has a community of immortals because of a ginsheng tree that produces life extending fruit and are extremely protective of it.it. The Jade Emperor has immortality-granting peaches and immortality wine, and Laozi can make immortality pills. Wukong manages to consume a surprising amount of all of these things.
** Many yaoguai are either secretly minor immortals or immortal creatures, or are animals that have cultivated their conduct and begun working towards enlightenment.
* {{MacGuffin}}: The Three Baskets scriptures in the Thunder Monastary Monastery are the reason for the pilgrimage.
* MadeOfIndestructium: Wukong survived being thrown into a godly brazier filled with samadhi fire, said to be able to '''kill immortals and gods''', for '''49 days'''! That he had previously gorged himself on the Peaches of Immortality, the Elixir of Immortality, and the Pills of Immortality helped. In fact, all the fire did (having originally been used to produce the immortality medicines) was cause them to harden inside his body, making him not just immortal but [[NighInvulnerable Made of Diamond]] as well. The smoke of the fire also affected Wukong's eyes, granting him the ability to see through illusions, disguises and transformations. Some versions of the story however state that Wukong survived because he stood in the currents of wind made by the fanning of the servants to keep the fire going. Either way, Heaven really screwed itself over big time.
* MisterSeahorse: Although it was averted before something actually happened, there is a section of the novel (beginning in chapter 53) about Sun Wukong [[spoiler: going to retrieve a pregnancy antidote because Zhu Bajie and Xuanzang unknowingly drank magical pregnancy-inducing river water flowing through a town filled with nothing but women]].
women. Wukong then has to fight a demon that's been hoarding the magical abortion water to himself, before Bajie and Xuanzang have to give birth.
* MorphicResonance: An extreme case -- although his 72 transformations include many perfectly shaped animal disguises, Sun Wukong can only turn his ''head'' into that of a human and must conceal the rest of his body. His tail also comically, never seems to cooperate with the transformations.



* NonActionGuy: Xuanzang does nothing but pray and complain and despair.

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** In one instance, Wukong acts as a traditional Chinese medicine doctor and takes a king's pulse and diagnosis, in another room, with only some thread tied to the king's wrist. The diagnosis was heartache and severe constipation. In another instance, Wukong puts out a fire happening miles away by taking a glass of wine and throwing it behind him.
** This is partly because Chinese mythology largely does not have specific hardline rules regarding powers. Some deities have specialties, but very few specific limits and even less regard for rules like physics. Wukong maanges to stay in over-powered territory and avoids going into Mary-Sue territory because Journey to the West is still a Chinese story. The overarching theme is that Heaven still holds all the cards, and you are merely a pawn on Heaven's chessboard. You can't fight destiny or change your fate. As a political allegory, Wukong is refreshing as a character with the ability to see the truth and the strength to see it through, no matter how powerful the higher authority is or how restrictive the class hierarchy is. It's a novel concept for a culture deeply steeped in Confucianism's idea of don't rock the boat.
* NonActionGuy: Xuanzang does nothing but pray and complain and despair. Ironically, his nine-ringed staff is a khakkhara, which monks can use to fight with. He does not use it to fight.



* OneManArmy: During the journey, Wukong is able to fight and defeat just about every {{Mook}}, EliteMook and the fricking Dragon of the Heavens, each said to fight like a god himself. Before that, he fought the heavenly army of 100,000 strong ''at the same time'', ripped through heaven's greatest champions and not just survived every single thing they could throw at him, but HE GOT EVEN STRONGER. By the time he was punished by the Buddha, he was on the brink of actually becoming the Emperor of heaven himself.
* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: The Dragon King of the Eastern Ocean has in his armory a piece of magic iron that was used to measure the depth of the Milky Way. It is 20 feet long and as thick as a barrel. No dragon can lift it. Then one day it begins to glow, and soon Wukong arrives seeking a weapon. He picks up the rod and tells it to become smaller: it shrinks to fit him (but is still as thick as a rice bowl and weighs many thousand pounds). He can get it to be any size he wants, and when not in use, he reduces it to the size of a needle and stores it in his ear.

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* OneManArmy: During the journey, Wukong is able to fight and defeat just about every {{Mook}}, EliteMook and the fricking Dragon of the Heavens, each said to fight like a god himself. Before that, he fought the heavenly army of 100,000 strong ''at the same time'', ripped through heaven's greatest champions and not just survived every single thing they could throw at him, but HE GOT EVEN STRONGER. By the time he was punished by the Buddha, he was on the brink of actually becoming the Emperor of heaven Heaven himself.
* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: The Dragon King of the Eastern Ocean has in his armory a piece of magic iron that was used to measure the depth of the Milky Way. It is 20 feet long and as thick as a barrel. No dragon one can lift it. Then one day it begins to glow, and soon Wukong arrives seeking a weapon. He picks up the rod and tells it to become smaller: it shrinks to fit him (but is still as thick as a rice bowl and weighs many thousand pounds). He can get it to be any size he wants, and when not in use, he reduces it to the size of a needle and stores it in his ear.



** Xuanzang rides one, after the dragon submits to being made into a horse as penance for his errors.

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** It may also be culture shock for some to see the Dragon Kings talk and act like regular people, including having pretty human-looking wives. Generally they are depicted as standing upright, wearing richly-made silk robes, and participating in Heaven's bureaucracy.
** Xuanzang rides one, after the dragon submits to being made into a horse as penance for his errors. The dragon is also a prince, and like the other dragons, can turn into a human.



* OutOfFocus: As one Website/DeviantArt user said, "No one likes you, Yu Lung. Not even your dad." The author even seems to occasionally forget he's not a real horse and what ''few'' moments of action he does are only because Wukong's gone and everyone else has been captured.

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* OutOfFocus: As one Website/DeviantArt user said, "No one likes you, Yu Lung. Not even your dad." The author even seems to occasionally forget he's not a real horse and what ''few'' moments of action he does are only because Wukong's gone and everyone else has been captured. He also never gets an actual name, and is only referred to by different nicknames.



* PurpleProse: It's not purple ''prose'', it's friggin' purple '''''poetry''''', but descriptive asides peppering the novel defy any other definition. It gets downright [[UpToEleven florid]] when they reach Thorn Ridge and Xuanzang takes part in essentially a freestyle poetry jam.

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* PurpleProse: It's not purple ''prose'', it's friggin' purple '''''poetry''''', but descriptive asides peppering the novel defy any other definition. It gets downright [[UpToEleven florid]] when they reach Thorn Ridge and Xuanzang takes part in essentially a freestyle poetry jam.jam with some magical sentient human-looking trees. One is an female apricot tree that tries to seduce him after he's shown off his superior poetry skills.



* QuestToTheWest: The whole premise and reason for the novel is Xuanzang has to bring the holy books from India, and he needs protection and help on the way, opening the way to a lot of wacky hijinks.

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* QuestToTheWest: The whole premise and reason for the novel is Xuanzang has to bring the holy books Three Baskets sutras from India, and he needs protection and help on the way, opening the way to a lot of wacky hijinks.hijinks. This four-people quest format has led to a lot of adaptations and loosely inspired works, such as Inuyasha.



* RestrainingBolt: Sun Wukong has a circlet around his head which contracts if Xuanzang says the command phrase and is most often used when Wukong goes on a ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill rampage. Rather hilariously, his demon companions trick Xuanzang into saying the word every chance they get. It becomes particularly relevant to the plot when dealing with the EvilTwin.

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* RestrainingBolt: Sun Wukong has a circlet around his head which contracts if Xuanzang says the command phrase chants a sutra and is most often used when Wukong goes on a ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill rampage. Rather hilariously, his demon companions trick Xuanzang into saying the word every chance they get. It becomes particularly relevant to the plot when dealing with the EvilTwin.EvilTwin.
** Allegorical as Wukong represents Xuanzang's mind and an enlightened mind. There are times when Xuanzang doesn't believe Wukong is telling the truth and punishes him by giving him magical migraines, thus showing that Xuanzang isn't enlightened yet.



* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Sun Wukong's teacher, Bodhi/Bhuti/Subhuti.

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** Take a drink everytime Wukong or someone else mentions his past conflict with Heaven, or whenever Bajie is complaining or being lazy.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Sun Wukong's teacher, Bodhi/Bhuti/Subhuti.Bodhi/Bhuti/Subhuti/Xuputi.



* SummonBiggerFish: As powerful as Sun Wukong and his companions are, occasionally they encounter threats beyond their ability to deal with. Often, they have to get help from Guan Yin, Buddha, or other gods to help subdue the demons they are fighting. Or, very occasionally, the horse, when the author actually remembers that said horse ''is a transformed dragon.''

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* SummonBiggerFish: As powerful as Sun Wukong and his companions are, occasionally they encounter threats beyond their ability to deal with. Often, they have to get help from Guan Yin, Buddha, or other gods to help subdue the demons they are fighting. Or, very occasionally, the horse, when the author actually remembers that said horse ''is a transformed dragon.'''' This also lets the author do immortal cameos with Nezha and other important deities.
15th Jan '18 9:05:31 PM PaulA
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In the novel, Xuanzang, at the request of the bodhisattva Guan Yin, is accompanied by three supernatural beings who have been assigned to guide and protect him as penance for past misdeeds, to go on a quest to retrieve the Three Baskets scriptures from the West/India. Xuanzang is also called Tripitaka/Sanzang which is the name of the Three Baskets Scriptures in Chinese. Zhu Bajie, pig-like in appearance and a greedy hog in behavior, and Sha Wujing, a river monster whose fierce appearance belies his thoughtful nature, are former heavenly dignitaries exiled to their current existences. The third companion is Sun Wukong.

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In the novel, Xuanzang, at the request of the bodhisattva Guan Yin, is accompanied by three supernatural beings who have been assigned to guide and protect him as penance for past misdeeds, to go on a quest to retrieve the Three Baskets scriptures from the West/India. Xuanzang is also called Tripitaka/Sanzang Sanzang, which is the name of the Three Baskets Scriptures in Chinese.Chinese, or Tripitaka, which is their name in Sanskrit. Zhu Bajie, pig-like in appearance and a greedy hog in behavior, and Sha Wujing, a river monster whose fierce appearance belies his thoughtful nature, are former heavenly dignitaries exiled to their current existences. The third companion is Sun Wukong.
15th Jan '18 5:54:33 PM heroisback
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In the novel, Xuanzang (also called Tripitaka, a Chinese-Sanskrit [[BilingualBonus bilingual pun]] that can't be explained concisely in English), at the request of the bodhisattva Guan Yin, is accompanied by three supernatural beings who have been assigned to guide and protect him as penance for past misdeeds. Zhu Bajie, pig-like in appearance and a greedy hog in behavior, and Sha Wujing, a river monster whose fierce appearance belies his thoughtful nature, are former heavenly dignitaries exiled to their current existences. The third companion is Sun Wukong.

to:

In the novel, Xuanzang (also called Tripitaka, a Chinese-Sanskrit [[BilingualBonus bilingual pun]] that can't be explained concisely in English), Xuanzang, at the request of the bodhisattva Guan Yin, is accompanied by three supernatural beings who have been assigned to guide and protect him as penance for past misdeeds.misdeeds, to go on a quest to retrieve the Three Baskets scriptures from the West/India. Xuanzang is also called Tripitaka/Sanzang which is the name of the Three Baskets Scriptures in Chinese. Zhu Bajie, pig-like in appearance and a greedy hog in behavior, and Sha Wujing, a river monster whose fierce appearance belies his thoughtful nature, are former heavenly dignitaries exiled to their current existences. The third companion is Sun Wukong.
9th Nov '17 9:45:44 PM PaulA
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** Sun Wukong manages to thrash the entire celestial army, but Erlangshen matches him in single combat. Also an example of ConservationOfNinjitsu.

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** Sun Wukong manages to thrash the entire celestial army, but Erlangshen matches him in single combat. Also an example of ConservationOfNinjitsu.ConservationOfNinjutsu.



* ConservationOfNinjitsu: Any time a large group of nameless beings appear expect them to be be defeated by a single character to showcase how powerful said character is.

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* ConservationOfNinjitsu: ConservationOfNinjutsu: Any time a large group of nameless beings appear expect them to be be defeated by a single character to showcase how powerful said character is.
9th Nov '17 8:15:08 PM seekquaze1
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Added DiffLines:

* ConservationOfNinjitsu: Any time a large group of nameless beings appear expect them to be be defeated by a single character to showcase how powerful said character is.
** In the opening chapter, Monkey almost single-handidly with the aid of his clones routes the best warriors of Heaven along with 100,000 heavenly troops only to be defeated by Erlang Shen.
** Whenever the group encounters large numbers of nameless demons expect Monkey or Pigsy to kill all of them on their own.
** Monkey suffers from this whenever he uses he makes copies of himself once the journey begins. The demon he is fighting always has a power or weapon that defeats the copies.
22nd Oct '17 4:27:55 PM Vilui
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While it is popular in Japan, it's omnipresent in its native China. For example, there was a 1980's ''Journey to the West'' TV series in China that was so popular, it's said that to this day there's always at least one television station rerunning it anywhere in the nation (and also in Vietnam, where it's just as famous and widely loved.) The show is amusing even if you don't understand Chinese. Jeff Lau's ''Film/AChineseOdyssey'' films renewed the popularity of the novel for young Hong Kong audiences during the mid-'90s.

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While it is popular in Japan, it's omnipresent in its native China. For example, there was a 1980's 1980s ''Journey to the West'' TV series in China that was so popular, it's said that to this day there's always at least one television station rerunning it anywhere in the nation (and also in Vietnam, where it's just as famous and widely loved.) The show is amusing even if you don't understand Chinese. Jeff Lau's ''Film/AChineseOdyssey'' films renewed the popularity of the novel for young Hong Kong audiences during the mid-'90s.
19th Oct '17 10:44:54 AM lalunaticscribe
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While it is popular in Japan, it's omnipresent in its native China. For example, there was a 1980's ''Journey to the West'' TV series in China that was so popular, it's said that to this day there's always at least one television station rerunning it anywhere in the nation (and also in Vietnam, where it's just as famous and widely loved.) The show is amusing even if you don't understand Chinese. Jeff Lau's ''Chinese Odyssey'' films renewed the popularity of the novel for young Hong Kong audiences during the mid-'90s.

to:

While it is popular in Japan, it's omnipresent in its native China. For example, there was a 1980's ''Journey to the West'' TV series in China that was so popular, it's said that to this day there's always at least one television station rerunning it anywhere in the nation (and also in Vietnam, where it's just as famous and widely loved.) The show is amusing even if you don't understand Chinese. Jeff Lau's ''Chinese Odyssey'' ''Film/AChineseOdyssey'' films renewed the popularity of the novel for young Hong Kong audiences during the mid-'90s.
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