Monkey King Lite
Characters that are based on The Monkey King, even when the story isn't an interpretation of Journey to the West
The Monkey Kinglite is a character trope that occurs frequently in anime/manga, and occasionally in other media as well. It is, in essence, a character that is based on Son Wukong from Journey to the West, to a greater or lesser degree. There are many traits that define a Monkey King character, and most don't fit EVERY trait unless the story is expressly based on Journey to the West. The traits include:
- The Monkey King is always, always, always The Hero and The Heart, and almost always The Leader and The Protagonist.
- Has a very high metabolism, which is reflected in having a huge appetite without getting fat.
- Makes friends everywhere he goes, even to the point of having former enemies admit that he's pretty cool.
- Has a motley troupe of characters following him around.
- Takes the concept of friendship very seriously, and gets upset when others threaten his friends or treat their own supposed friends poorly.
- Tends to be on the naive side, often having an overly simplistic view of things. As a result, he also tends to be very straightforward in his methodology.
- May not be the most technically proficient fighter in his group, but the character will more than make up for that by being very creative in combat, making up new tactics on the spot to try to overcome his enemy's strengths.
- Makes light of even dangerous situations, until someone pisses him off.
- Never gives up a serious fight while he's still conscious.
- Sometimes has a staff, frequently telescoping.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Dragon Ball
- Monkey D Luffy from One Piece is one of the purest Monkey King characters from a show that isn't a riff on Journey to the West. When his group isn't in a tense situation (and sometimes even when they are), he talks about food, and especially meat. He is fiercely loyal to his nakama (true friends), and gets pissed when he sees others casually abusing their followers, such as Captain Kuro. After being defeated by Luffy in the first episode, "Iron Mace" Alvida becomes infatuated with Luffy, and tracks him to Loguetown. He even has the "telescoping staff" - built in!
- Naruto fits this trope very closely. He talks about eating ramen frequently (particularly in the first season). He fights much more fiercely when he's fighting to protect his friends and classmates (even when he's fighting against the classmates, such as his frequent fights against Sasuke). All of his classmates are much better ninja than Naruto (Naruto nearly flunked out of Ninja school, even!), but his massive pool of chakra from the Ninetails allows him to pull off much more impressive and powerful moves. There are numerous instances when a major foe deals a blow that they believe would kill anyone, but Naruto not only survives, but keeps fighting.
- Ken Khan of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, who is a monkey that wields a staff.
- Captain Carrot of the DiscWorld series - Before character development, he's incredibly naive (he once arrested the head of the Thieves Guild for thieving, and was staying in the attic of a brothel not realizing it was a brothel; he thought they were friendly). Later he's just very simple, though 'simple' doesn't mean 'stupid'. As for his motley troupe, he's second in command of the Ankh Morpork city watch, which has dwarfs, trolls, humans, gnomes, werewolves, and a Nobby Nobbs (whose human, and has a certificate which proves it). He is The Hero and The Heart, though The Leader and The Protagonist roles are both taken by Commander Vimes. As for making friends, he has a nearly magical charisma; he once stopped two angry mobs by calling out every individual by name and shaming them into stopping. No staff, doesn't really make light of dangerous situations. Not a really proficient fighter, simply as direct an honorable there as in other things, though he has a punch that even trolls (large, living stone creatures) have to respect.
- League of Legends has Wukong The Monkey King as a playable character amongst its huge roster. He starts out as a super-intelligent monkey from the Plague Jungles with a drive to be the best at everything, then encounters Master Yi, the last surviving practitioner of Wuju Style martial arts. Yi agrees to show Wukong the human world in exchange for becoming his apprentice and agreeing to pass on what he learns someday. He fights with a variable length staff, can summon a nimbus cloud (and uses it in his idle animations), can create illusionary clones of himself, and turns to stone upon death.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, the Monkey King from the Journey to the West story is brought back to life through magic. He's one of the most dangerous villains Jackie encounters over the whole series, strictly because he is a trickster who takes everything as a joke. For example, he tries to make a volcano erupt with gelatin (it's far more dangerous than it sounds).
- Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang shows a very carefree spirit, particularly in early seasons of Avatar. He fights with a staff, preferring not to use his bending abilities in combat unless forced to. Several of his former foes (most notably Zuko) end up befriending him.
- The Soul Series has two particular examples, who take different aspects. Killik is the much more serious hero, who takes a lot more of the loyal parts, not to mention being The Leader to his little group. Xiba on the other hand, is a much more obvious example, being a typical trickster and constantly fixated on food to the point of shouting "FOOD!" as his Death Cry. Both characters are bojutsu practitioners, with their primary weapons (the Kali-Yuga for Kilik; the Three Karmas and, later, the Kali-Yuga for Xiba) being based on Sun Wukong's Ruyi Jingu Bang (both also have extra weapons more closely inspired by the Ruyi Jingu Bang, the Jingu Staff). Kilik is known for his ability to absorb and purify evil energy via the Kali-Yuga (taught to him by his master, Edge Master), which could very well be drawn from the Monkey King's power to detect evil through his huoyan-jinjing ("fiery-eyes golden-gaze"). Kilik is a Warrior Monk who no longer has a real home to go back to and travels the land stamping out evil; one of Sun Wukong's titles was Xingzhe, meaning "ascetic" (as in a wandering monk). Xiba, however, carries more of the Monkey King imagery. Likely an orphan (as well as, according to Japanese sourcebooks, the estranged son of both Kilik and Xianghua), he is said to have been born on the Zhen Hang Mountain, suggesting that he raised himself in the wild; this matches up with accounts of Sun Wukong's early life. Xiba wears a tiger pelt around his waist which gives off the illusion of him having a tail. Several of his moves are named after monkeys and his overall style resembles the staff fighting branch of Monkey Kung Fu (Hou Gun), while his Critical Edge is named Kong's Dance of Qi Tian Da Sheng, Qitian Dasheng ("Great Sage, Equal of Heaven") being another one of Sun Wukong's titles.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Pinkie Pie is a hearty, heroic character. She's bombastic, she's full of humour, she eats like ten, she has high (though not inexhaustible) stamina, she's very friendly, has Ping-Pong Na´vetÚ but is usually just plain naive, she makes friends everywhere, she fights very creatively, she doesn't have a telescoping staff but she uses Hammer Space to great effect, she takes friendship extremely seriously and is loyal to her friends above all else, and anyone hurting her friends is in big trouble.
- Mr. Bogus is often depicted as a heroic and versatile character, despite the fact that he is actually a gremlin. To elaborate, he is rather clumsy, has a humongous appetite (sometimes gaining a Balloon Belly from his ravenous appetite), will do good deeds most of the time, can stand his ground against any enemy that comes his way, and, like Pinkie Pie, also uses Hammerspace for the current situation that befalls him.
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