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Sun Wukong/Son Gokuu AKA Monkey
- Adaptational Heroism: The original version of Sun Wukong kills wantonly as soon as he is not within the presence of the Tang monk. For instance, during a period when he was dismissed by the Tang Monk, he wiped out a group of hunters who killed many of his fellow monkeys. Popular adaptations had him sparing the hunters, as well as merely injuring minor antagonists instead of killing them as he did in the original, possibly due to Sanzang's deeds growing on him.
- Almighty Janitor: Before he finally became a Buddha, his official job in Heaven was a stableboy, until he found out how unimportant the job was (i.e. the very lowest post in the hierarchy) and stormed off back to earth. As a side-effect, all Earthly horses love and admire him, because they can sense he was once a celestial groom.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: No matter who you are, he is a better fighter than you and will demonstrate if you say otherwise.
- Berserk Button: One reliable way to piss him off is to call him Protector Of The Horse.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Blood Knight: Occasionally there will be a circumstance that can be resolved peacefully/quickly via sneak attack but he will insist on a proper fight.
- Born as an Adult: From a stone.
- Breakout Character: Despite Triptaka technically being the protagonist, it's Son Wukong who everyone remembers.
- Character Development: Journey to the West is as much about Son Wukong learning the value of kindness, humility and compassion as it is about him kicking demon-ass.
- Chaste Hero: He was never interested in that type of things, even when he was a demon. Though he does flirt with the Iron Fan Princess (while disguised as her husband) and later pretends to be a harmless boy to lure a blood-sucking demoness, he always stops before going all the way through.
- Depending on the Writer: He ranges from a fully fledged Byronic Hero without a decent bone in his body to a bad-tempered Jerk with a Heart of Gold who only needed love and patience to truly grow up.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Handsome King of the Monkeys!
- Exact Words: He doesn't like following Sangzang's orders so he gets around them with this trope. For example, Sangzang said "Never kill anyone." So when a group of greedy monks tried to kill them both to steal Sangzang's cossack, Monkey didn't kill them. Instead he fanned the flames of the fire they started to ensure their monastary burned down.
- Folk Hero: In real life for bringing back buddhist scriptures.
- Fountain of Expies: One of the biggest examples, ever. He has everything from serious homages (Goku from Dragon Ball; who even has the same exact name as him) to parodies (a play during Love Hina).
- Good Is Not Nice: While he's supposed to be a devot buddhist, he's still a jerk.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: It doesn't take much to set him off and there's a hubris to match.
- The Hero: For a given value of "hero" but he is the star of the work and the one doing the heavy lifting plot wise. He also becomes more heroic as the Journey continues, and even at the start of the story, he is motivated by concern for his monkey subjects.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: His (often mean-spirited) pranks are played for laughs.
- Hot-Blooded: He has little patience and loves to dive head long in action.
- I Have Many Names: In order they are: Stone Monkey, Handsome Monkey King, Protector of the Horse, Equaling Heaven Great Sage, Sun Wukong (Monkey Who Realises Emptiness), Buddha Victorious In Battle.
- Immortality Seeker: He originally left the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit to become immortal.
- It Amused Me: Half his actions are for his own amusement. The other half is bailing the group out of trouble.
- Jerkass Gods: He is one, and he also showcases just how the other gods in heaven can be ones.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: After much much character development he becomes a heroic character that is kind of a dick sometimes.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Back when he was mortal he sought out immortality and only regretted it once; when he was trapped under that mountain.
- Maniac Monkeys: Before being sealed away, he tried to take over Heaven and had the power of a Physical God.
- Manly Tears: Sheds them for the first time after Tripitaka forgives him and takes him back in (the first time), and with some surprising-regularity later on when he gains a sense of compassion.
- Morphic Resonance: Wukong can use Taoist arts to perfectly change into many different animals — but if he tries to become a human, he can only change his head and must conceal his monkey body.
- Munchkin: In the first seven chapters all his actions are about gaining things for himself: the most powers, the best weapon, the best armor, the greatest title, etc.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Even demonic weapons wield by powerful monsters bend and crack on his head after hitting him.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Monkey is only interested in joining the pilgrimage in the first place because it was join, or stay under the mountain for the rest of eternity. Afterwards, he comes along only in hopes of getting the Circlet of Headaches off his head. Eventually he comes to genuinely care about Tang Sangzang as a father figure that he loves and respects.
- Number Two: The first disciple is the senior disciple which means he has authority over Pigsy and Sandy.
- One-Man Army: In the first part of the story, Monkey takes on the entire military force of Heaven. He wins singlehandedly, although this is more of Conservation of Ninjutsu, because in a few other story arcs he has to seek help to deal with certain demons.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Due to wounded ego and bruised pride more than anything; life on earth was pretty sweet for him, he just got so arrogant he thought he should be a god as well.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: He has red-colored eyes since that little sojourn inside Lao Zi's kiln.
- Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: He likes reminding people that he trashed Heaven.
- Restraining Bolt: To be able to control him, Tripitaka tricked Monkey into putting on a magical headband so that he could cause Monkey intense headaches whenever he got up to mischief.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Often uses his supernatural contacts to bail the group of trouble but just as often the trope is inverted: the person in question won't help the group because they know him.
- Screw The Rules I Have Super Natural Powers: The Jade Emperor, Ruler of Heaven, will relax any kind of rule concerning him because of his tremendous power.
- Simple Staff: The As-You-Will crudel but Monkey's is by no means simple. Not only can it hit hard enough to take down gods, but it can extend to any length (from toothpick size to several hundred miles long) and provide Monkey with a bridge to heaven.
- Small Name, Big Ego: At first when he was a mere monkey king that called himself "Great Sage Equalling Heaven". Skip 500 years and his reputation has caught up with his ego and lesser gods voluntarily call him "Great Sage".
- Smug Super: Monkey is incredibly powerful, and unbelievably full of himself as a result.
- Stock Super Powers: His sheer variety of powers and the feats he can do as a result.
- Super Strength: His trademark Compliant Staff is really freakin' heavy, yet he said all other weapons were "too light".
- Not Quite Flight: His cloud jumping allows him to reach Heaven In a Single Bound or cross an ocean. Though he is capable of actual flight as well.
- Nigh Invulnerable: The reason the Buddha dropped a mountain on him is because the gods failed in outright destroying him.
- Self-Duplication: One of Monkey's signature moves has him pulling out a bunch of his hair and blowing on them, resulting in each hair turning into a clone of him.
- Enlightenment Super Power: His magic comes from studying taoism and learning secrets from his master.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Allegedly 72 transformations, but in actual fact he can transform into whatever he likes.
- Mind over Matter: He is capable of telekinesis, and can make seemingly inanimate objects come to life.
- Telescoping Staff: His Compliant Staff is both the original, the most famous, and one of the most extreme examples. He likes to shrink it to the size of a needle and store it in his ear when he's not bashing people's brains in with it.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Peaches. Pig snarks that he's "very skilled" when it comes to eating peaches.
- Trickster Archetype: He is the classical Chinese trickster-figure. He upsets authority and plays tricks on people but his greatest achievement is bringing new scriptures to China.
- True Sight: He can see through any disguise, illusion, or transformation.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Pigsy. He's like the elder brother that gives the younger a wedgie and then a hug.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: 72 Earthly ones due to his Enlightenment Super Power.
- Weaksauce Weakness:
- Despite being almost almighty on earth or air, he sucks at underwater battles, and is forced to rely on Pigsy and Sandy to fight against water-bound enemies.
- The magical eyes he gains after being locked in Lao Zi's crucible make him vulnerable to smoke.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: While he does threaten and even fight female demons, he rarely kills them (except for Gold Horn and Silver Horn's mother), and during the Spider Women act he refuses to attack the seven unarmed demonesses, as such an act will dishonor him.
Xuanzang Sanzang/Genjou Sanzou, Tang Sanzang/Tou Sanzou or Sanzang Fashi/Sanzou Houshi AKA Tripitaka
- Adaptational Badass: A small number of incarnations of himself via some of the adaptations show him to engage in combat in some form of another (especially in a small amount of video games with him being playable). Being in that he can't really kill with his way of fighting, it fits him very well and doesn't make him any less badass.
- Adaptational Heroism: Popular adaptations, especially the 1996 and 2002 Hong Kong adaptations, portrayed him as a wise and merciful master and downplayed his naiveness and hypocrisy; a reversal from his original portrayal in the novel.
- Adaptational Wimp: There are stories of the historical event that pre-date Journey to the West and in these stories he is much more competent. His weakness here is to better show off Wukong.
- The Atoner: It's not brought up often but he's atoning for something in his previous life as the Golden Cicada, one of the Buddha's disciples. He disagreed with Buddha (or at least ignored his teachings) and so he was demoted to a lesser soul and reborn in China.
- Bilingual Bonus: Many of these due to his many titles....from Chinese pinyin to Japanese on'yomi:
- Xuanzang Sanzang = Genjou Sanzou
- Tang Sanzang = Tou Sanzou
- Sanzang Fashi = Sanzou Houshi
- Bishōnen: His beauty is frequently commented on, and he's generally portrayed by women in stage productions.
- Celibate Hero: Despite women lining up to have sex with him he staunchly refuses because he's a monk.
- Chick Magnet: Every female they encounter, whether human or demon, desires him. The only exception is Guanyin.
- Cowardly Lion: Despite all his moaning and crying, he never considers giving up on his journey.
- Decoy Protagonist: Possibly the oldest extant example. His primary purpose is to be kidnapped every two minutes so Sun Wukong can get all Bad Ass while rescuing him.
- Determinator: Fourteen years of constant travel through demonic areas to fetch the scriptures despite many incentives to stop.
- Distressed Dude: He is captured in most of the arcs concerning the Journey. Not only a pacifist but completely untrained in magic or fighting, thus he cannot defend himself.
- The Face: He does all the talking with muggles etc. because he is a courteous monk and his companions are scary-looking (and in Wukong and Bajie's cases, very rude and more so for the former) demons.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: He can sit perfectly still for up to three years and he's very proud of this fact. It only came in handy that one time the group was challenged to a meditation duel.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The reason why he was sent on the pilgrimage in the first place...but also the reason why he gets into so much trouble, as A: he's too "pure" to resist even the most obvious deceptions or traps when they are framed as helping someone, and B: his purity draws swarms of monsters that hope to consume that purity and increase their own power.
- The Leader: He's supposed to be this (Charismatic type to be exact) but he spends too much time kidnapped to do any real leading. They rarely listen to him anyways.
- The Load: Tripitaka not only constantly gets into trouble, he frequently diverts his disciples from their quest to pursue other minor goals, refuses to heed their advice, and places restrictions on their actions that make them harder pressed to go about their tasks. He also has absolutely no skills at all that let him contribute anything of worth when they get in trouble.
- Nice Guy: He's the picture of Buddhist values and is thus completely selfless and courteous.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: No woman, be she human or demon, can arouse him. No matter how beautiful or willing she may be, she cannot distract him from his mission.
- Non-Action Guy: He prays and preaches. That's about it.
- Stupid Good: Tripitaka takes "goodness" to levels of life-threatening stupidity on more than one occasion. His disciples call him on this often, but he never listens to them.
- Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Literally, as he's so infused with holy power that eating even a single bite of his flesh will extend a demon's lifespan. Female demons find him sexually attractive as well.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Being a buddhist monk one of his vows is not killing anything ever. His companions think this is ridiculous. It's either out of his belief itself or fear of laws.
Zhu Wuneng/Cho Go'nou or Zhu Bajie/Cho Hakkai AKA Pigsy
- Adaptational Heroism: Kind of. The original Pigsy was originally a demon who eats humans just like Sandy did. Popular adaptations tend to omit this detail.
- Adorkable: Depends on the Writer he be either endearing or a jerk.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: At one point, the group's path is blocked by a huge mountain of rotten fruit. His solution? Turning into a colossal pig and eating the way through the thing. In the same chapter he also explains that he excels at transforming into "large" forms, but his appetite grows with his size.
- Big Eater: When the quest is over, the still-too-crude Pigsy is offered the existence as a lesser god; "Cleaner of the Heavenly Altar", which means eating all of the food that is offered to Buddha for the rest of time. He thinks this is the best job ever.
- Bilingual Bonus: His names from Chinese pinyin to Japanese on'yomi:
- Zhu Bajie = Cho Hakkai
- Zhu Wuneng = Cho Go'nou
- Marshall Tianpeng = Marshall Tenpou (His name during his time in heaven)
- Butt Monkey: Other demons often think of making hams out of him, and Sun Wukong loves to prank him.
- Casanova Wannabe: Pigsy really likes the ladies — in fact, he was thrown out of heaven for trying to make off with a celestial maiden — but his efforts at wooing them are poor to say the least. Some adaptations of him seem to also give him a more romantic approach on things.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In the novel both he and Sha Wujing are met by Guanyin earlier and informed of Tripitaka.
- Elemental Powers: He claims that his rake can summon flames when hold upward and gusts of wind when swung down. At one point he also turns himself in cold light-beams to run away from Sun Wukong.
- Extreme Omnivore: Rice, noodles, dough, rotten fruit, people... anything will do.
- Fat Best Friend: To Monkey. Their banter is the meat of the various formula plots.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: Has the tendency to be much bolder around weakened or defeated opponents. He even hits the corpse of an enemy Sun Wukong just brought in.
- The Lancer: He's the second disciple, the most likely to fight next to Monkey, and is lazy.
- Lovable Coward: He'll often run away from powerful enemies. Sometimes, the only reason he can't beat his current opponent is that he gets too scared to keep on fighting.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Pigsy just wants to go back to Heaven, he doesn't care about the scriptures at all. Being turned into something more attractive than his current humanoid pig-monster shape would also be nice. Like Wukong, he comes to genuinely care about Tripitaka as a surrogate father, maybe even moreso due to his immature nature.
- Pig Man: This is part of his punishment; he was better looking back in Heaven.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Monkey. They constantly give each other grief on the journey but are still fellow buddhists.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Unlike Monkey, he can only perform 36 transformations, but he mentions that he's really good at turning into "large" things, ranging from elephants to hills.
- Warrior Poet: In some adaptations of his portrayal, especially due to his life in the human realm, as a pig or not he's said to be VERY poetic (the 1996 and 1998 Hong Kong adaptations show this off too well). Must be due to him despite being a bit of a casanova he also has quite a few romantic thoughts, possibly tying into his tragic time in heaven.
- The Worf Effect: When first introduced, Pigsy battles better against Monkey than many of the gods did during Monkey's war against heaven. Later on, he's usually swiftly beaten so that Monkey can then beat the creature who beat up Pigsy. In his defense, he can often fight several demons on equal ground, but they either run away or call for help.
- Weapon of Choice: A steel nine-toothed rake, which is a precious, deadly weapon, and don't try to suggest otherwise.
Sha Wujing/Sha Gojou AKA Sandy
- The Atoner: Though all three disciples are nominally working for their atonement, Sandy seems to be the only one who actually cares about making himself a better person.
- The Big Guy: Though often mistakenly portrayed as a Kappa, the original source material depicts Sandy as a kind of river-dwelling Oni. In either case, he's the tallest of the disciples, though he's much more the thoughtful type than the bruiser type.
- Bilingual Bonus: His name in Japanese on'yomi is said as "Sha Gojou". His title during his previous time in heaven was the Juanlian Dajiang/Kenren Taishou (Rolling Curtain Great General).
- Carry a Big Stick: In the novel, his weapon is a jeweled club, though in many versions he'll be armed with a giant halberd instead. Or more famously, his monk's spade/moon fang spade.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: His appearance in modern productions is incredibly inconsistent, so most dress him in blue or green to identify him.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In the novel both he and Zhu Bajie are met by Guanyin earlier and informed of Tripitaka.
- I Am A Humanitarian: He ate people during his days as a demon.
- Making a Splash: In some adaptations of him, especially if he's playable in a video game.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Sandy just wants to be let back into heaven but just like his two elder "brothers", he comes to care for Tang Sangzang too, though more as a friend rather than a father-figure.
- Only Sane Man: Compared to the compassionate-to-fault Tang Sangzang, mischievous trickster Monkey and the obtuse glutton Pigsy, Sandy comes off as more reasonable.
- Out of Focus: Sandy is usually a secondary character in all the stories.
- The Quiet One: Sandy rarely has much to say, but is often the most practical and philosophical of the group.
- The Worf Effect: When he first appeared, he was good enough to fight Pigsy to a draw. Later on, he's described as the weakest of the three.
Yu Lung/The Dragon-Horse
- The Atoner: Unlike Pigsy and Sandy, he was punished for a serious reason (namely, he rebelled against his father and burnt his sacred treasures).
- Attractive Bent-Gender: At one point he turns into a beautiful, big-breasted woman to slay a demon who already took out Sandy and Pigsy.
- Out of Focus: Even the original author seems to forget he exists more often than not. Yu Lung's big character moment is when he first appears and eats Tripitaka's horse, then has to turn into a replacement horse. After that, he's in the background until they reach the end of the Journey and he can turn back into a dragon and fly off home. This turned out very badly for him. The Other Wiki calls him "the horse" or "the dragon prince", insists there are four main characters, and doesn't have a page on him. Ninja Sentai Kakuranger claims that there are four main characters, and that their fifth is a totally original creation. Most local theatre productions of the story leave him out entirely.
- Solid Gold Poop: As he states, his urine alone is so special that if a single drop falls in a river all the fishes inside will turn into dragons, and could turn even the most common grass into a miracolous mushroom.
- Team Pet: The role he's often relegated to; the horse. He does, however, takes matters in his own hands (or at least tries to) when Tripitaka's in danger and all the disciples are out of commission.
Gods and Immortals
The Bodhisattva Guan'yin/Kannon
- Angel Unaware: Bodhisattva Unaware. She does this to find out which monk is pious enough to obtain the scripts. It's not the last time she does this.
- Team Mom: Always ready to advise or help Monkey when he's in pinch.
- Woman in White: Along with a dash of Gold and White Are Divine. It emphasizes her purity.
- The Mentor: Becomes one to Red Boy after his Heel–Face Turn.
- Unkempt Beauty: During the Spiritual Touch King arc, When Sun Wukong comes to her island and finds her in her "gardening clothes", without make up nor showy clothes and with her hair unkempt. The poetry for this section is no less flattering than any other about her.
- You Are Fat: Wukong basically calls her a fat ass when he sees the Red Boy sitting on her Lotus Throne.
The Jade Emperor
- Informed Ability: The Jade Emperor is praised as the perfect ruler of heave and Earth due to spending eons spiritually developing himself and have "infinite wisdom." In the novel he tends to misjudge situations, make stupid decisions, and be clueless as to what to do if anything serious actually happens. He refused to investigate Monkey's birth despite all the miraculous signs and constantly mishandled the situations with him.
- The novel's negative portrayal of the Jade Emperor appears to be a deliberate one by the writer, where anti-Taoist bias are littered throughout the whole novel.
- Top God: Ruler of heaven and every single god.
- Absent-Minded Professor: His students and pet both end up demons, and in at least the second case, he's none the wiser.
- Horse of a Different Color: His personal mount (who escapes to become the One-Horned Demon King) is a massive azure bull with a broken horn.
- Rings of Death: His Vajra Ring (big enough to serve as a bracelet), which he threw at Monkey during his duel against Erlang. Later the Ring is used by the One Horned Great King to disarm Monkey and defeat anything he threw at him.
Li Changgeng, the Great White Planet
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Of the planet Venus
- Nice Guy: One of the nicest gods, especially in his treatment of Monkey. In return, he's the only god besides Guan Yin that Monkey respects.
Erlang Shen/Nirou Shin
- A Man and his Dog: Has a dog named Xiaotianquan/Shoutenken (Howling Heaven Dog).
- In some adaptations like the 1996 and 1998 dramas, he even has a human form where he can speak and think for himself.
- Badass: Fought Sun Wukong, forced him to flee and eventually captured him.
- Divine Parentage/Half-Human Hybrid: Started out as a demigod on his mother's side.
- Genius Bruiser: He's not only strong enough to fight Sun Wukong to a draw, but he can also see through all his transformations and even match him in that game as well.
- The Hermit: Rarely has anything to do with Heaven, instead living in the mountains of Earth.
- Momma's Boy: His backstory includes freeing his mother after she was imprisoned under a mountain for eloping with his father.
- It becomes a bit more delved into in the 1998 adaptation and he even gives up all of his powers for a while just for her to be spared.
- Prongs of Poseidon: His weapon is an edged trident.
- Size Shifter: Turn himself into a colossal, fanged giant to scare Sun Wukong and his army.
- Third Eye: He's also famous for having a third eye on his forehead, which can be used to see through all sorts of things, especially lies and deceptions.
- Unusual Ears: Being an immortal, his lobes reach his shoulders.
- Weaksauce Weakness: There's a particular buzzard that he won't touch or even get close to.
Lianhua Santaizi Nezha/Renka Santaishi Nata
- Badass Adorable: A little boy who happens to in charge of subduing demons. He even fought Wukong to a standstill for up to three days.
- Bilingual Bonus: His name in Japanese on'yomi is "Nata" or "Nataku".
- Blade on a Stick: His main weapon is his signature Fire-Tipped spear. It was said to be a normal spear before he even touched it himself.
- Canon Immigrant: He originally was from his own novel and from one of Taigong Wang's stories. This adaptation of him is one of the detailings after his own story.
- Clothing Combat: Has his Turbid Heaven Twill AKA Red Armillary Sash, which is a red sash that can reach quite far and is very sturdy.
- The Dandy: Wears lotus blossom decorations, despite being a boy.
- Multiple Head Case: As well as an arm case; Nezha is also popular for being able to grow two extra heads, each with their own pair of arms and their own spears.
- Playing with Fire: He's often quite fire-themed in his attacks.
- Red Baron: His title also literally translates to "Lotus Flower Third Crown Prince".
- He also is known as the "Mid-Podium Field Marshall".
- Rings of Death: Has two-three in the form of his Universe Circle and Wind-Fire Rings. The latter he rides on with his feet.
Spirits of the Twenty-Eight Lunar Mansions
- Animal Metaphor: Each of them have a different one.
- Animal Stereotypes: Averted. The one star who does lose himself enough to eat an enemy happens to be a moose spirit.(In some translation though he was a jackal spirit, making the thing more believable)
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Of the twenty-eight Chinese Lunar Mansions. They're a weird case, since their true forms are actually shape-shifting animals
- Elemental Powers: Invoked. They're divided into the five Chinese elements plus sun and moon, with four stars to each element. The only group that specifically gets a reference to their elements are the Four Heavenly Wood Star Spirits.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Since they're originally animal spirits, they will eat their opponents if they lose control of their instincts. One of the rhino demons was unfortunate enough to experience that.
- Horned Humanoid: The god of the Horn mansion has a big horn right on his face. It later comes in handy getting Monkey out of a pinch.
- Love Makes You Evil: The Wood Spirit of the Legs as the Yellow Robed Demon.
The Demon King of the Confused World
- BFS/Sinister Scimitar: His giant Dao, which Sun Wukong inherits and later barters for the Magic Staff.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: He wears black gold. Of course he's a villain.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Sun Wukong bifurcates him with his own sword.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Seeing that his opponent is unarmed, he decides to face him in a unarmed fight. However, as he starts losing, he decides to use his giant sword instead.
- Off with His Head!: Gets beheaded after being rushed and beaten by Sun Wukong's clones.
- Starter Villain: The very first serious villain fought by our hero.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Sort of, he took over Sun Wukong's mountain while he was away, but he lives in his own domain and kidnaps the monkeys to use them as slaves.
General Three O'Clock, Mountain Lord Bear, and the Special Dweller
- A Load of Bull: Special Dweller is a bull.
- Bears Are Bad News: Mountain Lord Bear, Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Face–Heel Turn: Technically a Heel–Face Turn given the literary time frame. When the Special Dweller and General Three O'Clock appeared in a text set in the later Tang Dynasty, they were harmless.
- The Cameo: The Special Dweller and General Three O'Clock first appeared in a Tang Dynasty text, where they entertained a poet.
- Panthera Awesome: General Three O'Clock is a tiger.
- Starter Villain: The first demons Tripitaka meet.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Despite appearing early, they become a big danger to Xuanzang when they eat his human companions and almost eat him.
Black Wind Demon
- Badass: According to Guanyin, he's not inferior to Sun Wukong himself.
- Bears Are Bad News: His real form is that of a black-furred bear.
- Blade on a Stick: Wields a large spear with a black tassel.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Dressed mostly in black and dark-green.
- Heel–Face Turn: Thanks to Guanyin, who puts a Restraining Bolt on him.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Loves them, and even steals Tripitaka's cossack for this reason.
- Kill It Through Its Stomach: The first victim of this trick when he swallows Sun Wukong transformed into a pill, but not the last. Though Guanyin asked Sun Wukong to spare him.
- Noble Demon: The first thing he does in the novel upon witnessing a burning temple near his lair? Rush there to help the monks.
- Nice Hat: He wears one, even when he's busy fighting Sun Wukong.
- Starter Villain: The first serious threat to our heroes.
Lady White Bones
- Dem Bones: A sentient skeleton turned demon
- Faking the Dead: Creates illusions of corpses to leave behind
- Master of Illusion: Skilled in creating illusions of corpses, which she leaves behind as decoys
- Rule of Three: Killed three times before being Killed Off for Real. The first time were fake corpses.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Despite being a demon who was rather easy to kill once her illusions were broken, she forced Tripitaka to kick Monkey out of his little band. This then sets up the plot for the next demon encounter.
- Squishy Wizard: All she could do was make illusions. Once those were broken, she died with one hit.
- Woman in White: The sinister version. White has conotations with "death" in certain areas of Asia.
Yellow Robed Demon
- Abduction Is Love: Abducted and raped the Princess of Baoxiang kingdom under the delusion that she loved him. Technically, the princess was supposed to be channeling his heavenly lover.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Forced Princess Hundred Flower to be his wife for twelve years. On the other hand he did treat her well and with respect.
- Badass Bookworm: Not in the work proper, but he's a god of literature
- Baleful Polymorph: After he went to the court of Baoxiang's king (under human disguise), he persuaded the king that Tripitaka was actually the monster responsible for the princess' kidnapping and turns him into a tiger with a spell. Later said spell is undone by Monkey.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Wears only yellow.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Ate one of the Baoxiang court's serving maids when he got drunk.
- Karma Houdini: After returning to heaven to escape from Wukong, he only got sentenced to be Lao Zi's errand boy for a little while. Of course if you overlook the death of his children by Pigsy's hand.
- Master Swordsman: Takes on both Pigsy and Sandy at the same time with little help and later defeats the White Horse (who was wielding his own scimitar) with a chandelier.
- Noble Demon: For a rapist and a kidnapper, he's extremely kind to his wife, agreeing to free Tripitaka when she asked politely, treating her as a queen and begging for her forgiveness after being rude to her, thinking that she was in cahoots with Sandy and Pigsy.
- Oh Crap!: Has one when he learns that Sun Wukong is after him.
- Papa Wolf: Becomes furious when Pigsy and Sandy kills his infant children by throwing them to their deaths.
- Reincarnation Romance: Invoked and then subverted. He reincarnated as a demon to be together with a minor goddess he fell in love with. Only his love got Laser-Guided Amnesia upon reincarnating as Princess Hundred Flower. He does not take it well.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: His true form is a wolf.
Gold Horned and Silver Horned Kings
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Averted: the Seven Star Sword is treated as such, but dents a little after hitting Monkey's head too many times.
- Acid Pool: The Gourd has the power to absorb people inside it and melt them.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: They're kings after all.
- BFS: Supposedly the Seven Star Sword, which is also a Sinister Scimitar.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Yes, they're both vicious, man-eating tyrants but the first thing they do after capturing Tripitaka is to send an invitation letter for their elder mother so that she too can taste his flesh and become young and immortal.
- Face–Heel Turn: They used to work for Taishang Laojun. They come back to him after being beaten by Sun Wukong.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Their mother was a huli jing.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Monkey use their own Treasures against them.
- Horned Humanoid: Implied, though they're not descripted in detail.
- I'm Melting: What happened to them. Luckily, their true forms were spared.
- Large and in Charge: They're both massive, and lead an army of smaller monsters.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: In most of the fiction depicting/nodding them, the Gourd, the Fan and the Sword are probably the most famed treasures in that order. The Pot and Rope? Good luck finding someone who knows what they do.
- Paper Fan of Doom: The Banana Leaf Fan.
- Playing with Fire: The above mentioned Fan.
- Say My Name: In order for the Crinsom Gourd or the Jade Pot to work, the user must call the victim by name and the victim has to answer. As Sun Wukong found out the hard way, even nicknames will work. Furthermore, it's implied that a mere nod is enough of an answer for the tools.
- Stock Shout-Out: Comes with being two of the most famous villains in the story.
- Weapons That Suck: The Gourd and the Pot. According to most tradition, you have to point it towards the victim, said his/her name and have him/her answer a question.
- Younger Than They Look: Their real forms are two boys apprenticed to Taishan Laojun.
The Red Boy AKA Honghaier/Kougaiji
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Similar to Monkey in his first appearance. He mellows out after moving to Guanyin's island.
- Badass: One of the few villains that Sun Wukong couldn't beat by himself.
- Breath Weapon: Can spit fire from his mouth and smoke from his eyes and nostrils.
- Cute Bruiser: Has the form of an adorable young boy.
- Enfant Terrible: A villain at first despite having the form of a child.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: When he sits on Guanyin's throne it transforms into a bunch of swords, and then into halbeards.
- Playing with Fire: His flames are so powerful that water do nothing against them, and Sun Wukong was barely able to survive them.
- Restraining Bolt: Ends up with five of them when he's forced into a Heel–Face Turn.
- Too Dumb to Live: Leaves the fight against Sun Wukong after spitting some fire against him without checking out his health status. Later when he sees Guanyin's empty Lotus throne he smugly sits on it acting as her. It goes as well as you could possibly imagine.
- X on a Stick: As if his fire powers weren't enough, he has a spear tipped with flames.
The Scorpion Lady
- Affably Evil: Civil torwards Tripitaka but much less so towards the three disciples.
- Dark Action Girl: She's more than capable of fighting the three heroes on equal footing.
- Femme Fatale: Actively tries to force Tripitaka to sleep with her.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Her dumplings are filled with human flesh.
- Poisonous Person: Her touch (technically the stinger), which she uses on Monkey and later Pigsy.
- Prongs of Poseidon: Her weapon is described as a large trident-like spear. Apparently it was her pincers.
- Scary Scorpions: She is a Scorpion demon.
- The Vamp: Though her attempts to seduce Tripitaka fail, someone who wasn't 100% pure would have succumbed.
Bull Demon King
- A Load of Bull: Is a Bull Demon.
- Affably Evil: At first he's friendly towards Sun Wukong.
- Badass: He's among the thin list of beings capable of fighting on par with Sun Wukong and living to tell the tale.
- Carry a Big Stick: When he's not Dual Wielding the swords of his wife.
- Face–Heel Turn: Used to be best pals with Sun Wukong and one of his six most loyal True Companions. Then he became a Demon King.
- Genius Bruiser: A powerful and brutal warrior, he can also be quite cunning when he wants.
- Off with His Head!: Subverted, no matter how many heads Nezha severs, he always grows a new one. So Nezha simply sticks a fiery wheel onto his horn.
- One-Winged Angel: Turns into a giant white bull in order to crush Wukong.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After finding out that Wukong transformed into him to steal the Fan from his wife, with whom he flirted too.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With the Iron Fan Princess. He also cuckolds her with his mistress, the Jade-Faced Princess.
Iron Fan Princess
- Blow You Away: Her giant fan can summon storms capable of putting off giant fires. Probably the Ur Example of all the wind-generating fans.
- Dark Action Girl: She's a Rakshasa, so...
- Dual Wielding: With swords.
- Mama Bear: Hates Sun Wukong for hurting her son, the Red Boy.
- Paper Fan of Doom: Her Banana Fan. She also has a fake one which makes flames higher.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With the Bull Demon King.
- Villainous Breakdown: After getting all drunk and flirty around her "husband" and giving him the Fan, he reveals himself as Wukong. She wasn't pleased.
- Womb Level: In order to beat her, Sun Wukong turned into a fly, flew into her mouth and started punching her stomach from the inside.
- Yandere: Hates her husband for having a lover.
The Nine Headed Monster
- Badass: He was though, considering that Erlang himself had to help Sun Wukong against him.
- Blade on a Stick: Wields a Monk's Spade, just like Sandy.
- Body Horror: Even in his normal form, the guy sports nine mouths and eighteen eyes on a single head.
- The Dragon: To his father-in-law, the actual dragon king Wansheng.
- Feathered Fiend: His monster form is implied to be bird-like.
- Multiple Head Case: In his true form he has nine heads plus a tenth, usually hidden head sprouting from his chest. Later said head is severed by Erlang's guard dog.
- One-Winged Angel: Turns into a giant nine-headed bird monster whenever he fights Sun Wukong outside of his lake.
- An Axe to Grind: Wields one named Flower Storm against Sun Wukong.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Abducts and tries to marry the queen of the Zhuzi kingdom. Too bad she has a wedding dress that grows poisonous thorns as soon as he gets close.
- Canis Major: His real form is that of a massive wolf-like dog with golden fur.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Showers the queen with favors in an attempt to gain her love. Doesn't stop him from taking his frustrations on the slave girls.
- Elemental Powers: His three bells: the first bell will summon forth flames, the second one will create smoke and the third one a stream of irritating sand. The latter two elements are especially effective against Sun Wukong's sensitive eyes.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Has his bells stolen and used against him.
- The Pig Pen: Invoked, Sun Wukong turns into a flock of huge fleas, lices and bugs on his body to make him scratch himself until he removes the three bells from under his clothes.
- Villainous Crush: Has a huge crush on the queen he kidnapped.
The Hundred-Eyed Demon Lord and the Spiderling Spirits
- All Webbed Up: The Spider Ladies do this to Tripitaka, Pigsy and later to the whole mansion they're in in order to keep Sun Wukong at bay. In the last case, Sun Wukong used his clones and his staff turned into a fork-like tool to unravel the web.
- Avenging the Villain: After their defeat the Spidering Spirits go to their "brother" and tell him that they've been assaulted by his guests. Unusually, the Hundred-Eyed Demon Lord decides to check out if his guests are really guilty before he can take action against them.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Both the seven spirits and their "brother" are these. They also have some "adoptive sons" in the form of various bugs and insects that they spared from their webs.
- Cool Sword: The Hundred-Eyes Demon Lord wields one against Sun Wukong.
- Creepy Centipedes: The Hundred-Eyes Demon Lord's true form is a large centipede. Ironically, the spirit who defeated him is really a large hen, and in Chinese folklore hen and roosters are the natural predators of centipedes.
- Extra Eyes/Eyes Do Not Belong There: The demonn lord had a hundred on eyes situated on the sides of his body, and can fire hot beams of Hard Light from them.
- Giant Spider: The Seven sisters' true forms, though they're about the size of a large basket. Still giant enough.
- Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: How Monkey defeats the sisters the first time. Apparently, even if they're man-eating demons they're still susceptible to decency.
- I Am A Humanitarian: The Spiders Sisters are among the few female demons who want to eat Tripitaka, not bed him.
- Light Is Not Good: The Hundred-Eyes Demon Lord looks like a kind old Taoist and his powers are light-based but is not a saint.
- Magical Eye: A hundred of them, which emit scorching rays of light.
- Master Poisoner: Hey, it's a centipede demon, what did you expect? He also nearly kills the heroes sans Sun Wukong.
- Noble Demon: The Hundred-Eyes Demon Lord is incredibly polite with his guests, and tries to kill them only after finding out that they attacked his adoptive sisters earlier.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The sisters are energic, violent and more prone to direct tactics, hence the red. Their brother is much calmer, polite and prefers traps and clever tactics, hence the blue.
- Villainous Valor: Even if their' spider-women with a taste for human flesh they're still too shy to go around naked unless if forced too and even cover themselves as the walk past Tripitaka. Their brother is probably the nicest of the demons encountered by our heroes.
- You Have Failed Me: When the spiders are captured by Monkey, the Hundred-Eyes Demon Lord says that he's fed up with them, thus causing Wukong to be pissed off at the Demon Lord's decision and the spiders then die at Wukong's staff and anger.
The Three Kings of Lion Camel Cave
- Animal Motifs: Lion, Elephant and Peng (a mythological giant bird, which is this case doubles as a Garuda).
- Adaptational Wimp: Very much so in the 1998 Hong Kong TVB Adaptation. Their goals, motivations, and the general plot were completely altered. In the original novel, they are crafty villains seeking to eat Tang Sanzang, which Sun Wukong can't defeat by himself. In the 1998 Hong Kong TVB Adaptation, they are a comedic trio of cowardly incompetent jerkasses who merely seek power and wealth and are barely a match for Pigsy.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: More kings.
- Bad Ass: One of the few foes which Sun Wukong can't take on by himself. Not all at the same time, at least. Special mention goes to the Peng, who manages to reach Sun Wukong even after the latter jumped away with his cloud leap.
- Blade on a Stick: The Elephant and the Peng.
- Feathered Fiend: The Thousand Ri Travelling Peng is a villainous bird demon.
- Heel–Face Turn: After getting stormed by the armies of the Heavens.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Lion tries to swallow Wukong, who then wreaks havoc in his innards and shatters his teeth with his staff as the Lion attempts to bite him to death expecting Wukong to exit out. Later the Elephant tries to seize him with his trunk, but he's defeated when Wukong uses his own trunk to beat him up.
- Oh Crap!: They panic when they first hear that Sun Wukong may have infiltrated their lair, and speculates that he could have turned into a fly. Cue Sun Wukong summoning a whole swarm of flies just to enjoy their even more panicked reaction.
- Panthera Awesome: The Azure Lion.
- Sinister Scimitar: The Lion wields one, which is supposedly an Absurdly Sharp Blade.
- Swallowed Whole: The Lion's jaws are so big he could eat alive a whole army of celestial soldiers. He tries this on Sun Wukong, but backfires as the Wukong threatens to kill him from the inside and live in his stomach.
- Terrible Trio: Unlike other demons, these three guys work together against their foe Wukong.
- Vocal Dissonance: The second demon looks like am elephantine brute, but has the voice of a maiden.
Lady Earth Flow
- Affably Evil: Again, she's absolutely kind towards Tripitaka.
- Evil Albino: Her original form, at least, is an albino rat.
- Dark Action Girl: Fully capable of fighting the heroes, even if for a short while.
- Damsel in Distress: Pretends to be one to lure Tripitaka. It's lampshaded by Sun Wukong who almost persuades Tripitaka to leave her, but, you know, Tripitaka/Sanzang is that guillable...
- Dual Wielding: With swords, whenever she gets into battle.
- Horny Devils: Seduces monks to have sex with them and drain their essence. At one point she assaults Wukong disguised as a monk.
- Our Vampires Are Different: She does seduce monks to feed on them, can shapeshift and is physically powerful. Also, see below.
- Race Lift: In Serafino Balduzzi's italian translation she becomes a bat demon instead, reinforcing the vampire image.
- Shotacon: Take notice that when she tries to seduce Sun Wukong the latter turned into a very young monk.
- Villainesses Want Heroes: She wants to marry Tripitaka. Unlike the Scorpion Lady, she doesn't try to force herself on him though.
King of the Southern Mountains
- Fake Kill Scare: Shows the party what is supposed to be Tripitaka's severed head. But is really a carved root the first time and a completely different guy the next time.
- Genius Bonus: His name refers to a Chinese idiom called "Leopard of Southern Mountain", referring to a hermit with literary skill.
- Panthera Awesome: A leopard demon.
Yellow Lion and the Sage of Nine Spirits
- Badass Grandpa: Old enough to be a grandfather, but still able to fight Wukong in giant form.
- The Don: Sage of the Nine Spirits has several grandchildren, at least one of whom has his own cave.
- Fatal Flaw: Greed for the Yellow Lion, which motivates him to steal the main party's weapons
- Fluffy the Terrible: The true name of Sage of the Nine Spirits more or less translates to "Baby Sage".
- Kaijuu: Sage of the Nine Spirits is probably the demon who most resembles this trope, seeing as how he regularly turns himself into a giant form to fight.
- Noble Demon: Yellow Lion prefers to do honest business with humans, rather than terrorize them.
- Panthera Awesome: Yellow lion is a lion demon, as is his "Grandfather" the Sage of Nine Spirits and the various demons under their command.
- Wolf Pack Boss: Sage of the Nine Spirits brings along a large number of grandchildren to fight alongside him.
The Rhino Kings
- A Load of Bull: Despite their true nature they look a lot like oxen demons, and have many bull demons working for them. In fact, Sun Wukong learns that they're actually rhinos only when he goes to get help by the heavens.
- Eaten Alive: The first Rhino king is eaten by one of the heavenly wood star spirits sent to capture them.
- Rhino Rampage: They're rhino demons. To the point that Pigsy decides to kill the surviving brothers so that he can sell their horns as aphrodisiac medicine.
- Terrible Trio: Another group of three demons working together.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Lantern oil. They also want to fry Tripitaka in it.
- Weapon of Choice: The first brother uses an axe, the second a scimitar, the third a staff.
- Wolfpack Boss: Because they fight together and with lots of underlings, they're too hard for Wukong to defeat.
- Another example of Plot-Induced Stupidity, where Wukong could have beaten them with his multiple-clones spell.
Princess of India
- Disproportionate Retribution: The reason she came to earth was to get revenge on the Princess, who was the reincarnation of a celestial serving maid who had once slapped the rabbit. This lead to kidnapping her and stealing her mortal identity.
- Femme Fatale: Wanted to marry Sanzang and steal his energy.
- "Get Back Here!" Boss: A non videoludic example, she spends most of the battle running away from Sun Wukong.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Defied. When Wukong sees through her disguise and is about to attack her, she takes off her princess clothes and jewelry. This leads to her fighting him stark naked.
- Moon Rabbit: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The Jade Rabbit gone rogue.
- Improbable Weapon User: Her medicine mortar.
- Beast and Beauty: With her husband Bajie, for a little while.
Royal Family of the Wuji Kingdom
King of Cheda
King of the Kingdom of Women
- Love at First Sight: For Tripitaka.
- She Is the King: Obviously, seeing as how there are no men in the kingdom.
Princes of Yuhua Kingdom
Mister Kou and his family
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: As the result of lavishly entertaining Xuanzang's party, he gets his home raided by robbers, who also kill him. Thankfully, Wukong fixes all this.