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Characters: Journey to the West
A character page for Journey to the West. Note that they all qualify as a Public Domain Character.
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    The Pilgrims 

Sun Wukong/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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Byronic Hero: It took 14 years of journeying with Tang Sanzang to make him a good hearted and unselfish person.
  • 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.
  • 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: Duh.
  • 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) 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: With 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.
  • 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, Great Sage Equalling Heaven, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 "As You Will" cudgel 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.
    • 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.
  • Telescoping Staff: His 'As-You-Will' cudgel is both the original 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.
  • Weapon of Choice: Simple Staff, though 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 a bridge to heaven.
  • 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 dishonour him.

Chen Xuanzang/Tang Sanzang/Tripitaka

  • 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.
  • Celibate Hero: Despite women lining up to have sex with him he staunchly refuses because he's a monk.
  • The Chick: Honorary status as this because he's so feminine a character that a lot of live-action portrayals of the series have women playing the part.
  • Chick Magnet: Every female they encounter, whether human or demon, desires him. The only exception is Guan Ying.
  • 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.
  • Distressed Dude: He's not only a pacifist but completely untrained in magic or fighting.
  • 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 Wuneng's cases, very rude) 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, 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 / The Millstone: 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.
  • 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 seem to 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.

Zhu Wuneng/Zhu Bajie/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.
  • Big Eater / Gluttonous Pig: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 lightbeams to run away from Sun Wukong.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Rice, noodles, dough, rotten fruit, people... anything will do.
  • Fat Best Friend: to Monkey.
  • 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.
  • 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 Monkey, 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.
  • Worf Effect: When first introduced, Pigsy battles better against Monkey than many of the actual 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 rake, which is a precious, deadly weapon, and don't try to suggest otherwise.

Sha Wujing/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.
  • Color-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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Weapon of Choice: In the actual novel, his weapon is a jewelled club, though in many versions he'll be armed with a giant halberd instead.
  • 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

  • Baleful Polymorph/Attractive Bent-Gender: At one point he turns into a beautiful, big-breasted damsel 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.
  • Team Pet: The role he's often relegated to; the horse.

    Gods and Immortals 

The Bodhisattva Guanyin

The Jade Emperor

Lao Zi

  • Absent-Minded Professor: His students and pet both end up demons, and in at least the second case, he's none the wiser.

Li Changgeng, the Great White Planet

The Little Sage Erlang

  • Badass: Fought Sun Wukong, forced him to flee and eventually captured him.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

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
  • 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.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The god of the Legs mansion is actually the Yellow Robed Demon.


The Demon King of the Confused World

Black Wind Demon

Lady White Bones

Yellow Robed Demon

Gold Horned and Silver Horned Kings

  • 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.
  • 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

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Similar to Monkey in his first appearence. 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.
  • 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.

Buffalo Demon King

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 Palm Leaf Fan. She also has a fake one which makes flames higher.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With the Buffalo Demon King.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After getting all drunk and flirty around her "husband" and giving him the Fan, he reveals himself as Monkey. She wasn't pleased.
  • Womb Level: In order to beat her, Sun Wukong turn into a fly, get in her mouth and start punching her stomach from the inside.
  • Yandere: Hates her husband for having a lover.

Sai Taisui

The Three Kings of Lion Camel Cave

  • Animal Motifs: Lion, Elephant and Peng (a mythological giant bird).
  • 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.
  • 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 Monkey, who wreak havoc in his innards. Later the Elephant tries to seize him with his trunk, but he's defeated when monkey use the trunk to beat him up.
  • Panthera Awesome: The Azure Lion.
  • Sinister Scimitar: The Lion wields one.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The second demon looks like am elephantine brute, but has the voice of a maiden.

The Rhino Kings

  • Trademark Favorite Food: Lantern oil. They also want to fry Tripitaka.
  • 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 Monkey to defeat.

Princess of India

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