Dark and Troubled Past: Hoo boy, to put things one way, one of the fillers showed an image of them at their most traumatic memories: everyone but Goku was covered in blood. And that's just because Goku's memories of the covered-in-blood incident got erased.
Fan Nickname: The Sanzo-ikkou, an honorific indicating a group, especially a group of religious pilgrims. Kougaiji, Lirin, Yaone, and Dokugakuji are often referred to as the Kougaiji-tachi, a group honorific with a connotation of "team".
A short tempered Buddhist monk who smokes and carries a revolver. He was abandoned as an infant and found by the Sanzo priest Koumyou, who raised him and named him Kouryuu. He was granted the supreme rank of Sanzo, guardian of one of the Sutras from the Dawn of Time, at 14, becoming the youngest to ever attain the title. Shortly afterword, Koumyou was brutally murdered in front of Sanzo and his sutra stolen, setting Sanzo on a quest to recover the sutra and avenge his master that has lasted his entire adult life. His behavior is classic Jerkass but he's the legitimate emissary of the gods and on the side of Good.
Badass in Distress: More badass than his original, ever-gullible counterpart but still has quite a few James Bondage moments. As the only non-youkai in the group, he is physically the most vulnerable. As the bearer of 20% of the source code for the universe, he's the ultimate target of most attackers. Result: Sanzo takes a lot of damage and the others frequently have to run interference for him.
Celibate Hero: By Word of God, the one monastic vow he has never broken...but not out of piety. He just doesn't like being touched "that way". In fact, Sanzo recoils from pretty much any touch at all, with some degree of exception for his traveling companions, especially Goku. See Rape as Backstory below for a possible explanation.
Closest Thing We Got: Sanzo's a horrible choice for a hero. He knows this. Everyone around him knows this. He's also got a better chance of surviving sanzohood than any of the other alternatives.
Determinator: There are multiple scenes where Sanzo is so badly wounded he clearly shouldn't even be conscious, and he still gets up and takes out the threat of the day.
Even the Guys Want Him: All four main characters get attention from other men but Sanzo kind of takes the cake. He gets admiring remarks even from dudes in bars and casual passers-by. The Requiem OVA's plot centers around his same-sex stalker.
Everyone Calls Him Sanzo: It's his priestly rank/title. The closest thing he has to a personal name is "Genjyo". This comes back to bite him in the ass when the group meets Sharak in Tibet, as they can't really call him just "Sanzo" when someone else with that title is present but feel that "Genjyo" sounds like a stranger. They experiment with nicknames derived from it (Gen-tan, Gen-pyon), much to Sharak's amusement.
Good Is Not Nice: A classic Zen-slap-delivering source of wisdom who couldn't care less if the truth hurts.
The Gunslinger: Type A, The Trick Shot. He shoots Chin Yisou's seed out of Gojyo's body without otherwise harming him, even though the seed is right next to his heart.
Purple Eyes: Remarked on in-series as being both exotically appealing and deeply unsettling.
Rape as Backstory: In the Burial Arc, the first time he ever killed another person, he shot a thug who was trying to rape him. There are many other implications of creepy attention based on his attractiveness as well. This puts Sanzo's responses to touch and to sexual advances in a different light.
Bridal Carry: He carries an unconscious Goku this way in an alternative hold while fleeing the Jade Palace with Kenren and Tenpou.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Konzen's androgynously beautiful and dressed in flowing silk that doesn't exactly scream "masculine". It's downright shocking to see his animated incarnation for the first time and then to hear Toshihiko Seki's deep voice when he speaks.
Headbutt of Love: To Goku, while calming down the Seiten Taisei and in some official art.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Or at least “long since bored past the point of caring” bureaucrat with OCD. He never seems terribly impressed with Heaven’s regime but he’s very serious about his job—until Goku gives him something better to be serious about.
Papa Wolf: He really comes to love and care about Goku, even punching out his aunt to protect him.
Serious Business: Is obsessed with getting his name stamp exactly right on official documents.
Voiced by: Soichiro Hoshi (JP), Kosuke Okano (JP, OVA series), Greg Ayres (EN, original series and Requiem), Jimmy Benedict (EN, Reload and Gunlock)
A being born from the Earth, and imprisoned 500 years prior to the series by the gods. He knew the past incarnations of the rest of the Sanzo party, but his imprisonment erased his memory. He was eventually let out by Genjo Sanzo, and since then followed him everywhere, though Sanzo never admits to caring for Goku. Is the most childish of the group and has a child-like enthusiasm for fighting. Of all the characters, Goku has probably changed the most over the course of the series.Has a Superpowered Evil Side that comes out if his diadem is ever removed, in which he attacks everything in sight and his enjoyment of fighting turns into a sadistic joy of inflicting pain on others.
Ax-Crazy: Not only will his Superpowered Evil Side attack anything it sees, it's flat-out sadistic and will pummel enemies even when they can't fight back, and sometimes also bite them, which avoids being Narm because it results in a lot of blood.
Lightning Bruiser: His Superpowered Evil Side moves so fast other characters can't even see him, shrugs off virtually everything thrown at him, and has bent Gojyo's magical shakujou just by grabbing it.
Man Child: According to his biographies, Goku's biologically 18 and chronologically, he's over 500-years-old and yet he acts very childish and innocent. He slowly starts growing out of his extreme innocence in Reload, but his childishness still shines through.
Name's the Same: He is not Goku from Dragon Ball, but the mistake is understandable because both stories are based on Journey to the West: both Gokus are based on Sun Wukong (indeed, 'Son Goku' is in the first place merely the Japanese rendering of 'Sun Wukong').
The Napoleon: Goku stands at only 162 cm or 5 feet 4 inches at the (biological) age of 18; he's about one head shorter than his travelling companions and has only been shown to be taller than Lirin (by only a couple of inches/centimeters) and children. And he's not happy about his height.
Older than They Look: Goku's chronological age is 500+ and yet he only looks to be in his mid to late teens. Also, in his biographies, it's said that Goku's (biological) age is 18; he only looks to be about 15 or 16.
One Head Shorter: With respect to nearly every adult he's met, including his travelling companions.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: If it weren't for the merciful goddess replacing his broken power limiter when he did he would have killed Rikudo for almost killing Sanzo before Sanzo ever had a chance and before this he goes from adorable little boy to killing machine once his power limiter breaks and he kills hundreds of people upon witnessing his best friend (And only one his age) commit suicide so close that his blood get on him, all so that way he would not be forced to kill Goku and used as a pawn in his "father's" plans anymore. Then later when it breaks again from his overwhelming fear of being alone again and the monks chasing him in the temple just days after Sanzo saved him from the cave he was trapped in for 500 years.
A half-youkai that grew up with an abusive mother that eventually tried to kill him, but his older brother Jien killed her right in front of him to save him. A cardsharp and womanizer who frequently gets into fights with Goku.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Gojyo is described and seen as having blood red hair and eyes in the manga, in Gensomaden, his hair looks more like a purple while his eyes are still red; but his hair and eyes are still described as being blood red in the anime. The color of his hair is corrected in the Reload and Gunlock anime.
Bridal Carry: In episode 7 of Gensomaden, he carried and held an unconscious Goku this way after his diadem was put back on.
Bruiser with a Soft Center: Proud of his muscles and likes to play the swaggering Lothario, but as a result of the abuse he endured as a child he's quick to defend children, and his kind heart likewise makes him a sucker for stray kittens, abused underlings and anyone with a sob story.
Chivalrous Pervert: see above; goes double for women with sad tales to tell, especially if they cry.
Urban Legend Love Life: In the manga Gojyo is a notorious flirt, but he's yet to become romantically involved with any women in-series (never at all in the manga, and a single one-night-stand in the anime). This only fuels speculation.
With Due Respect: Kenren is not exactly known for holding his tongue and he’s the first one to lash out against the Heavenly authorities... but the others immediately back him up when he does.
Voiced by: Akira Ishida (JP), Saori Higashi (JP, child), Braden Hunt (EN, original series and Requiem), Steve Staley (EN, Reload and Gunlock), Nyl Stewart (EN, child)
Originally named Cho Gonou, he lived with his sister, who he shared a romantic relationship with. One day she was kidnapped by youkai, and Gonou proceeded to singlehandedly kill them all in the course of fighting his way to the youkai lord's castle, only to find - when he reached his sister's prison cell - that she had been raped, and not wanting to give birth to a youkai child, killed herself right in front of him. In the process, he got the blood of a thousand youkai on him and became a youkai himself. Later he meet with Gojyo and the two were found by Sanzo and Goku who were tasked to bring Hakkai for trial for his massacre of youkai. It turned out for Hakkai that as Buddhism forbids killing (not that it ever stops Sanzo), he is instead given a new identity as Cho Hakkai. He is generally the most polite and intelligent of the group, but even they find him terrifying when he's angry. Occasionally he removes his power limiters and fights as his youkai self, but does so rarely as it can potentially expose him to the influence of the Minus Wave.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Hakkai has green eyes in the manga, he retains his eye color in Gensomaden, but in Reload and Gunlock, his eyes are a near black color.
Beware the Nice Ones: Hakkai is easily the most polite and soft-spoken member of the group. He's also a walking font of potential violence who will snap your arm with a sweet, absent smile. Even Goku gets nervous when Hakkai removes all three limiters, and for good reason.
Brainy Brunette: The intellectual of the ikkou. He could have had his pick of college scholarships had he wanted to continue his formal education, takes correspondence courses (including lockpicking, which becomes very helpful), reads thick obscure books, and worked as a school teacher until Kanan's death.
Brother-Sister Incest: In the Gensoumaden anime, Hakkai constantly states his deceased lover Kannan was like a big sister; while in the manga, she really was his big sister.
Dissonant Serenity: Almost every time he fights. If he's acting otherwise his opponent is in big trouble.
Empowered Badass Normal: He single-handedly killed more than a thousand people (youkai and human) while still fully mortal. Armed with what looked like a fruit knife. Before he learned any ki attacks or healing. Imagine what he’s capable of now. Then go hide under the bed.
Eye Scream: In the manga, he tears out his eye and throws it at somebody. The anime "tones it down" to scratching the eyeball up while still in the socket.
If It's You, It's Okay: Hakkai honestly didn't care about the discovery that Kannan was his biological older sister, he genuinely loved her romantically and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
Never Gets Drunk: He can drink anyone under the table without showing the effects. An audio drama actually does show him rambling to Hakuryuu when it's just the two of them and claiming that he's had too much, however, indicating that it might be less about not getting drunk and more about having so much self-control that his behavior never changes. Either way, it just adds to his Uncanny Valley factor.
Only Sane Man: Within the Sanzo-ikkou, he is by far the calmest of the four.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Gender Flipped with context and complete with Influence Judo - watch the group's antics carefully, and you'll see that while Sanzo is nominally in charge, if Hakkai wants something done, it happens. He'll also break your arm without ever losing his smile... but only if you're threatening innocents or his True Companions.
Tranquil Fury: Rather than Hakkai’s loopier Dissonant Serenity. Tenpou will go absolutely icy cold when he’s mad but without crossing over into smiling psychopathy.
Trash of the Titans: Kenren keeps having to clean his office for him, because Tenpou will never do it himself.
Hakuryuu / Jeep
Voiced by: Kaoru Morota (JP, Saiyuki), Tae Okajima and Eisuke Kotanizawa (JP, Saiyuki Reload and Gunlock), Kelli Cousins (EN)
Dub Name Change / Spell My Name with an S: Hakuryuu's name in the manga was Jeep, but was changed to Hakuryuu in the anime due to copyright of the word, in the English dub of Gensomaden, there was a translation error and he was called "Hakuru," his name was corrected to "Hakuryuu" in the Reload and Gunlock dubs.
Reincarnation: Jeep is likely the reincarnation of Goujun, the Dragon King of the Western Seas, who was not a conspirator in the celestial rebellion but became a casualty of it after leaving a written account of the events.
A Noble Demon; son of the Youkai King, Gyumaoh, and often addressed as Prince. He has no interest in resurrecting his father and has nothing against humans or the Sanzo party, but as Gyokumen Koushu has promised to revive his mother if he helps complete her plans, he none the less aids her.
Big Brother Instinct: To Lirin. Lirin remarks that he's more like family to her than Gyokumen or the father she's never met, and wonders whether his mother Rasetsunyo would accept her as a step-child.
Brainwashed and Crazy: As "Barcode" Kougaiji, thanks to Nii. [[spoiler: He goes up against Goku, who takes a beating when he assumes that this is yet another Affably Evil run-in. And crazy!Kougaiji can wipe the floor with limiter-on-Goku.
Kougaji's younger half sister. Can be best described as a female Goku; all energy and appetite; replace his relationship with Sanzo with hers with Kougaiji, minus that he treats her much better. A bit of an airhead. Has surprisingly large breasts despite her young appearance. Hero-worships her big bro to the extent that she characterizes herself as the prince's sister rather than the king's daughter, and is justifiably wary of her creepy mom.
Big Eater: a running joke being that she is easily distracted by food, even in the middle of a fight
Voiced by: Dai Matsumoto (JP, first series), Jurota Kosugi (JP, Reload and Gunlock), Jason Miesse (EN, original series episodes 5-18), Mike MacRae (EN, original series episodes 20-50), Paul St. Peter (EN, Reload and Gunlock)
Big Brother Instinct: Even though they're now on opposite sides of the Minus Wave conflict, he's still worried about the welfare of his younger half-brother Gojyo. And his unvassallike concern for Kougaiji, who reminds him of his little brother, is motivated by his lingering guilt. He sees protecting Kougaiji as way to earn redemption for his previous failure. His breakdown in the manga when he thinks he cannot keep Kougaiji safe reflects this.
Boisterous Bruiser: He towers several inches taller than his prince and specializes in hand-to-hand and sword combat.
Comforting the Widow: His incestuous relationship with his mother came about because of his resemblance to his late father.
Cool Sword: With a wide, curved blade like a scimitar.
Facial Markings: His youkai skin markings appear on his forehead and across his nose. Even in the manga they're often omitted, though.
Heroic Sacrifice: In chapter 4.6.2 of Reload Blast, he takes a blow for Kougaiji, and dies from his injuries later in the same chapter.
Parental Incest: With his mother, in order to protect Gojyo from physical abuse. He was disgusted by this, but ultimately experiences more guilt over failing to prevent the abuse.
That Man Is Dead: His response when Gojyo refers to him by his birth name, "Jien".
A chemist, apothecary and healer who was rescued by Kougaiji from being the next meal of the Centipede Demon, Hyakugan Maoh. As a result she is completely devoted to him and willing to die in his service. He has several times had to convince her that she's worth much more to him alive and using her medicinal skills. Variously shipped with him and with her colleague Cho Hakkai, though there's no evidence that she has romantic feelings for either. When the group is at home she often serves as Lirin's nanny/minder.
Voiced by: Shinobu Sato (JP), Kaytha Coker (EN, original series), Wendee Lee (EN, Reload and Gunlock)
The youkai that aims to resurrect Gyumaoh, and Lirin's mother. As a Foil to the Kougaiji Party, she appears completely evil, caring for nothing and nobody apart from achieving her goals, even her own family mean nothing to her.
Abusive Parents: Her treatment of both Kougaiji and Lirin. She has yet to display any redeeming qualities.
An extremely eccentric yet very threatening human mad scientist attempting to revive Gyumaoh for unknown reasons. As of the end of Reload is also known to be Ukoku Sanzo, the heretical keeper of the Muten sutra and an old friend of Koumyou Sanzo...and possibly also his murderer.
Beware the Silly Ones: He's an oddball, but he's the biggest threat to the Sanzo party and is capable of beating them single-handedly.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Almost literally (he wears bunny slippers around the labs and babytalks to a rabbit plushie), but do NOT mistake this guy for harmless due his eccentric behavior; he has plenty of Kick the Dog moments in his pursuit of mad science. That's not even counting the destructive power of the Muten sutra and the fact that he was able to use Buddhist magic to kill fellow monks with no more than a wave of his hand even BEFORE he was elevated to Sanzo.
The Chessmaster: It's heavily hinted at that his entire involvement with the Gyumaoh revival was part of a bet with the late Koumyou Sanzo.
Creepy Crows: His symbol in the series, along with the darkness of night. His Buddhist dynastic name is "Ukoku", "a crow cawed", after the bird that cried out when he killed his master.
Eye Scream: End of the Reload manga. Still waiting for canon confirmation of the extent of the damage.
Hyper Competent Side Kick: Gyokuman Koushu may be the one that came up with plan to revive Gyumaoh, but Nii is the one that allows her plan the possibility of succeeding, and as a whole is far more crafty than she is.
Klingon Promotion: Ken'yuu rose in rank to Ukoku Sanzo by killing his master, Goudai. While his master had in fact declared that succession would be decided by a battle to the death, Ken'yuu had been specifically disqualified from participating. This results in Ukoku's strange heretical status: the Muten sutra recognizes him as its owner but he has never received the chakra mark that indicates approval from the gods.
Enemy Within: He's been possessed by the demon Valhalla since it killed his master when he was a child, though he doesn't know it. This is implicitly the doing of Ukoku Sanzo, who was visiting at the time.
Foil: To Sanzo. They have a similar history, both having lost their mentors/father figures to youkai attacks and devoting their adult lives to vengeance. However, Hazel pursues his vengeance by seeking to eliminate youkai entirely, even those unaffected by the Minus Wave like young children. Hazel’s magic amulet holds out a kind of false hope because for every human life it restores it must destroy the soul of a youkai. Sanzo, while very willing to kill anyone youkai or otherwise who tries to impede his quest, has not simply generalized that hatred to the entire species. He’s seeking to shut down the Minus Wave and end the problem at its source, restoring the possibility of coexistence between humans and youkai.
BFG: Each one is about 3 times the size of Sanzo's little Smith and Wesson. Gat asks Sanzo, after Hazel's talisman is broken, to carry the guns once he can no longer be revived. Sanzo replies that they're guns only someone with Gat's strength could use: Sanzo would have to use both hands to be able to aim just one of them and the recoil would probably numb his entire arm, so he'd only be able to get off a single shot. One of them gets used quite dramatically in the climactic battle of Reload, against Ukoku. Result: The most successful attack against Ukoku yet—he’s probably lost an eye, maybe both. Sanzo does indeed have to use both hands and has to make his one shot count.
The Gunslinger: Unlike Sanzo, Type B, The Vaporizer, with some elements of Type C (The Woo) use of Gun Fu. Gat's a very good shot but ultimately his style relies on the exceptional firepower of his huge pistols.
Voiced by: Misa Watanabe (JP, original series), Rei Igarashi (JP, Reload and Gunlock), Karen Coffer (EN, most episodes of first two seasons), Shawn Taylor (EN, some episodes of first two seasons), Melodee M. Spevack (EN, Reload and Gunlock)
Intrigued by Humanity: While she's definitely arrogant, her Butt Monkey man-servant once implying that she's an egotist even compared to the other gods, she regards Earth and its dynamic, constantly changing inhabitants as far more interesting and compelling than static, eternal Heaven. Woe betide you if she finds you especially interesting...like the Sanzo-ikkou.
Physical God: In Saiyuki Gaiden, she's shown to be even stronger than Goku with his power limiter removed.
Jerkass Gods: She sends the Sanzo party out for her own amusement rather than any desire to do good, and only rarely ever helps them. And believe it or not, se's actually one of nicer gods seen in the series.
Vapor Wear: Her robes are see-through in the Manga, leaving her nipples clearly visible
Butt Monkey: The aforementioned hapless manservant to Kanzeon.
Old Retainer: He's been in the Goddess' service for at least 500 years, is quick to tell the ikkou off for insufficient appreciation of her intervention, and refers to her in the most respectful terms possible, even as he picks up after her messes.
Please Put Some Clothes On: You'd think Jiroushin would be used to Kanzeon's "clothing optional workplace" attitude after several hundred years.
Empty Shell: He becomes this as a result of his failed suicide, after being ordered by his father to kill Goku.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Sure, he wants to bring an end to everything in existence, but he's so sweet and vulnerable, and so many undeservedly terrible things have happened to him.
The Sanzo Priests
Cloudcuckoolander: The description used in Ibun is “a little stray cloud off in his own world”. Koumyou claims to be less reliable than the moon. He’s got a real thing for paper airplanes and forgets to hide the pipe and the booze from the other monks. At one point he quotes Dragon Ball Z to explain his strategies. I am not making this up.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: As a novice, Houmei was known as “the demerit monk” for his chronic rulebreaking and laziness. He was also stronger in Buddhist magic than any of the other sanzo candidates. As Koumyou Sanzo, he’s still blowing off lectures and sneaking alcohol…while also being the youngest person ever to reach that rank and the only one ever to be entrusted with two sutras.
Master-Apprentice Chain: Learned from Jikaku as a novice, and transmitted his teachings to his successor, Genjyo Sanzo.
My Death Is Only The Beginning: Ukoku has suggested that Koumyou’s death in a youkai attack may have been intentional, as he was more than strong enough to fight such intruders off. This raises the possibility that Koumyou knew the effect his death would have on Genjyo and set him on that path on purpose.
The Only One: Two of his closest friends (Tenkai and Goudai) stick him with their own problems (the Maten Sutra and Ukoku, respectively) when they die, because they believe him to be the only one who will not collapse under the karmic burden.
Valley Girl: Houmei talks more like a Nagoya schoolgirl than a grown man—using cutesy nicknames and honorifics (i.e., “Momo-chan”), referring to oneself in the third person, and using “boku” and “anata” pronouns are all young, girlish verbal traits in Japanese.
Blessed with Suck: Genkai’s prophetic talents were exploited by his parents and he foresaw the deaths of many, but could not protect his parents when they were in danger.
Oracular Urchin: Genkai’s body stopped growing very early and he’s about the size of a 4 year-old.
Arc Words: Jikaku was the first to make the comparison between Ukoku as “the dark of the night” and Koumyou as “the light of the moon”. The full significance of the comparison is still unclear.
Been There, Shaped History: Jikaku's a senior monk at a major temple the first time we see him in Saiyuki Ibun, and was the abbot of Keiun (the largest monastery in China) before Genjyo Sanzo. But what's MORE interesting about him is that he met at least 8 sanzo priests in his lifetime (3 unnamed former sanzos, Koumyou, Goudai, Genkai, Ukoku, and Genjyo).
Master-Apprentice Chain: Jikaku instructed both Koumyou and Goudai as novices. In turn, Koumyou taught his successor Genjyo and Goudai taught his successor Ukoku. Genjyo and Ukoku are now on opposite sides of the Minus Wave conflict.
All Your Powers Combined: Simultaneous activation of the Maten and Koten sutras in close proximity, even without any intent to synchronize them, results in a powerful resonance. (This is a confirmation of the earlier explanation for splitting the sanzos up as much as possible.) Sharak and Genjyo agree that the potential effects are unknown and dangerous...but they both totally want to see what happens.
Celibate Hero: She (forcefully) rejects Hassan's come-on and tells him she's not a woman—she's a sanzo.
Functional Magic: The use of resonators to extend the protection of her Koten sutra to the entire region.
Lonely at the Top: Goku's explanation to Hassan for the immediate rapport between Genjyo and Sharak. It's the first time either of them has met someone else who understands the heavy responsibilities of the sanzo priesthood.
The Gunslinger: She's got a LARGE pistol and an automatic rifle she slings across her back quite casually when going out to protect the villagers.
The Siege: On the orders of the Sanbutsushin, she's been holding down the fort for years now waiting for the ikkou to make it West from Chang'An.
Imaginary Love Triangle: Hassan feels threatened by the immediate rapport between Sharak and Genjyo. Goku reassures him that there is nothing romantic or sexual about it from Genjyo's end—it's just the first time either sanzo has met someone else who understands the responsibilities of the job.
Just Friends: The reason Hassan feels threatened. He's been in love with Sharak since they were novices in training together. Unfortunately for him, she seems to see relationships as a distraction from her duties.