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* AcceptableReligiousTargets: This is a Buddhist story written at a time when Buddhism's old religious rival in China, Taoism, was falling out of favour. The novel makes some vague noises about interfaith respect and tolerance, and Lao Zi, the deified founder of the philosophy, is treated with respect (even if Wukong does outwit and humiliate him unusually often for someone of his stature), but it's still rare to find a Taoist priest in it who isn't both (a) a power-mad EvilSorcerer and (b) a man-eating demon disguised as a human, though many of their more-horrible deeds (carving out the hearts of ten thousand innocent children to make an immortality elixir comes to mind) were based on actual purported histories of the time.
* AwesomeEgo: Sun Wukong's ego reaches the heights of heaven, and his cockiness touches the bottom of the deepest sea.
* CrazyAwesome: Many of the characters in the Tsai Chih Chung comic adaptation.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: Some of the greatest in literature. Most of them pulled off by Sun Wukong.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: The White Bone Demon appears to be this; despite being a demon with a rather ordinary skill set (shapeshifting) and pretty much zero fighting ability, the arc featuring her is one of the most well-known in all of China, and the subject of numerous operas and television specials.
* FridgeLogic: It is shown and stated several times that Sun Wukong is able to cover hundreds of miles in just a few seconds with his somersault cloud, which makes you wonder why he doesn't simply carry Xuanzang to the Wesern Temple by cloud and save them the long journey by land. This is lampshaded by Zhu Bajie in chapter 22, after which Sun Wukong explains that it is impossible for mortals like Xuanzang to travel by cloud because their mortal flesh and bones are too heavy for that. Also, Xuanzang is the only one that the Buddha will give the scriptures to, so there is no point in Sun Wukong traveling to the temple by himself and ask for the scriptures on Xuanzang's behalf. But in any case, the whole ''point'' of the journey is for Xuanzang to go through lots of dangers before getting the scriptures, so that people back home will be properly impressed, and so that it will be symbolic of a pious person's journey through life's temptations etc.
* GodModeSue: The first part of Sun Wukong's history basically has him running roughshod over both humans and deities before Buddha [[HilarityEnsues puts a stop to the madness]] and even after he is released he gets many a CurbStompBattle before they reach their destination.
* IconicCharacterForgottenTitle: The story is often more well known through its most famous character Sun Wukong, or the Monkey King.
* ValuesDissonance: A lot of motivations and justifications for the heroes' behavior look definitely odd to a modern reader.
** The fate of the villain of Chapter 84 can be seen as this for many modern western-minded readers. For those who don't know. in that chapter, the pilgrims come across a country led by a king whose goal was to [[WouldBeRudeToSayGenocide kill 10,000 Buddist monks]] in his kingdom because of [[spoiler: [[DisproportionateRetribution wrongs done to him by Buddist Monks in a past life]]]]. In the end, he is [[HumiliationConga changed into a monk]] and redeemed, with that chapter demonstrating the forgiving power of Buddhism. However, given the scale of his crimes, most modern readers would find it unrealistic and expect him to be killed instead.
** Baije joins the team because his mortal in-laws end up hiring Monkey and Xuanzang to exorcise him from their farm and chase him away from their daughter, Blue Orchid. However, Baijie legitimately married Blue Orchid and did so with their permission, and while he is quite a glutton (as he himself admits), he's also a very hard and diligent worker who more than earns his keep by his labors. As he notes to Monkey-in-disguise, he cleans the ground, drains ditches, carries bricks and tiles, builds walls, ploughs fields (pulling the plough singlehandedly at that), plants grain and generally improves the farm, with even his in-laws admitting that he does his labors, which is why they were happy to take him in as their son-in-law in the first place. So why do they want him gone? Because it's undignified to have a monster as a son-in-law. This makes perfect sense to Chinese and Japanese cultures, even today, but modern Westerners tend to see them as {{Ungrateful Bastard}}s engaging in FantasticRacism: he's being cast out, despite being everything a farmer could want in a son-in-law, simply because of his race.
*** Incidentally, this may be why this aspect of Baije's story is almost never adapted straight in more recent depictions. For example, in ''Series/{{Monkey}}'', Baije is to be exorcised because he's given up being a dutiful son-in-law to instead become a wastrel who spends his days eating, drinking and picking fights. In ''Manga/DragonBall'', the Baije-{{expy}} Oolong is an enemy because he keeps kidnapping girls (all of whom end up pushing him around and bullying him, to the point he's happy to give them back) and the whole "in-laws call for exorcism" angle is dropped entirely.
*** Admittedly Baije isn't ''entirely'' innocent -- by the time Monkey and Xuanzang come along, he's keeping Blue Orchid locked up in his private room and not letting her parents see her. But it's never clarified whether he's doing that because he's just an asshole or if he's only doing so because he's angry at how, after having welcomed him into the family, his in-laws have turned on him for his supernatural nature.
** As mentioned under DisproportionateRetribution on the main page, Shā Wųjėng receives 800 lashes, is exiled from Heaven, is transformed into a demon, and has to spend the rest of his life hiding in a river to avoid a magic sword that will stab him daily in the chest, all for the heinous crime of...breaking a cup or a vase. A little extreme but not unreasonable in the time-period for when it's set (porcelain, crystal and jade being ''very'' difficult to work with, so literally more precious than gold), but horrifying to a modern age audience.
* TheWoobie: The Queen of Western Liang. A [[IJustWantToBeLoved lonely,]] ReasonableAuthorityFigure that seems to be genuinely in love with Xuanzang as opposed to her [[InformedFlaw man-hungry subjects]] and [[PetTheDog nice to the point of registering the disciples' names.]] What does she get for it? Scared off by Baije and literally left in the dust.

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