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Anime / Alakazam the Great

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"I wish I could say that Alakazam was a good king or a wise king. But he wasn't. He was rude and arrogant. As a matter of fact, he was a bit of a crab about the whole thing. I suppose you could say that his crown went to his head."
Narrator, about Alakazam.

Alakazam the Great is a 1960 Anime film by Toei Animation based on Journey to the West. It is adapted from the manga Boku no Son Goku by Osamu Tezuka. It was released by American International Pictures in the United States in 1961, and was one of the first Anime films to be professionally dubbed in English.

Its story concerns Alakazam, a simple monkey who becomes King of the Monkeys. He instantly becomes Drunk with Power and mistreats everybody around him, including his girlfriend Dee Dee. He forces Merlin to teach him magic, and goes off to Majutsu Land to cause trouble. He's finally beaten and imprisoned by King Amo. He's sentenced to become the bodyguard of Amo's son, Prince Amat, who's about to go on a great pilgrimage. And Amat will need the help, for there are many demons waiting to cause him trouble.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Alakazam/Son Goku had yellow fur in the original manga, but brown fur in the movie.
  • Adapted Out: The only villains from the novel that appear in this movie are The Golden and Silver Kings (The McSnarl brothers), the Scorpion Demoness, the Bull-Demon King (King Gruesome), and Princess Iron-Fan.
  • Anachronism Stew: There are a couple of anachronistic gags in the movie, depicting modern artifacts (Such as toy guns or western clothing) in Ancient Asia.
  • Bowdlerise:The English dub removes all the references to Buddhism, referring to the gods as "wizards" and "magicians" and altering Buddha into "King Amo" and Tang Sanzang/Sanzo-hoshi the Buddhist monk into "Prince Amat".
  • Canon Foreigner: Dee Dee the Monkey, who did not exist in the original novel.
  • Death by Adaptation: The McSnarl brothers are sucked into their own man-eating gourd; unlike the novel, they are never released and pull a Heel–Face Turn. Queen Gruesome is frozen by her own magic fan, while her husband falls in a volcano. They both survive fine and repent in the novel.
  • Drunk with Power: Alakazam at the beginning. It doesn't take long before King Amo knocks some sense into him.
  • Dub-Induced Plotline Change: The Japanese release was 88 minutes long; the English dub cut that down to 80 minutes. One change made was re-editing the opening to include scenes from later in the film.
  • Dub Name Change: Everybody in the English dub. Sun Wukong becomes Alakazam, Buddha becomes King Amo, the Bull-Demon King becomes King Gruesome, etc.
  • Gender Bender: Alakazam turns himself into a lovely Chinese maiden when first meeting Sir Quigley to stop him from marrying the real girl he's interested in.
  • Gluttonous Pig: Sir Quigley Broken Bottom:
    Alakazam: You must guard the Prince day and night. Understand?
    Quigley: Except at mealtimes.
  • Happily Ever After: The movie ends with Alakazam and Dee Dee marrying.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Sir Quigley Broken Bottom, Max Lulipopo, and Filo Fester all end up redeeming themselves by the end of the film.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The McSnarl Brothers are sucked into their own gourd by Alakazam.
  • "I Am" Song: "Ore wa Son Goku"/"I am Son Goku" in the Japanese version. It's replaced by "Alakazam the Great" in the dub.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: After King Gruesome refuses to pay Filo for his work, Filo ends up helping Alakazam and friends.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In the Japanese version, Cho Hakkai/Quigley Broken Bottom is the half-brother of Kingaku and Gingaku/The McSnarls. The English dub goes even further by making Guan Yin/Queen Amas the wife of Buddha/King Amo and have Sanzo-hoshi/Prince Amat as their son.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Dee Dee. She's a nice girl, but that's all we know about her
  • Shapeshifter: Alakazam, Quigley, Hercules, Filo and King Gruesome.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: Alakazam and Hercules go through many forms, including giant birds and dinosaurs, during their fight.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Inverted. The rabbit who informs Alakazam about King Gruesome's magic fan has a male voice in the English dub, but a more feminine voice in the Japanese dub.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: When Alakazam tells Dee Dee he's going to find Merlin, she begs to go with him, but he tells her that it's "no place for women". To add to this, Alakazam insists magicians hate girls because magicians saw girls in half.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Alakazam and Quigley pull a Shapeshifter version of this trope to disguise themselves as King Gruesome.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: King Gruesome and Queen Gruesome.