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Journey to the West is a Hong Kong television series adapted from the novel of the same title. Starring Dicky Cheung as Sun Wukong, Kwong Wah as Tang Sanzang, Wayne Lai as Zhu Bajie, and Evergreen Mak as Sha Wujing. The series was produced by TVB and was first broadcast on TVB Jade in Hong Kong in November 1996. A sequel, Journey to the West II, was broadcast in 1998, but the role of Sun Wukong was played by Benny Chan instead, due to contract problems between Dicky Cheung and TVB.

This adaptation is rather loosely based on the novel and has some differences. It contains several new characters from good and bad guys alike which are not present in the novel. While some argue it's not best adaptation due to having few similarities with the novel, it has its own fanbases. Mostly because the series is Lighter and Softer (some hostile characters even go on Adaptational Heroism), more family-friendly (there are many fans who note this is their favorite tv series in their "childhood"), and contains many Rule of Funny played in most episodes. Though some of which are Black Comedy (such as treated violence as comedy and sometimes in the form of Amusing Injuries suffered by certain characters), it is still favorable.

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This series is generally regarded as Dicky Cheung's breakout role.

This series is NOT to be mistaken with Monkey King: Quest for The Sutra, a remake where Dicky reprises his role as Sun Wukong.


This series provides examples of:

  • Abduction Is Love/And Now You Must Marry Me: White Bone Demon makes an entrance in the series by abducting a human prince and force him to marry her (which he reluctantly complied).
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The moment when Honghaier atone for his crimes and become Guanyin's companion has more angst because Bull Demon and Princess Iron Fan are present along the time to company their son for some time.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the novel, Sun Wukong was consistently described as an ugly demon not unlike Lei Gong (Thunder Duke) in facial features. In the adaptation, while he's far from normal-looking by human standards, he doesn't really look frightening. That is, he simply looks like a human covered with long fur.
  • Adaptational Badass:
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    • Tang Sanzang, in a way. In the novel he was The Load and Distressed Dude, being weak, cowardly, naive, and practically useless throughout the entire journey. In this adaptation however, while he still can't fight at all, he has his shining moments. To give an idea to those who did not read the novel, if Sanzang showed any wisdom or played any part in defeating the antagonist of the day, that scene is most likely not from the novel.
      • In the novel when Sha Wujing was first encountered, Sanzang was cowering in a corner while the disciples tried subduing Wujing. In this adaptation, Sanzang was captured by Wujing and was threatened to be eaten by the latter, but Sanzang used his words and knowledge of the Buddhist scriptures to rebuke Wujing, guilt-tripping the demon into surrendering to him without force.
      • Sanzang with the help of his three disciples subdued the Dream Demon through chanting of the Buddhist scriptures, reverting him back to his Sleep-Mode Size.
      • Sanzang had a hand in defeating Long Armed Monkey the first time. During the first fight with Sun Wukong, Long Armed Ape Monkey was tricked into destroying Wukong's golden headband which was actually a fake. What really happened was that Wukong and Sanzang collaborated to temporarily remove the real golden headband from Wukong and transfer it to Long Armed Ape Monkey. Sanzang effectively subdued Long Armed Ape Monkey by reciting the curse to cause intense headaches.
      • The Python Demoness easily overwhelmed Wukong with her magical stone of Seven Emotions and Six Desires, because Wukong displayed the sin of anger. Sanzang arrived in time to see Wukong incapacitated. She tried doing the same with Sanzang but it backfired because Sanzang had none of the sins that the magical stone had power over and she was forced to retreat.
    • This adaptation of the White Bone Demoness is a Composite Character of the novel White Bone Demon and the Yellow Robe Demon. As a result, this version of the White Bone Demoness still survived Wukong's deadly blow by the time Wukong is temporarily banished from the group. And just like the Yellow Robe Demon in the novel, she demonstrated that she can overwhelm both Bajie and Wujing together in a fight, as opposed to the novel's White Bone Demoness who dared not (and never did) fight Sanzang's disciples head on.
    • While already dangerous in the novel, the Centipede Demon is now able to absorb demonic essence and mimic the appearances and powers of other beings. By the time he openly confronts Wukong, he becomes powerful enough to transform into heavenly deities like Erlang Shen, Guanyin, and even Buddha.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Sha Wujing. The novel's Sha Wujing may not be the wittiest of the team of protagonists, but this version portray him as even less intelligent than Zhu Bajie, a character whose vices often overwhelm his thought processes.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • The best examples of this trope is Bull Demon King and Princess Iron Fan. In this adaptation they are a bickering married couple with good intentions, who had over the centuries spoiled their son Red Boy. They are apparently Buddhists too (Clearly half-hearted ones, especially for Bull Demon King given his philandering).
    • The Spider Demonesses in the original are typical monsters seeking to eat Sanzang. In the adaptation, not all of the Spider Demonesses are evil, in particular those who are the focus of the story.
    • Six-Eared Macaque, who is highly mischievous but innocent and well-intentioned little monkey. After some nasty shit that happens to him, he gets better much later on.
    • Black Bear Demon, Who becomes a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • Sun Wukong during his "stints" in Heaven. This version is friends with various minor deities and is portrayed slightly more sympathetically, willing to shoulder all the punishment by the heavenly courts in exchange for sparing his fellow monkeys.
    • Zhu Bajie. The novel version is a despicable villain by today's standards. It was implied that Bajie raped his own wife, and also used to eat humans until he was subdued by Wukong and converted to the Buddhist faith. This adaptation portrayed Bajie in a loving relationship with his wife (albeit Bajie was under a fake identity) and completely omitted his cannibalistic past.
    • White Dragon Horse never eats Sanzang's original (and mortal) horse. Said mortal horse is freed willingly by Sanzang before he met Wukong.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Sun Wukong (After he joined the pilgrimage). Whoever read the original novel will realize that the adaptation omitted many killings that the original Wukong did. In the novel, after Wukong was (temporarily) sent away by Sanzang, he returned home and killed the hunters who had killed his fellow monkeys. Not to mention at the other times during the pilgrimage, he had no qualms killing other demons. As for this version, Wukong had already relatively mellowed out early on. Unlike the novel who only showed mercy when commanded to by higher deities, this version of Wukong had more than once shown mercy or restraint of his own accord.
    • Zhu Bajie (After he joined the pilgrimage). In the novel, even after conversion to the Buddhist faith, he remained a lustful demon where for instance he intentionally molested the naked Spider Demonesses before attempting to kill them. This adaptation portrayed him as a Casanova Wannabe and played down his encounter with the Spider Demonesses.
    • Tang Sanzang. He is more noble and less cowardly in this adaptation as compared to the novel's version, and more likable as a character too.
    • In fact, most of the deities be it from the Taoist or Buddhist pantheon are subjected to this. In the novel, they don't particularly raise more an eyebrow when they see Wukong, Bajie, or practically any other deity freely killing demons without care, justified as the novel portrays demons as Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Long Armed Ape Monkey in the sequel is derived from Chinese mythological figure who is heroic. While this is present as his backstory, he later becomes Rival Turned Evil.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • The Three Kings of Lion Camel Cave. Their goals, motivations, and the general plot were completely altered. In the original novel, they are crafty villains seeking to eat Tang Sanzang, whom Wukong can't defeat by himself. In the 1998 Hong Kong TVB Adaptation, they are a trio of cowardly glory hounds, and are barely a match for Bajie even when fighting together.
    • Yellow Brows Great King, whose role was completely altered and became the de facto subordinate of the Long Armed Ape Monkey, nothing more.
    • Zhu Bajie himself. In the novel, he can at least put up a fight against many demons. In fact, Sun Wukong teamed up with Bajie more than once to fight their opponents. In this adaptation, Bajie became close to a complete pushover the likes of Wujing. Outside of his original Tianpeng incarnation, Bajie only had ONE notably good fight in the entire series, and that was his first encounter with Wukong (and he still lost anyway).
    • In the novel, the Bull Demon King is more or less Sun Wukong's equal and is capable of matching Wukong's own game of impersonation. In this adaptation, Wukong defeats him handily.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Guanyin is shown to have had far more influence on Wukong's life than in other adaptations, to the point where she could be considered to be Wukong's surrogate mother throughout his childhood.
    • In the novel, Long Armed Ape Monkey was just a name listed out by Buddha as one of the four Spiritual Primates, of which Sun Wukong and the Six Ear Macaque are part of. In this series, he made an actual appearance and is the main antagonist of a particularly long story arc in Season 2.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • The merging of the Ginsengfruit story arc with the Golden and Silver Horned Kings story arc resulted in the Ginsengfruit demons becoming the new Golden and Silver Horned Kings in this series. These Ginsengfruit demons directly originated from Ginsengfruits and so logically speaking they don't have parents. However, the scene involving the Golden and Silver Horned Kings' mother was still retained in this adaptation, which doesn't make sense.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • Wukong, Bull Demon King, and Princess Iron Fan are childhood friends who studied under the same master. Many of the skills Wukong would have, including invisibility were secretly taught to him by his fellow classmates, who would also grow up to become major demigods or servants of Heaven that later help out the protagonists.
    • Within the same note, it's later revealed that the volcanic mountain range that Wukong needs to extinguish with the Princess's fan was created by a giant pot of lava Wukong had kicked during his rampage across Heaven.
    • Bajie turns out to be indirectly responsible for Wukong's Adaptational Heroism. As a result, the high reverence he achieved for his deed would eventually lead to his fall from grace and transformation into a pig monster.
    • Wujing and Yulong were found and recruited together.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • In the first arc of second season, there's a character who is loose adaptation of Six-Eared Macaque and nicknamed as "Little Monkey" who suffers Involuntary Shapeshifting into a Great Ape Demon, and if someone trying to drown him into water, instead of drown to his demise, he will transform into a Demonic Dragon who looks nothing like a Chinese Dragon and more resembles a Western Dragon.
    • In the same arc, while inspecting said dragon, Bajie inexplicably used telescope, which didn't exist until 1600s. Although being Bajie, this is played for comedy in an otherwise tense situation.
  • Angel Unaware: Guanyin loves disguising herself as a human to give Secret Test of Character to other characters.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Snow Demoness was a fairy who is also Jade Emperor's second daughter.
  • Ash Face: What Bajie and Wujing had gotten in the last story arc of the first season. Wukong found an explosive meant to kill him and the rest of the protagonists. He casually put up a magic shield to cover himself and also protect the very vulnerable Sanzang, but did not bother to do so for Bajie and Wujing. This trope was justified given that Bajie and Wujing are demons who are far more durable than any normal human.
  • Asleep, Not Meditating: Basically what triggered the Journey to the West. Tang Sanzang's previous incarnation, the Golden Cicada had shown disrespect in a Buddhist congregation with Buddha by falling asleep. Buddha was especially displeased since the Golden Cicada is his disciple, and thus punished him by sending him to be reincarnated for the pilgrimage.
  • The Assimilator: Long Armed Ape swallowed a demonic pill that gave him the ability to swallow someone and obtain their powers. If the person isn't regurgitated in time, they would perish and be digested.
  • The Atoner: In the final saga, the heroes meet six demons from previous sagas who attempt to atone themselves.... with limited success, as they're still misguided somehow. They are two Spider Demonesses (En En and her mother, who aren't really evil to begin with), White Bone Demoness (genuine evil threat in the first season), Black Bear Demon (who is still misguided even after becoming Guanyin's disciple), and Elephant Demon/Yellow Toothed Elephant and Lion Demon/Azure Lion (two Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains from second season's first saga). In the climax, Python Demon Queen brainwashed three of them (En En, White Bone, and Black Bear) to make them attack the protagonists and other unbrainwashed demons, so Wukong is forced to kill them.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Happens to Sanzang into a black bear, courtesy of White Bone Demoness.
  • Big Brother Bully: Wukong to Bajie, but this grew to become Vitriolic Best Buds eventually. Also Bajie to Wujing, although this is mostly Played for Laughs with Bajie constantly scolds Wujing's stupidity and Fearless Fool persona.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Wukong to Little Monkey.
  • Big Eater: SUPPOSED to be Zhu Bajie's defining trait but downplayed for this adaptation. This adaptation focuses on his Casanova Wannabe personality, merely making passing references to Bajie's big appetite.
  • Big Fun: Bajie.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Tianpeng (who later became Zhu Bajie) was punished by Heaven, and was forced to experience 1000 reincarnations of ill-fated love. He quickly grew sick and tired of these experiences. He was in his 500th or so reincarnation before he was rescued and recruited into Sanzang's team, but before that, his tragic lives shown on-screen were mostly played as a form of black comedy. For instance, his first reincarnation ended abruptly, when he was dropped on the floor as a baby - his aunt carrying him was shocked that the baby was able to talk (he complimented her on her beauty).
  • Bodyguard Babes: Python Demon Queen has several female demons as bodyguards/handmaidens.
  • Book Ends: The Spider Demonesses story arc. Spider Demoness Shishi was sentenced to death via fire but her scholar husband Yushu refused to accept it, and carried her to perish in the fire together, although Shishi inadvertently survived. The arc ended with a reincarnated Yushu (as a Centipede Demon) sentenced to death via fire, but Shishi carried Yushu to perish in the fire together, this time killing both for real.
  • Bowdlerise: It was strongly implied that the Spider Demonesses (with the possible exception of the Matriarch, En En, and Si Si) lured young men into having sex with them, stealing their youth in the process note . For obvious reasons it can't be shown on-screen, but there seemed to be further executive meddling on the dialogue itself, since the Spider Demoness' agenda were never directly referenced. What was only shown were scenes of them attempting to seduce Sanzang, as well as scenes of old men claiming to be young men walking about the villages. This is in some ways odd especially considering Zhu Bajie's overt lust is more obvious but yet his scenes avoided the cut from censors.
  • Breather Episode: This series does warrant an interesting mention for this trope. The breather episodes tend to feature stories that are more faithfully adapted, one can clue in to them being shorter and more plot-driven.note 
    • Season 1:
      • After the intense arc with the White Bone Demon, a cunning adversary who nearly tore the heroes apart from within, the following chapter is a two-parter in the Kingdom of Chechi where the villains - the Tiger, Deer and Goat Demons - are a bumbling Terrible Trio constantly outwitted by Wukong, and gets taken out one at a time in the second part.
      • The arc with Yu-Shu, the Centipede Demon who actually handed Wukong a Curb-Stomp Battle with a depressing Bittersweet Ending (with En-En and Shi-Shi, two good Spider-Demons on the side of the heroes tragically dying, though En-En got better as Season 2 reveals) is followed by the mostly dramatic and light-hearted chapter in the Land of Many Perfumes.
    • Season 2:
      • Fighting the Golden and Silver Horned Kings who uses their magical weapons, among which is the Magical Gourd. This story's Bookends comes from the Ginsengfruits story arc though.
      • Crossing the river where the Fish Demon (Who demands yearly human sacrifices) resides
      • Fighting Tai Sui, who wields magical bells as a weapon, in the Kingdom of Zhuzi
      • The 10-episode arc with the Long Armed-Ape Monkey is easily the most perilious chapter in both seasons, with Wukong actually defeated and stripped of his powers, the gods refusing to intervene, and Wukong forced to regain his powers in order to save his master and friends after a Humiliation Conga. The next chapter on the other hand is a 4-episode arc dealing with Jin-Chi the charlatan monk and his bumbling attempts at stealing Sanzhang's Holy Robes, with the main threat, the Bear Demon, nowhere as powerful or as dangerous.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Bajie, even after undergoes many impressive Character Development, he is still infamously lazy. Other than this, he is also Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass and Cowardly Lion/Lovable Coward.
  • Brought Down to Badass: The beginning of Season 1 featuring the birth of the Stone Monkey (who later became Sun Wukong). The Stone Monkey started as a giant ape causing destruction but Tianpeng subdued him by cutting off part of his tail, sharply reducing his aggressiveness (and his power too). Not that its a bad thing, because while Wukong as a giant ape is utterly near unstoppable, he's also completely wild, unintelligent, and cannot be reasoned with.
  • Brought Down to Normal:
    • Wukong loses his powers and his confidence for a period after he was defeated by Long Armed Ape, but recovered them in time for a final rematch.
    • Erlang temporarily gave up his power (and Third Eye) to save his mother.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Zhu Bajie throughout the entire 2 seasons, either be it his own misfortune or from Wukong's antics. It's difficult to say that he doesn't deserve most of the show's abuse though, one can argue its karma at work.
    • Earth Deity is repeatedly abused for laughs. It's only until Long Armed Ape Monkey starts abusing him as well that it stops being funny.
  • Camp Straight: Though he remains Casanova Wannabe, Bajie increasingly becomes more flamboyant in the second season. He even at one point wore pink clothing.
  • Canine Companion: Celestial Hound for Erlang.
  • Canon Foreigner: There are some original characters, namely Dream Demon, Crow Demon, Snow Demon, etc. Dream Demon is argubly a Freddy Krueger ripoff.
  • Casanova Wannabe: This adaptation emphasizes on this trope for Bajie, even more so than his Big Eater and Lovable Coward personality.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Wukong has a habit of boastfully bragging, "What's there to be scared of?"
    • Bajie often melodramatically recites an excerpt from a favorite poem of his. As part of a Black Comedy, his heaven-mandated reincarnations always recite the same catch phrase just before they passed on.
  • Composite Character: Several characters assume the role of other characters from novel who are not present (or being Demoted to Extra) in this series.
    • Beside characters, some arcs are also composed into one arc. For example...
      • Honghaier arc with Bull Demon arc
      • White Bone Demoness with Yellow Robe Demon arc. White Bone Demoness is also a composite of the original White Bone Demoness and the Yellow Robe Demon.
      • Ginsengfruit arc with Golden and Silver Horned Kings arc.
      • Sanzang's origin story with the Kingdom of Wuji story arc, with a pair of Rhino demons in place of the original lion demon as antagonist.
    • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: If not being composed, then there are new characters who assume novel characters' role. For example, Immortal Ruyi, Bull Demon's brother from the novel, is not present. He is replaced by Bull Demon's niece who is called as "Bull Girl".
  • Cool Old Guy: Earth Deity, who is also resident Butt-Monkey. There's also Jiang Ziya, Erlang's mentor, who takes a pity on Erlang's mother.
  • Cool Old Lady:
    • Queen Mother of the West is more of a Reasonable Authority Figure than her son, Jade Emperor, for the most part.
    • Spider Demoness Matriarch is also a kind and harmless old lady who befriends the protagonists.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Usually it's Wukong dishing these out to lesser demons, given his status as the "Heavenly Sage" (best exemplified in Season 2 when he wipes out the remnants of Gold and Silver Horn's forces... in two seconds) but there are times when Wukong is on the receiving end.
    • The series' first arc depicting Sun Wukong's rampage across heaven ends with Wukong confronting Rulai the great Buddha, who defeats Wukong in an instant. Leading to Wukong's Break the Haughty moment before his Character Development to become a better person.
    • Sun Wukong battling the Red Boy, who earns a power upgrade turning his flames into Samadhi Fire, Wukong's greatest weakness. Cue Wukong getting incinerated alive to the point he gets reverted to Sleep-Mode Size.
    • The Centipede Demon near the end of the first season, who can transform into a variety of forms, including Rulai. Cue a repeat of the curb-stomping from the first season.
    • In season 2, the second battle between Wukong and the Long Armed Ape, after the latter had absorbed the powers of the Bull Demon, the Crow Demoness, Princess Iron Fan, and the Crow's immortal elephant pet, which ends badly for Wukong.
  • Darkest Hour: Most of the story arcs had their lowest point for the protagonists, and naturally most of the focus is on Wukong himself.
    • The White Bone Demoness adaptation is the arc where the team of protagonists deteriorated to their worst state. Wukong was sent away by Sanzang while Bajie also left the team in favour of settling down. Under the White Bone Demoness' machinations, Bajie accidentally killed Wujing while Sanzang was imprisoned and tortured. At this stage, it was revealed the White Bone Demoness has slaughtered almost all the humans involved in the story including the princess. Dragon Horse sacrificed his own life to buy time for Bajie to seek help on rescuing their master. Bajie's last resort was to ask Wukong for help but it seemed that even Wukong was killed in that rescue attemptnote , leaving Bajie alone......
  • Demoted to Dragon: Dream Demon, who becomes one of Python Demon Queen's dragons in the second season. He's also the only male, as the Queen's other dragons are female.
  • Divine Date: Erlang's father is a human while his mother is a fairy (who disguise herself as a human). We learn about their love story in one story arc in the second season.
  • Divine Parentage: Erlang is demigod from his mother's side.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Black Bear Demon, a pretty strong antagonist (Bajie and Wujing together are no match for him) but a complete idiot who gets easily misled by his master Jinchi on Buddhist concepts. Basically, try to imagine Sun Wukong with the naivety and intelligence (or lack thereof) of this TV version of Sha Wujing.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Ginsengfruit Demon Siblings really care about their mother. They hate Wukong for killing their mother.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Ginsengfruit Demon Siblings really care for each other. There are also Long Armed Ape Monkey and Python Demon Queen who undergo Unholy Matrimony. Much of the Snake Demoness' vendetta towards Wukong and the pilgrims is driven by her vengeance after Wukong killed the Long-Armed Ape, and in the final season, upon realizing the Long-Armed Ape had reformed, the Snake Demoness decide to turn over a new leaf as well.
    • The Rhino Demon who condemned the Kingdom of Wuji to a never-ending drought was eventually subdued by Wukong and punished by the Gods, sentenced to menial labor where he must dig a river with his bare hands for 30 years to atone for his sins. However the Rhino's son - himself a demon - pleads for the gods to punish him instead, saying his father is too old and volunteers to take his father's place. The gods obliged, saying they can take turns and dig 15 years each.
  • Evil Aunt: Snow Demon, who was once Second Fairy Xueyao Bingqing, sister of Erlang's mother. He easily curb-stomped her when they fought.
  • Evil Counterpart: In this adaptation, its not Six Eared Macaque that is Wukong's evil counterpart but Long Armed Ape instead (Both of their storyline also takes up significant portions of the second season). Long Armed Ape even deliberately replicate some of the actions that Wukong did in his earlier days in an effort to prove that he is better.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Snow Demoness is actually a subversion. She's more misguided by her anger towards her father, Jade Emperor.
  • Evil Laugh: The antagonists in the series often do this.
  • Face of a Thug: Wujing.
  • Fallen Hero: Long Armed Ape Monkey in the second season. His lover, Python Demon Queen, counts as well, since she was once a Sparrow Fairy who helped many people.
  • Fantastic Racism: Sun Wukong is wary of most demons he encounters in the pilgrimage, and even for those that don't pose a threat he's still a JerkAss to them. Contrast this with his reactions when he encounter any random human on the road, and this trope becomes obvious. Of course, there's various exceptions where he's friendly with demons and he's a jerk to humans but those are in the minority: These demons were ones he personally knew and the humans he's a jerk to are antagonizing him.
  • Faux Action Girls: Two sisters of Ginsengfruit Demon siblings. Even Bajie overwhelms them easily and they need their brother's rescue to defeat Bajie.
  • Fearless Fool: Sha Wujing, and he realizes it, too.
  • Foreshadowing: Wukong and Sanzang reminiscence the past about their initial meeting, where Sanzang recites the headband curse to get Wukong to submit to him. This happens right before the first battle between Sun Wukong and Long Armed Ape Monkey, with retrospect it hints of how Long Armed Ape Monkey would be initially defeated.
  • Frontline General: Erlang for Heaven, and Wukong for his own people.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Invoked in the Spider Demonesses story arc. When Wukong seek advice from Guan Yin on how to deal with the Centipede Demon (who had grown to a power level that he might not be a match for), she essentially replied that nature will take care of business. Indeed, just when the protagonists are overwhelmed, a vengeful Chicken Demon brought his chickens along to attack. The Centipede Demon easily knocked out the Chicken Demon but had problems fighting off the ordinary chickens. The chickens proved to be the demon's true weakness, hindering him just enough for Wukong to deal him a mortal blow.
  • Gender Bender: Guanyin, in her backstory, was a male human, who was even married to a human woman.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: The first story arc in second season is about how Sanzang has a dream where he's stomped and crushed to death by Great Ape Demon. Since he's a holy man, most if not all of his dreams are Prophetic Dream, so it will eventually happen. Thankfully, in reality when it did happen, Wukong interrupts and saves him.
  • God Is Inept: The Taoist pantheon, as par for the course for an adaptation of a novel with anti-Taoist leanings. The show proposes that Buddhism offers the best solution to alleviate suffering, with the Taoist pantheon portrayed as indifferent to mankind while the Buddhist pantheon is portrayed with far better dignity. And of course, Wukong treats almost every member of the Buddhist pantheon with utmost respect and is subservient to them, while for the Taoist pantheon, even at his most respectful moments he still puts himself as their equal.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: In Season 2, after Wukong suffered a Curb-Stomp Battle in the hands of the Long Armed-Ape Monkey who then traps the main characters in a hellish wasteland, demanding them to surrender, Wujing tries getting assistance from the gods, only to be turned down - they have relied on the help of Gods like Guanyin and Rulai far too many times throughout the series, now they must rely on themselves.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Demon Realm is led by Python Demon Queen.
  • The Good King: For all his faults, Wukong genuinely cares about the safety of his subjects, and requests that they be returned home and spared while he faces his punishment.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Long Armed Ape was originally a heroic monkey demon whose jealousy of Sun Wukong turned him into Wukong's evil counterpart.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Princess Wencheng, which isn't very surprising if one considers that much of her life has been mythified and used for various purposes. In this adaptation, she's apparently a military leader of Tang Dynasty. Granted, she's also Armchair Military and she never fights on-screen, but still. If anything, she's more politically active.
  • Honorary Uncle: Due to being childhood friends in this version, Bull Demon King introduces Wukong to his son as one. Honghaier is incredulous over having a monkey as his uncle.
  • Human Popsicle: Snow Demoness abducts Sanzang by non-lethally freezes him before taking him away.
  • Hypocrite: Bull Demon King, known for his adultery, was pretty angry when he mistakenly believed his wife cheat on him.
  • Imposter-Exposing Test: When an absurdly powerful Centipede Demon takes on the form of Sanzang, resulting in having two identical Sanzangs much to the confusion of his disciples, Wukong, Bajie and Wujing. After Wukong's X-Ray visions failed to expose the fake Sanzang from the real one (a trick which worked 99 out of 100 times in the past - the Centipede Demon is just that good of a shapeshifter) the trio decides to quiz the two Sanzangs on their past adventures, leading to a nice Continuity Cavalcade that Call Backs on the previous chapters, with questions like, "Who is my (Wukong) brother-in-arms in my training days?" note  "Where did we first met when I (Bajie) pretended to be a rich nobleman?" note  "What did you write in the palm of my (Wujing) hands in the bottom of the River of Sands?" note  "Who defeated me (Wukong) in battle and reverted me back to monkey form?" note  "In which country did I (Bajie) become a prince?" note  "What is my (Wujing) occupation in my previous life, a hundred years ago, before my exile from heaven?" note  … to the horror of Wukong, Bajie and Wujing, BOTH Sanzangs answered all twenty or so of their questions correctly, making them realize the Centipede Demon is likely a mind reader and far more powerful enemy than they've previously faced.
  • Identical Stranger: Since one supporting actor portrayed more than one characters, then it can happen anytime. The best example is when Bajie mistakes Princess Wencheng for his unrequited love Chang'e. Thankfully for Bajie, the princess gently expresses her theory to him about how some people may have similar face.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: In this adaptation, the Three Kings of Lion Camel Cave are thoroughly portrayed as a trio of cowardly jerkasses who could barely fight back Bajie physically. Their quest for power, wealth and fame failed rather miserably, be it easily defeated by Wukong and sent packing, or having their plans going out of control and forcing them to run away yet again.
  • In Name Only: Like its remake, the second season have quite a few stories that completely deviated from the novel with next to no homages paid to the original events.
    • Notably, as the Long Armed Ape saga drags on, it no longer has anything to do with the original Fake Leiyin Temple plot other than the Yellow Brows Great King character who is a mere grunt in this adaptation.
    • The Real/Fake Sun Wukong saga had absolutely nothing to do with any impersonator of Sun Wukong, the closest it gets are brief misunderstandings at the beginning due to Sanzang's prophetic nightmares (Sanzang dreamt that a Giant Ape demon that resembles Wukong will kill him). The "Fake Sun Wukong" was Six Eared Macaque, who didn't even impersonate anyone in this adaptation.
    • The final saga for the protagonists in the second season isn't even part of the novel at all, they are merely lifting story ideas from various sources such as The Monkey's Paw and Stephen Chow's Journey to the West movie (The 1990s version).
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Erlang's parents. His father is a human, his mother is a fairy / goddess.
    • Long Armed Ape and Python Demon Queen.
    • Bull Demon King and Crow Demoness (the only among Bull King's mistresses that Princess Iron Fan accepts as his second wife).
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Wukong in his birth in first season. In second season, we have Little Monkey who undergoes this after eating a poisoned food, which not actually hurt him, but instead make him REALLY ANGRY. It is his anger who involuntarily shapeshifts him into a Great Ape Demon.
  • Jerkass:
    • Sun Wukong, until character development by the end of the Spider Demonesses' story arc where he becomes more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Red Boy the son of Bull Demon King and Iron Fan Princess, is arguably the most annoying character in the first season.
  • Kill and Replace: Golden and Silver Horned Kings are present, but never met the protagonists. It is because they are killed by Ginsengfruit Demon Siblings, and then two of the oldest siblings replace them as new Golden and Silver Horned Kings.
  • Knight Templar: Sun Wukong. Interestingly, this adaptation does focus on this aspect of his character throughout the first season, especially the Spider Demonesses' saga.
  • Lady Land: The Woman Country. Interestingly, most of them seem to be asexual (and if one, such as Flying Tiger General, falls in love with a man, it's portrayed to be an unusual case, although not necessarily forbidden) and they can procreate by drinking water from a magical well to be a Truly Single Parent.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator often passionately describes the events as if he's part of the audience rooting for the protagonists.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the novel.
    • Wukong sparing the hunters who killed his followers, as opposed to the original who wiped them out in revenge
    • The novel's part where Wukong killed the robbers that represent his six senses was completely omitted
    • Stories involving genocide were either reduced in intensity or completely omitted
    • A few characters who were originally antagonists became either comedic nuisances or eventually befriended the 4 protagonists, notably the Spider Demonesses and the Black Bear demon.
    • Some (but not all) of the antagonists who seek to eat Sanzang had their original motivations changed to something much less darker. The Spider Demonesses are the earliest example in this series, where not all of them are evil, and even the ones that are evil don't eat humans but steal the youth from young men who were successfully lured into having sex with them. Also later on, the Three Kings of Lion Camel Cave applies too, who were reduced into incompetent glory hounds from their novel version of man-eating demons.
  • Long Last Look:
  • Love Hurts: Repeated examples. How many?
    • Bajie's unrequited love for Chang'e. This also gets him to be punished by experiencing many lives as mortal to suffer any kind of Love Hurts, including but not limited to unrequited loves, forbidden loves (one of them is even incestuous love!), adulteries, and many others.
    • En En's unrequited love for Wukong.
    • Flying Tiger General's (the general of Woman Country) unrequited love for Sanzang. She got over it, eventually.
    • Little Sparrow's unrequited love for Wukong. She got over it, eventually.
    • Long Armed Ape Monkey and Python Demon Queen after the former's death (and reincarnation into a monk, who rejects her advance when she wants them to reunite).
    • Guanyin was a male human, whose wife loves him and is deeply saddened once Guanyin seemingly died when s/he actually has ascended to a higher plane of existence and become the Guanyin we know today.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The story arc in Woman Country. Was it real or just a dream?
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Due to Crow Demoness' manipulation, Bajie is set up to sleep with her note , who disguise herself as Princess Iron Fan, so Bull Demon King will think his wife cheat on him.
  • Mister Seahorse: Happened to the four protagonists in Woman Country after they accidentally drank from a magical well that is usually used by people of Woman Country to procreate. In the original novel, only Sanzang and Bajie became this.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Some female demons. Most notably are spider demons (exclude the matriarch, who is elderly, and En En, who is considered a child by other characters) who are introduced via Furo Scene.
  • Morality Pet: Erlang's is his mother. The first time audiences can see that Erlang is really a good guy is when we learn about his mother.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Wujing is not exactly happy to realize he only had himself to blame for his cannibalism.
    • Bajie attempted suicide after he accidentally killed Wujing. He felt just as bad when the Dragon Horse revealed to him that the Black Bear who Bajie beaten up and tried to kill was actually his own master.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Most of the Spider Demonesses regularly seduce young men to steal their youth during the trysts. The trio who accompanies the protagonists during that story arc are apparently the exception: The Mother Spider Demoness, elder sister Si Si and younger sister En En. The Mother Spider is only concerned about family and unity, Si Si is faithful only to Yushu and searches for his reincarnation, and En En is merely bratty.
  • Mystical White Hair: Snow Demoness is white-haired.
  • Never My Fault: Long Armed Ape exhibits this trope, even in his death.
  • Obliviously Evil: The Black Bear Demon, due to his own idiocy as well as poor guidance from the elder monk Jinchi, had an atrocious interpretation of Buddhist concepts/parables such that his deeds are well-intentioned but wrong and at times even harmful. To the protagonists he was initially a mere comedic nuisance who continually pester them in order to get Sanzang's beautiful kasaya. However, when Jinchi decided to self-immolate out of shame (for being exposed as a greedy man hankering after Sanzang's kasaya), the Black Bear Demon concluded that he must bring in more spectators (innocent ones) and set them on fire together with Jinchi, the rationale being that killing these folks would end their suffering quicker and bring them closer to Buddha. These turn of events alarmed the protagonists to call for Guan Yin's help to stop him.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Heavenly Court, but most notably Erlang Shen.
  • Our Dragons Are Different/Dragons Are Divine: Some characters can transform into a Chinese Dragon. Notable examples are the Dragon Kings, Subhuti, and Xueliang (Erlang's mother, who is also a fairy). Subhuti also has a golden-colored Chinese Dragon as a pet.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After Bajie guilt-trip him, Nezha allows himself to be defeated by Wukong and Bajie so they can protect depowered Erlang and his mother from being captured by Li Jing (Nezha's father).
    • Princess Iron Fan, known for her Clingy Jealous Girl and Yandere personality, eventually accepts Crow Demoness to be her husband's second wife.
  • The Phoenix: Peng Demon/Golden Winged Great Peng's ancestor in the second season is a Fenghuang who once rescued Queen Mother of the West with Heroic Sacrifice. This Heroic Lineage makes him arrogant.
  • Powers via Possession: After Wukong is banished, Sanzang is abducted by White Bone Demon. Bajie and Wujing are powerless to save him. So Four Heavenly Kings temporarily (and secretly) possessed Bajie to empower him. This made him ridiculously powerful and easily curb-stomped White Bone Demon.
  • Psychopathic Man- and Womanchild: Ginsengfruit Demon siblings.
  • Race-Name Basis: For most of the demons. The only demons given a non-indicative name are the protagonists (Wukong, Bajie, Wujing) and the three spider demonesses who temporarily accompanied them in the first season.
  • Rule of Three:
    • The adaptation of Sun Wukong's three attempts in attacking the White Bone Demoness, which was surprisingly faithful to the original.
    • Long Armed Ape had a one-on-one match with Sun Wukong three times. He lost the first two but succeeded defeating Wukong in the third attempt.
      • In the first attempt, he was defeated by Wukong, albeit with the help of Sanzang and Bull Demon King. Sanzang temporarily transferred the golden headband to Long Armed Ape Monkey's head and incapacitated him with the magical curse, allowing Bull Demon King to tie him up.
      • In the second attempt, he obtained power absorbing magic but was too hasty in re-challenging Wukong. He suffered Power Incontinence from swallowing too many victims in too short a time and Wukong took opportunity of his moment of weakness to beat him to within an inch of his life and forced him to regurgitate his victims in time.
      • In the third attempt, he had recovered from near-death and also fully mastered his new absorbing powers with the help of the Python Demoness. The additional powers he stolen made him practically invincible and Wukong was forced to surrender.
  • Satire: Very downplayed when compared to the novelnote . For the most part the series either interpreted the satirical scenes unironically or omitted them altogether. The only satirical scene faithfully adapted was that of the Chechi story arc: It involved Wukong, Bajie, and Wujing disrespecting the Taoists' worship altars by making a mess and eating their offerings. When the demon Taoist Priests believed that the gods have responded at last and pleaded for an elixir of immortality, the protagonists pranked the Priests by passing off their own urine as the elixir before running away.
  • Screw Destiny: This is basically the reason for the four protagonist to backtrack as far as Chang'an (read: Sanzang's starting point in his journey) to rescue Tang Dynasty from their ill-fated destruction by Great Ape Demon as a punishment for them being arrogant with their superiority. Even Guanyin told them it's not the heroes' duty to stop the demon because even she thought Tang Dynasty was beyond saving, which says something when even the Goddess of Mercy herself said that. The protagonists' other reason is because the Great Ape Demon is really just an innocent Little Monkey and they don't want him to be a murderous monster.
  • Secret Test of Character: One that failed for Jin Chi when Guan Yin was assessing him as a possible candidate for the titled pilgrimage. In a flashback, Guan Yin disguised herself as a little girl and approached Jin Chi to ask him a question on the value of possessions. Jin Chi showed that he cared more about appearances and status, and sent the little girl on her way.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: Season 2's battle between Sun Wukong the Monkey King against his direct Evil Counterpart, the Long Armed-Ape Monkey, both of them dueling with a myriad of shapeshifting abilities (thanks to some 90s' CG-effects), firstly turning into animals, and then sentient flying weapons, and culminating with the Long Armed-Ape turning into a dragon to swallow Wukong, which Wukong retaliates by turning into a fly and buzzing out his opponent's nostrils.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Before becoming the Buddha, Siddharta Gautama was a human prince who's raised and spoiled by his family. He's genuinely shocked when he learned the world outside his palace is not as pretty as he thought they would be.
  • Silly Walk: Since he's a monkey, Wukong's earlier attempt to walk casually like a human is pretty silly.
  • Sinister Minister: Three Fiends Of Cheda (Tiger Power Great Hermit, Stag Power Great Hermit, and Goat Power Great Hermit) take the guise of Taoist Priests. They also seem possessing actual Taoist powers, since other Heavenly gods, including two Dragon Kings, obey their commands.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification:
    • The story arcs across the two seasons hover between Pragmatic Adaptation, Adaptation Inspiration, and In Name Only. The Pragmatic Adaptation arcs often amalgamated two or three stories in the original novel with the corresponding composite characters too, and some further expansion on their characters or personalities. The most faithful adaptation is actually the 1st season's Breather Episode's Kingdom of Chechi arc where Sanzang and his team faces off against the Three Demon Taoist Priests - other than the insertion of comedy and the interchangeable antagonists, most of the scenes are reproduced from the same story in the novel. The Adaptation Inspiration often removed most of the plot from the original novel and write their own preferred plot in place of it, the Spider Demonesses and also the Fake Leiyin Temple story arcs being two very good examples. The In Name Only adaptation doesn't adapt anything from the novel besides the usage of the characters, 2nd season's first and final story arcs being the two offenders.
  • Snow Means Death: There are at least two occassions where Sanzang is abducted by demons when there's a snowfall. There's also one occasion when Wukong is almost frozen to death during another snowfall after he's mortally wounded by Long Armed Ape.
  • Sore Loser: The three Demon Taoist Priests in the Kingdom of Chechi repeatedly seek re-matches with Sanzang and his team defeat after defeat, and this trope is part of the reason for their eventual deaths, when from the third match onwards Wukong began picking them off one by one. It could be argued that Wukong agitated them into making those re-matches so that he would find a way to kill them and expose their true animal forms to the King of Chechi and making him realize that he had been used.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Specifically in the White Bone Demoness arc when it was barely even half a season, Wukong left the team while Wujing and the Dragon Horse were killed off. Anyone familiar with the novel or with the characters in general will know that the three of them will return to continue the journey at some point in time, and indeed by the end of the arc, Wukong rejoined the team while the other two were resurrected by Guan Yin.
    • Overall, Zhu Bajie never seemed to get any major Character Development despite one crisis after another targeting his nature. By the end of the White Bone Demoness arc he cheerfully abandoned his lover and vowed not to be lecherous again. But in the future story arcs it was apparent he regressed back to his Casanova Wannabe nature. To his credit though, Bajie never left the team again like he did in the White Bone Demoness arc.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Erlang's mother. For good reason, since she's pure-blooded fairy while Erlang is half-human.
  • Supernormal Bindings:
    • The Bull Demon King was shown doing this more than once, first time to capture his son Red Boy to discipline him, and second time to restrain Long Armed Ape Monkey. This weapon presumably only works well against opponents caught off-guard since he wasn't using this in any other fights.
    • Sun Wukong in Season 2 tries using an artefact that binds the Silver Horned King, and it backfired because his opponent know the magic spell to unbind himself and uses it against Wukong instead.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: This seems to be what Great Ape Demon is to Little Monkey. Great Ape Demon is merciless and monstrous; while Little Monkey is innocent, even if mischievous.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Not really to the death, but basically that is how Sanzang subdued Sha Wujing.
  • Third Eye: As in the mythology, Erlang has third eye. He notably lost it when he temporarily gave up his powers to his mentor to save his mother.
  • Too Dumb to Live: There's Great Ape Demon advancing towards Chang'an. So what does Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty do? Capturing him alive to prove Tang Dynasty's superiority, of course. He does realize the errors of his ways enough to want to step down from his position though, despite others refusing to let him.
  • Truly Single Parent: Effectively, all mothers in Woman Country are truly single mothers as they can procreate without male mate by drinking water from a magical well. This includes their Queen, who has adult daughter as a Princess.
  • Unexplained Recovery: In the final story arc, the heroes re-encounter six demons from past story arcs who attempted to atone themselves. Of the six, the only characters who were previously seen alive and well is the Mother Spider Demoness and the Black Bear Demon. As for the remaining four: the Lion and Elephant Demon were supposedly reincarnated as different and ordinary animals as punishment, En En the young Spider Demoness was reverted back into an ordinary spider (effectively killing off the character), and the White Bone Demoness was supposedly killed by Wukong. While one can come up with head canon explanations, the show itself did not bother with explaining how they fully recovered.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Long Armed Ape Monkey and Python Demon Queen in second season.
  • Unstoppable Rage: this is what triggers the Six-Eared Macaque to transform into a Great Ape Demon in second season. In first season, there's also Bajie who does this to a black bear whom he mistook eating Sanzang. Said black bear IS actually Sanzang being polymorphed by White Bone Demoness.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Wukong and Bajie.
  • Younger than They Look: Erlang in his backstory, due to him being demigod. He already has body of an adult when he's still an underaged child.

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