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Saiyuki, Volume 1 (2002)

av Kazuya Minekura

Serier: Saiyuki (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
465540,007 (3.85)8
It was a time of chaos, when Heaven and Earth were as one, and humans and demons - the youkai - lived together in peace. The foundations of civilization and religion were raised in the land of Togenkyo, the paradise known as Shangri-La. But now a great evil threatens this harmony. Someone is trying to resurrect the youkai lord Gyumaoh and this forbidden practice as created a Minus Wave of negative energy that is spreading across Shanri-La. Hope lies in four legendary heroes: Genjyo Sanzo, Son Goku, Sha Gojyo and Cho Hakkai.… (mer)
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Visar 5 av 5
The Chinese folk tale "Journey To The West" has been used as a launching pad for various Japanese manga series in the past, possibly the most notable being Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball. Minekura's take on the legend of Son Goku and friends is certainly an unorthodox twist, filled with beautiful tragic boys, gun-wielding priests, and animals that turn into vehicles, all anachronistically set against the long-ago era of Asia's history - with demons, of course. It's a rather wonderful series and seeing the main cast's respective history usually makes me emotional, no matter how many times I read it. But the early volumes, and volume one especially, is rather weak story-wise and relies too heavily on cliché subplots and long scenes of exposition to propel itself anywhere worthwhile. By the end of the fifth chapter, the reader is left with more questions than answers and little incentive to read following volumes beyond the fact that the boys are so pretty and so funny in their globe-trotting hijinks.

Read the rest of my review at Nagareboshi Reviews! ( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
3,9 de moyenne, c'est une blague !

Les graphismes sont laids et surtout sans âme. L'histoire est chiante et creuse dès les premières pages sans s'améliorer au cours du premier tome. Y a rien là-dedans ! Mais pourquoi je perds du temps à faire une critique >_ ( )
  Chassegnouf | Mar 16, 2015 |
I'd always had the impression Saiyuki was one of those 'sort of shallow but fun' repetitive fantasy adventuring series similar to The Slayers (a series I'd enjoyed very much as a child but have no doubt I'd find rather flimsy if I'd discovered it now), probably with some heavy pandering to yaoi fans. Though I never really ceased to suspect this, after becoming a huge fan of Wild Adapter, another manga by this mangaka, I couldn't help but wonder if there were some redeeming factors to this series that might make it enjoyable.

I'd heard even from some very generous manga readers that the first volumes of Saiyuki were weak, though, and to just read past them till it got better. As this was my mentality going in, it seems a little silly to review the--indeed quite weak in both art and storytelling--first volumes of this series separately. In the end (especially since I lost all my notes with more detailed comments and thoughts through the entire nine volume read), I just opted to leave some comments on the entire series aimed to others interested in it for similar reasons as me. If nothing else, I thought the series might at least be an interesting look into how Minekura's abilities developed through the course, coming closer to the person who was able to create what I felt to be one of the most character-driven and well written manga I've tried.

Ultimately, Saiyuki does improve from the first few frankly-too-weak-to-even-be-entertaining volumes, allowing me to be mildly entertained as I read, but it never really grabbed me in any way. The plot, boiling down mostly to an excuse to have the four main characters travel on an indefinitely long journey together toward a distant goal while getting attacked by lots of (sometimes reoccurring) other characters, makes it hard for the manga to be overly gripping in the story area, while the characters are made to be likable but all rather simplistic in their characterization and relationships with one another.

You can, however, see some bits of the Minekura of Wild Adapter that shine through here: the love of her characters, of making them look cool one minute while at other times relishing in de-romanticizing them, the love of close camaraderie and entertaining conversation. Some of the bad guys are even made to be likable as well, the sort you know will end up teaming up with the mains in the end, in a formula that is completely predictable but still never ceases to be used because, well, it's FUN. And indeed, so long as I knew not to expect too much, I think if these things had been done well, Saiyuki could have been a fluffy but fun read.

Yet even if Minekura's attractive points make an appearance, they just weren't executed effectively enough to make them entertain as they should. The 'likable bad guys start working with the mains' already occurs once in the nine volumes, but it happens so early on in their relationship it just feels hard to believe. The camaraderie of the mains is mostly show through their bickering, which they do incessantly and frankly gets extremely old. The dialogue is completely, painfully overstuffed with half-baked quips and comebacks. You can see Minekura wants to show these guys being reluctant, bantery friends--yet I guess she just doesn't have the writing chops to do it convincingly at this point?

It's a little bizarre to see just how indelicate and forced all of Saiyuki feels compared to the frequently impressively subtle dialogue and characterization in Wild Adapter. The difference is so much that I almost wonder if it is not entirely a difference in Minekura's ability but in what she is trying to accomplish. Perhaps Saiyuki--not just in plot and character development but in things as simple as character portrayal and dialogue as well--is just an extremely unambitious manga.

I guess this could work--for both the writer and the readers--as a nice, simple, familiar comfort food. The 'friends traveling together' stories will always have a place in some of our hearts, and I can't help but give the manga points for trying to give some nice things I like in a series, even if they aren't done horribly well. If I can find future volumes of this series (extremely ^_^;) cheap, I'll entertain the idea of reading the future “seasons.” It's mostly curiosity that fuels me now, but if the manga could learn to lay off some things that grate on me (those "clever" remarks all the characters jab at one another, the repetitive, overdone sibling-like bickering, one of the characters being hungry all the time), I might even be able to drop the “mild” and grade myself an honestly entertained.

(And a note for those interested in the slash factor: Saiyuki was actually a lot less pandery in this department than I expected. Considering the author, there's no doubt it has slashiness and that that slashiness is intentional, but (author's intentions aside) the characters' interactions are actually not that much different from shounen written by males that have male friendship focused moments. There's none of the verging on sexual or romantic seeming vibes I'm used to seeing in a lot of the intentionally slashy series I see today. What Saiyuki does have, though, is a lot more focus and page space dedicated to showing the characters' relationship/friendship than most shounen, as well as the fact that the cast is male-heavy and all bishounen. This is actually a lot more my style than the over-the-top pandering anyway, but since I didn't get hugely into the characters I'm not hugely into slashing them, though I can see why it's of great interest to fujoshi.) ( )
1 rösta narwhaltortellini | Jan 24, 2011 |
I loved the Saiyuki anime series. These books are great, and you can see how the episodes were taken directly from the manga. Some things are added, this first volume covers something like the first several episodes, so they obviously have some filler. But there are also some details that are in the manga that you just don't get from watching the anime. That's why I picked these up, and why I'm reading them all.

If you like anime, or action-oriented manga, you'll love this series. It's based on the Chinese story "Xi You Ji", or Journey to the West. In Chinese, the title reads "Zui You Ji", but in Japanese apparently the Xi and Zui characters sound the same. So it's a clever play on words, if you know Japanese, which I don't.

The only annoying thing is all the "background noises" that are written in phonetic Japanese. There is a glossary at the end of the book with page and frame numbers, but pages are rarely numbered (less than 1 in 10 pages has a number on it), and frames are never numbered. Still, I enjoyed the book and will read the whole series. ( )
1 rösta Homechicken | May 29, 2008 |
I really liked this. I think L. recommended it to me a while back as the manga I would probably be most likely to get into, and she was right. This is my second time to read this volume; I wanted to get it all straight in my head before I pick up volume two. I love the characters, and the way they play off one another. The dynamic is fun, especially when it introduces the humour that helps to balance the plot line. I will readily admit to not knowing much about Chinese/Japanese myth and legend, but I like how they put a twist on what I do know. The artwork is really, really beautiful, as is the layout of the pages - the way your eye was drawn through the pages and then made to linger on set pieces was really beautifully done, I thought. ( )
  siriaeve | Apr 26, 2008 |
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It was a time of chaos, when Heaven and Earth were as one, and humans and demons - the youkai - lived together in peace. The foundations of civilization and religion were raised in the land of Togenkyo, the paradise known as Shangri-La. But now a great evil threatens this harmony. Someone is trying to resurrect the youkai lord Gyumaoh and this forbidden practice as created a Minus Wave of negative energy that is spreading across Shanri-La. Hope lies in four legendary heroes: Genjyo Sanzo, Son Goku, Sha Gojyo and Cho Hakkai.

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