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The epic journey westward by Sanzo, Goku, Gojyo and Hakkai continues! In this first volume, the group must face some of their most deadly challenges yet! A peaceful temple hides a corrupt secret; will Sanzo fall victim to the deadly truth? After that, a den full of disgruntled bears is on the hunt, and Sanzo and the others just happen to be in the crosshairs. To top it off, the group must cross an impassable river, see through deadly illusions and a newly unstoppable Kougaiji is waiting for them. Will they ever make any progress on their journey?
An animated version of Minekura Kazuya's manga adaptation of the Chinese novel The Journey to the West, Saiyuki scored a big hit in 2000, and was followed by the sequels Reload (2003) and Gunlock (2004). Sanjo Genjo and his squabbling half-demon companions Sha Goyjo, Cho Hakkai, and Son Goku have made remarkably little progress toward their destination in India over the years. In episode 1, someone remarks, "it may seem like they do nothing but take one detour after another." But Saiyuki fans love those detours, and Gunlock delivers plenty of them. The mismatched quartet continues their picaresque adventure, aiding the weak and bickering among themselves. They also find the time to kill plenty of nasty demons, although the animation of the fights is extremely limited. A serious threat arises when sinister Ni Jenyi turns Sanzo's respected foe Kougaiji into a soulless killing machine, but that subplot will play out over time. (Rated 16 and older: violence, grotesque imagery, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon