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Saiyuki 2

Monkey - Monkey turns Nursemaid

Japan 1978
produced by
Kokusai Hoei/NTV (= Nippon Television Network)
directed by Jun Fukuda
starring Masaaki Sakai, Masako Natsume, Toshiyuki Nishida, Shiro Kishibe, Mieko Takamine
based on the novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng-En

Journey to the West, Monkey King, Monkey (1970's Japanese TV)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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To bring order into the haos of the world, Father Buddha decides to hide away his scripture somewhere in India & tells the Buddha of compassion to search China for a person holy enoughto be worthy to find it, & provide him with a suitable entourage so he can dendure the perils of his voyage.

The entourage is soon found, in the fallen heavenly guards Sandy (Shiro Kishibe) & Pigsy (Toshiyuki Nishida), a heavenly dragon & most notably Monkey (Masaaki Sakai), only who on earth could be holy enough for the scripture of Buddha ...

Soon, the Buddha of Compassion discovers a young monk, Tripitaka (Masako Natsume), who asks for forgiveness even for the murderer of his father, who has also prevented Tripitaka's own mother from seeing him, & when forgiveness is not given, Tripitaka prays at his dead body ... anyone who does that must be a fool - a holy fool. So Tripitaka is told about his mighty challenge, & even though the Chinese emperor gives him a vast army to accompany him, they all soon die on the way, & Tripitaka is all alone when he happens upon Monkey, imprisoned in a rock because he brought chaios to heaven (see previous episode, Monkey goes Wild about Heaven). Tripitaka frees Monkey, but to prevent him from going all wild again, he forces him into submission with a magic headband.

Soon a dragon swallows Tripitaka's horse, but it's the Heavenly Dragon who didn't know what he was doing, & to repent for his sins, he promptly turns into a horse himself (apparently, heavenly dragons can do that).

Tired from his journey, Tripitaka seeks refuge at a temple, but the local abbott is fascinated by the relics the young monk has with him, locks him in & steals Tripitaka's cloak of Buddha ... but of course, not only the abbott but also the Monster of the Night would like the cloak, & thus soon kills the abbott to steal it ... Just a good thing that Monkey has magical powers, & he can not only free Tripitaka, but also turn into the Night Monster's vitamine pill ,to be swallowed & defeat the monster from the inside ... & the cloak of Buddha is saved.


In case you wondered, yes it is every bit as childish as it sounds, garnered with sloppily done special effects & unconvincing costumes and sets ...

... and it's of course great, a piece of trash surrealism in garish colours that has an almost triplike quality. Little details, like the Buddha of Compassion, repeatedly referred to as a woman being obviously played by a man (who doesn't even attempt to hide it) while the male monk Tripitaka is portrayed by a young woman only add to the otherworldly experience ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD