Monday, July 7, 2014

[Graphic Novel Review] The Monkey King (Saiyū Kiden Daiʼenō)

Katsuya Terada's The Monkey King (Saiyū Kiden Daiʼenō)

Behold, the face of awful.
I like to think of myself as a fairly positive dude, so most of my book reviews tend to be fairly positive and upbeat, even when I'm not crazy about a particular work. But this week, we're gonna take a bit of a departure from my normal style. I'm gonna take this opportunity to warn you all away from a really, really awful graphic novel.

I'm vaguely familiar with the outline of the Wu Cheng'en's classic novel Journey to the West (in terms of sheer size of its readership, it ranks as one of the most popular works of fiction ever written in any language), but I had never read the whole thing from start to finish. But I'm pretty sure that the Buddhist monk Xuanzang, the guy who frees the Monkey King from his prison and initiates their pilgrimage to India for the holy scriptures of the Buddha, A) was a man, and not a large-breasted woman with a penchant for bondage and ball-gags, and B) the Monkey King never violently fingered her while grunting excitedly to himself. But that happens in this book.

This adaptation is definitely NOT for children, clearly not for adults, and not for teens who've gotten over their adolescent fascination with sex. But even the randiest teen would probably have their ardor spoiled by the high-resolution ultra-closeups of creepy fetus-demons and severed children's heads.

The moral of the story: whenever you see any Japanese graphic novel with a warning on the cover warning you that it contains content which is considered graphic even by Japanese standards, you should believe them.