Legends Summarized: The Journey To The West (Part V)

Last time on Journey to the West, our cerebral protagonist Sun Wukong found himself banished from the group by Tripitaka thanks to the machinations of a shapeshifting demon and the goading of the resentful Pigsy. Left without their primary powerhouse,
the pilgrims quickly dissolve into disarray, with Sandy and Pigsy barely managing to rescue Tripitaka from the clutches of a monstrous ogre. Forced to confront the demon once again, our diminished heroes found themselves overwhelmed, and Sandy was taken prisoner
while Pigsy was forced to flee. The ogre then infiltrated the castle in which Tripitaka was being housed and trapped the monk
in an illusion of a demon tiger, tricking the lord of the castle
into imprisoning the hapless monk in the dungeons below. An unlikely hero arose in the form of the oft-forgotten dragon horse, but regrettably, if unsurprisingly, our equine hero was no match for the ogre’s brutal onslaught and was defeated. With no options remaining to him,
Pigsy traveled to Flower Fruit Mountain to retrieve the banished Monkey King and was forced to swallow his pride in order to inform Monkey of all the gory details of his own failure to fill his shoes. Once properly briefed, our simian hero made quick work of the disaster, rescuing Sandy and leaving the ogre and his wife to the mercies of the bureaucracy of Heaven. Having rescued Tripitaka and reconciled with one another, our gang is back together again and finally free to continue on… The Journey to the West. So our heroes are continuing westward when they encounter a huge and foreboding mountain. Tripitaka gets a bad feeling about it and sends Pigsy out to see if there’s any danger. Pigsy being Pigsy, Monkey unsurprisingly doesn’t trust him to do a very good job and shapeshifts into a fly
to quietly tail him. Whereupon he finds Pigsy got just far away enough from the group to not be in the direct line of sight and promptly took a nap. Monkey wakes him up with a bite to the face and Pigsy proceeds to keep digging by composing an elaborate lie that he’s planning on telling Tripitaka when he gets back.
Something about an enormous demon stronghold on the mountain,
looks really scary, and maybe they should all just turn back and go home. Monkey’s like, “Ughhhh. Seriously dude”, flies back to Tripitaka
and rats out Pigsy, who unsurprisingly gets in a world of trouble and is sent back out to scout properly this time. Unfortunately for Pigsy, there actually IS a demon stronghold on the mountain and he inadvertently stumbles
on a small army of demons who happen to be led by a pair of demon brothers, who have been keeping an eye out for Tripitaka and his group in the hopes of capturing him
and eating him to gain immortality. Pigsy initially tries to pass himself off as a normal, albeit ugly, traveler. But one of the demon brothers recognizes him as part of Tripitaka’s coterie and attacks. They wage a brief but fairly epic battle until the demon sics all his demon soldiers on Pigsy, at which point he gets overwhelmed and captured. Whoops. Meanwhile,
back with the rest of the group, Tripitaka starts getting worried because Pigsy is taking so long. Monkey tells him to chill out, since Pigsy would’ve run back at the first sign of trouble if there was actually anything wrong, so they move on. But Tripitaka still feels really on edge. As it turns out, this is because they’re being surveilled by one of the demon brothers, and Tripitaka’s picking up on his spoooky presence. Monkey tries to cheer him up by doing a sick martial arts demonstration with his staff, which has the added bonus of
terrifiying the observing demon, who decides the first thing to do is to take Monkey out all sneaky-like and then try capturing Tripitaka. So the demon transforms himself into an elderly daoist sage with a broken leg and plops himself down in the path of the group. Tripitaka takes pity on him and offers to help. He orders Monkey to carry him and Monkey cheerfully obliges. “Heeeey buddyyyy… Soooo…
Just so we’re on the same page here, I totally know that you’re a demon, and boy are you lucky that my master is so compassionate. Anyway, no pressure, but I’m gonna be dropping you off the first cliff I see.” So the demon unsurprisingly panics and calls in the local mountain demons to drop three mountains on top of Monkey, which actually manages to pin him down.
Just barely. The demon then chases down Tripitaka
and captures him, Sandy, and the horse. So the entire gang, minus Monkey,
is strung up in the demon’s lair, and Monkey is stuck under three mountains and having crazy flashbacks to the last time a mountain got dropped on his head… So basically,
fun times for everybody. But soon enough, the local mountain gods recognize Monkey and freak out, freeing him as soon as possible
and asking him to pretty pretty please not kill them. Luckily for them, Monkey instead chooses to sublimate his aggression on two mook demons that happen to be heading their way. As it turns out, the demon brothers sent them over to finish him off. Monkey notices a strange light coming off of them, and when he asks the mountain gods about it,
they say that it’s probably coming from a couple of the sacred treasures that the demon brothers have. Apparently they have five in total, each one quirkier and more powerful than the last. So Monkey spontaneously decides that Tripitaka can wait, because he absolutely has to collect all five sacred treasures. So he turns himself into a daoist sage, flags down the demons, and asks them about their treasures. They explain that they’ve got a gourd and a vase, and conveniently they both work the same way. If the wielder calls someone’s name and the person responds, they’ll be sucked into the treasure and dissolve. Monkey’s like, “Ah wow! Well, that sure sounds pretty cool! I’ve got… A…. Gourd that can suck up Heaven itself! Wanna trade?” So the demons are understandably suspicious, but Monkey has a plan to validate his claim. He surreptitiously summons a few gods and sends them to tell the Jade Emperor that he needs to bottle up Heaven for a little bit, no pressure or anything. The Jade Emperor is like, “No! That’s outrageous! Are you kidding?!” But Prince Nata (Nezha) suggests that all they have to do is black out the sky, and that should be enough to fool the demons into thinking that Monkey actually bottled Heaven. So they unfurl this giant banner of black feathers over the sky, and the demons totally believe that Monkey just bottled up Heaven itself. So they trade their treasures for Monkey’s gourd, at which point Monkey vanishes and they find that the gourd does not in fact work as advertised. So they report back to their boss, who is grumpy about the lost treasures but not quite so grumpy as to actually murder them or anything. The demon brothers send the two mook demons to go and invite their mother to dinner. And to make sure to tell her to bring HER sacred treasure, which is a golden rope. Monkey, having overheard that particular soundbite, decides to steal that treasure too. And ambushes the two demons en route, kills them, and duplicates himself and disguises both himself and the duplicate as the two mook demons. So the disguised Monkey goes and gets the demons’ mother, absolutely hating the fact that he has to kowtow to her. But he cheers up significantly when he subsequently murders her and her sudan carriers. He then shapeshifts into her, duplicates himself a bunch, and turns them into his extended coterie and trundles back to the demon brothers’ cave. The demons greet their “mother”, and when Monkey greets them in return, Pigsy, who we recall is strung up in the cave, recognizes him by his tail and starts laughing like crazy. The demons offer “their mother” Tripitaka, but she thinks she’d rather have Pigsy’s ears. At which point, Pigsy flips out and blows his cover. At that exact moment, a demon minion runs in to say that he found their mother, and her entire coterie, dead. Monkey recognizes his cover is blown, and books it. Vanishing in a blinding flash of red light. At this point, the older demon brother’s like, “Alright, this isn’t worth it. Let’s just give him back the monk.” But the younger brother is all like, “Are you kidding?! Where’s your pride?! Tell ya what: let me fight him, whichever one of us wins gets the monk, and when I win, you can stop worrying.” So the younger brother gears up and heads out to fight Monkey. They’re pretty much evenly matched, so Monkey gets the brilliant idea to try and turn the tables by using the golden rope to trap the demon. Unfortunately, he doesn’t actually know how to use it. So the demon just catches it, throws it back, and recites the spell that actually does make it work. He ends up trapping Monkey and hitting him a whole bunch, but quickly realizes that he won’t make any progress that way, so he just drags him back to the cave, ties him up, and takes the gourd and vase back. Pigsy makes fun of him for a bit until Monkey turns his staff into a steel file and breaks out, turning into a demon servant and leaving a duplicate in his place. At which point, Pigsy, whose only role in this particular story is to cause problem, yells that Monkey’s escaped. Fortunately, the demon brothers have kind of learned to tune Pigsy out at this point, so Monkey pockets the golden rope and zips out of the cave without too much difficulty. Now Monkey really wants the gourd and vase back, as well as the other two treasures, so he decides to test a theory. He knocks on the door and insists that he is – and I swear this is not a joke – Grimpil Sun. Brother to Pilgrim Sun, the Monkey King. Having given the demon brothers a fake name, he hopes the gourd won’t suck him in when they call his name, but as it turns out, it does, which is a bit of a setback. Fortunately, Monkey remembers that one time when Lao Tzu stuck him in a braiser for 49 days and he couldn’t render him down, so he’s not really concerned about melting, he just needs to find a way out. So he goes all… “OH THE HUMANITY! MY LEGS HAVE TOTALLY MELTED!” “Heh. That was fast.” “OH GEEZ THERE GOES MY PELVIS!” “Noisy isn’t he.” “WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME BUDDHA?!” So Monkey makes a duplicate that looks like him but half melted and subsequently turns into a fly. So when the demons crack the seal to check on his melting process, he flies out of the opening all sneaky-like. Monkey then pickpockets the gourd and replaces it with a duplicate – which seems to be something of a theme this episode – then slips outside and knocks again, this time claiming to be Sun Pilgrim, yet ANOTHER suspiciously identical monkey with a bad attitude. The demon plans to suck him up again, but he spots Monkey’s identical gourd and demands to know where he got it. Monkey’s like, “Whyyy don’t you tell me where you got yours?” And the demon gives him a gloriously detailed infodump involving the birth of the universe itself, to which Monkey replies with “Uhhhh yeah! Same.” And they compare gourds. And unsurprisingly, Monkey’s gourd actually functions, while the demon’s duplicate gourd doesn’t. So Monkey sucks up the demon, who dissolves almost immediately, on account of not being Monkey. So the elder demon learns of his brother’s death and gets incredibly upset. Then Pigsy casually mentions that all the monkeys that came to the door were obviously the same monkey, what are you, stupid? And the demon gets even angrier and orders his servants to steam him. So the elder demon gears up for battle with his brother’s sword and the fifth treasure, which is a fan. He heads out to find Monkey and having learned from previous experience, immediately sics his army on him, which zerg rushes and actually causes Monkey some trouble until he makes a bunch of duplicates to fight the army. The elder demon gets surrounded and whips out the fan, which as it turns out shoots hellfire. Monkey’s not worried about the fire burning him, but does worry that the fire might burn his duplicates. So he retrieves all but one of them, leaves that duplicate to pretend to be him, and slips through the fire to slip into the cave He steals the jade vase again, then vanishes, leaving the elder demon to mourn the loss of his brother, his mother, and three out of five of his treasures. Make that four out of five, because when he goes down for a depression nap, Monkey sneaks in to steal the fan. The demon wakes up, they fight again, it’s super cool, and Monkey manages to drive him back. The demon runs, Monkey finally frees the rest of the squad, and they all take a minute to relax in the demon cave to make some food. And presumably give Monkey crap for rescuing four out of five treasures before rescuing any of them. But the elder demon has his own plans. He flies to the home of his now dead mother and recruits all of her demon servants into his army. His uncle also shows up to avenge his sister along with another army of demons, and together they assemble and start heading to the cave to take down Monkey once and for all. So Monkey spots them on the horizon and warns Tripitaka that they’re about to have company. So he and Pigsy head out to guard the door and Monkey gears up with all the sacred treasures he’s acquired. The fan, the rope, the vase, and the gourd. The army arrives,
and Monkey and Pigsy pair off. Monkey fighting the uncle, then switching to the elder brother, with Pigsy tagging in to fight the uncle instead. The army starts causing them some trouble, at which point Sandy explodes out of the cave to fight the army while Pigsy and Monkey handle the boss fights. Pigsy manages to kill the uncle and the elder brother sees the tide turning and turns to run. Not one to be defeated, Monkey whips out the vase and calls the elder brother, who, thinking it might be one of his retreating soldiers, responds, at which point he is sucked into the vase and melts. The army scatters, the bosses are defeated, Monkey gets the fifth treasure, and the gang can finally get back on the road. Except then they run into Lao Tzu, who makes Monkey give him the treasures, since it turns out they belonged to him the whole time. The demon brothers had in fact been Lao Tzu’s lab assistants before Kuan Yin arranged for them to become demons to challenge the group to test their resolve. This doesn’t explain how they had a demon mom or uncle, though. Anyway, Lao Tzu restores the demon brothers to their original forms, takes the treasures, and bails. Leaving our heroes to continue their Journey to the West. Will Monkey ever get to keep anything cool that he finds on his trip? Will Tripitaka learn to stop trusting Pigsy with important tasks? Will Sandy ever get a boss fight of his own? And has this finally revealed why a flame-throwing fan is such an ubiquitous weapon in anime? Find out next time
on Journey to the West!
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlB_vWGdLlA

Related Articles

Back to top button