The famous Chinese show called “Journey to the West” or Xi You Ji, is a legendary Chinese TV show adapted from one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature. It has 25 episodes and originally aired from 1982 to 1988 in China. The show is a classic and re-airs every year on Chinese television.
Among the numerous adaptions of the novel, this 1986 series has always been the Chinese people’s favorite.
In the story, the Monkey king (Sun Wukong), together with the Pig Demon (Zhu Bajie), Sandy (water buffalo) and a dragon prince (who later transformed into Monk Tang Xuanzang’s white horse), were destined to accompany Monk Tang on an adventurous journey to obtain sacred Buddhist scriptures from India.
Five of them went through all kinds of hardships, most of which involved demons or monsters wanting Monk Tang’s flesh for immorality.
In spite of the crude special effect techniques of the day, the Journey to the West received an average viewership rating of 89.4 percent. It has been rebroadcast over 2,000 times since it originally aired.
The show still enjoys high ratings, and is praised as the most original adaption of the novel.
Journey to the West features the Monkey King, China’s number one superhero for more than five centuries. He was born out of a stone that had existed since the creation of the world.
After causing chaos in heaven, he must accompany Monk Tang and travel West to India in search of the Buddhist scriptures.
He is strong, and is always ready to fight against demons, dragons and sometimes even the gods.
“A remarkable creature has been born: a monkey, yet not an ordinary one. I see he is destined to become an enlightened being, a true Buddha. Yet before he does, he will offer us no end of mischief.” – the original book claims the Buddha said this quote.