1. The Trickster god of Chinese Legend, who begins life as a stone monkey and determinedly acquires tremendous powers of Magic, Shapeshifting, Invulnerability and Immortality. After upsetting the tranquillity of Heaven he is subdued by Buddha, and assists the pilgrim Hsüan-tsang or Tripitaka ("three baskets") in a Quest for baskets of holy scriptures in India; obstacles include Wizards and Dragons. Wu Ch'êng-ên (circa 1505-circa 1580) used the legends and their Chinese stage representations as the basis for his 100-chapter vernacular classic of Humour and Allegory, Hsi Yü Chi ["Journey to the West"] (1592; cut trans by Arthur Waley as Monkey 1942). Also of note is Three Tales of Monkey (coll 1967 US) trans Ruth Tooze (» Puss-In-Boots). A Graphic-Novel adaptation is The Ape (graph 1986) by Milo Manara and Silverio Pisu. [DRL]
2. Japanese tv series (1979-1981). NTV-Kokusai Heoi/BBC 2. Dir Yusuke Watanabe; English-language version (dubbed from Japanese screenplays trans David Weir) dir Michael Bakewell. Based on Wu Ch'êng-ên's original novel.
Low-budget successor to The Water Margin, involving Monkey and his Companions in numerous martial-arts encounters. Despite the economy of the production, this was very fine, amid the humour and the action conveying a real power of legend. [JG/DRL]