In their former lives, 500 years before Genjyo Sanzo and his crew of misfits began their journey west, they were gods, but being godly didn't make them act any more divine. When Goku flies into a murderous rage after seeing his best friend die, Heaven's had enough and wants him dead! But Konzen Douji, Field Marshal Tenpou, and General Kenren are willing to do anything to protect Goku, even if it means turning all of Heaven against them.
(source: Sentai Filmworks)
Saiyuuki Gaiden: Overview
Saiyuuki Gaiden offers an exceptionally detailed prequel to the acclaimed series Saiyuuki. Delving deep into the backstories of our beloved main characters, the plot unravels several layers of the celestial world, revealing a labyrinthine network of power and politics, interwoven by bonds of friendship and doomed love. Set 500 years prior to the main series, we are shown the original lives of the Sanzo party members from their heavenly existence to their inevitable fall from grace.
The protagonist of the series, a demure golden-eyed deity named Konzen Douji, leads a monotonous life in the upper echelons of Heaven until a chance encounter with a heretic enslaved monkey named Goku. This sparks the start of an unconventional friendship, inviting influx of vibrant emotions and opening doors to simple pleasures in the otherwise tedious life of Konzen. With the arrival of the stoic warrior Kenren, and the quiet, mysterious Tenpou, this tale paints a poignant portrait of camaraderie, love, sacrifice, and rebellion against a stringent and corrupt celestial bureaucracy.
Review: Saiyuuki Gaiden
With only four episodes, Saiyuuki Gaiden achieves what many longer-running series fail to – it binds its characters and viewers with an intensity that is both compelling and heart-wrenching. The narrative, despite its confined duration, does not rush the story or force unnecessary conflicts, but smoothly propels the characters to their destinies, insisting that they are products of the choices they make.
The animation breathes life into the well-polished character designs and the stunning scenic backdrops of the celestial world, the cityscapes, and the nitty-gritty of the battlefield. Every scene portrayal, fight sequence, and emotional moment reconfirms the deep care and thought that has been invested into this project.
The soundtrack of Saiyuuki Gaiden is yet another feather in its cap. The opening and ending themes are beautifully synced with the tone of the story, fixing you into the contrasting emotions of playful camaraderie and melancholic foreboding. The background score enhances every scene, not once overwhelming the dialogue or the situation.
The characters, the story’s driving force, undergo substantial growth throughout the series. From Konzen’s evolution from a bored deity to a defiant protector, to Goku’s transition from an innocent, chained monkey to a loving friend, each character’s development is intricately written and thought-provoking. The intricacies of their relationships are well-explored, adding depth and richness to the overall narrative.
For fans of Saiyuuki, Saiyuuki Gaiden is a definite must-watch. Even for first-time viewers, this prequel will stand on its own for its compelling narrative and beautifully crafted characters. It’s a gem that shines brightly in the landscape of anime, regardless of whether you are renting, buying, or streaming. So, allow yourselves a detour in your anime journey and share in the unspoken tragedies, the bright moments of companionship, and the enduring spirit of rebellion in Saiyuuki Gaiden. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
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