Genjou Sanzou is a Buddhist monk who has been sent by the Emperor on a journey to find the sacred Buddhist scriptures. One day, Sanzou meets an Earth Deity who tells him that Buddha has sent him a disciple: the mischievous Monkey Deity Son Goku, who was sealed inside of a mountain for five hundred years after wreaking havoc in Heaven! Together with the alcohol-loving playboy Cho Hakkai; the heavenly army General Sagojyou; and their horse, the Dragon Crown Prince Ryuuba; there are plenty of adventures to be had from fighting off monsters to bishounen contests.
I actually fell very hard for this anime, despite its dated art style-- dare I say, it was actually one of the more romantic m/m animes I've watched. The original manga Patalliro-- as opposed to this anime, Patalliro Saiyuki-- was made in the '70s (the Patalliro anime came out in the early '80s); it was the first shonen-ai manga. Patalliro Saiyuki was made in 2005, and its art looks dated because it was based on the art used in the original '70s manga (however, it's actually quite an improvement on the original, rather cringeworthy '70s art). But despite the art, you still end up really getting into the story. Saiyuki is a very old legend which has been depicted in many different interpretations as TV series, films, stage plays, anime, etc-- and this is one of them. It's a good story because it's based on a good legend-- it's not just some dumb, formulaic plot that many other animes have. What this version has going for it is that it's genuinely romantic; most BL/yaoi animes are sadly quite short-- most of them are OVAs with only one or two episodes, but this one goes on for 26 eps. Granted, they're each only about 10 minutes, but that's still much longer than your usual BL anime runs. So, as a consequence, you end up getting attached to the characters and really feeling for them; also, with a story of this length the plot actually has a chance to develop a proper romance-- you actually get feelings of longing. It's maybe a tiny bit like the romance in Sailor Moon, where at first Tuxedo Mask only shows up now and then, and you end up wanting him and Sailor Moon to get together and so on-- except in this one it's m/m. And personally I also really liked the charcter of Genjou Sanzou; he's one of those soft-spoken, elegant, gentle pretty boys like Su-Won from Akatsuki no Yona or Seravi from Akazukin ChaCha. Give it a try and see if you like it, don't let the art deter you, haha! ^^
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