Manga Reviews

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Saiyuki Gaiden

Saiyuki Gaiden
1 Volume (On hold in Japan)
Scanslated by Mangacity

Topic: Historical-Fiction, Action

Warning: Brief Nudity

This summary assumes you've already read Saiyuki. Set 500 years before the events of Saiyuki, this series finds the four heros as previous incarnations of themselves in heaven. Goku is a creature recently born from a rock, a child of nature, who has come to the attention of the heavenly dieties. Sanzo is known as Konzen and is the nephew of the Bosatsu-sama, the most powerful goddess. Gojyo is Kenren, a general in the military while Hakkai is Tenpou Gensui, a marshal in the military.

Recently, there has been unrest in the heavens, in part because of the demon lord Gyumaoh causing havoc on earth. In response to Gyumaoh's actions, Nataku (the son of the war god) is sent down to earth to defeat Gyumaoh. Eventually Gyumaoh is suppressed but Nataku is seriously injured in the process. His father takes the opportunity to rise through the ranks of the gods. Meanwhile a plot is going on amongst the upper ranks of the military. What happened 500 years ago to bind the four companions together so thoroughly that they came together again in a subsequent life? What treachery is afoot in heaven? And what role will those four play in the events to come?

As of right now only 1 volume worth of material has been released in Japan so it's hard to see where this story will be going. I do enjoy the intrigue being played out amongst the various "cliques" of gods and the way that the four protagonists deal with the time of upheaval. It's very interesting to see the characters from their pasts fleshed out in detail like this, as it makes the stories that are set in the present (Saiyuki and Saiyuki Reload) more understandable. Given that this entire series is based off a pre-existing mythology, I have faith that the prequel will turn out alright. However the rating below is subject to change as more of the series is released.

Rating: 7.5/10.0


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