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Saiyuuki - FujiTV Taiga Dorama
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yanie_chan



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:38 am    Post subject: Saiyuuki - FujiTV Taiga Dorama Reply with quote Back to top



Official Website: http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/gokuu/index2.html

Saiyuuki starts January 9th, 2006. Adapted from the famous Chinese legend, Xi You Ji (Journey To The West).

Saiyuuki airs on FujiTV, every Monday 9 PM, the primetime slot. Usually this slot is for romance dramas predicted would be a trend and hit high ratings. However, lately FujiTV dramas has been overshadowed by TBS and NTV dramas. So they're trying something different this time for the primetime slot, with a drama that can be enjoyed by the young and the old. Kids, parents, adults!



Back in 1978-1980, NTV once aired the serial Saiyuuki, which was a big hit and it even once hit 50s% ratings. Perhaps, FujiTV is trying to revive this legend story in Japan, and repeat the hot ratings history, with the use of a modern technology touch this time.

Why would Japan adapted a Chinese legend as a live-action drama series? Apparently, it is not something weird anymore. Because Japan has high interest with this legend since long time ago. It has been adapted over and over to dramas, animations and comics by Japan.

An interesting note, that Japan has made the move FIRST before China itself. NTV produced the big hit Saiyuuki series in 1978-1980, while China produced it's own big hit live-action series of Xi You Ji in 1986.



So far, there has been 3 drama serials and 1 drama special of Saiyuuki made by Japan. So, the Saiyuuki airing this season, would be the 5th generation of the live-action Japanese adaptation.

The popular animation series titled Dragon Ball, was inspired by this legend, the main character even has the same name, Son Gokuu. There is another animation series loosely adapted from the legend, titled Gensou Maden Saiyuuki.


Introduction

Xi You Ji (Journey To The West) is the title to a Chinese classical novel that remains highly popular even to this day. Originally published anonymously in the 1590s during the Ming dynasty, and even though no direct evidence of its authorship survives, it is traditionally ascribed to the scholar Wu Cheng'en.

The novel tells of a fictionalized and mythologized version of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang's (also named Tripitaka, Japanese: Sanzo) pilgrimage to India in order to obtain religious texts called Sutras. In light of this quest called upon by the Bodhisattva Guan Yin, on instruction from the Gautama Buddha, the monk has been assigned three guardians or protectors in the form of disciples: Sun Wukong (Son Gokuu), The Monkey King. Zhu Bajie (Cho Hakkai), The Pig Monster and Sha Wujing (Sagojo), The Water Demon. Together with a dragon prince who acts as Xuanzang's horse mount. All four characters have agreed to help the Buddhist monk as an atonement for past sins. The pilgrims undergo 81 calamities of all sorts before safely transporting the sutras from India to their place in capital Chang'an.



The opening chapters of the novel recount the earlier exploits of Sun Wukong (Son Gokuu), a monkey born from stone and who learns the art of fighting. It culminates in his rebellion against Heaven, when the Gautama Buddha manages to trap him under a mountain for five hundred years.

The Bodhisattva Guan Yin, acting on the instructions of the Buddha, goes to Tang China to appoint someone to take the sutras back to the East. Part of the story here also relates to how Xuanzang (Sanzo) becomes a monk and comes about being sent on this pilgrimage by the Tang emperor Li Shimin, who had previously escaped death with the help of an underworld official. She finds three willing disciples for the monk, who agrees to help out Xuanzang to atone for their sins, as well as a dragon prince who goes in the guise of white horse.

Throughout the journey, these four brave travelers have to fend off attacks from various monsters and spirits. Some came in search of immortality which is obtainable by eating the flesh of the holy monk; whilst others want to hinder the pilgrimage. All three in particular Sun Wukong (Son Gokuu) have to use all their abilities and connections to defeat formidable enemies which include the Bull Demon King, the Iron Fan Princess, and even an indistinguishable imitation of Sun Wukong (Son Gokuu) himself. The demons on the later parts of the journey include spider-women who spin webs from their navels, a pride of lion monsters, the white-bone demon with shape-shifting powers, and a terrible female spirit who carries Xuanzang (Sanzo) down into her bottomless cave to marry him.

The pilgrimage took an arduous seven years to complete, after which each traveler is commended to higher posts, with Sun (Son) and Xuanzang (Sanzo) achieving Buddhahood.

Source: WikiPedia


Scriptwriter

The scriptwriter for FujiTV's Saiyuuki is Yuji Sakamoto.

He is the one who has written the big hit dramas: Tokyo Love Story (1991), Itoshi Kimi e (2004), Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu (2004), and Last Christmas (2004).

He also written the not-so big dramas: Hatachi no Yakusoku (1992 - Goro Inagaki, Riho Makise), Love Quotient ~3rd Story~ (2002), Remote (2002 - Koichi Dohmoto, Kyoko Fukada), and Anata no Tonari ni Dareka iru/There's Someone Watching (2003 - Yusuke Santamaria, Yui Natsukawa).


Casts



Shingo Katori as Son Gokuu, The Monkey King. Despite of what he said after filming Shinsengumi, that he would never ever again do a taiga dorama, because it was really hard and tiring, however he accept this offer. I guess, he just cannot resist the role of Son Gokuu, since he is a fan of Dragon Ball's Son Gokuu and a die-hard fan of Dragon Ball manga and animation.
Thus, he is really pleased to act the role of this Son Gokuu. He's pretty confident that he will be able to portray the role well. For the action scenes, Shingo has started to do routine physical exercises. This dorama will use many CG effects. The filming of this dorama has already started since October, much earlier than the other Winter dramas, due to the many filming locations (including Australia and Europe).




Eri Fukatsu as Sanzohoshi, The Priest. Japan has mostly casted female actress to portray this role, I guess because of the priest's soft and gentle character? She really has shaved her head bald for the role of Sanzo. Fukatsu's willingness to take on this role is said to be due to the flop of Slow Dance and as a sign that she takes responsibility for this matter.




Atsushi Ito as Cho Hakkai, The Pig Monster. He will play a slimmer version of Cho Hakkai as compared to his predecessors and the focus is to create a cuter image of this character.




Teruyoshi Uchimura as Sagojo, The Water Demon(Kappa). In the original novel, he's a calm person who is not interested in women. But in this adaptation, the new Sagojo will become one who hankers after beauties. This is the first time in 5 years that Uchimura is appearing in a FujiTV drama since his last appearance in "Bus Stop" with Iijima Naoko.



Special Guest Appearances

According to Gendai Net, other SMAP members will also appear as special guests in the order of Takuya Kimura - Masahiro Nakai - Tsuyoshi Kusanagi - Goro Inagaki.

As far as I remember, it has been 9 years since all SMAP members guests in one SMAP member's dorama. It was in Kusanagi's Ii Hito, all 3 members of SMAP appeared in different episodes, except Goro Inagaki.

Takuya Kimura is confirmed will appear in Saiyuuki's first episode. Let's just hope the others' appearances won't be cancelled.
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Last edited by yanie_chan on Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:22 am; edited 11 times in total
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MixxDreamer



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

aww sounds good. is this gonna be in socal and english subbed too?
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yanie_chan



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Saiyuuki Live-Action Adaptation

1. Produced by TBS in 1977, with a different title. Ken Shimura as Son Gokuu. Ikariya Chousuke as Sanzohoshi. And, Takagi Bu as Cho Hakkai. Not much information on this.




2. Saiyuuki (english title: Monkey). Starring Masaaki Sakai as Son Gokuu, Masako Natsume as Sanzohoshi, Toshiyuki Nishida (1st season) & Tonpei Hidari (2nd season) as Cho Hakkai, Shiro Kishibe as Sagojo. Produced by NTV, ran for two seasons of 26 episodes each. The first season ran from October 1978 to April 1979. The second season ran from November 1979 to May 1980. Both seasons had footage shot on location in northwest China and Inner Mongolia.

3. Saiyuuki, NTV 40th Anniversary Drama Special in March 1993.
Starring Motoki Masahiro as Son Gokuu, Miyazawa Rie as Sanzohoshi, Kawahara Sabu as Cho Hakkai, Shimada Kyusaku as Sagojo.

4. Shin Saiyuuki (english title: New Monkey). Starring Toshiaki Karasawa as Son Gokuu, Riho Makise as Sanzohoshi, Ogura Hisahiro as Cho Hakkai, Emoto Akira as Sagojo. Also produced by NTV in April-September 1994, it ran for only one season. The series when released was considered a special effects achievement. But, it was not popular.


Hmm....I would really like to see Karasawa Toshiaki's Son Gokuu, that should be interesting^^
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yanie_chan



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The press conference of Saiyuki was held on 21 Dec at Haneda Airport where cast members Katori Shingo, Fukatsu Eri, Uchimura Teruyoshi and Ito Atsushi appeared. FujiTV has a tie-up with JAL where the image of Gokuu is displayed on a plane named JAL Gokuu Jet. In addition, it is the first time in Japanese drama history that a production is aired simultaneously in 4 other Asian countries outside of Japan i.e. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Other countries including China, Thailand, England, Australia have expressed interest in this drama and may show it later.

The theme song of this drama, "Around The World" will be sung by a hybrid band of 2 Canadian brothers and 2 Japanese named "MONKEY MAGIC". The single will be released under the Avex label on 22 Feb.

There will be a manga series on Saiyuuki to be published by Shogakukan from 15 Dec onwards which consists of 4 volumes. The manga is drawn by Konishi Noriyuki who went to the filming of the drama before coming up with the contents. This is the first time that a gekku(primetime slot) drama is made into a manga and the last volume is set to be released in March next year.

Source: Dorama World
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yanie_chan



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

It was officially announced on Jan 5th, that Takuya Kimura will be making a guest appearance in the first episode of Saiyuuki, broadcasting on Jan 9th. The first episode is a 1 hour 24 minutes special. After that it'll be the usual 54 mins per episode.

Takuya Kimura will play the role of Gen-yoku Daio (Great King of Phantom Wings), an original character created for the serial. This monster lives deep in the forest and eats human hearts. He is so powerful that no one has had the nerve to challenge him. Son Gokuu fights him. No clip has been shown yet, but his costume was displayed and it's all white and gold trimmed with lots of white feathers.

There is some rumor that he might appear in the 3rd episode, too.

thanks to hime


This news has also been officially announced on the official website under the TOPICS section.

Kimura was an avid fan of the 1978-80 Saiyuuki series. The veteran actor who played Son Gokuu, Sakai Masaaki guests in Bistro SMAP 31 May 2004. Kimura said, in his head, he always sees him as Son Gokuu. Coz 6-yrs-old Kimura was a BIG FAN of Saiyuuki that time, he watched ALL of the 52 episodes of it. He always "do" all Gokuu's actions with a stick, coz he think the styles are kakkoi. During the kendo exercise, Kimura tried acting some of Gokuu's moves with his stick, but then he got stick-slapped by his kendo sensei saying, "Bakayarooooo...!!!". LOL!^^

So, Kimura must be happy, he can be a part of this dorama. A fighting scene with Shingo too.

FYI, Kimura and Shingo shares many same interests, watching sports match esp.soccer, One Piece anime series, including this ancient action stuffs.
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kkl



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Woah so much infomation! Thanx yanie_chan looks like you've done alot of research! I'm a fan of the TVB versions and will love to see this version too... And with SMAP being in it i guess it'll be a sure hit! I wonder if anyone has decided to sub it...
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midori-chan



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

cool I hope I could watch it hehe and thanks for the info to
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roaceica



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

thanks yanie for starting a thread on this drama! cannot wait to watch the first epi! i do hope and pray that this drama gets subbed Bow Fingers crossed
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atata



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

yanie_chan wrote:
The press conference of Saiyuki was held on 21 Dec at Haneda Airport where cast members Katori Shingo, Fukatsu Eri, Uchimura Teruyoshi and Ito Atsushi appeared. FujiTV has a tie-up with JAL where the image of Gokuu is displayed on a plane named JAL Gokuu Jet. In addition, it is the first time in Japanese drama history that a production is aired simultaneously in 4 other Asian countries outside of Japan i.e. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Other countries including China, Thailand, England, Australia have expressed interest in this drama and may show it later.

The theme song of this drama, "Around The World" will be sung by a hybrid band of 2 Canadian brothers and 2 Japanese named "MONKEY MAGIC". The single will be released under the Avex label on 22 Feb.

There will be a manga series on Saiyuuki to be published by Shogakukan from 15 Dec onwards which consists of 4 volumes. The manga is drawn by Konishi Noriyuki who went to the filming of the drama before coming up with the contents. This is the first time that a gekku(primetime slot) drama is made into a manga and the last volume is set to be released in March next year.

Source: Dorama World


will i be able to watch it at singapore? Beaten
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bmwracer



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

kkl wrote:
And with SMAP being in it i guess it'll be a sure hit!

Oh boy, there's a reason to watch the show.


Last edited by bmwracer on Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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MixxDreamer



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

yeh whatever happened to objectivity?
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bmwracer



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

MixxDreamer wrote:
yeh whatever happened to objectivity?

I was saying the same thing, imoto-chan. Wink
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MixxDreamer



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

heh, im just tired of hearing/reading that typical line Tired
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bmwracer



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

MixxDreamer wrote:
heh, im just tired of hearing/reading that typical line Tired

I feel the same way. bleh
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Old-Ant



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Saiyuuki - FujiTV Taiga Primetime Dorama Reply with quote Back to top

Yanie-chan,

Thanks for the long, detailed intro. That was very informative.

I find it not surprising at all that Japan has made and remade Chinese stories quite a few times. Regardless of present politics, Japan has had a fascination with China ever since about 300AD, and much of Japan's culture is imported from China.

yanie_chan wrote:
Eri Fukatsu as Sanzohoshi, The Priest. Japan has mostly casted female actress to portray this role, I guess because of the priest's soft and gentle character? She really has shaved her head bald for the role of Sanzo. Fukatsu's willingness to take on this role is said to be due to the flop of Slow Dance and as a sign that she takes responsibility for this matter.


May I ask where you got this information? According to all of the ratings estimates I've seen, Slow Dance did very well in the ratings coming in third after the blockbuster Densha Otoko and a suprisingly strong final episode of Jouou no Kyoushitsu. Is there some other way that it might have flopped other than ratings?
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yanie_chan



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Saiyuuki - FujiTV Taiga Primetime Dorama Reply with quote Back to top

Old-Ant wrote:
May I ask where you got this information? According to all of the ratings estimates I've seen, Slow Dance did very well in the ratings coming in third after the blockbuster Densha Otoko and a suprisingly strong final episode of Jouou no Kyoushitsu. Is there some other way that it might have flopped other than ratings?


Ah, sorry...a month ago, I got it from here: http://www.excite.co.jp/News/entertainment/20051213100000/Gendai_18715.html

But apparently, the news article is gone now. Can you read Japanese, perhaps it was already archived or something? Hmm...I asked my friend to translate some of the lines, perhaps she misinterpreted the 'flop' matter?

Or, probably average rating of 16.89% is not good enough for a gekku dorama. Perhaps, FujiTV has expected something more like Long Vacation success^^ Perhaps, they've set a high standard...


Now, on Saiyuuki's ratings...

The first episode rating is ... 29.2%!!O_O

And, I've checked past years' ratings.... None of the FujiTV, TBS, NTV, TV Asahi nor NHK dramas' first episode reach this number, since Good Luck's 1st episode, which was 31.6%. And that was 3 years ago!

We'll see whether this was because the Kimura factor only or not...the 2nd episode got a big test!
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yt



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Some pics from the press conference.





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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 3:19 am    Post subject: Re: Saiyuuki - FujiTV Taiga Primetime Dorama Reply with quote Back to top

yanie_chan wrote:
Ah, sorry...a month ago, I got it from here: http://www.excite.co.jp/News/entertainment/20051213100000/Gendai_18715.html

But apparently, the news article is gone now. Can you read Japanese, perhaps it was already archived or something? Hmm...I asked my friend to translate some of the lines, perhaps she misinterpreted the 'flop' matter?

Or, probably average rating of 16.89% is not good enough for a gekku dorama. Perhaps, FujiTV has expected something more like Long Vacation success^^ Perhaps, they've set a high standard...!


Certainly there's no need to apologize. Thanks for the info.
Slow Dance took a definite tumble in the ratings from a fabulous initial-show rating of 22.5 down to below 18 after, and they never broke over 18 for the rest of the series. Not meeting Fuji's and the public's high expectations is probably the reason.

I'm still downloading the first episode of Saiyuuki, so I can't yet share a reaction, but that rating is incredible! Epospde 2 of any series tends to suffer in comparison, but if episode 2 can remain above 20, this will probably be the winter's big hit.
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dochira



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

As someone has mentioned, it could have been the KimuTaku factor. Head Scratch
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I'd love to look down my nose at the
Quote:
KimuTaku factor
, but truth to tell, I want to see this show because Eri Fukatsu is in it.

Boy I hope someone takes this one on as a project.
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