Journey to the West (1986) – Rated and Reviewed

Journey to the West Review – Everything You Need To Know

Journey to the West | Book

Journey to the West | Where to watch

Journey to the West | Brief Introduction

Journey to the West | Main characters

Journey to the West | Monkey King

Journey to the West | Monkey King and the government

Journey to the West | Tang Seng

Journey to the West | Other vivid personalities

Journey to the West | FAQ’s

Journey to the West Review: Book

Journey to the west

Today, we recommend to you, a TV show called Journey to the West (西游记 xīyóu jì).

It is based on the fictional book of the same name written by Wu Cheng’en (吴承恩 Wú Chéng’ēn).

It is a romantic novel full of magic, set in ancient China.

The novel is rich in imagination, boldly combining the images of gods and deities with people, creating a series of unforgettable artistic shapes.

The novel is one of the great Chinese classics.

The book is very difficult to read because it is written in Ancient Chinese and is also very long with a massive 100 chapters!

Instead, the series is very short, colourful and the language is simple, concise and lively. 

(If you’d like to read a Chinese novel however and think Journey to the West is too long, check out our informative video introducing you to popular Chinese modern literature!)

Journey to the West Review: Where to Watch

The series is made up of 25 episodes and each last episode lasts around 42 minutes.

It can be watched for free on Youtube or on Youku.

In China we are really familiar with this story because when we were students, Journey to the West would always be on TV during our summer and winter holidays.

We love this TV show because we always imagine we are the main character Sunwukong (孙悟空 sūnwùkōng) also known as the Monkey King.

Whenever we are faced with something unfair, we just fight against it the same as him in the TV show.

This is expressed by the author:

“It is so unfair during that society, so he just imagined that there is a society in which he can be brave enough to be honest and fight against injustice.”

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Journey to the West Review: Brief Introduction

Journey to the West is the story of Tang Seng (the Golden Cicada), the Monkey King, Zhu Baijie (a pig), Monk Sha and a horse who travel west to find Buddhist sacred texts.

During their journey they are met by other animals and monsters who try to stop them.

So, they have to fight with them and ask other people to help.

After encountering eighty-one difficulties along the way, finally they succeed.

Have you seen Journey to the West before? Comment below with your rating!

Journey to the West Review: Main characters

  • Golden Cicada:唐僧 Tángsēng
  • Monkey King:孙悟空 Sūnwùkōng
  • Pig:猪八戒 Zhūbājiè
  • Horse:白龙马 Bái lóngmǎ
  • Monk Sha:沙僧 Shā sēng

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Journey to the West Review: Monkey King

Foremost, the story goes like this…

Once upon a time, there was a rock, this rock is very old and after many many years, she gives birth to a monkey.

This monkey calls himself The Monkey King (美猴王 Měi hóu wáng).

This monkey wants to live forever so he journeys abroad to learn from his teacher.

He is given the name Sun Wukong ( 孙悟空 sūnwùkōng ).

So, Sun is his surname and Wukong is his first name.

He is so smart that he learnt a lot from his teacher, two of which are called Jin Douyun (筋斗云 Jīndǒu yún), which means ‘one who can fly a thousand miles in the air by just one jump’.

The other is Qishi’erbian (七十二变Qīshí’èr biàn), which means ‘he who can just take one hair from his head and change this to whatever he wants’.

His teacher knows that in the future this student will cause a big disaster, so he is expelled and told to go back to where he comes from.

He is warned to never tell people who his teacher is.

Journey to the West Review: Monkey King and The Government

The Monkey King feels he is the best after learning so many things and calls himself Qitian Dasheng (齐天大圣 Qí tiān dà shèng) which means ‘Great Sage Equal to Heaven’.

He steals a stick (金箍棒 Jīn gū bàng) from a dragon King and uses this as his tool to make his powers grow.

Many people are angry at this and go to the Emperor (玉帝 Yù dì) , to complain.

First of all, the Emperor tries to trick the Monkey King by giving him an official position.

But soon the Monkey King realises the position is too small so refuses.

Then the Emperor gives him the position of taking care of the peach tree.

So, the Monkey Kings loves the peaches and eats almost all of them.

The Emperor is angry and puts him in an Alchemy Furnace to punish him.

Then, the Monkey King escapes and has a big fight with the government officials.

The Emperor has no way to save the government, but asks for help from Rulai Buddha.

Rulai Buddha traps the Monkey King under a mountain, sealing it for 500 years.

Journey to the West Review: Tang Seng

Journey to the West

Tang Seng ( 唐僧 Tángsēng), also famous as Tang Sanzang, was turned into a Golden Cicada and is the second student of Rulai Buddha.

He rescues the Monkey King and takes him as his first student.

Along the road, he meets his second student Zhu Bajie ( 猪八戒 Zhūbājiè ), a pig who is very lazy and greedy.

He also then meets his third student Monk Sha (沙僧 Shā sēng) and he acquires a horse to ride.

They journey west to seek the Buddhist scriptures and encounter 81 hardships and difficulties. After overcoming all of these they are able to obtain the Buddhist scriptures.

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Journey to the West Review: Other Important Characters

  • Red Boy (红孩儿 Hóng hái’ér) – a child who can spit fire
  • White Bone Spirit (白骨精 Báigǔjīng) – a demon.
  • Rat Spirit: (老鼠精 Lǎoshǔ jīng) – a beautiful spirit who wants to marry Tang Seng.

Journey to the West – FAQ’s

What year was Journey to the West first aired?


How many episodes of Journey to the West are there?

25 episodes lasting around 40-45 minutes each.

What is the name of the Monkey King in Chinese?

In Chinese the Monkey King’s name is 孙悟空 Sūnwùkōng.

What is a famous line said by the Monkey King?

One of the Monkey King’s most famous lines is “Here I come!” (俺老孙来也 Ǎn lǎo sūn lái yě).

What is a fun fact about Journey to the West?

Monk (沙僧 Shā sēng) almost only has one line in the entire TV show which is “Brother, Master is caught by the monster.” (大师兄,师父被妖怪抓走啦 Dà shīxiōng, shīfu bèi yāoguài zhuā zǒu la.)

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