It’s been 13 years since the last Saiyuuki anime. I remember it’s one of those shows that I watch first thing after getting home from school. Saiyuki Reload Blast’s setup is one more riff on the classic Journey to the West narrative, with a monk and his three rowdy companions here taking the form of gangly human warriors with extremely luscious hair. This episode sees them introduced through their visit to a remote mountain village, where the danger of demons keeps everyone afraid to speak too loud, for fear they’ll alert the demons to their home.
One of the things I have to say I liked is the fact that this being such a long running series means that our central characters actually have some personality and a fun rapport with one another, something many of these new summer shows have been sorely lacking. This helps a lot considering that the plot of this episode was fairly formulaic, though not necessarily bad. I have to admit though, the blending of the Journey to the West framework with the more modern-day spaghetti western stylings is pretty cool, and cool is what Saiyuki Realod Blast really seems like its aiming to be. The action scenes were brief but stylized, and I found them to be sufficiently entertaining (even if I found the blood-splatter-on-the-camera effects to be a bit tacky here).
Anyways, I’m disappointed that they skipped over some of the most intense parts of the manga. Saiyuki is definitely a series that’s suffered from crappy adaptations… You pretty much have to read the manga to understand anything that’s going on. BUT. I’m pretty excited, Platinum Vision seems to be doing pretty well so far. If you’re a fan of Saiyuki, I imagine this will be more of what you love, and if you’re completely new to the series, Sayuki Reload Blast might be a solid jumping on point to test the waters and see if you’re game to catch up on everything the franchise has to offer. I think it’s good to read the manga to understand the characters in detail, their psychology and their growth – but if you didn’t care about that, or just in for an action thing, I think so far it would be fairly easy to follow this particular series.