Saiyuki

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Gensomaden Saiyuki (Saiyuki RELOAD, Saiyuki RELOAD Gunlock, etc.) is a manga and anime series kinda-sorta inspired by the Chinese classic Journey to the West (which is Saiyuki in Japan).

Set in a Schizo-Tech universe where demons, mystical powers and nominally Buddhist Powers That Be (see the trope entry below for a better explanation) coexist with guns, credit cards, and a Jeep (which, coincidentally, transforms into a small dragon). In the past, demons and humans coexisted in peace. But recently, the demons have been driven to madness and violence. This was found out to be linked to the resurrection of the demon Gyumao, by forces unknown. In response, the trash-talking monk Genjyo Sanzo is commanded to journey West with his three companions Son Goku, Sha Gojyo, and Cho Hakkai. Sanzo's three companions aren't exactly what they seem, as they are demons who are only kept in check by accessories that also serve to limit their power. However, their history stretches back not only to the recent past, but to hundreds of years before.

Saiyuki is a somewhat large franchise, with three TV series, two OVAs, stage plays, drama CDs, and a movie, along with the five manga everything is based on. One could argue that this series has Multiple Demographic Appeal, with an overwhelmingly Bishonen cast and multiple opportunities for Ho Yay, but also has some elements of Shonen series, such as My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours.

Not to be confused with Sayuki (nee Fiona Graham), the first and only white woman to become a geisha.

Tropes used in Saiyuki include:
  • Abusive Parents: Li Touten, who uses his bio-engineered son to gain military and political power. He's also implied to be sexually abusing him.
    • Gojyo is the original example of this, with an abusive step-mother.
    • Lirin's mother (and Kougaiji's stepmother), Gyokumen Kousho. She uses her children for science projects, among other things.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Happens every time the Sanzo party enter a new town that doesn't recognize who they are.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Tenkai in Ibun.
  • Affably Evil: Most of the antagonists don't really qualify as evil. Kougaiji and his group sometimes make the main characters look like the bad guys. Lirin is basically a female Goku (except she's an complete idiot), Dokugakuji is something of a Punch Clock Villain that loyally follows Kougaiji, and Yaone is considered a possible non Fan Dumb love interest for Hakkai. Villains that can be considered evil are typically complete monsters.
  • The Ageless: The gods.
  • Alternate Character Meaning: How the title is written is a pun; instead of the kanji for "west" it uses another with the same reading that makes the whole thing mean Journey to the Max!
  • And the Adventure Continues...: Every one of the anime and manga series to date ends with the Sanzo-ikkou headed west once again, typically driving off into a blazing sunset.
  • Asleep for Days: Happens a few times after major injuries.
  • Attempted Rape: Genjo Sanzo's Burial chapter reveals that, just after witnessing his master's death, 14 year-old Genjyo was waylaid by a band of thugs who attempted to rob and rape him. He shot his attacker at point-blank range, the first time he had ever killed another person. This could also be considered Rape as Backstory because it's clearly tied to his trust and distance issues as an adult.
  • Badass Abnormal: Sanzo, thanks to his Sutra.
    • Hakkai was a normal man that before becoming a youkai, killed a thousand youkai on his own, and before he learned the energy attacks he used during the main series.
  • Badass Crew
  • Badass Normal: Gojyo somewhat qualifies. While Hakkai and Goku can remove their limiters for a power boost, Gojyo doesn't undergo any changes other than a mystical weapon and taking things up a notch.
  • Bald of Evil: Rikkudo
  • Because I'm Jonesy: Happens both in the beginning of the Saiyuki reload manga as well as in various filler eppisodes of the anime. Sadly enough, both times the Sanzo weren't very good at convincing who was the "real".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Hakkai is usually the most polite and civil of the group... until he takes off his Restraining Bolt. (Even Goku was frightened after he did that!)
  • Big Bad: The Sealed Evil in a Can Gyumao, as well as seasonal Big Bads Homura, Kami-sama, Hazel, and Ukoku Sanzo.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Kougaiji deeply cares about his half-sister Lirin (not that way).
    • Gojyo's half-brother. Even though the two are sworn enemies, he obviously still cares deeply about his little brother, and feels a great deal of guilt about not being able to protect him from abuse at the hands of his step mother. It's also implied that the main motivation behind the elder brother's sexualised relationship with his biological mother and his subsequent murder of her were both attempts to keep Gojyo safe. Given the complexity of the relationship (and how Gojyo also had sexual/romantic feelings for the woman), there were likely other motivating factors, but he is certainly more broken up over not being able to protect his little brother than the incest thingy.
    • Also, his extreme protectiveness over Kougaiji is motivated strongly by his guilt at not being able to keep his biological half-brother safe, and a way to gain redemption for not being able to do so. His complete psychological breakdown in the manga (when he thinks he cannot keep Kougaiji safe) reflects this.
    • In Saiyuki Ibun, Houmei (who would be known as Koumyou Sanzo) develops this towards the youngest apprentice monk Tenkai.
  • Big Eater: Goku. Sanzo suggests that this is because he was locked up for 500 years with no food.
  • Bishonen
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Kanan and Gonou/Hakkai didn't realize they were long-lost siblings until after they fell in love, apparently. The anime toned it down it so that Kanan was only like an older sister to Hakkai, instead of actually being his older sister.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: "Barcode" Kougaiji.
  • Brainy Brunette: Oh, Hakkai.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer:
    • Dr. Nii Jienyi carries around an ACTUAL bunny rabbit doll which he babytalks to like a lover, does not seem to feel the need to bathe on a regular basis, and is a walking sexual harassment lawsuit. He's also the only person on Earth capable of using the Tenchi Kaigen sutras to revive Gyuumaoh, had a doctorate by the age of 17, and is the keeper of the Muten sutra, the second youngest sanzo ever.
    • Field Marshall Tenpou in Gaiden can't for the life of him keep his office cleaner than "trainwreck", wears shower sandals to work on a regular basis, and is voluntarily an adjutant to a less senior officer because it deflects some of the attention and paperwork. When he's in a battle, however...every soldier wants to be under him because his troops come home in one piece. In the escape to the Lower World, Tenpou takes off in the opposite direction to draw attention away from the gate and clear the way for Goku and Konzen. Barefoot and armed with only a regular katana, he takes out at least a dozen defenders before being fatally struck.
    • The entire sanzo priesthood is basically an order of Bunny-Ears Preachers. The order's purpose is protecting the sutras above all else and its members are not bound to the usual Buddhist monastic precepts. None of them seem to shave their heads (as would normally be required) and they seem to freely indulge in tobacco and alcohol. Genjyo and Ukoku aren't even necessarily professing Buddhists. Yet one would still be GREATLY ill-advised to challenge any sanzo at Buddhist magic or martial arts if one were not suicidal.
  • Butt Monkey: Zakuro, and sometimes Gojyo.
  • Canon Foreigner: Homura, Zenon and Shien from the Gensoumaden Filler arc.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: 4 semi-recurring, 100% female characters; 2 sympathetic, all antagonists.
  • Character Development: Most obviously Goku and Konzen.
    • All of the four main characters (Sanzo, Goku, Hakkai, and Gojyo) have a lot of this. Goku is coming of age throughout the story, so his development is extremely in-your-face. The other three are adults and as such, their development is shown through flashbacks and interactions that demonstrate they are more than what they first appear. It is most apparent in the manga, whereas the anime adaptations tended to get bogged down by repetitive Filler.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy
  • Cherry Blossoms: A major motif of Gaiden.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dr. Nii's bunny plushie. 'Where's the fifth sutra?' You ask? Look no further.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Purple = Sanzo, Yellow/Gold = Goku, Red = Gojyo, Green = Hakkai. These are their eye colors, and in Goku and Gojyo's cases, there are important plot points attached. Purple/yellow and red/green are also opposites/complementarity on the color wheel. Weirdly, the Reload anime used blue as Sanzo's color in the openings and changed Hakkai's eyes to blue.
  • Combat Tentacles: Some youkai have these or something like it especially Hakkai in youkai form, with his vines.
  • Comforting the Widow: Dokugakuji to his own mother to keep her from killing her husband's bastard.
    • Ukoku Sanzo and Gyokumen Koushu as well.
  • Convenient Enemy Base: ...they're not there yet.
  • Costume Copycat - Kami-sama, the huge fanboy. He just needs ONE MORE THING to finish it.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Koumyou Sanzo is either this or Obfuscating Stupidity; though he appears to be genuinely ditzy. While we've yet to see him do much, there is the small feat of attaining Sanzo-hood at the youngest age (before Ukoku and Genjyo came along, the latter having inherited it from Koumyou upon his death) and having been so powerful that he was entrusted with two sutras.
  • Cue the Sun: Happens over and over in the manga, usually in reference to Sanzo and sometimes the whole group. Invoking this image is also part of a symbolic bet between Koumyou Sanzo and Ukoku Sanzo.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Gojyo's eyes and hair are "blood red," proof of his human-demon hybrid nature. The actual color used to indicate "blood red" varies from darkish pink to a weird orange, depending.
    • As Goku helpfully informs us after having seen Gojyo in the bath, the carpet does not match the drapes. It's black.
  • Cute Bruiser: Lirin
  • Dragon Lady: Gyokumen Koushu
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Kougaiji
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Lirin (though she has orange hair in Gensomaden Saiyuki anime, in the other anime and manga color pictures she is blonde).
  • Dead Little Sister: Sanzo's and Hazel's father figures, Kougaiji's mom.
    • Gonou/Hakkai's sister, of course. Although the events leading up to her death set off his Berserk Button, and her death itself consolidates it.
  • Defiant to the End: Sanzou, when captured by the Scorpion Lady.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Sanzo's group, with help from their buddies in Kougaiji's bunch, join forces to defeat a bunch of soldiers from the army of heaven, as well as three high-ranking gods. Justified, since with the exception of Goku, the members of Sanzo's party were high-ranking gods themselves in their past lives. Gojyo was a General, and Hakkai was his direct superior, while Sanzo was the Goddess of Mercy's nephew.
    • This wasn't in the manga, however. In the manga, the guys that fought there only appeared briefly in the Gaiden-arc.
  • Disposable Woman: Kanan
  • Damsel in Distress: Kanan when she is kidnapped by Hyakugan Maoh and thus becoming a Disposable Woman. Lirin when she is taken off by her mother for scientific experimentation only to be saved by Kougaiji, Yaone and Doukugakuji. And somewhat Yaone when she failed her mission and was saved by Kougaiji when she attempted to kill herself.
    • Also that one episode where once again Yaone failed her mission and gets kidnapped by another demon, and when Hakkai heard that, he requests the team to save her, leading to an Enemy Mine situation with Kougaiji & co.
  • Dark Mistress: Gyokumen Koushu
  • Dysfunction Junction: The four main characters all have their tragic pasts. Sanzo has to deal with the death of his Mentor, who died to protect him; Gojyo has to deal with his half-demon nature, as well as guilt over the death of his step-mother; Hakkai has to deal with his past as an orphan who had inadvertent Brother-Sister Incest, as well as the manner by which he became a demon; finally, Goku is Really Seven Hundred Years Old, although he spent most of that time being caged on top of a mountain. Whew!
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Nii Jenyi Ukoku
  • Eighties Hair: Mullets! Mullets Galore! In fact almost every male character in the series at one point or another sported one.
  • Empty Shell: Prince Nataku
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": 'Sanzo' is technically a rank, not a personal name. His Buddhist dynastic name is Genjyo but it's rarely used except in his full title or to distinguish him from other members of the Sanzo priesthood like Koumyou and Ukoku. Goku seized on the "Sanzo" part of that long-ass formal title when they first met and used it like a personal name. Hakki and Gojyo later picked up this habit from Goku. We're reminded of this in the aftermath of the first fight with Kami-sama, when the-priest-formerly-known-Koryuu screams at his companions to stop calling him "Sanzo": without the sutra, he can't lay claim to that rank anymore.
  • Expy: Homura's clothes, appearance, goals and means of death are suspiciously similar to those of Sensui Shinobu. Both series were animated by Studio Pierrot, and Homura is a Canon Foreigner who made a brief cameo as a Canon Tourist.
  • Eyeless Face: If you're not important you don't need eyes.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Shien and (usually) Koumyou Sanzo.
    • Chin Yisou, too. He's in permanent niko-niko mode, and much like Xellos, is one of those characters whom you really don't want to open his eyes, because it usually means he's about to do something really...uh...bad.
  • Eyes of Gold: The eye color itself is taken very seriously, as people with these tend to be extremely dangerous, even by the PTB's standards. Goku, Homura, and Nataku have these.
    • Hazel's resurrected people have yellow eyes - sort of related, though Saiyuki distinguishes between yellow and gold in this case. Either way, Hazel's - patients(?) are perfectly nice normal people post resurrection unless you happen to be a youkai.
  • Eye Scream: Hakkai puts his own eye out, and wears a glass replacement. The anime toned it down so that the actual eye didn't, y'know, come out.
    • Minekura specifies that it isn't glass in a Q&A session of an artbook. It's actually bio-mechanical (there's your Schizo Tech again) and he can see through it.
    • At the end of the Reload manga, Sanzo shoots Ukoku's eye out, and it is strongly implied that he rips the other out himself because he's a nutjob. Which would fit perfectly for his "darkness" theme; who better than an evil blind guy? He is VERY aware of the connection, and thinks it's quite funny.
  • Evil Matriarch: Gyokumen Koushu and Gojyo's mother.
  • Fan Girl: "Pippi" is a Kougaiji fangirl.
  • Fan Nickname: "Pippi," after Pippi Longstocking, for the girl the guys live with in the youkai village.
    • "Sanzo-ikkou," for Sanzo's group (Sanzo, Goku, Hakkai, Gojyo, & Jeep) and in turn "Kougajiji-ikkou" for his group (Kougaiji, Doku, Yaone, & Lirin). "-ikkou" is used to denote a group, particularly of Buddhist pilgrims. A/k/a the "Kougaiji-tachi" or "Kou-tachi" ("Kou's gang/people/posse").
  • Fan Service (For everybody! Lirin, Yaone and several incidental girls are incredibly busty, and the four protagonists are kind enough to remove their shirts on occasion.

especially on Hakkai and Goku.

    • The shower/bath house scenes. Sanzo gets one; Gojyo gets two in the various series AND one in the movie; and of course there's a Hot Spring Episode.
  • Faux Action Girl: Yaone, at first. She gets better in RELOAD.
  • Filler: Tons. The filler in the first anime series, Gensoumaden Saiyuki, is generally considered superior to the filler in Saiyuki RELOAD and Saiyuki RELOAD Gunlock. All three series liked to rehash the old familiar sob stories, but the Gensoumaden writers applied them to new situations and even animated chapters of Gaiden, while RELOAD/Gunlock tended towards endless flashbacks or Pokémon-esque character-of-the-day side stories.
  • Femme Fatalons: Queen Gyokumen Koushu spends a lot of time lacquering her long nails.
  • Five-Man Band: The Sanzo group:
  • Foe Yay: The anime (especially the first season) implies that Hakkai may harbor romantic feelings towards Yaone.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In Gaiden. Konzen, Kenren and Tenpou have to die for the main plot to be possible.
    • Also, Saiyuki Ibun. We already know that Houmei (Koumyou Sanzo) and Toudai (Goudai Sanzo) will receive the Seiten and Muten Kyoumon respectively. Their youkai friend Tenkai will receive the Maten Kyoumou but he will die and Koumyou will inherit it. Likewise, in the present timeline, we know that Toudai will die at the hands of student Ni Jianyi.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Nataku and Goku.
  • Four-Star Badass: Tenpou and Kenren.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanzo-ikkou: Sanzo is choleric, Goku is sanguine, Gojyo is phlegmatic and Hakkai is melancholic.
    • Kougaiji-ikkou: Kougaiji is choleric, Lirin is sanguine, and Dokugaku and Yaone switch off between who is currently phlegmatic and who is melancholic.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Counter to everything one might expect...in one of Sanzo's earliest flashback sequences (to his history with Shuuei), Kouryuu talks an angry bear into leaving the monastery grounds by promising they will not disturb its territory. This is clearly intended to make a contrast with trigger-happy present day Sanzo, but the monks witnessing this are also clearly a bit creeped out at Kouryuu's force of personality and lack of fear.
    • Konzen-ikkou: Goku is sanguine, Tenpou is phlegmatic, Kenren is melancholic, and Konzen is choleric.
  • Gag Dub: The ADV Films dub of the first season comes quite close to this, due to heavily re-written dialogue and added swearing. After Geneon took over for Reload, the dubs were much more faithful. Reactions are mixed.
    • Probably because the anime is extremely censored. ADV looked at the translation and felt that it didn't hold up to the manga. So they went with the manga versions of the characters (this is actually stated in the cast commentary). Better to be faithful to the source material than watered down sub-par versions in later dubs.
    • Arguably, the Tokyo Pop manga translation.
  • Gecko Ending: The RELOAD: Gunlock ending.
  • Genius Ditz
    • Ken'yuu: "I can't tell whether you're brilliant or retarded." Koumyou: "I get that a lot."
  • Genki Girl: Lirin
  • Good Is Not Nice: The gang as a whole has its moments, but Sanzo, with his bad temper, frequent insults and generally violent behavior, is the living embodiment of this trope.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: Queen Gyokumen Koushou cares nothing about her people and family and has deliberately caused chaos to revive Gyumao.
  • Handguns: Sanzo was initially offered a choice of numerous firearms, he chose his snub-nose revolver since it was small enough to easily commit suicide with, just in case.
  • Handsome Lech: Gojyo, unequivocally.
  • Hermaphrodite: Kanzeon Bosatsu. Her long-suffering aide Jiroushin explains it thus in the manga: "And she is also a he. We just can't prove it under the current rating."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Gaiden, Kenren, Tenpou, Konzen, and Nataku; the latter going into a coma rather than dying.
  • Hermetic Magic: The Godly-trio at the end of Gensomadden Saiyuki when they try to create a new world through Goku.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Gojyo and Hakkai, who lived together for about three years before the journey west. Likewise, Kenren and Tenpou.
  • Hidden Eyes: Minekura Loves This
  • High-Class Glass: Hakkai's monocle.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Goku and Hakkai, being demons, have immensely greater powers without their Restraining Bolt accessories. However, his comes with a loss of control and most rational thought, and as such is only left for the most dire of situations.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Pretty much almost all of the Saiyuki Characters asides from a select few.
  • Improbable Age: Sanzo attained the highest possible rank of a monk at age 13. Justified as his predecessor was murdered. Also, the previous record holder, Dr. Nii aka Ukoku Sanzou, achieved a Ph.D and the same rank at age 17, except he killed his master instead.
  • I Need You Stronger: Saiyuki: Journey to the West - The Benevolent Goddess claims she sent the Sanzo party over land to help them become stronger as a team. Then again, she also said she likes jerking their chains.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: In Saiyuki Ibun, between Tenkai and Goudai.
  • I Was Just Passing Through
  • Jerkass Facade: Sanzo. Acts like a Jerkass, except it's very clear why others follow him and put up with his behavior, nor is he oblivious to his bad image. Plus he has stated (in his thoughts) that his own traumatic past has made him prefer people he doesn't have to protect, which implies he's this caustic as a defense mechanism.
  • Jerkass Gods: Even the Merciful Goddess comes off as manipulative and self-centered.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Konzen, thanks to Character Development. Sanzo too, when he thinks no one's watching. (What was that about the cat being a nuisance?)
  • James Bondage: Oh holy cow, does Sanzo ever suffer from this in the anime adaptations. Sucks to be like this as well in the original source.
  • Keet: Goku is energetic, loud, small and cute.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Sanzo mostly. And to some extent, Gojyo.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Goku, at the end of Saiyuki Gaiden. Also qualifies for Tear Jerker.
    • Hazel at the very end of the Reload manga also qualifies for this.
  • Light Is Good / Dark Is Evil: Genjyo Sanzo is heir to both the Seiten (heavenly/yang energy) and Maten (infernal/yin energy) sutras (although the Seiten has been MIA since his ascension), making his role to balance the sacred and the profane. There is a more conventional light/dark dichotomy between goodguy!Genjyo (deeply associated with imagery of the sun and daybreak) and badguy!Ukoku (deeply associated with moonless nights and carrion crows).
  • Lover and Beloved: Characters gossip about potential relationships of this kind. In ancient Chinese Buddhist monasteries, sexual relationships between older monks and young acolytes were common and well-known. Koumyou and Koryuu, and later Sanzo and Goku, provoke spiteful speculation because of their unusual lack of formality.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Nii (lechy bioengineer) is definitely this.
  • Manipulative Bastard: And if Nii doesn't qualify for above he certainly qualifies at least this. Gyokumen Koushu also qualifies, especially towards Kougaiji.
  • Medium Awareness: Jiroshin can't prove that Kanzeon really is a hermaphrodite, cause the rating isn't high enough. Also extremely prevalent in the drama CD's in which the boys comment on how they do the gag where they order a lot of food and the waitress has to repeat it all back a lot.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Genjyo Sanzo's entire adult life is built around seeking to avenge his murdered foster father, Koumyou Sanzo, and recover the sutra stolen from him. Koumyou chose to protect Genjyo with his own body, leading to Genjyo's distaste for self-sacrifice...because he knows the toll it takes on the survivor. At the very end of the Reload manga, Ukoku points out that Koumyou was more than powerful enough to have fought off the attackers and therefore must have intended to die (and Ukoku would know, considering that Koumyou nearly broke his wrist without any obvious exertion the first time they met). The implication being that Koumyou knew what effect his death would have on Genjyo and purposely set him on that path...
  • Mugging the Monster: A yokai that lives a desert traps the Sanzo party in her lair, and mistakes Sanzo for a helpless priest that chants sutras, which results in him nearly killing her.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Yaone and Lirin.
  • The Medic: Yaone in Kougaiji's group.
  • Mismatched Eyes: Homura has a gold eye and a blue one.
    • Alternatively Hakkai has similar gold eye and a green one when he takes off his limiter. (Proving to many fans that his right eye was indeed artificial.)
  • Morality Pet: Goku to Konzen in Gaiden, Lirin to Kougaiji.
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Yaone and Doku choose to fight on behalf of their lord Kougaiji even when they don't agree with his methods, most notably when he's Brainwashed and Crazy. Played with in that neither Kougaiji nor his retainers are evil; Kougaiji in particular is a Noble Demon, and his servants' loyalty help inspire Kougaiji to break free from his evil programming.
    • Also played with with Goku, who at the beginning of the manga is only going on this journey because Sanzo is, and he'd follow him anywhere. By the middle of Reload he has come to the conclusion that he will continue west for his own reasons, not just for Sanzo. It should be noted that Sanzo would prefer he do the later anyways.
  • No Body Left Behind: In the anime episodes and Requiem OVA, slain youkai crumble to dust immediately. The manga is considerably more gory throughout and the recent Gaiden and Burial OVAs show blood and bodies as well. One exception is a Justified Trope: Konzen is caught in the closing Dimensional Gate and his body is destroyed in the void between dimensions.
  • Noble Demon: Kougaiji and everybody in his group.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Gyokumen Koushu
  • No Name Given: "Pippi," the cute, bossy youkai girl that a large chunk of fandom hates because she gave Goku his first kiss.
  • Omake: UraSai of the Reload anime.
    • And a bunch of the random filler at the end of a few manga volumes.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: How many times was Sanzo shot in the Gunlock ending?
    • One could ask the same of Hazel.
    • Chin Yisou gets his arm chopped off and doesn't bat an eylid ( although he is a shikigami he created from his own corpse so...)
    • Also in Gaiden Kenren seems to become armless, but still manages to keep fighting and hold a conversation.
  • Overtook the Manga: Several times, leading to loads of Filler and a Gecko Ending for Gunlock.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Pretty much every other main character is stronger than Gojyo in one way or another, whether by kyouryouku or sutra or being-seiten-taisei. But in his favor, he is usually the last one still standing at the end of the battle, which corresponds to the source material, where Wujing was weak compared to Wukong and Baijie, but had incredible stamina. The Kami-sama arc also proves that Gojyo is necessary to keep the group dynamic from going completely nuclear. Without him, Sanzo and Hakkai both get wound too tight and Goku alone can't keep them from driving each other craz(ier than they already are).
  • Papa Wolf: Konzen. Made all the more satisfying because he, unlike Sanzo, has had some damn fine character development and is willing to perform all kinds of death defying thrills for his adopted son, Goku.
    • Sanzo's furious response (subverted Unstoppable Rage, since he has no outlet) following a brief Heroic BSOD to Goku's near-death in volume 6 of Reload fits this trope, although the smaller age difference may make this more like Big Brother Instinct.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Owned by Sanzo, usually used on Goku when he's being annoying.
  • Parental Abandonment: Who doesn't qualify?
  • Parental Favoritism
  • Parental Incest: Part of Dokugakuji's back story: after his and Gojyo's father died, he would sleep with his mother to calm her down and keep her from hurting Gojyo.
  • Perky Female Minion: Lirin is a very good example.
  • Phlegmings: Whenever Goku takes off his tiara-limiter and goes Ax Crazy.
  • Physical God: In the anime, Homura, Shien, and Zenon. And in Gaiden, everybody except Goku, who is ironically stronger than most of them.
  • Pointy Ears: One of the most consistent physical differences between youkai and humans.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: As seen with both Goku and Hakkai when certain limiters are removed.
  • Powers That Be: The pantheon presented is essentially the synchretized version of Buddhism that dominated Tang China, which contains Taoist and Confucian elements not found in Indian Buddhism, such as a heavenly bureaucracy ruled by an emperor. Kwan Yin (Kanzeon) being a hermaphrodite is Minekura's invention, but the Goddess of Compassion is an important Chinese deity.
    • Considering Kwan Yin/Avalokiteshvara's gender varies from tradition to tradition, Minekura's depiction of hir as a hermaphrodite isn't totally out of the blue.
  • Prequel: Saiyuki Gaiden, Saiyuki Ibun.
    • The Burial Arcs are sort of in-series prequel material.
  • Punch Clock Villain: The Kougaiji-ikkou.
  • Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: Anyone going against Goku.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Subverted. The Kougaiji-tachi fit every requirement--except being evil. It's the Sanzo-ikkou who come across as sociopathic.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Goku is Soichiro Hoshi and Hakkai is Akira Ishida.
  • Reason You Suck Speech: Many of them. This is pretty much the only kind of preaching Sanzo actually does...and he's quite good at taking an opponent apart verbally.
  • Ret-Gone: Ukoku's Muten Sutra.
  • Rubber Face: Sha Gojyo and Son Goku when they bicker (which means almost constantly).
  • Say My Name: "SAAANZOOOOO!" being the earliest example.
    • And one pun in which Gojyo drills Goku about their bespectacled healer's new name; Goku repeats it eight times. (Hakkai's given name and the phrase 'eight times' are phonetically identical.)
  • Schizo-Tech: The setting is ostensibly 7th century China, but no one blinks at Jeeps or credit cards.
    • Gyokumen's palace is full of big shiny machines that go 'bing', and Gyuumaou's resurrection staff have desktop computers. Or at least Nii does. He's also a biological engineer of some sort.
    • Hakkai's artificial eye is, according to Word of God, bio-mechanical and Hakkai can actually see with it. He still needs a monocle however.
  • Sanzo Is About To Shoot You: All the time from chapter headers. He's cranky like that.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: In Saiyuki Requiem the girl introduced in the story sacrifices her life in order to destroy the big bad in the movie for good, so that she can die knowing her life was worth something. Too bad that accomplished absolutely nothing and the Big Bad is completely unaffected.
    • Kougaji's view of seending Mooks out to kill the Sanzo party is this, and he's pretty much right on the money.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Goku and Hakkai being the gentler and more polite (hardly in Goku's case) Sensitive Guy to Gojyo's cruder, rougher Manly Man.
  • Serial Killer: Oh Hakkai. You so Yandere.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Dougan is the pure embodiment of this trope.
  • Ship Tease: Early episodes, and even The Movie provides quite a bunch of Hakkai-Yaone teases, even moreso since Yaone has a striking resemblance to Hakkai's deceased lover, and acts almost like the same. Later episodes completely drop this, but there's still some tease for Kougaiji-Yaone and even Dokugaku-Yaone. Then again, this is a Ho Yay series.
  • Shooting Superman: Generic Youkai going after the Sanzo party is pretty much this, but Gyokuman Koushu keeps sending them out anyways since she wants her henchmen to always being doing something if what that is essentially going out to get killed week after week.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Included with the standard uniform for members of the Celestial Army.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Gojyo and Sanzo. And Tenpou and Kenren in Gaiden. They even have their own preferred brands. Sanzo smokes Marlboros, Gojyo and Kenren prefer Hi-Lites, and Tenpou likes Ark Royal.
  • Snark Knight: Professor Hwan
  • Soichiro Hoshi: Goku's voice.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Inverted in the anime. Big Bads become relatively lower in standing for each season. First was God of War Homura, followed by Dr. Nii's disciple Kami-sama in Reload, and then possessed priest Hazel in Gunlock.
  • Shotacon: A lot of fans seem to be uncomfortable with the idea of Goku in any kind of romantic or sexual relationship, given his childish nature and appearance, despite the fact that he's physically 18 and Really Seven Hundred Years Old. This is especially bad for those who have only seen the anime--while it showed the very beginning of his Character Development in the Kami-sama arc, it quickly Overtook the Manga and tended to treat Goku like a standard stupid Shonen protagonist.
    • Faceless bystanders tend to spread rumors of this nature about the relationships between Koumyou and Kouyruu and Konzen and Goku.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Chin Yisou, at Hakkai. If anyone personifies refined bad-touch... His friggin' arm's off and he still doesn't drop the honourifics! Also Dougan, from the Requiem movie. The lengths that boy goes to in order to get Sanzo's attention are... something else. Sanzo even calls him "demented stalker bastard" to his face.
  • Stepford Smiler: Hakkai. He generally plays the role of a cheery pseudo-mom/housewife of the group, but he used to be a Creepy Child who eventually ended up in a loving romantic and sexual relationship with his older sister, murdered 1,000 demons and an entire village because she was kidnapped, and can cheerfully pluck out his own eye.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: Hakkai and Goku. Especially Goku.
    • Hakkai's is mostly limited to his past. Mostly.
  • Sure Why Not: Kazuya Minekura once listed this on Hakkai's bio: "Voiced by Akira Ishida". The anime production house picked the man himself to do Hakkai.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You
  • The Power of Friendship: Although the main characters rarely, if ever, accept this. Even the villains are not immune from this trope.
  • Redheaded Stepchild: Gojyo, quite literally.
    • Lirin as well - her hair colour ranges in art from orange to strawberry blonde, but boy howdy thanks to her mom does she ever count.
  • Reincarnation: Sanzo, Gojyo and Hakkai are the reincarnations of three gods who apparently died trying to save Goku from being persecuted or turned into a second Nataku.
  • The Gunslinger: Sanzo, type A.
  • The Rival
  • The Three Faces of Eve: In an unusual male example, Goku is the Child, Hakkai is the Wife and Gojyo is the Seductress, but that's only in terms of personality rather than gender.
  • There Are No Therapists: See Dysfunction Junction.
  • Token Mini-Moe: In Ibun, Tenkai fulfills this role.
  • True Companions
  • Tyke Bomb: Nataku, despite being a kid, is used by the celestial army as a living weapon.
    • Also Goku, in his younger years.
    • Arguably Kami-sama as well, in his younger years, considering what a pain in the ass he becomes when he's older.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: The main-story series have chapters grouped into numbered "acts"--roughly equivalent to plot arcs. Omake chapters are given fractional act numbers. Full-chapter flashbacks are numbered "act.xx".
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kami-sama, while not exactly sane, was spookily calm as he was beating Sanzo and co. half to death, but once they start working together and gain the upper hand, he degenerates into a childish tantrum.
  • Volleying Insults: "Stupid monkey!" "Pervy kappa!" Sometimes Goku and Gojyo expand upon these insults, getting increasingly pun-tastic until Sanzo yells at them to knock it off.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The turning point of the Kamisama arc is a deadly serious game of mahjongg played by the Sanzo-ikkou. And it's badass.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: Twice in the anime, both of the Everyone Meets Everyone variety. One is their meeting in their current lives, and the other is their meeting during their past lives as part of the Powers That Be.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes? : In the Saiyuki Party Drama CD, Sanzo is terrified of a kitten.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Gyokumen. Big time towards Kougaiji. Made even worse when it's revealed she doesn't even like her own daughter.
  • With Friends Like These... : pretty much the dynamic of the Sanzo party. Don't make the mistake of thinking they're friends. Sanzo constantly is shooting at the others, Hakkai once smilingly broke Gojyo's arm when the latter abandoned them (it turned out to be a mirage, but Hakkai didn't know that at the time) Goku... well Goku and Gojyo're actually too nice to do more than call people names, but they certainly complain about the others (and each other) enough.
  • Woman in White: Kanzeon Bosatsu (Well... Man/Woman anyway...)
    • Gojyo's stepmother.
  • Yandere: Hakkai, in the past.
    • The Stalker with a Crush, Dougan, certainly fits this trope, being downright moe-moe as a monk.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The Very Meaning to Zakuro's Powers