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Initially beginning with a light novel, Gokudō-kun Man'yūki penned by Usagi Nakamura with illustrations by Takeru Kirishima and published by Kadokawa Shoten between June 1st, 1991 ? September 1st, 1999 with 13 volumes. The success of the first light novel warranted a second and Gokudo-kun Man'yūki Gaiden was soon developed by the same writer and illustrator. This time published under Media Works beginning on June 10th 1993 with an ongoing publishing run of 10 volumes.
The Light Novels were followed by a Seinen Manga adaptation, published by Kadokawa Shoten and enjoying a run in Dengeki Daioh magazine from 1995 - 2000. As the Manga was still in production, a TV Anime adaptation was put into development by studio Softx. The Anime adaptation spanned 26 episodes directed by Kunihisa Sugishima and running between April 2nd, 1999 ? September 24th, 1999, airing on the TV Tokyo network.
All adaptations of the work share the same basic premise and story; Gokudo an adventurer and Anti-Hero, discovers a magical Genie named Djinn who wants to grant him three wishes. This inevitably leads to number of problematic situations and misadventures for Gokudo.
This series offers examples of:
- Action Girl: Rubette
- Affectionate Parody: All of the arcs poke fun at standard anime/hero cliches, as well as twisting them in a rather unique and amusing way.
- A God Am I: Sanzo manages to absorb a good deal of godly powers to animate himself in a giant statue. As well as come back with gusto to fight Gokudo and company for round 2.
- Anti-Hero: Gokudo is a type V, the prince is a type IV and Rubette is a Type III.
- Arson, Murder, and Admiration: Usually between Gokudo and Ikkyu. One is a selfish Anti-Hero adventurer who would rather give up someone else's soul for a deal instead of his own, and the other is a wise devil monk who can trick a sphinx by getting her a Moon Drop in a 'special vial' that would revert to normal water without, and that she is only allowed to ask one riddle at a time (so she can't ask him to get proof, much to her annoyance). Both of them are amazed and impressed with how the other acts.
- Back for the Finale: Seigi and Arsaga make brief bystander appearances throughout the final episode, which involved Gokudo, Rubette and Prince Niari fighting against Indra.
- Benevolent Genie: Djinn, who highly emphasizes on good will and morals. So much that he refused to grant Gokudo's first three wishes when they first met (wealth, power, and women) because they were all selfish desires.
- Brown Note: Rubette has a VERY bad singing voice.
- Calling The Old woman Out: Prince to Granny in the finale. Being dismayed by her sudden offensive behavior towards Gokudo and Rubette, petrifying Djinn and the others, and seeing her fall for Indra's shameless flirting (who represented the Hokote, and was the other rival clan trying to win Granny's heart but lost to Prince's father), he finally breaks out of his Momma's Boy mindset, unlocks the seal on his magic by sheer willpower, and proceeds to summon his Humongous Mecha to face Indra.
- Chaotic Neutral: Gokudo
- Chivalrous Pervert: Prince turns into this.
- Deal with the Devil: When first meeting Ikkyu, Gokudo asks for the Moon Drop himself willing to give him anything he wants. The Devil replies he would do it for his soul. Gokudo subverts this by telling the devil he can have Issa's soul instead. Ikkyu comments how evil he is and likes him for it.
- Designated Hero: In-Universe example.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu??: While unintentionally, Gokudo and company are the cause of all the Hokote and Gods being dead, banished, or sealed within.
- Dropped a Bridget On Him: Tei was very infatuated with Gokudo... in Rubette/Gon-Gon's body. But when he saw the real him...
Tei: Where's Gokudo? Isn't Gokudo with you?
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Miroku looks VERY feminine.
- Empathic Weapon: With the help of the Djinn, Gokudo instantly claims a powerful sword that causes giant fire blasts. Without warning, the Djinn throws the weapon out into the sky, pissing Gokudo off. She tells him since it is now bound to him, he needs to call it. Believing she watches too much TV, Gokudo does so. It works. He instantly gets the idea idea to sell the sword at a shop and then recall it later, and repeat this process until he's rich. Much to the Djinn's shock and dismay, he goes and does that.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The TRUE nature of the Happiness Device
- Everything Is Better With Monkeys: The fourth arc especially, when Niari's souls goes into that of Goku, the monkey king, and his soul apparently goes into Gokudo's body, making him act like a monkey.
Gokudo: Stop acting like a monkey!
- Evil Twin: Gokudo is this to his brother.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: A staple of the series is that Gokudo and friends visit five nations that resemble real world countries and/or culture. The Eshalatto Empire is medival Europe, the Parmetian Empire is a combination of Egypt and Arabia, Inaho is ancient Japan, and the last two areas are ancient China and a Mesoamerica-like island.
- Fartillery: One of Gokudo's lethal attacks.
- Freaky Friday Flip: The main point of the fourth arc: Gokudo ends up in Rubette's body, Rubette to Djinn, Djinn to Prince, Prince to a monkey, and by default, the monkey is in Gokudo's body (complete with the monkey like appearance, fur, and tail). Turns out that was a puppet Gokudo and the real one ended up blasted into an egg, which was eaten by Panda and reverted to a baby. That was the body Goku, the monkey king, ended up in.
- Gender Bender: Djinn can change gender at will (among other things) and can either be a typical portly guy or the attractive harem dancer. Also, in the first episode, Djinn gets upset at Gokudo for 'hurting a girl's feelings' while she was drunk, so she turned him into a girl as punishment. The way he slowly figures it out was downright hilarious.
- Then there's the fourth arc (read Freaky Friday Flip entry above)
- Girl Group: The Chingensai Sisters
- Goldfish Poop Gang: The Dumpling King, who chases the world after Gokudo just because he didn't pay him 8 gold coins for his meal. Complete with a very catchy theme song that plays whenever he shows up.
- Heel Face Brainwashing: The monster buster Tei captures monsters and converts them to be mostly harmless and timid servants, such as Ikkyu and Panda. It's not permanent, though.
- Sanzo also used this method, albeit more cruelly in gaining an army of obedient soldiers for him.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Both invoked and parodied. Because of a disturbance of the country's magic and loss of monsters all a part of Prince Niari's takeover plan, Issa and Princess Coco used Gokudo, the hero of the Eshalatto Kingdom, to die so their country could be saved. Gokudo manages to avoid this with the help of Ikkyu, but eventually ends up as a sacrifice... by giving up his virgin first kiss to the sealed spirit of the Parmetian Empire, which was really Granny. The shock of kissing her caused Gokudo to petrify for several minutes, but in breaking her seal, he DID save Parmetian.
- Humongous Mecha: Prince's strongest magic is to create and pilot one. Indra may count as well, but it's more like Powered Armor
- Interspecies Romance: Between Djinn, a genie and Nanya, a white tiger that can take the form of a human. There is also one between one of the princes of Inaho and the White Fox.
- Jerkass: Gokudo again.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Gokudo.
- Known Only By Their Nickname: Gokudo simply calls the mysterious fortune teller Granny since the first episode he saw her, while everyone else goes along with it. Djinn simply calls her Master, because frankly, she's Queen of the Magic World and his first owner (of his magic stone).
- Magnificent Bastard: Everything that happens to Gokudo is Granny's fault.
- Laser-Guided Karma: To say Gokudo is Karma's bitch is putting it mildly. EVERY bad thing he does gets returned to him ten fold in the most dissatisfying way possible.
- Medium Awareness: Almost constantly, but especially in the finale.
- Mister Seahorse: Panda, who after swallowing an egg whole somehow gives birth to Goku trapped in a baby Gokudo's body.
- MST3K Mantra: Invoked by the characters themselves when someone asks a question.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Djinn can transform into a dragon, and both eastern and western sytle dragons populate the world. Oh, and there is a Dragon God, too.
- Panthera Awesome: Nanya is a white tiger who can take the form of a human. She serves the Queen Mother West, who is a humanoid white tiger Who was REALLY Granny in disguise.
- Power Limiter: Granny uses this on Prince after the 2nd Arc.
- Power of Friendship: HEAVILY AVERTED in a conversation between Indra and Gokudo, Rubette, and Prince, confused greatly how come they act the way they do and not understand each other through trust and friendship and love. They merely laugh at him.
- Physical God: If possessed by a god, its possible to trap them there and uses its power.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Gokudo makes frequent (unintentional) enemies with the Gods and Hotoke 3rd arc onwards.
- Royal We: The Dragon God uses the Royal We.
- Secret Test of Character: Granny loves doing these. Knowing her though, they were very much elaborate plans to make Gokudo and the others to do her bidding.
- Schizo-Tech: It's a medival world, but apparently there are micorphone and modern concert technology?
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Gokudo tries many times to invoke this trope, only to to get forced in situations he tries to get out of anyway.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: A sort of Running Gag in the series, as each arc has at least one couple that makes everone else go "I'm gonna be sick."
- Static Character: Gokudo all the way. Despite everyone's best efforts to try and subvert/avert otherwise.
- Squick: Basically everyone's reaction to Granny and the Magic Emperor's relationship. They're married and both rulers of the Magic World
- They Really Do Love Each Other: When Gokudo was thought to be dead, Rubette was ready to fight both Indra and the Dragon God, the cause of this, with Berserker Tears. Also, at the end of the last episode, Gokudo notices he's alone and starts calling out for Rubette. He looks genuinely upset before trying to brush it off, but she's already heard, and that's enough proof to give him a kiss.
- We Can Rule Together: Gokudo takes up the Evil Dragons on their offer to join the great evil empire in the first arc. He only switches back when he learns that he can't kill his twin brother.
- World of Cardboard Speech: Given by GOKUDO, of all people, when resisting Ryu Gee's brainwashing control on him.
Gokudo: I may be unhappy and always suffering, but... that's me, Gokudo. No matter how much better off I'll be with you, I'm still not giving my soul up to some stranger! Whatever path I take, I'll decide for myself! Even if I fall, I don't need anyone's help to get up!