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A character page for Journey to the West. Note that they all qualify as a Public Domain Character.

Sun Wukong/Monkey Edit

  • Adult Child
  • Allegory Adventure: In Journey to the West, even the characters are allegories/representations of something. Wukong is commonly referred to in the titles as "Mind Monkey," as he represents Xuanzang's mind and Xuanzang's progress towards enlightenment. When Xuanzang wrongly punishes Wukong, it is because he cannot perceive the truth that Wukong can see, and therefore his mind is not yet enlightened enough.
  • Almighty Janitor: Before he finally became a Buddha, his official job in Heaven was a stableboy, until he found out how unimportant the job was and stormed off back to earth. As a side-effect, all Earthly horses love and admire him, because they can sense he was once a celestial groom.
  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: No matter who you are, he is a better fighter than you and will demonstrate if you say otherwise.
  • Blood Knight
  • Born as an Adult: From a stone.
  • Byronic Hero: It took 14 years of journeying with Tang Sanzang to make him an actually good hearted and unselfish person.
  • Character Development: Journey to the West is as much about Son Wukong learning the value of kindness, humility and compassion as it is about him kicking demon-ass.
  • Crazy Prepared
  • Depending on the Writer: He ranges from a fully fledged Byronic Hero without a decent bone in his body to a bad-tempered Jerk with a Heart of Gold who only needed love and patience to truly grow up.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Duh.
  • Exact Words: He doesn't like following Sanzang's orders so he gets around them with this trope. For example, Sanzang said "Never kill anyone." So when a group of greedy monks tried to kill them both to steal Sanzang's cossack, Monkey didn't kill them. Instead he fanned the flames of the fire they started to ensure their monastary burned down.
  • Eyes of Gold
  • Folk Hero: In real life
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: With a hubris to match.
  • The Hero: For a given value of "hero".
  • Hot-Blooded
  • I Have Many Names: In order they are: Stone Monkey, Handesome Monkey King, Protector of the Horse, Great Sage Equalling Heaven, Sun Wukong, Victorious Fighting Buddha.
  • Jerkass Gods: He is one, and he also showcases just how the other gods in heaven can be ones.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Back when he was mortal he sought out immortality and only regretted it once; when he was trapped under that mountain.
  • Magic Hat: In the first chapter where Wukong and Sanzang first meet, Wukong kills six bandits. Sanzang tries to tell him to not kill people, but Wukong doesn't listen and flies off. Guanyin visits Sanzang in disguise to give him a magical hat for Wukong so that Sanzang can control him. Wukong later tears the hat apart leaving only the gold circlet behind. The circlet cannot come off, and when Sanzang wants to punish Wukong, all he has to do is chant a certain sutra and it will give Wukong massive migraines.
  • Manly Tears: Sheds them for the first time after Tripitaka forgives him and takes him back in (the first time), and with some surprising-regularity later on when he gains a sense of compassion, or when he's complaining about unfair treatment to Guanyin. Notable instance when the group encounter a particularly powerful group of demons that capture Sanzang. When the disciples return to try and rescue Sanzang, they throw out a human skull and tell them they already ate Sanzang. Wukong cries over this.
  • Mary Sue: The original Chinese Mary Sue. Wukong not only has 72 Earthly Transformations, he also can fly 108,000 li with one somersault, wields the "Jingu Bang." Plus, Chinese mythology does not always have hard rules regarding what certain deities can and can't do. In the boo, Wukong is able to transform into a variety of creatures, carry three mountain ranges on his back, and fight off much of Heaven's forces. But his Mary Sue-ness extends past just fighting: in one instance he manages to put out a fire halfway across town from inside a palace by taking a glass of wine and throwing it behind his shoulder. His ridiculous competency isn't annoying though: Journey to the West uses fantasy to hide criticism about corruption in Chinese government during the author's time, and Wukong's ability to see the truth and deliver justice/karma is empowering, which is why Sun Wukong continues to be one of the most popular literary figures in Chinese culture. The flip side to this lesson is that no one can defy Heaven's mandate, and most of the time Wukong still has to bow to the will of higher authority.
  • Munchkin: Practically their patron saint. In the first seven chapters all his actions are about gaining things for himself: the most powers, the best weapon, the best armor, the greatest title, etc.
  • Not in This For Your Revolution: Monkey is only interested in joining the pilgrimage in the first place because it was join, or stay under the mountain for the rest of eternity. Afterwards, he comes along only in hopes of getting the Circlet of Headaches off his head.
    • Mind though, that he eventually does come to genuinely care about Tang Sanzang as a father figure that he loves and respects.
  • One-Man Army: In the first part of the story, Monkey takes on the entire military force of Heaven. He wins singlehandedly.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Due to wounded ego and bruised pride more than anything; life on earth was pretty sweet for him, he just got so arrogant he thought he should be a god as well.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: He has red-colored eyes, since that little sojourn inside Laojun's kiln.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: He likes reminding people that he trashed Heaven.
  • Restraining Bolt: To be able to control him, Tripitaka tricked Monkey into putting on a magical circlet so that he could cause Monkey intense headaches whenever he got up to mischief.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers: The Jade Emperor, Ruler of Heaven, will relax any kind of rule concering him because of his tremendous power.
  • Smug Super: Monkey is incredibly powerful, and unbelievably full of himself as a result.
  • Stock Super Powers: His sheer variety of powers and the feats he can do as a result.
    • Super Strength: His trademark "As You Will" cudgel is really freakin' heavy, and he said all other weapons were "too light." This cudgel/staff was actually an Ocean-Stilling Pillar, put there in the Eastern Sea Dragon King Ao Guang's kingdom by Heaven to calm the waves. You can imagine what happens when he takes it.
    • Not Quite Flight: His cloud jumping allows him to reach Heaven In a Single Bound or cross an ocean.
    • Nigh Invulnerable: The reason the Buddha dropped a mountain on him is because the gods failed in outright destroying him.
    • Me's a Crowd: One of Monkey's signature moves has him pulling out a bunch of his hair and blowing on them, resulting in each hair turning into a clone of him.
    • Enlightenment Superpower: His magic comes from studying taoism and learning secrets from his master.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Peaches, because he's a monkey.
  • Trickster Archetype
  • True Sight: He can see through any disguise, illusion, or transformation.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Pigsy
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: 72 Earthly ones due to his Enlightenment Superpower.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Despite being almost allmighty on earth or air, he sucks at underwater battles, and is forced to rely on Pigsy and Sandy to fight against water-bound enemies. His eyes, although always able to discern the truth, is sensitive to smoke or dust.
  • Weapon of Choice: Simple Staff, though Monkey's is by no means simple. Not only can it hit hard enough to take down gods, but it can extend to any length (from toothpick size to several hundred miles long) and provide Monkey a bridge to heaven. It is also extremely heavy.

Xuanzang/Tripitaka (Tang Sanzang) Edit

  • Audience Surrogate/Allegory Adventure: While Xuanzang in the story is a esteemed and holy monk, his actions in the story depict him as a helpless character, pulled along by forces outside of his control as he struggles towards enlightenment. He is meant to represent the common person, and the other characters represent different parts of human nature.
  • Celibate Hero: Despite women lining up to have sex with him.
  • Chick Magnet: Basically every female they encounter, whether human or demon, desires him.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Possibly the oldest extant example. His primary purpose is to be kidnapped every two minutes so Sun Wukong can get all Badass while rescuing him. While the author spent a lot of time describing Xuanzang's backstory regarding how he started on his journey and about his mother, much more of the first part of the story is devoted to Wukong's entire life story prior to joining the quest.
  • Distressed Dude: He's not only a pacifist but completely untrained in magic or fighting.
  • The Face: He does all the talking with Muggles etc because he is a courteous monk and his companions are scary-looking (and in Wukong's case, very rude) demons.
    • The Chick: Honorary status as this because he's so feminine a character that a lot of live-action portrayals of the series often have women playing the part.
  • Historical Downgrade: Xuanzang from the novel is based off of the real monk Xuanzang, who traveled by himself from China to India along the Silk Road. He would later study in India for years before returning with a treasure trove of Buddhist sutras, just like story Xuanzang was supposed to. His translations of the texts he carried back became the basis for most of East Asian Buddhism, and his records of his journey and the places he saw are a goldmine for historians piecing together the history of the Silk Road.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The reason why he was sent on the pilgrimage in the first place... but also the reason why he gets into so much trouble, as A: he's too "pure" to resist even the most obvious deceptions or trapes, and B: his purity draws swarms of monsters that hope to consume that purity and increase their own power.
  • The Load / The Millstone: Tripitaka not only constantly gets into trouble, he frequently diverts his disciples from their quest to pursue other minor goals, refuses to heed their advice, and places restrictions on their actions that make them harder pressed to go about their tasks. He also has absolutely no skills at all that let him contribute anything of worth when they get in trouble.
  • Non-Action Guy: He prays and preaches. That's about it.
  • Stupid Good: Tripitaka takes "goodness" to levels of life-threatening stupidity on more than one occasion. His disciples call him on this often, but he never listens to them.
  • Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Quite literally, as he's so infused with holy power that eating even a single bite of his flesh will extend a demon's lifespan. Female demons though, seem to find him quite sexually attractive as well.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Being a Buddhist monk one of his vows is not killing anything ever. His companions think this is ridiculous.
  • Weapon of Choice: Xuanzang carries a nine-ringed khakkhara, which is a Buddhist monk's staff for prayer or combat. Xuanzang does not use it to fight. Khakkharas also generally only come in four, six or twelve rights, not nine. But the author wanted more symbolism for the number nine, so there it is.

Zhu Bajie/Pigsy Edit

  • Adorkable: Depends on the Writer though.
  • Adult Child: Has an almost endearing naievity about him.
  • Allegory Adventure: In Journey to the West, Bajie represents the base human nature, or the id. His main focus in the story is food, sleep and women. When Bajie distracts Xuanzang or convinces Xuanzang to listen to him rather than Wukong, it represents that Xuanzang too is straying from the path of enlightenment and being tempted by material desires.
  • Big Eater / Gluttonous Pig: And how. So much so, in fact, that when the quest is over, the still-too-crude Pigsy is offered the existence as a lesser god; "Cleaner of the Heavenly Altar", which means eating all of the food that is offered to Buddha for the rest of time. He thinks this is the best job ever.
  • Butt Monkey: Other demons often think of making hams out of him, and Sun Wukong loves to prank him.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Pigsy really likes the ladies -- in fact, he was thrown out of heaven for trying to make out with Chang'E the moon goddess -- but his efforts at wooing them are poor to say the least.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the novel both he and Sha Wujing are actually met by Guanyin earlier and informed of Tripitaka.
  • The Lancer
  • Lovable Coward
  • Not in This For Your Revolution: Pigsy just wants to go back to Heaven, he doesn't care about the scriptures at all. Being turned into something more attractive than his current humanoid pig-monster shape would also be nice.
    • Like Monkey, though, he does come to genuinely care about Tripitaka as a surrogate father, maybe even moreso due to his immature nature.
  • Pig Man
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Monkey
  • Worf Effect: When first introduced, Pigsy battles better against Monkey than many of the actual gods did during Monkey's war against heaven. Later on, he's usually swiftly beaten so that Monkey can then beat the creature who beat up Pigsy.
    • In his defense, he can often fight several demons on equal ground, but they either run away or call for help.
  • Weapon of Choice: A steel rake, which is actually a precious, deadly weapon. The rake has nine jade teeth. According to him, one blow can crack through even the hardest of materials and cause your soul to escape your body.

Sha Wujing/Sandy Edit

  • Allegory Adventure: Wujing as a character represents people who merely follow what he is told, but does nothing else. He does not think for himself much, but follows obediently along with what Xuanzang and Wukong want. At the end of the journey, he is rewarded equal to the amount of effort he put into the journey, which is to say, bare minimum but not much else.
  • The Atoner: Though all three disciples are nominally working for their atonement, Sandy seems to be the only one who actually cares about making himself a better person.
  • The Big Guy: Though often mistakenly portrayed as a Kappa, the original source material depicts Sandy as a kind of river-dwelling Oni. In either case, he's the tallest of the disciples, though he's much more the thoughtful type than the bruiser type. In the original text, he's said to be extremely tall, and with indigo skin, red hair and beard.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: His appearance in modern productions is incredibly inconsistent, so most dress him in blue or green to identify him..
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the novel both he and Zhu Bajie are actually met by Guanyin earlier and informed of Tripitaka.
  • Frame-Up: He was originally thrown out of Heaven for smashing one of the Jade Emperor's jade vases. Modern conspiracy theory is that he could have been framed.
  • Genius Bruiser
  • Not in This For Your Revolution: All three disciples are on this quest for personal redemption, and Sandy is no different.
    • And just like his two elder "brothers", he comes to care for Tang Sanzang too, though more as a friend rather than a father-figure.
  • Out of Focus: Sandy is usually a secondary character in all the stories.
  • The Quiet One: Sandy rarely has much to say, but is often the most practical and philosophical of the group.
  • The Smart Guy
  • Weapon of Choice: In the novel, his weapon is a double-ended monk's spade: crescent blade on one end and spade on the other. The wood for the staff came from one of the trees in the moon goddess' Chang'E's garden.
  • Worf Effect: When he first appeared, he was good enough to fight Pigsy to a draw. Later on, he's described as the weakest of the three.

Yu Lung Edit

  • Baleful Polymorph/Attractive Bent Gender: At one point he turns into a beautiful, big-breasted damsel to slay a demon who already took out Sandy and Pigsy.
  • No Name Given: The dragon prince/horse spends the entire series with no name, only nicknames when the author remembers to mention him at all.
  • Out of Focus: Even the original author seems to forget he exists more often than not. Yu Lung's big character moment is when he first appears and eats Tripitaka's horse, then has to turn into a replacement horse. After that, he's in the background until they reach the end of the Journey and he can turn back into a dragon and fly off home.
    • This turned out very badly for him. The Other Wiki calls him "the horse" or "the dragon prince", insists there are four main characters, and doesn't have a page on him. Ninja Sentai Kakuranger claims that there are four main characters, and that their fifth is a totally original creation. Most local theatre productions of the story leave him out entirely.
  • Team Pet

The Demon King of the Confused World Edit

Erlang Edit

  • Badass: Fought Sun Wukong, forced him to flee and eventually captured him.
  • Genius Bruiser: Not only he's strong enough to fight Sun Wukong to a draw, but he can also see through all his transformations.
  • Size Sifter: Turn himself into a colossal, fanged giant to scare Sun Wukong and his army.
  • Unusual Ears: Being and immortal, his lobes reach his shoulders.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: There's a particular bird that he won't touch or even get close to.
  • Weapon of Choice: His main weapon is a Three-Pointed Double-Edged Spear. He also has a hunting dog that's good at chasing after prey. It grabbed Wukong by the leg during Wukong and Erlang's big showdown, which let Erlang catch Wukong and Wukong to ultimately lose the fight.

Gold Horned and Silver Horned Kings Edit

Two of the most famous antagonists, are two demon lords who posses five magical treasures: the Crinsom Gourd, the Jade Pot, the Seven Star Sword, the Banana Fan and the Golden Canopy Rope

The Red Boy Edit

  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy
  • Badass: One of the few villains that Sun Wukong couldn't beat by himself.
  • Breath Weapon: Can spit fire from his mouth and smoke from his eyes and nostrils.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: When he sits on Guanyin's throne it transforms into a bunch of swords, and then into halbeards.
  • Playing with Fire: His flames are so powerful that water do nothing against them, and Sun Wukong was barely able to survive them.
  • Restraining Bolt: Ends up with five of them when he's forced into a Heel Face Turn.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Leaves the fight against Sun Wukong after spitting some fire against him without checking out his health status. Later when he sees Guanyin's empty Lotus throne he smugly sits on it acting as her. It goes as well as you could possibly imagine.
  • X on a Stick: As if his fire powers weren't enough, he has a spear tipped with flames.

The Scorpion Lady Edit

  • Affably Evil: Towards Tripitaka. Much less so towards the three disciples.
  • Dark Action Girl: She's more than capable of fighting the three heroes on equal footing.
  • Femme Fatale: Actively tries to force Tripitaka to sleep with her.
  • Poisonous Person: Her touch (actually the stinger), which she uses on Monkey and later Pigsy.
  • Prongs of Poseidon: Her weapon is described as a large trident-like spear. Apparently it was her pincers.
  • Scary Scorpions

Bull Demon King Edit

  • A Load of Bull: Is a Bull Demon.
  • Affably Evil: At first he's actually friendly towards Sun Wukong, because Wukong and Bull Demon are sworn brothers.
  • Carry a Big Stick: When he's not Dual-Wielding the swords of his wife.
  • Face Heel Turn: Used to be best pals with Sun Wukong and one of his six most loyal True Companions, the other demon sworn brothers. Then he got married, got a mistress, and Wukong and his crew subdued his son on the way to India.
  • One-Winged Angel: Turns into a giant white bull in order to crush Monkey.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After finding out that Monkey transformed into him to steal the Fan from his wife, with whom he flirted too.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With the Iron Fan Princess. He also cuckolds her with his mistress, the Jade-Faced Princess (fox demon).

Iron Fan Princess Edit

  • Blow You Away: Her giant fan can summon storms capable of putting off giant fires. Probably the Ur Example of all the wind-generating fans.
  • Dark Action Girl: She's a Rakshasa, so...
  • Dual-Wielding: With swords.
  • Mama Bear: Hates Sun Wukong for hurting her son, the Red Boy.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Her Palm Leaf Fan. She also has a fake one which makes flames higher.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With the Buffalo Demon King.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After getting all drunk and flirty around her "husband" and giving him the Fan, he reveals himself as Monkey. She wasn't pleased.
  • Womb Level: In order to beat her, Sun Wukong turn into a fly, get in her mouth and start punching her stomach from the inside.
  • Yandere: Hates her husband for having a lover.

The Three Kings of Lion Camel Cave Edit

The Rhino Kings Edit