"Journey to the West: Reincarnation of the Demon King" "Journey to the West: Reincarnation of the Demon King"

Journey to the West, the great classical Chinese novel, is getting yet another animated adaptation. The cg feature Journey to the West: Reincarnation of the Demon King is due to come out in China on May 1, and a new trailer has dropped in the meantime.

The story centers on the Monkey King, a beloved character from the novel, who appears here in a more somber — even melancholic — guise than usual. The new trailer has him in the grip of a moral crisis, as he grapples with his own demonhood: “I am a demon — a demon who does evil things.” From what we’ve seen, the film promises action aplenty, too. Watch the (fansubbed) trailer below.

Reincarnation of the Demon King was produced by Filmko Pictures, which is behind a series of popular live-action features about the Monkey King, and Its-Cartoon. The director is Yunfei Wang. The film was initially slated for 2020, but was delayed.

Published in the 16th century, Journey to the West is a comic novel that narrates a monk’s pilgrimage across Asia, with three disciples for company. The novel has exerted a huge influence on Chinese culture and beyond, with one of the disciples, the Monkey King (a.k.a. Sun Wukong), proving especially popular. Countless animated works have drawn inspiration from the story, ranging from China’s first animated feature, Princess Iron Fan (1941), to the 2015 hit Monkey King: Hero Is Back, via the Japanese franchise Dragon Ball.

As China’s animation market booms, local history and folklore are proving fertile source material for films. Two recent box-office successes, Ne Zha and its follow-up Jiang Ziya, were based on another classical Chinese novel, Investiture of the Gods; the upcoming feature Shuo Feng — Po Zhen Zi, meanwhile, is set in eighth-century China.

"Journey to the West: Reincarnation of the Demon King"

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Associate Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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