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The Saiyuki Manga: A Collective Overview and Summary

Updated on September 6, 2016

Looking for information on all the manga of the Saiyuki series?

If you answered yes to the above question, then you've come to the right place. This hub is about an overview and summary of all the manga (graphic novel) in the Saiyuki series, which was created by mangaka (author / artist) Kazuya Minekura.

Saiyuki volume 1 manga cover. This one features Genjo Sanzo. He's a monk of the highest order and he has the magical Maten Kyomon or Evil Sutra
Saiyuki volume 1 manga cover. This one features Genjo Sanzo. He's a monk of the highest order and he has the magical Maten Kyomon or Evil Sutra

The various media of the Saiyuki series

The Saiyuki series isn't just made up of a multitude of manga though it really does have a whole lot of manga including prequels and sequels.

Know that the series actually also has a lot of anime to it as well.

And a lot is definitely not an exaggeration. We have the anime Gensomaden Saiyuki, Saiyuki Reload, Saiyuki Reload Gunlock and many more.

If you're looking to learn more about all the anime in the Saiyuki series, you can check out the hub about it, which includes an overview and short summary for each of the anime.

With that in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise to find that the Saiyuki series also has an extensive collection of music albums, featuring a multitude of songs as well as some instrumentals and even some scenes voice acted by the 4 main characters of the series.

Which of the Saiyuki manga do you like the best?

See results

If you want to find out more about the music albums and songs from the Saiyuki series, you can check out the hub about it.

From that hub, you can see a table of contents, which lists all the music albums from the series that I've reviewed so far. You get some minimal information from that hub.

But if you want more details, you can just select the title of the music album and head on over to the review hub about it where you'll see such things as the album's track list and the singers from that album.

Since this hub is all about the manga in the saiyuki series, it's inevitable that the Sanzo-ikkou (the 4 main characters) will factor into the discussion about the manga.

If you want to see more information about them, just head on to the hub about it where you'll see some more insight into their character and personality.

The Saiyuki series

Interesting doesn't begin to cover the Saiyuki series and words like amazing and great might be too much of an understatement. Perhaps a combination of all these words might do the trick.

Needless to say, the Saiyuki series is very much highly recommended for a variety of reasons including its stellar story line, its bishounen (beautiful / pretty boy) characters filled with much depth and meaning, its various themes and quotes.

A Collective Summary and / or Overview of the Saiyuki Manga
A Collective Summary and / or Overview of the Saiyuki Manga
Saiyuki, Vol. 1
Saiyuki, Vol. 1

This is the very first volume of the Saiyuki manga by Kazuya Minekura. The handsome guy you see featured on the cover is Genjo Sanzo, one of the series' main characters

 

The manga in the Saiyuki series

Since there is a lot of manga relating to the Saiyuki series, you can see a table of contents below for your convenience.

The table of contents lists down each of the manga that is part of the series.

So just choose which manga you want to know more about.

Once you select the manga title from the table of contents, you'll automatically be brought to that section of the hub .

Saiyuki, Vol. 2
Saiyuki, Vol. 2

Volume 2 of the Saiyuki manga features Son Goku (yup, you read that right. He's different from the Son Goku in Dragon Ball Z though). He may look like a kid and he may act like one pretty much all the time, but he's actually much, much older than his 3 best friends.

 

Saiyuki

This is where everything began for the Saiyuki series.

Not only is this the very first manga of the series, it is also the manga that the first anime, known as Gensomaden Saiyuki, is based on.

This manga series comprises 9 volumes. But you already know that the series doesn't end there since there are many more sequels and there are even prequels.

In this manga, you'll be introduced to the world of the Saiyuki series and a lot of its characters.

You'll know why the Sanzo-ikkou are journeying to the west and you'll even get some insight to their mysterious dark pasts.

You'll see some of the enemies of the ikkou and you'll even see a lot of action and fight scenes where the ikkou showcase their awesome fighting capabilities as they beat up the bad guys.

Saiyuki volume 3 manga cover. This one features Sha Gojyo. Did you know that he actually has an older half-brother named Jien?
Saiyuki volume 3 manga cover. This one features Sha Gojyo. Did you know that he actually has an older half-brother named Jien?

But you'll also see the ikkou's weaknesses and imperfections, which makes the series even more appealing to its readers and fans because you can see the Sanzo-ikkou struggling and not always winning but they never give up and they just keep trying and moving forward.

As aforementioned, the anime Gensomaden Saiyuki is based on this manga series.

However, it would be more precise to say that a large part of the 50-episode anime is based on this 9-volume manga.

The manga and the anime both share the same premise, the same basic plot, which is all about a journey of four men to the west in order to save the world.

Along the way, we see the main characters' experiences and the challenges and tribulations that they face as well as the people that they meet.

Saiyuki  Vol. 3
Saiyuki Vol. 3

Volume 3 of the Saiyuki manga by Kazuya Minekura features Sha Gojyo. He's a hanyou, which means that he's a half-demon and a half-human. A hanyou is characterized by their blood-red hair and eyes.

 

The main differences between the anime and manga in question is the fact that there are some filler episodes in Gensomaden Saiyuki while the manga is more straightforward in showing the progression of the plot.

Of course, even the fillers in Saiyuki are appealing and fun but that's beside the point, which is that you'll be seeing scenes in the anime that you won't see in the manga.

One major arc that you won't be seeing in the manga but that you'll be seeing in the anime is what is known as the Homura arc.

This isn't exactly a filler even though it doesn't appear in the manga. Instead, the major arc that appears in the manga is the Kami-Sama arc. If you want to see this arc in the anime, you'll have to watch Saiyuki Reload where it appears as a major arc.

Saiyuki Reload volume 1 manga cover. The Sanzo-ikkou from left to right: Sha Gojyo, Son Goku, Cho Hakkai. The blond one in front is Genjo Sanzo
Saiyuki Reload volume 1 manga cover. The Sanzo-ikkou from left to right: Sha Gojyo, Son Goku, Cho Hakkai. The blond one in front is Genjo Sanzo | Source

Saiyuki Reload

This is the sequel to the Saiyuki manga that was featured above.

This particular manga series contains 10 volumes.

There is an anime with the same name as this manga, which is actually the sequel to the anime Gensomaden Saiyuki.

This anime is only closely-related to the Saiyuki Reload manga since they have many differing scenes.

The foremost of these differences is the fact that the Saiyuki Reload anime contains the Kami-Sama arc, which the Saiyuki Reload manga does not have.

This manga details the continuation of the Sanzo-ikkou's journey to the west as, of course, they have yet to reach their destination.

There are a number of arcs that can be found in this manga, one of which is what is known as the Burial arc. The Saiyuki Reload Burial OVA (original video animation) is based on this arc.

The Burial arc delves more into the past of the Sanzo-ikkou including that of other characters, namely, Koumyou (or Komyou) Sanzo and Nii Jienyi (also known as Ukoku Sanzo).

Saiyuki volume 2 manga cover. This one features Son Goku. Did you know that he really looks up to Sanzo?
Saiyuki volume 2 manga cover. This one features Son Goku. Did you know that he really looks up to Sanzo?

Another arc that can be seen in this manga is the Against The Stream arc, which you can also watch in the anime Saiyuki Reload Gunlock.

This arc involves the ikkou having to cross a river where a lot of water youkai (demon) reside.

They have no other choice but to cross this river because trying to go around it would take far too much time.

So the ikkou get on a wooden boat to get to the other side of the river. It should come as no surprise that they are accosted by the water demons and a fight ensues.

The ikkou end up getting separated from each other or, to be more precise, Goku ends up getting separated from Sanzo, Gojyo and Hakkai who somehow manage to remain together.

Goku then encounters the demon prince Kougaiji and a fight between them transpires. Meanwhile Sanzo, Gojyo and Hakkai encounter a demon, named Zakuro, who tries to do away with them with the use of his illusion powers.

Aside from the aforementioned arcs, the main arc in the Saiyuki Reload manga is known as the Even A Worm arc.

You can see parts of this arc in the anime Saiyuki Reload Gunlock though it plays out entirely differently as how the manga arc happens. In both cases, we are introduced to two new characters named Hazel and Gato.

Saiyuki Reload Blast Volume 1 cover featuring Genjo Sanzo
Saiyuki Reload Blast Volume 1 cover featuring Genjo Sanzo

Saiyuki Reload Blast

This is the sequel to the above-mentioned Saiyuki Reload manga.

There is no anime equivalent for this manga because, in Saiyuki Reload Blast, the Sanzo-ikkou have finally arrived at their destination.

Yes, they've finally reached the west.

They are nearing the end of their journey. In this manga we'll see how things play out and how the plot is to be resolved.

Unfortunately, this particular manga is currently still ongoing.

It's actually on hiatus at the moment since mangaka Kazuya Minekura had to take a break due to illness and having undergone surgery.

Note:

For some reason, the item featured to the right refuses to show up in the Amazon Capsule so, instead, here it is: Saiyuki Reload Blast Volume 1 Special Limited Edition by Kazuya Minekura. But the Amazon capsule will remain in case the item does decide to show up.

The fabulous Saiyuki Reload Blast:

最遊記 Reload Blast Vol. 1 Special Edition (最遊記 Reload Blast, #1)
最遊記 Reload Blast Vol. 1 Special Edition (最遊記 Reload Blast, #1)

Saiyuki Reload Blast is the sequel to the Saiyuki Reload manga by Kazuya Minekura. The blond on the cover is Genjo Sanzo, monk and leader of the Sanzo-ikkou. Yes, he's definitely a monk even though, as you can see, he's carrying a gun (he knows how to use it too). He smokes, kills and drinks, so he's definitely not your typical monk

 
Saiyuki volume 4 manga cover. This one features Cho Hakkai. He's got a small white dragon known as Hakuryuu. It can turn into a green jeep, which is what the ikkou use to travel to the west.
Saiyuki volume 4 manga cover. This one features Cho Hakkai. He's got a small white dragon known as Hakuryuu. It can turn into a green jeep, which is what the ikkou use to travel to the west.

Saiyuki - Dice of Destiny

This isn't really a manga in that there isn't a series of volumes with a storyline to follow.

This is more of a series of illustrations or drawings by Kazuya Minekura featuring the Sanzo-ikkou and some other characters from the Saiyuki series.

What is interesting and unique about these illustrations is that their contents are determined by the roll of dices.

Minekura did these drawings while she was recovering from her surgery.

The editor-in-chief of the manga magazine entitled Zero-Sum Ward rolled 4 dice, 2 of which had character names, another had an action while the last spoke of a situation.

The illustrations contain excellent artwork and some of the scenes are pretty funny. If you go to Saiyuki Wikia, you can see some images from Saiyuki - Dice of Destiny.

Vol. 1-Saiyuki Gaiden
Vol. 1-Saiyuki Gaiden

Saiyuki Gaiden is also by Kazuya Minekura. It's the prequel to the Saiyuki series. The main characters are Konzen (Sanzo), Kenren (Gojyo), Tenpou (Hakkai) and Goku (a much younger Goku).

 

Saiyuki Gaiden

This is the prequel to the Saiyuki series.

Its anime equivalent is Saiyuki Gaiden OVA, which is based on this manga.

This manga may only have 4 volumes but it's definitely action-packed and filled with much depth and meaning.

But what else can you expect from Kazuya Minekura and the Saiyuki series?

If you're thinking that, since this is a prequel, then it might be like the Burial arc wherein we saw a bit more into the Sanzo-ikkou's respective pasts, then expect to be wrong in that regard.

The reason for this is because this manga prequel to the Saiyuki series is actually set in Heaven. Yes, this manga is before the Sanzo-ikkou were born. This is all about their past lives as gods. But, to be more precise, this is about Genjo Sanzo, Sha Gojyo and Cho Hakkai's past lives as gods before they were reincarnated as humans.

How well do you know the Saiyuki series? Take this short quiz and find out:


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Genjo Sanzo is now Konzen Douji, Sha Gojyo is now Kenren Taishou, and Cho Hakkai is now Tenpou Gensui.

Son Goku is still Son Goku and, in Saiyuki Gaiden, we see him at a much younger age.

He's not a god but he's not really a human or a demon either.

He's something else entirely, a heretic, to be more precise.

Of course, Konzen, Kenren, Tenpou and Goku are the main characters in Saiyuki Gaiden and they are rather similar to their counterparts, the Sanzo-ikkou, but there are still a number of differences.

There are also other characters that appear in this manga.

Examples include Nataku Taishi, the fighting war god, and Kanzeon Bosatsu, the Goddess of Mercy.

Saiyuki, Vol. 4
Saiyuki, Vol. 4

Volume 4 of the Saiyuki manga by Kazuya Minekura features the mild-mannered and kind Cho Hakkai who always has a smile for everyone. Don't be fooled by that demeanor though. You definitely don't want Hakkai mad at you, so don't piss him off

 

Saiyuki Gaiden: Tenjou No Ari

This is a spin-off series of the Sayuki Gaiden manga.

It features characters from the manga but focuses more on Heaven's Western Army first unit.

Saiyuki Offroad

This is a short digression from the main Saiyuki manga.

It has two parts, one of which is about Homura while the other is about Goku.

Saiyuki Ibun

You can deem this as yet another prequel to the main Saiyuki series. However, Saiyuki Ibun is actually about Komyou Sanzo and his adventures before the start of the main series. Komyou is actually Genjo Sanzo's mentor and father-figure. He took in Sanzo when he found him as a baby.

However, Komyou was soon offed by youkai who stole his Seiten Kyomon (Light Sutra) when Sanzo was only just a kid. He may no longer be around in the main Saiyuki series but there's a lot of flashbacks about him since he's closely-linked to both Sanzo and Ukoku Sanzo.

Saiyuki Ibun

Saiyuki Ibun Volume 1 Limited Edition (ZERO-SUM Comics) [Comic]
Saiyuki Ibun Volume 1 Limited Edition (ZERO-SUM Comics) [Comic]

Saiyuki Ibun is currently still ongoing. It's a prequel to the Saiyuki series. This manga focuses on Komyou Sanzo, the mentor and father-figure of Genjo Sanzo. In the main series, Komyou is, unfortunately, already dead.

 

What do you think of all the manga in the Saiyuki series?

5 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of the Manga of the Saiyuki series

Conclusion

All the manga of the Saiyuki series is very much highly recommended. The artwork is simply gorgeous and extraordinary.

The storyline and plot is amazing and well-thought out. The manga has much depth and meaning. Kazuya Minekura is definitely one excellent mangaka.

Just look at the covers of the manga and the other images that you can see here and you really can see how great the drawing and artworks look like. Try watching the anime too and listening to all the music and see for yourself just how wonderful the Saiyuki series can be.

Image Source:

© 2013 Ceres Schwarz

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