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Discuss all topics related to anime.
561

Journey To The West!
Topic by: jross3
Posted: October 14, 2004 - 5:12 PM PDT
Last Reply: December 15, 2004 - 3:49 PM PST

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: Journey To The West!
jross3
post #1  on October 14, 2004 - 5:12 PM PDT  
It came to China, spread to Japan, and insinuated itself into arts and anime to an unknown degree...

I am, of course, referring to opium addiction - I mean, the legend of Journey to the West, also known as the legend of the Monkey King. Its elements are simple enough; a small group of very special people have to travel very far in order to find.... something. For example, in the original legend, Sanzo was going to India from China to find a number of Buddhist scriptures, which he would intend to read before Jade Emperor as part of some kind of incidental celebration or something that really isn't important to the legend itself.

Like I said, this legend is very very old, and, being one of the biggest epic stories in early history, holds a lot of influence over modern stories. With a little imagination, you can start to see many of its elements in almost any anime.
So I propose a game: Who can give the most bizarre, yet convincing, connection between an anime and Journey to the West?

Here's some basic info on the Journey (according to the cultural liner notes on the Saiyuki DVDs - any additions or corrections would help)

Main Characters:
Sanzo - leader of the group. Pious Buddhist holy man. Has never sinned. Ever. Not in seven lifetimes, or something like that. He's on a mission from some kind of merciful goddess, but is pretty much powerless. That's why said goddess has prepared help for him in the form of the following traveling companions.

Seiten Taisen Son Goku - An assumed title. Goku has had a great many adventures of his own before the Monkey King legend joins with the Journey to the West, and at one point he declared himself Great Warrior Equal to Heaven - the Gods allowed him to keep the title as a form of appeasement, because he's quite a trouble maker. He's definitely the focus of the legend, because he is by far the strongest of the group (which is why this legend is also known as the Monkey King (at one point in his past, he ruled a jungle as the monkey king)). He was born from a rock, thus adding to his strength. He is bound by the gods to serve Sanzo; if I'm not mistaken, in the original legend, Sanzo was able to tighten his headband in order to keep him in line, when it was necessary.
His weapon is (I believe) the Nyo-ibo, a magical rod that can extend at the will of the holder. It is very heavy; only Goku can wield it, because he is, of course, very very strong. (I think it was, at one time, a column in a certain palace, but I may be thinking of Kilik's (Soul Calibur 2) strongest weapon, which seems to be the same thing.)

Hakkai - A lecherous, ugly pig! Like Sanzo's other companions, Hakkai was granted mercy for previous crimes on the condition that he serve Sanzo on his journey; he is encountered first along their journey, and upon learning that he is facing the Sanzo he was forced to serve, he bowed down before him and swore fealty and all the stuff you would expect. He doesn't have any special powers, but he's a very large, strong pig (but of course he's no match for Goku)

Gojyo - A kappa. Also a criminal before granted mercy by the Gods on the condition that he serve Sanzo on his journey. He causes a lot of trouble before coming to the realization that he was picking on the Sanzo, after which he of course agreed to serve him and see him to India and all that.

What are they doing? - They're on their way to India to recover a number of lost scriptures. Theoretically, they'll all be together and easy to find; it's just a long, long way to go to get them.


Now, for entries, there's no need for a lot of detail. Just show connections and justify them, if you can.

For example, I'll give an obvious one:
Dragon Ball = JttW
Why?

Goku = Goku.
He even has a monkey-like tail, and he's the strongest little tyke in the whole world. He also quickly becomes the center of the story.

Sanzo = Bulma.
She's powerless and she's on a quest. Seems likely that she'll need a tough bodyguard like Goku. She's also an intellectual, much like Sanzo of legend.

Hakkai = Oolong.
When we find him, he's holding a villiage hostage, taking all young the women for himself! He's got the ability to change his form (I don't remember hearing anything like that about Hakkai of legend), but he's a little piglet compared to the Great Goku.

Gojyo = Yamucha (sort of).
He's first encountered in the desert, much out-of-character for a water sprite. However, he is the only other ally Goku and party encounter early in their quest, so he fills the much-unnecessary role of Gojyo, whose character seemed pretty peripheral from what I read (as he should be, because he mustn't take the spotlight off Goku!). He's not bound by devine decree, but he does find his own reasons to help out Bulma's party.

Sanzo's Horse = the nimbus cloud/capsules
I didn't mention Sanzo's horse before, but it does feature other iterations in other Monkey King animes (Hakuryu in Saiyuki, for example). Sanzo's horse is actually a dragon forced (you guessed it) to serve Sanzo as mercy for his arrogance - thus he was transformed into a horse (Hakuryu is actually a tiny dragon that transforms into a Jeep, thus providing transportation for all!)
The nimbus cloud in Dragon Ball seems to be the magical servant for transportation, but it's the capsule vehicles that actually carry Sanzo in the form of Bulma.

What are they doing?
They must find the seven dragon balls, scattered around the Earth! Their relation to sacred scriptures is questionable, but they still have a lot of traveling to do in order to collect them all.


P.S.: Saiyuki doesn't count! It's more of a retelling or an adaptation than a derivitive story! You gotta do a lot better than that if you want the props that come with this prize!
jross3
post #2  on October 14, 2004 - 5:14 PM PDT  
I'll make the first attempt:

Inu Yasha = JttW

Sanzo = Kagome
Kagome isn't a real powerhouse when it comes to fighting, but she's not entirely powerless either. She is, however, the only means by which the group can attain their goal, securing her position as leader. She can also hold Inu Yasha (as Goku) to her will, to a certain degree, thanks to his enchanted necklace - much like Sanzo held Goku in his sway with his headband.

Goku = Inu Yasha
Inu Yasha is very strong, but not necessarily the world's strongest - but he's darn near undefeatable. Focus of the story? He's the title character! He may be a dog and not a monkey, but he's definately the Goku-type in this anime. He's got a special weapon, too, which transforms at will.

Hakkai = Miroku
It's the lechery. He's also the first ally they encounter, which supports the Hakkai-type character well. I'm sure he's been called a pig once or twice....

Gojyo = Sango (sort of).
Again, Sango's not much of a water sprite (Gojyo's incarnations rarely are - kappas aren't terribly interesting, are they?). However, like Gojyo's other incarnations, she's a warrior in a slightly more traditional sense - DB's Yamucha is a none-too-special desert bandit; Saiyuki's Gojyo fights with a chain-sicle-stick combo weapon type thing, which isn't remarkable except that its chain seems to be way too long to fit inside the staff part (which is kept where, exactly? He seems to have it when he needs it, but like an RPG it is magically invisible out of battle).

Sanzo's horse = Kilala
Kilala is a demon - a cute, cuddly demon most of the time, but she's still serving under a human master. Aside from fighting in battle alongside Sango, she also serves as a beast of burden when it comes to traveling long distances. She usually carries Sango and Miroku, however, since Kagome tends to prefer Inu Yasha's back for travel when she's not on her bike. This one's kind of a stretch.

What they're doing:
They must recover the many pieces of a broken sacred jewel, which have been spread all over the country, thus necessitating a lot of travel.

Other coincidences:
The ninmenka tree sounds a lot like the tree Sanzo and company encounter on their journey West; in that story, the fruits of the tree resembled babies, and Sanzo refused to eat dispite the monk's insistance that they could grant immortality. Alas, in that case it's just a misunderstanding, and Sanzo eventually agrees to eat the freaky fruit. In Inu Yasha, the sage Tokijin is eating human-faced fruits in search of the immortality the tree promises can come from a special fruit it can bear one day, with the proper nutrients....


...But where does Shippo fit in? Was he a mascot character, eventually replaced by Kilala? This youngster is sure to spend a lot of time finding his place in the world...


There! Now, does anyone have another interesting example? Inu Yasha's not much of a stretch; it's probably easy to beat. Let's have a real BS story, huh?
hamano
post #3  on October 14, 2004 - 8:54 PM PDT  
OK, when do I get my award?

The Beatles

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - The Buddha - Wants George to bring The Word (LOVE) to the Western World. He doesn't actually appear in the show.

George - Sanzo - The holy man. While studying music he hears The Word (LOVE) and accepts the Maharishi's mission. Lead guitar, sitar.

John - Son Goku - The Monkey King - It's hard to get him to take anything seriously, but he's a natural leader. Irreverent and vain, says he's bigger than Jesus. Tricked by the Maharishi and George into working with them. Rhythm guitar, keyboards.

Ringo - Cho Hakkai - An ugly bastard, but strangely lovable. He's good at making friends, but he can beat you within an inch of your life, too. Drums.

Paul - Sa Gojo - The cute one who is a bit jealous of John's leadership position. He's convinced he's actually the most talented, and plans to outlive the others to prove it.

The Beatles journey west from Liverpool to New York and brings The Word (LOVE)...
jross3
post #4  on October 14, 2004 - 9:51 PM PDT  
Nice one, Hamano! I wonder if anyone can top that? But it may be that you're just inspiring an even greater story!

I was hoping for a few more titles for my list before declaring an official winner. Naturally, second and third prizes are also very much worthwhile - and the creative spirit may yet hope to beat Hamano for the coveted top spot! Game continues!
DMcNaught
post #5  on October 15, 2004 - 8:44 AM PDT  
In Love Hina, Keitaro and the girls actually put on this story as a play for the kids. It's one of the funniest parts in a very funny series...
hamano
post #6  on October 15, 2004 - 10:25 AM PDT  
> On October 14, 2004 - 5:12 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Gojyo - A kappa. Also a criminal before granted mercy by the Gods on the condition that he serve Sanzo on his journey. He causes a lot of trouble before coming to the realization that he was picking on the Sanzo, after which he of course agreed to serve him and see him to India and all that.

I just wanna point out that Sa Gojyo only came to be associated with Kappa in Japanese translations of Journey to the West. Apparently because he was a sand demon that lived in a river, the Japanese translators called him a "kappa"... I only read the book in a Japanese edition, but the one I read never called Gojyo a kappa and to this day I've never associated him with one. There's some speculation that the sand demon of legend is actually based on the Chinese alligator.

Here is a description of the original Sa Gojyo, Sha Wujing.
jross3
post #7  on October 15, 2004 - 1:09 PM PDT  
> On October 15, 2004 - 10:25 AM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I just wanna point out that Sa Gojyo only came to be associated with Kappa in Japanese translations of Journey to the West. Apparently because he was a sand demon that lived in a river, the Japanese translators called him a "kappa"...

Ahh, helpful details! So this makes Yamucha make more sense, since he lived in a desert. Sango also kind of makes more sense, since she has two weapons: a "Crescent"-ish giant boomerang and her sword.
Thanks for the link, that'll be most helpful... But you're not getting any bonus points for it! Well, maybe a few, if there's a tie or something, but that's it!
jross3
post #8  on October 15, 2004 - 1:32 PM PDT  
> On October 15, 2004 - 8:44 AM PDT DMcNaught wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> In Love Hina, Keitaro and the girls actually put on this story as a play for the kids. It's one of the funniest parts in a very funny series...
> ---------------------------------

hmm.... Can you make a case for Love Hina in entirety? I suppose wuss-boy Keitaro would be Sanzo, and Naru would be Goku since she's his main squeeze. Kitsune would be Hakkai since she's always going to excess and chasing after men. Motoko might fill the role of Gojyo, with her morbid nature and all that. Haruka, the rarely-seen wise figure, could be Buddah or Guan Yin. Their destination, of course, is Tokyo U! Hey, I get another one! Yay for me! But I'll give DMc points for it too.

Best scores:
Hamano: 7 points for The Beatles
JRoss3: 4 points for Love Hina
DMcNaught: 2 points for Love Hina
Everyone else: Please play my game!!!
hamano
post #9  on October 15, 2004 - 1:48 PM PDT  
BERSERK

Griffith - Sanzo Hoshi - He is leading his men on a divine mission to open a way to the Western Paradise for people everywhere.

Guts - Son Goku - He decides to follow Griffith after being bested in a match of skills. A natural leader himself, and yet he stands apart from other men.

Pippin - Cho Hakkai - A big ugly bastard with a heart of gold. But deadly!

Caska - Sa Gojo - A refined killer, she is often jealous of all the attention Guts receives from Grif.

The Band of heroes travels westward to bring unity and peace to all the Kingdoms, but many dangers lie in their way, demons and monsters... soon things go terribly wrong (where's that Buddha and Kwan Yin when you need them?)
hamano
post #10  on October 15, 2004 - 2:05 PM PDT  
Those Who Hunt Elves

Celcia - Sanzo Hoshi - A Priestess (well, then she gets turned into a pooch) who seeks to gather the fragments of a holy spell to save her people (by getting rid of the unwelcome humans).

Airi - Son Goku - A tough former ruler (queen of the stage) who is intelligent and a good fighter...

Junpei - Cho Hakkai - A big ugly bastard. Master of the Martial Arts. A Glutton for Curry Rice.

Ritsuko - Sa Gojo - Spunky and good with weapons. Drives a tank. In a former life she was probably a general.

The four head westward in a tank to seek out written fragments of the spell that will solve all world's woes (well, THEIR woes, anyway). The fragments just happen to be written on the bodies of 5 beautiful elves... But they have to strip all the beautiful elf girls to find the right ones!
hamano
post #11  on October 15, 2004 - 2:30 PM PDT  
I hope the points are cumulative!

Someday's Dreamers

Chief Ginpun - Buddha - A wise sage who sets Master Oyamada on a path to enlightenment.

Master Masami Oyamada - Sanzo Houshi - A wise aesthete with magical powers. He is on a journey to seek enlightenment (or get over the death of his girlfriend so people won't think he's gay anymore....)

Yume - Son Goku - Undisciplined but powerful, Yume decides to see what she can learn under Master Oyamada while helping him seek enlightenment.

Kera - Cho Hakkai - Big tall ugly bastard (well, not so ugly, but not as pretty as Master Oyamada). A cheerful bon vivant, he has his own hopes and dreams.

Milinda - Sa Gojo - A curvy sexy girl who'd look great on a sandy beach in a tiny little bikini, her weapon of choice is a spinning disc of Salsa tunes.

Yume heads westward from rural Iwate Prefecture to Tokyo. With the help of the wise and benevolent Ginpun, she finds a way to help Master Oyamada find peace.
jross3
post #12  on October 15, 2004 - 5:50 PM PDT  
ok, I've already started, so much like Ben Stein, I'll play my own game.

Wolf's Rain:
Chesa = Sanzo; usually, Sanzo is the cause for the trek, but he's also the key to success. Here, Chesa isn't particularly strong, but she will (possibly...) show the way to Paradise.
Kiba = Goku; Chesa's most loyal companion. A real tough customer, this one.
Hige = Hakkai; Not that strong, and a little lazy, but he's always the first to go chasing tail; he's the first to complain about food, as well.
Tsume = Gojo; An accomplished fighter, but largely sidelined when it comes to plot.
All wolves must seek out Paradise at some time in their lives; these guys just might make it.

Best individual scores:
Hamano - 7
JRoss3 - 4
DMcNaught - 2

Total scores:
Hamano - 18
JRoss3 - 11
DMcNaught - 2

Now, I don't know what your cumulative score might net you, Hamano, but I'll keep track of it just in case.
Shaky
post #13  on October 16, 2004 - 5:12 PM PDT  
Hell, you can do this with practically anything with at least four characters and an animal. Like Cowboy Bebop:

Jet is Sanzo, a man with a strong sense of justice on a journey to collect bounties.

Spike is Goku. He's almost indestructible, and I still don't believe we actually see him die in the show. He even sorta has a special weapon in Swordfish.

Faye is Hakkai. She's not actually lecherous herself, but her immodesty surely associates itself with lechery.

Ed is Gojyo. Ed was a master criminal hacker with a bounty on her head.

Ein is the dragon horse. He's a normal dog that has been transformed into a data dog.

What they're doing? They're all journeying westward through space to gather up bounties. What? You say there's no "west" in space? Baloney! They're all "Space Cowboys," aren't they? And the show they watch to find heads is western themed. So? Sure there's west in space, because west is a state of mind!

Although it is called Journey to the West and is centered around monk Tang Sanzang's (Sanzo's) journey, the 2000+ page novel written by Wu Ch'eng-en is apparently more about the Monkey King legend and has a considerable amount of material about his adventures before meeting Tang Sanzang, most of which seems to be cut out of the abridged versions. I've only read the excerpt from it in my anthology of Chinese literature, but that segment makes no mention of the journey, the monk or their other companions. Instead, it focuses on the story of how Lao Tzu (yes, THE Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism) threw Monkey into his alchemy furnace in an attempt to kill him, but instead smelted him into something even tougher than he was before and pissed him off in the process. When they opened the lid, he came out fighting and raged through Heaven. My understanding is that the Dragon Ball series is directly related to one of these other side stories from the book and not to the central journey of Sanzo and his companions. I'm sure there are other anime that lift story elements or entire themes from these other aspects of the Monkey legend.

While I was (unsuccessfully) trying to find a reference to the specific story source for DBZ, I discovered that this most recent Saiyuki is only one among many attempts to tell the priest's story in animation. The first animated version of it was an animated paper cutout film from 1926 called Saiyuki Songoku Monogatari, and it was animated again in 1928 as Songoku and in 1936 as Saiyuki: Songoku. There was also a live action Hong Kong television show from the 70s called Monkey that was dubbed over into English by the BBC and shown here in the US. I wish that were available on DVD.

What is available on DVD is a teevee movie called Lost Empire based on this story in which an American scholar of Chinese gets transported back in time by the Goddess of Mercy and has to help the Monkey King find one of the manuscripts. Greencine doesn't have it. But lucky me, I have a Netflix membership also, and it's in my Netflix queue. I'm told the movie sucks, though.

This thread finally gave me the push, and I have just ordered the complete four volume translation through Amazon to read the whole thing for myself. While I was at it, I ordered Three Kingdoms and Outlaws of the Marsh. I guess takes care of my reading for the next several months.
hamano
post #14  on October 16, 2004 - 11:53 PM PDT  
> On October 16, 2004 - 5:12 PM PDT Shaky wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What is available on DVD is a teevee movie called Lost Empire based on this story in which an American scholar of Chinese gets transported back in time by the Goddess of Mercy

That movie DID suck! Big time! Despite being scripted by David Henry Hwang! He wrote M. Butterfly for Chrissake!

> There was also a live action Hong Kong television show from the 70s called Monkey that was dubbed over into English by the BBC and shown here in the US. I wish that were available on DVD.

I believe you are actually referring to the Japanese series Saiyuki produced by NTV.... it went on to be a pan-Asian hit, then became very popular in England and Australia. I saw some of it on Aussie TV and it was a rollicking funny show, even dubbed! It starred the beautiful Masako Natsume cross dressing as Sanzo... she is perhaps most well known for her role in Ken Watanabe's debut film MacArthur's Children (1984). In 1985 she tragically died of leukemia...

The anime series Gokudo also plays quite a bit with the characters from Saiyuki toward the end... Gokudo and SonGoku are mistaken for each other, but meanwhile they and a bunch of other characters switch bodies, and much confusion and hilarity ensue....
Shaky
post #15  on October 17, 2004 - 7:47 AM PDT  
How about Seinfeld?

Jerry Seinfeld is Sanzo. He is the priest of comedy.

Kramer is Goku. He sometimes gets out of control but always seems to get out of trouble unscathed. He has a strong attachment to Jerry, almost like family, and one gets the sense that he would do just about anything for him if asked.

George is Hakkai. He's somewhat pig-like and lets his own desires guide his actions.

Elaine is Gojyo. Although she hasn't been caught yet, you gotta admit she has an unethical criminal mind. And she DID steal Putty's Jesus fish.

What are they doing? NOTHING! But they're doing it on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Maybe this isn't the actual Journey to the West, but what happens when they get there.

I may have actually seen some of the Monkey television show. When I lived in New York, one of my friends had a Chinese channel on cable. A group of mostly NYU film students and I were all sitting around one day when the channel surfing came to rest on a show with a guy in a monkey costume popping in and out of scenes in clouds of smoke while he beat the crap out of people. The guy holding the remote suddenly said, "Holy shit! Watch this monkey guy kick everybody's ass! This CRAZY!" It was incredibly funny at the time, but we were all so stoned I could never be sure if it were really the show we were laughing at.

Here's more stuff I came across. Osamu Tezuka did a manga version of Saiyuki, and Toei studios then had him make an animated version of it, released in 1960. It was dubbed into English and released in the US under the name Alakazam the Great, with Songoku's name changed to Alakazam. The movie featured Frankie Avalon. The idiocy of American distributors never ceases to amaze.

Also, when I got the email confirmation for that fifty pounds of books I ordered, there were pleas in it to buy other products based on Chinese classics. The first product listed was a bootleg 52 episode VCD set of a Chinese Monkey cartoon. I would order it, but it's in Chinese with no English subtitles, and I know NO Chinese whatsoever. I'm guessing I know the cartoon, though, because I saw a Chinese movie a while back where a couple of teenagers were watching a cartoon on television featuring a monkey with a crown on its head.
jross3
post #16  on October 17, 2004 - 1:03 PM PDT  
> On October 17, 2004 - 7:47 AM PDT Shaky wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> How about Seinfeld?

Awesome! nicely done, indeed! I'm not sure that it quite beats the Beatles, since they have a stronger "journey west" vibe, but the character elements are defniately there, and I wouldn't have expected this one in a million years. 6 points! Nicely done, indeed!
That puts you in 2nd:

Hamano: 7
Shaky: 6
Jross3: 4

Combined:
Hamano: 18
Shaky: 11
Jross3: 11
hamano
post #17  on October 17, 2004 - 3:18 PM PDT  
OK, so it's Must See Thursday Journey to the West! I accept the challenge!

Friends

Monica: Buddha: A control freak who needs to be in charge of EVERYTHING! She wants those scriptures and she wants them now! Used to be really really fat.

Phoebe: Kannon (Kwan Yin): The Goddess of "Mercy, She's a Total Flake!" Compassionate yet impenetrable, her clueless facade helps to help reveal the truth behind the characters' journey.

Joey: Sanzo Houshi: He accepts Monica's mission because he's a nice guy and just has no idea how tough the journey is going to be, the dangerous obstacles ahead, etc... He believes that taking the journey with his FRIENDS will help him overcome anything in his way.

Ross: Son Goku, The Monkey King: He bosses around a monkey named Marcel. An ape who helped his ex-wife realize that she is a lesbian.

Chandler: Cho Hakkai: A glutton for punishment, nothing ever goes right for him especially his love life. He wallows in self-pity, suspecting that everyone thinks he's gay.

Rachel: Sa Gojyo: Sandy haired man-eater who actually just wants to settle down and live a quiet life with someone who's lost all his monkeys.

The FRIENDS' journey begins in New York... But only Joey makes it all the way West, to Hollywood.... he promises the others possible guest appearances... now if he could only remember what his mission was...
jross3
post #18  on October 17, 2004 - 4:14 PM PDT  
Ok, I'm down with this.
CSI:
Jim Brass is Buddah, their leader from long ago. He wields great power as homicide detective.
Gil Grissom is Sanzo. He's the spiritual leader of the team, and is the wisest person in their little universe.
Greg Sanders is Goku: Loyal to a fault, and nearly invincible when it comes to DNA results.
Nick Stokes is Hakkai. A self-professed ladies' man; he looks up to Grissom as a teacher and mentor.
Catherine Willows is Gojo; she used to be a stripper, but is now working under Grissom while handling the two-bladed life called "single parenting".
Their quest to collect vital evidence often leads them on lengthy, aimless treks through the heathen streets and outskirts of Las Vegas. Through it all, they must remember the teachings of their masters, Brass and Grissom: the evidence doesn't lie.
jross3
post #19  on October 17, 2004 - 4:51 PM PDT  
yeah, these aren't anime, or even animated like the Beatles, but the Voices say it's all good if you've got a case for it.

once more:
Hamano: 7
Shaky: 6
Jross3: 5

Combined:
Hamano: 23
Jross3: 16
Shaky: 11

That's quite a few titles so far. Let's say a few more and we'll announce a winner and award the wonderful, gotta-have-it prizes! But don't worry; even afterward, should a new entry be made, a new champion could be named, and the prize returned to its new owner!
Shaky
post #20  on October 17, 2004 - 8:22 PM PDT  
How about Aqua Teen Hunger Force?

Frylock has to be Sanzo. I mean, he's the one who is most sane.

Master Shake is Gojyo. He is definitely a criminal at heart.

Carl, the neighbor, is Hakkai. He's definitely a lecherous, ugly pig.

And Meatwad is Monkey, but with a honey mustard core. We know Meatwad is virtually indestructible, because he can live even with his brain removed. Now, here's the kicker: in this version, it isn't Monkey's weapon that transforms; it's Meatwad/Monkey himself, who can shift the shape of his rotting ground beef body to whatever shape is helpful at the moment (so long as it's an igloo or hot dog).

I suppose you could also make a case for the crazy professor being one of the deities, since he seems to be the one setting this whole mess in motion with his bizarre inventions and experiments. As for their journey, they do sometimes hook up the cart to Meatwad and go to the mall. I'm sure they travel westward along the way somewhere.
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