Written by: Gabriel Castillo
Published on: December 3, 2021 at 16:52 PHT (GMT+8)
Kazuya Minekura’s Saiyuki series is making another comeback in the form of a television (TV) anime this coming January 6, 2022. Saiyuki Reload -ZEROIN- is the fifth TV anime of the series and this installment will cover the “Even a Worm” arc of the Saiyuki Reload manga. Liden Films will produce the show with the return of the main cast to reprise their iconic roles.
Last November 29, 2021 new promotional videos (PVs) were released to tease the upcoming installment which showcases the iconic core group of characters from the series! Check it out below:
What's the Series About?
The Saiyuki series is a unique adaptation of the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West” featuring a ragtag group led by the gun-wielding priest Genjo Sanzo alongside Son Goku, Sha Gojyo, and Cho Hakkai. The story starts in the continent of “Shangri-La’ where humans and youkai with science and sorcery coexisted peacefully.
Unfortunately, an extremist group unleashed the Minus Wave, causing youkai to lose control and go wild, thanks to their efforts of resurrecting the Ox-God Gyumaoh. Genjo Sanzo and his squad are tasked with heading west to stop the resurrection in order to restore the peace.
The upcoming adaptation Saiyuki Reload -ZEROIN- adapts the second to the last arc of the Saiyuki reload title. Prior to this installment, this arc was already seen in Saiyuki Reload: Gunlock but it was a brief coverage and had some deviations from the manga.
Brief Review of the Series Timeline
Since this is the fifth TV anime adaptation of the Saiyuki series, it might seem daunting to suddenly get into it after all these years. This quick guide below might help viewers dive into the series. Take note that the titles below only cover the TV anime adaptations and are arranged in order of the plot’s timeline.
Gensoumaden Saiyuki: The first TV anime of the Saiyuki series ran for 50 episodes from April 2000 to March 2001. Studio Pierrot and Dentsu were in charge of the production.
Saiyuki Reload: This sequel was produced by the same studios and ran for 25 episodes from October 2003 to March 2004.
Saiyuki Reload:Gunlock: The next installment was also produced by the same studios and ran for 26 episodes from April to September 2004.
Sayuki Reload -Zeroin-: The latest installment set for release in January 2022 will cover the "Even a Worm" arc of the Saiyuki Reload manga.
Saiyuki Reload: Blast: This installment was released as the direct sequel to Saiyuki Reload: Gunlock and ran for 12 episodes from July to September 2017. Multiple studios worked on this project such as Studio Pierrot, Dentsu, Frontier Works, Lantis, Media Factory, AT-X, and Ichijinsha.
What to Expect
Getting into this series might seem a bit confusing with all the different TV anime releases (plus OVAs, movies, etc.) but the overall feel of each installment is quite similar and the overarching plot is practically the same: they still have to continue their journey to stop the revival of the evil Gyumaoh.
The past adaptations have seen quite a bit of deviation from the manga (probably due to the manga's progress at the time of the production since the author faced illness and injury). Maybe this time, longtime fans get a more true-to-the-source-material adaptation of such a lovable arc.
For some viewers it might be difficult to suddenly invest in one of the sequels without first watching the preceding series. However, some others have noted that the show’s charm is quite welcoming for first time viewers, no matter which installment you decide to get into. The core cast of characters has such an inviting atmosphere that people can come and stay just to enjoy their well-written chemistry. Of course, there’s a good bit of action, witty back-and-forth quip exchanges, and even individual drama or past troubles that affords the series extra layers of entertainment and depth.