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:: Monkey Volume 17

Revisiting childhood memories is always a tricky exercise. There is the possibility of a wonderful feeling of nostalgia, but equal or better chances of smashing said memories with adult standards.

It was great to turn on the DVD and see some Monkey Magic for the first time in about 15 years. The great theme song! The stone egg! The lightning! Monkey bursts out! Sandy! Pigsy! Tripitaka! Monkey whistling up his magic cloud! It had been far too long.

Yes, it had been far too long. The novelty wore off. While the innocent, undemanding enthusiasm of childhood had gone, the questionable dubbing remained. As had the lousy acting. The terrible, terrible production values. The cheesy, after school special storylines. It became an ordeal. Housemates, initially eager to revisit their own Monkey memories, gradually slipped away when the reality did not match the memories.

During the episode “Stoned”, to save a demon child from the toothache effecting his magical powers, Monkey shrinks himself and his cloud. He then flies into the brats mouth to do battle with the remarkably human looking forces of tooth decay. Yelling ‘that is the most stupid dance I have ever seen’ (fair enough, as it is the stupidest dance I have seen also) he launches himself into the fray. Ye gods, what was I thinking as a child?

As time passed, the ordeal becomes easier. I came to accept that Monkey is in fact, dodgy. Very dodgy. MUCH dodgier than I had remembered it as being.

“Stoned” is followed by “Hungry Like the Wolf”, dealing with a werewolf facing a serious ethical dilemma. The costumes and acting are about on a par with each other, but it seemed the story being told, the lesson being taught, clearly has substance. Or perhaps this was just a fevered rationalisation.

By the time “Monkey’s Yearning”, the third and final episode on the disc came around, my opinion had changed. The second last episode of the series, it is a sweet little tale about Monkey finding the possibility of love and a family, but this will mean an end to his time with his companions on the yellow brick road to India.

By now Monkey magic has taken me over again. Yes, it is much dodgier, in every way, than it seemed as a child. Yes, it is a series of B-grade (at best) morality plays. Yes, it is fun anyway. But it was good to pay a little visit to Monkey’s world once again. Unless you are a confirmed Monkey fanatic, it is probably worth checking out some Monkey on rental before you buy.

DVD Extras

Biographies-Cast: Dubbing Cast Bios
Featurette: Monkey Nuts - The Lost 13 Episodes
Notes: Random Quote Generator
Gallery - Photo
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Web Links
Biographies - Character
DVD Credits
Synopsis: Episode synopses