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Saiyuki Reload Vol. 6

Author: Andy Hanley

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Saiyuki Reload Vol. 6

07 Dec 2007

Having watched five volumes of Saiyuki Reload thus far, branding pretty much each and every one with the word 'mediocrity' in some shape or form, moving on to volume six of this action-focused anime is exciting if only because it means that we're coming to the end of Sanzo and company's epic journey.  But as we reach the shows climax via this penultimate volume, will this opportunity to tie up all those loose ends make for some more riveting viewing?

The close of volume five introduced us to a new, and even greater, danger in the path of our four heroes - A threat who calls himself simply (and rather modestly it has to be said) 'god'.  Following their meeting with this mysterious character, Gojyo decided to pursue him alone unannounced, leaving his comrades behind in the dead of night.  Thus, volume six focus entirely on the rest of the crew's decision - Do they follow Gojyo, or continue with their main quest?  I'm sure it won't be too much of a spoiler to mention that they eventually decide upon the former course of action, leaving the three episodes on show with this DVD to follow the trio's pursuit of Gojyo and, ultimately, god himself.  On the way we learn a little more about both Gojyo and Sanzo via that time-honoured televisual tradition, the flashback, which also helps to reveal a little of god's origins in the process.

After having ploughed my way through twenty-two episodes and six volumes of Saiyuki Reload now, it's becoming really rather difficult to write anything fresh about the series, as it's barely changed or progressed since those opening salvoes what seems like an eternity ago - Indeed, if anything the series has gone backwards since its initial episodes, with the main focus of the plot becoming lost almost entirely in the various side-stories that have emerged one after another to dilute what little point this anime appeared to have in the first place.  This would be entirely forgiveable if these secondary quests were gripping, or the characters they introduced suitably engaging, but quite simply - They aren't.  The more I watch it, the more Saiyuki Reload feels like it was written as an anime by committee, putting together four of the blandest 'heroes' you could hope to muster and throwing them into as many wishy-washy predicaments as the script writers could think of before it was time to break for lunch.  While there isn't anything truly negative I can throw in this shows direction, there's certainly nothing positive either, with everything from animation to characterisation bringing me back to that favourite word of mine over and over again - Mediocrity.  That's really all I can say for Saiyuki Reload, and with just four episodes left to go, I have little hope of a late turn-around in fortunes.  Please, Sanzo and company, prove me wrong.  Please.


Commercial collection featuring Hakkai, English and Japanese audio, English subtitles.
Ten letters. Begins with 'M'. Synonym for 'average'.
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