Because I love road trip adventure tales and buddy stories, and in Saiyuki I get a road trip story and a bunch of bickering buddies on the road.
How can you not have fun with a foul-tempered, boozing, trigger- happy Buddhist monk (Genjo Sanzo); a boisterous and perpetually hungry kid who's actually over 500 years old (Son Goku); a smart-mouthed, soft-hearted half-breed looking for love in all the wrong places (Sha Gojyo), and a mild-mannered, bookish guy with a deadly past and a cute dragon pet that also turns into a jeep (Cho Hakkai)?
Add to that a cadre of equally interesting opponents on their own journeys (including a demon prince who wants to save his mother and who's putty in the hands of his little sister), several truly creepy (and sexy!) bad guys, and a unique art style, and it's a great series all around.
It's also a story that balances the drama and adventure with humor and moments of deeper emotion, and I think its greatest strength lies in the developing relationship between the four friends, in how their story began 500 years ago, and how it's going to end.
((And figuring out what the hell Ukoku is up to!))
If you're a fan of Saiyuki, I hope you'll add your name to this list.
The creation of Kazuya Minekura, the ongoing manga was first published in 1997 by Enix as Gensomaden Saiyuki. After nine volumes with Enix, Minekura switched to a new publisher, Issaisha's Zero Sum. The series, which continued unchanged except for a few costume updates, was then renamed to Saiyuki Reload. A prologue to the series, Saiyuki Gaiden, is also being published in WARD.
The first anime series was fifty episodes long and was followed by Saiyuki Reload, which in turn was followed by Saiyuki Reload Gunlock. The first series was licensed for Region 1 (US/Canada) by ADV, but both Reload and Gunlock were licensed for US/Canada release by Geneon.
The manga is published in the US by Tokyopop.
There's also a couple movies — Saiyuki Requiem has been released in the US and Canada, Burial just began in Japan — and whole bunch of music, audio CDs, and lots and lots of collectibles.
The layout image is a random collage of mainly DVD cover scans. I tried to squeeze in as many characters as possible, but I know I missed a few — and not because I don't love all the characters! This is a pretty simple layout, so not much else to add.