Top 10 Sun Wukong References in Anime

Top 10 Sun Wukong References in Anime

Sun Wukong, the iconic Monkey King from Chinese mythology, has woven his influence into the fabric of anime, inspiring characters with his bravery, wit, and boundless potential. In this article, we’ll explore the Top 10 Sun Wukong References in Anime, unraveling the unique traits that make each character a loving homage to this legendary figure.

Top 10 Sun Wukong references in Anime

Son Goku in Naruto

The Four tailed beast, Son Goku in Naruto anime
The Four tailed beast, Son Goku in Naruto anime (Image via Pierrot Studio)

The Four-Tails, also known as Son Gokū, is one of the nine tailed beasts. He is a four tailed beast that is named after Sun Wukong. He has dark red coloured fur and is a monkey-like creature with four tails, and its jinchuriki (human vessel) is Roshi, which is also a reference to Sun Wukong’s teacher, Subodhi. The Four-Tails is said to be the most violent of the tailed beasts, and it is known for its destructive power.

The Four-Tails was originally sealed within the jinchūriki Rōshi of Iwagakure. Rōshi was a skilled shinobi who was able to control the Four-Tails’s power. However, he was eventually killed by Kisame Hoshigaki of Akatsuki, who extracted the Four-Tails from his body.

Goku in Dragon Ball Z 

Son Goku in Dragon Ball Z
Son Goku in Dragon Ball Z (Image via Toei Animation)

The character Son Goku in Dragon Ball Z is heavily inspired by the Chinese folktale character Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King. Sun Wukong is the main character of the classic 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West.

In addition to these similarities, there are also a few more specific references to Sun Wukong in Dragon Ball Z. For example, the spherical spaceship that baby Goku crash lands on Earth in from Dragon Ball Z is a clever nod to the magic stone that Sun Wukong is born from in the beginning of the novel.

Goku’s Ozaru form, or his ability to change into a titanic “great ape” during a full moon, is largely based on the Monkey King’s cosmic transformation. The novel calls this magical skill the “Method of Modeling Heaven on Earth” and Sun uses it to grow 100,000 feet (30,480 m) tall during battles with powerful opponents.

Luffy in One Piece

Monkey D. Luffy in One Piece anime
Monkey D. Luffy in One Piece anime (Image via Toei Animation)

The Japanese manga and anime series One Piece is full of references to Chinese mythology, and one of the most prominent is the Monkey King, Sun Wukong. Monkey D. Luffy, the protagonist of “One Piece,” exhibits traits reminiscent of Sun Wukong. His boundless optimism, combat abilities, and the ability to stretch his limbs allude to the Monkey King’s incredible feats. 

  • One notable theme is Sun Wukong’s rebellion against the heavens, a notion that resonates with Luffy’s defiance against oppressive powers, like the World Government and the Yonko. Luffy, like Sun Wukong, challenges authority to create a world where freedom prevails.
  • Similarly, Sun Wukong’s dual nature as a divine demon who fights for good reflects Luffy’s status as both a pirate and a champion of justice.

Luffy’s journey echoes Sun Wukong’s uprising against the elites, as he aspires to become the Pirate King and challenge the established order.

Jin Mori in God of Highschool

Jin Mori from God of Highschool anime
Jin Mori from God of Highschool anime (Image via Toei Animation)

The Korean manhwa series God of High School features a character named Jin Mori who is revealed to be the reincarnation of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong.

  • This is evident in Mori’s physical appearance, which bears a striking resemblance to Sun Wukong’s, as well as his superhuman strength, speed, and agility.
  • Mori also wields the Ruyi Jingu Bang, a magical staff that is also used by Sun Wukong in the original story.

In addition to his physical abilities, Mori also shares Sun Wukong’s rebellious and mischievous personality. He is not afraid to stand up to authority and challenge the status quo. This is evident in his decision to participate in the God of High School tournament, which is organized by a mysterious organization with unknown motives.

Infernape in Pokemon

A still from Pokemon anime showcasing Infernape
A still from Pokemon anime showcasing Infernape (Image via OLM, Inc.)

Among the diverse creatures of the Pokémon world, Infernape stands out as a Pokémon that draws inspiration from Sun Wukong. This is evident in Infernape’s physical appearance, which bears a striking resemblance to Sun Wukong’s, as well as its fire-based typing and its ability to learn the move “Close Combat”.

  • Infernape’s signature move, “Blaze Kick”, is also a reference to Sun Wukong’s ability to transform into a giant pillar of fire.
  • Infernape’s Japanese name, “Goukazaru”, also means “Golden Monkey”.

The Sun Wukong reference in Pokémon is a way for the franchise to pay homage to one of the most popular characters in Chinese mythology. It also serves as a way to introduce Western audiences to this iconic figure.

Samon Gokuu in Nanbaka

Samon Gokuu in Nanbaka anime
Samon Gokuu in Nanbaka anime (Image via Satelight Studio)

Samon Gokuu is a character from the manga and anime series Nanbaka. He is a Level 1 prisoner at Nanba Prison, and is known for his strength and acrobatic skills. Samon Gokuu channels Wukong’s playful yet resilient nature.

  • Samon’s ability to find joy in the most challenging situations and his unwavering determination to escape captivity mirror the Monkey King’s indomitable spirit.
  • Samon’s physical appearance is similar to that of Sun Wukong. He has long, green hair, and wears a red headband. He also has a tail, which he can use to grab onto things or swing from trees.

Samon’s fighting style is also based on that of Sun Wukong. He is skilled in unarmed combat, and can use his tail to attack his opponents. He is also a skilled acrobat, and can jump and climb with ease.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Sengoku Basara

Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Sengoku Basara anime
Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Sengoku Basara anime (Image via Production I.G)

In the Sengoku Basara anime, Toyotomi Hideyoshi is depicted as a larger-than-life figure who is driven by a desire to unify Japan and create a prosperous nation. He is also shown to be a skilled strategist and tactician, and he is not afraid to use any means necessary to achieve his goals. While Hideyoshi is based on the historical figure, he is also given a number of fictionalized elements, such as his ability to wield a giant kanabo (war club) and his superhuman strength.

In terms of his Sengoku reference, Hideyoshi is a fairly accurate portrayal of the historical figure. He was born into a humble background, but he rose to become one of the most powerful warlords in Japan. He was also a brilliant strategist and tactician, and he was instrumental in the unification of Japan under the Toyotomi clan. However, the anime also takes some liberties with Hideyoshi’s character, such as his larger-than-life personality and his superhuman strength. These elements are likely meant to make Hideyoshi more appealing to a younger audience.

Sun Wukong in RWBY

A still from RWBY anime
A still from RWBY anime (Image via Rooster Teeth Animation)

Sun Wukong is a major supporting character in the American animated web series RWBY. He is a Faunus, a humanoid creature with animal traits, and the leader of Team SSSN (pronounced “Sun”). Sun is a monkey Faunus, and his weapon is a collapsible staff that separates into two pairs of nunchucks made of guns called Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang. He is also a skilled martial artist and acrobat. 

In RWBY, Sun is a more lighthearted and carefree character than his mythological counterpart. He is also a loyal friend and ally to Team RWBY. He is particularly close to Blake Belladonna, a Faunus who is also a member of the White Fang, a terrorist organization that fights for the rights of Faunus. Sun is supportive of Blake and helps her to overcome her past.

The Monkey King in “The Monkey King reborn”

The Monkey King in "The Monkey King reborn"
The Monkey King in “The Monkey King reborn” (Image via Tubi TV)

The film “The Monkey King reborn” is a modern interpretation of the classic story of Sun Wukong. It is a visually stunning film that is full of action and adventure. The film also explores the themes of good versus evil, redemption, and the power of friendship.

  • In the film, the Monkey King is imprisoned by the gods for 500 years, but he is released by a young boy named Liuer.
  • The Monkey King then helps Liuer to save his village from a group of evil trolls.
  • The Monkey King in “The Monkey King is Back” shares many of the same characteristics as Sun Wukong.

He is also a bit of a trickster, and he often gets into trouble because of his impulsiveness. However, he is also a loyal and courageous friend, and he is always willing to fight for what he believes in.

Ryuji Sakamoto in Persona 5

A still from Persona 5
A still from Persona 5 (Image via P-Studio)

Ryuji Sakamoto is one of the main characters in Persona 5. He is a second-year student at Shujin Academy, and is known for his athletic prowess and rebellious attitude. His Persona is Captain Kidd, a legendary pirate who buried all of his treasure before being executed.

However, Ryuji’s ultimate Persona is Seiten Taisei, which is based on the Monkey King, Sun Wukong. The similarities between Ryuji Sakamoto and Sun Wukong are not accidental. The developers of Persona 5 deliberately drew inspiration from Sun Wukong when creating Ryuji’s character. This is evident in both Ryuji’s appearance and personality.

Conclusion

The Top 10 Sun Wukong References in Anime paint a vibrant tapestry of characters inspired by the Monkey King’s timeless essence. Each character captures a facet of Wukong’s spirit, showcasing the enduring appeal of his story across diverse narratives. From mischievous monkeys to determined heroes, these characters pay tribute to Sun Wukong’s legacy, enriching the world of anime with their own unique journeys.

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