Graveyard for the Gods
Quest For Knowledge
Village of Lost Children
The Real Tripitaka
The Spider Web
Cheesy, low budget but undeniably charming, The New Legends Of Monkey punches, kicks and cloud-surfs its way back onto screens with 10 more episodes of fantastical action. And action is certainly the name of the game here. While the first season tackled Monkey gathering the troops and retrieving the Scroll of Immortality, this time around there’s higher stakes as the demons rally to defeat Monkey King with more vengeance than ever before.
Armed with 10 short, pacey episodes, New Legends Of Monkey does little to hook those turned away from the first season back but does manage to satisfy fans with its follow-up adventure. It’s also worth mentioning that there’s the teasing possibility of a third season at the end too.
Before we get there though, the story itself wastes little time throwing you head-first back into the action. After defeating Davari, Monkey, Pigsy and the others scramble through the forest away from a horde of angry attackers. Managing to quell the threat for now, they regroup and set out to recover the rest of the scrolls before the demons do. This essentially forms the crux of the story here, as the episodes weave individual episodic arcs with a larger threat looming in the conventional serialized format.
All of this culminates in a climactic final few episodes which sees emotions at an all-time high and our characters pushed to the limit. This push ultimately sees some of our Merry Misfits meeting an unfortunate end. I won’t spoil anything here but suffice to say the finale does have a few surprisingly well written moments that show there’s some very real casualties to what’s going on.
Tonally, these moments of light poignancy and reflection come at just the right time as a lot of the show dabbles in that familiar cheesy, 90’s-esque low budget fantasy. The acting is over the top, the humour is a bit hit and miss while the show itself revels in its live-action anime feel. Of course, this feeds back into that love/hate relationship with the show that made season 1 such a polarizing offering.
For all of its faults though, there’s something undeniably charming with this show and much like the first, it’s a very easy watch and a bit of a change of pace from some of the other moody, grim fantasy offerings out at the moment.
Ultimately though, New Legends Of Monkey gives fans of the first season exactly what they want – more of the same. The jokes are just as corny and cheesy as before, the low budget effects are still here and the spotty acting is flaunted for all to see. There’s a decent enough story holding it all together but if you go into this expecting something profoundly different from the first season, you’re bound to be disappointed.
This is simple fantasy stuff and if that’s your jam then you can’t go wrong with this. For everyone else looking for an endearing, absorbing fantasy epic, New Legends of Monkey is unlikely to be crowned a King atop that throne any time soon.
Verdict - 6/10