King of Mischief is an adventure series that is loosely inspired by the mythical Chinese character, the Monkey King. Other than in name, however, he is a completely different character with all new original stories. King of Mischief takes place in a fictitious ancient China. It is a time when the nation is divided into twelve animal kingdoms. Based on the same animals in the Chinese zodiac, they include: Monkey, Dragon, Pig, Dog, Rat, Snake, Horse, Ram, Ox, Rooster, Tiger, and Rabbit. Each kingdom is individually ruled by a separate and different king.
The main characters of the series are Wu Kung, a mischievous monkey, Wu Neng, a selfish pig, and Zhang Yi, a chivalrous dog. In the first episode, we watch Wu Kung grow up and become king of the Monkey Kingdom. Afterwards, he journeys to the 11 remaining kingdoms meeting people and helping them with their problems, (some of which he causes himself!). After finishing his tour, we will see him and his crew go on miscellaneous adventures around China. While there are many villains in this land, most conflicts will be character driven. King of Mischief is a show that plays with many genres but mainly dwells in comedy, drama, and action. The tone can shift from light hearted to heavy somewhat quickly. These grand scale adventures should be depicted as rousing and kinetic.
Additional inspiration for the King of Mischief comes from Chinese and Japanese martial art movies (Shaw Brothers, Kurosawa, Zatoichi series). Although many Japanese films can be of influence in story and directional style, we should not see a confusion of Japanese and Chinese cultures. They are two completely different cultures. King of Mischief is a fictitious world, but there are some aspects that need to be avoided. Too often among Western portrayals of Asian cultures are “Orientalisms”, clichéd imitations of Eastern culture. The Karate Kid, David Carradine’s Kung Fu, heavy mysticism, “fortune cookie philosophy”, fake accents, and the phrase “hi-yah” are common clichés that are not suitable for the series. As great as they are, ninja, samurai, Bruce Lee or even Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon have also become clichés that are better off avoided. If anything must be drawn from, any classic Chinese film/TV series, the “Journey to the West”, or Chinese history should be researched and familiarized as sources of inspiration.
The martial art styles depicted in this series will be mostly wushu based. This means they will be more showy and theatrical than practical. Fights should be a prime attraction to the show and will definitely need to be given time and attention. Intricate planning and choreography are a must. The show should seek to go beyond the standard of animated fight scenes. Several episodes will enjoy showcasing the process of Chinese culture and arts. Additional research may be necessary. In terms of show length, twenty two minute episodes are possible. However, for maximum benefit of the story, it is recommended each episode be around forty minutes for a one hour show.
I submitted this proposal to Cartoon Network in the mid 2000's and their mailed response was like "oh, this wouldn't work for us but this would make a good series for PBS." I wondered "did you even read my proposal?" This is like saying Samurai Jack would be good for PBS. King of Mischief is an action drama entertainment series. It's not an educational kiddie series. I don't think Nickelodeon took unsolicited proposals at the time so I couldn't submit it to them but sometime later, Nickelodeon's Avatar: the Last Airbender came out.
The fictitious setting is an era when ancient China (approximately 1000 A.D. for comparison) is divided by Twelve Kingdoms. It is a world inhabited by the same animals as in the Chinese twelve zodiac system. Each kingdom embodies a different animal along with a unique set of cultures and characteristics. Other animals in China, like pandas, cranes, leopards, eagles, mantises, bears, scorpion, centipedes, crabs, deer, duck, elephant, tortoise, toad, etc… are infrequent minorities.
The Monkey Kingdom is an empire of craftsmen and scholars. Monkeys there are versatile clever, and inventive. The Dragon Kingdom is an empire of weapon makers and politicians. Dragons are charismatic, energetic, flamboyant, and lucky. The Pig Kingdom is an empire characteristic of recreation, trade, and business. Pigs are loving, lazy, and carefree. The Dog Kingdom is an empire of workers and warriors. Dogs are loyal, honest, chivalrous, and stubborn. The tigers are their rivals. The Rat Kingdom is an empire of farmers, scouts, and spies. Rats are gossipy and thrifty. The Snake Kingdom is an empire of scholars and spies. Snakes are clever, selfish, and discreet. The Horse Kingdom is an empire of athletes, workers, and traders. Horses are competitive, talkative, and independent. The Ram Kingdom is an empire of the finest artists. Rams/Sheep are indecisive and timid. The Ox Kingdom is an empire of hard workers and leaders. Oxen/cow are dependable, patient and immovable. The Rooster Kingdom is an empire of gambling, recreation, and entertainment. Roosters are emotional, aggressive, and lucky. The Tiger Kingdom is an empire or warriors. Tigers are courageous, powerful, fierce and dynamic. The Rabbit Kingdom is an empire characteristic of trade and business. Rabbits are loving, ambitious, lucky and humble. The Snake Kingdom is an empire of scholars and spies. Snakes are clever, selfish, and discreet.
King of Mischief should draw visual and cultural inspiration from actual medieval Chinese dynasties, history, and locations. Particularly the Song Dynasty, period of the Ten Kingdoms, and the Han Dynasty hold strong influence in culture and style. Because the series is a fantasy, design inspiration can stray from reality. “Wuxia” movies and previous incarnations of the Monkey King are also good sources for inspiration. The landscape should be specific to China as seen in the shapes of the mountains, clouds, plants, etc… The background design should carry some stylistic influence from Chinese watercolor. There are big populated cities, little rural villages, vast fields of untouched nature, cloudy heavens, and a dark abstract hell. Often times, it would be good to contrast the grandeur of the landscape with our tiny travelers or cities. Any depiction of the four seasons spring, summer, winter, fall should be applied to only help set the mood and enhance the story.
Sun Wu-Kung: The Monkey King
Wu Kung is the carefree king of mischief. An endless desire for new adventures and fun drive him in his life. He’s a charming prankster and is always curious of everything, which usually gets him into lots of trouble. Wu Kung can be cocky, arrogant, selfish, egotistical, naïve, gullible, and playful. But he can also be clever, humble, loving, merciful, responsible, and serious. Anytime one of his antics goes too far, he always will go to lengths to make things right again. He enjoys proclaiming himself to be the best fighter in the world. With his super strength, iron skin, incredible agility, amazing hearing and eyesight, Wu Kung has many physical advantages. His skills in kung fu (monkey style or course), pole fighting, and acrobatics are unmatched. In relation to Wu Neng and Zhang Yi, Wu Kung is the leader. He wears a trademark yellow suit, red scarf, and a thin crown.
Zhu Wu-Neng/Chu Wu Neng: The Pig King
Wu Neng is the King of Pigs and a pure comic figure. He’s a selfish, lustful, gluttonous, cowardly, emotional, and whiney person. Greed and self interest are strong motivations for this jolly fellow. He’s not a person completely free of loyalty, honor, and ethics however. Those are qualities that he values yet rarely follows. Although he carries a nine-toothed garden rack with him as a weapon, Wu Neng often squeals and hides during a fight. However, he will take cheap shots when the opportunity presents itself. He wants all the glory without the work. Wu Neng thinks the Monkey King, will lead him and his kingdom to easy fortune and blessings. There is more cleverness to this pig than most people realize. He wears a trademark black hat and blue vest.
Gou Zheng Yi: The Dog Knight-errant
Zhang Yi is a heroic, chivalrous, loyal, honorable and righteous dog warrior. He embodies the “wuxia” spirit. Helping others and following a just cause is a major motivation for his life. His allegiance is to the pursuit of justice and doesn’t discriminate. He will fearlessly plunge into impossible situations, fighting off armies by himself to save others. Whenever he gets melodramatically caught up in his crusade, Wu Kung will bring him back to earth. Zhang Yi has a slow character arc that becomes more merciful, forgiving, and less strict on serving a cause rather than serving the people. Zhang Yi’s skill with the saber is famed and unrivaled. He follows the Monkey King not only to protect him but to take advantage of his influence and bring his chivalry to every kingdom. Zhang Yi also feels accompanying an important figure gives himself more credibility as a martial arts knight. He wears a trademark white robe.
Origin of Monkey King (Backstory)
Two mortal monkeys have a forbidden romantic relationship with fatal results. They promise one another to reunite in the afterlife. However, being the bad boy type, the male monkey goes to Hell and becomes a demon. The female monkey goes to heaven and becomes an immortal. Despite the divide, they manage to secretly meet again between Heaven and Hell on Earth. The result is an affair too shameful for the immortal to bear. After giving birth to her baby, the sorrowful immortal suspends Wu Kung inside a large rock and leaves it in a village.
#1 Birth (Pilot)
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung grows up, learns his abilities, enters a competition and becomes the king of the Monkey Kingdom.
A huge rock mysteriously appears in a village of monkeys. As the villagers inspect it, a baby monkey explodes out of the rock. The whole village decides to adopt and raise the child as the village son. Naming him “Wu Kung”, the villagers discover that curious Wu Kung is no ordinary monkey. He’s got super strength, impenetrable skin, incredible agility, amazing hearing and eyesight. Learning kung fu (monkey style, of course) and pole fighting, Wu Kung always gets into lots of fights and all sorts of trouble. He fights off bandits and local bullies. It’s lots of fun for him. Now an adult, Wu Kung is allowed to leave the village to satisfy his insatiable curiosity. Stumbling into a big city, he notices a tournament seeking the strongest monkey alive. Wanting to be anonymous, he dons some face paint and enters. Fending off Mo Fang, the favored winner, Wu Kung places first in numerous tests. Winning the final climactic challenge of the waterfall, Wu Kung soon discovers the competition is actually for determining the next king for the entire Monkey Kingdom. Afraid of the responsibility, Wu Kung rejects the position and races back home. News travels fast; his village knows all about it and encourages him to pick up the throne. Just before he’s on the outskirts of running away again, the village is attacked by bandits. Wu Kung rushes back to single handedly defeat the bandits. Realizing the need to protect and unite his people, Wu Kung accepts the crown to the Monkey Kingdom and everyone celebrates.
#2 Twelve Kingdoms
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung meets representatives from the other kingdoms and discovers deadly relations.
Including the Monkey Kingdom, there are 12 divided Kingdoms in China. Wu Kung invites all the diplomats from the eleven other kingdoms to stay and dine. Officials arrive in the Monkey Kingdom after hearing from new King. All of them give a different gift. At the dinner, gossip and legends are the topics during the meal. Tension runs high as different kingdoms give contradicting stories. Wu Kung decides it would be fun to pull a prank on the other kingdom diplomats. After dinner, he orders some of his subjects to disguise themselves as assassins and fake an attack on him. After a brief scuffle, Wu Kung plays dead. Upon witnessing this, the other representatives freak out and point fingers at each other. The true personalities of the other animal kingdoms shine through. Just then, the King sits up and announces it as a joke; he happily laughs and informs he staged the whole thing. All the representatives get angry and throw stuff at the King. After dodging and running around, Wu Kung calls his fake assassinators to come out in a relaxed manner. But he quickly discovers they’ve been hijacked by real killers. All the representatives freak out again and leave for good. The King beats the assassins into retreat. One of the killers cries out “A fool among the court will never become king” before he escapes. Wu Kung realizes when you’re king, people want you dead. In the end, it doesn’t matter who sent the killers. Wu Kung lives in a dangerous land.
#3 Dragon’s Weapons
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung travels to the Dragon Kingdom in search of fine Chinese weapons. He gets a magical invincible pole.
In light of previous events, the king wants to beef up security. He appoints a general and forms a more structured and trained army. Wu Kung looks for his own personal weapon to help protect himself and his officers. Testing all the weapons, the king carelessly destroys things and every weapon he tries. The King is sad about the limits of the weapons on hand. Then the general tells Wu Kung about the Dragons, the legendary weapon makers of China. The King impulsively takes a journey to Dragon Kingdom “I am a King! That means I will do whatever I please.” He busts his way out of his own court and the Monkey Kingdom worries about his absence. Wu Kung arrives in the Dragon Kingdom and tricks the Dragon King into showing off his best weapons. Wu King expresses doubt in the quality of the weapons. The Monkey King goads the Dragon King on to test the weapons in a performance. While the Dragon King is busy setting up and getting ready, Wu Kung quickly snatches a whole bunch of weapons from him and scrams. The Monkey King returns home and boasts about his wit. He especially expresses fondness over a magic pole. His officials panic over Wu Kung’s actions, urging him to return the weapons along with an apology and gift compensations. Before he can do that, the angry Dragon King bursts into Wu Kung’s court and starts a chase. The Monkey King gets cornered but manages get the message across that he will personally deliver everything back plus compensation. The angry Dragon King calms himself and accepts Wu Kung’s apology. Later at the Dragon Kingdom, Wu Kung finishes delivering everything and is dismissed. The Dragon King examines his weapons. He picks up the staff and twirls it around. He becomes shocked when he accidentally breaks it (it’s a fake one). Leaving the Dragon Kingdom, the Monkey King happily pulls out the magic staff, expands it, and catapults himself away with it.
#4 The King of Pigs
Brief Synopsis: The King of Monkeys helps the King of Pigs fight off bandits. The pig joins Wu Kung on his journeys.
The Pig Kingdom is having trouble fighting off bandits and is in need of immediate help. They ask their neighboring Monkey Kingdom for aid. Wu Neng, the Pig King, sends a plea to Wu Kung through a diplomat asking for military aid. The Monkey King wants to make an impulsive departure alone. The other monkey officials try to delay him from leaving but the King fights them. The soldiers and officials manage to all tackle and chain him to his throne. “Forgive us, your majesty, but we cannot allow you to depart our kingdom so often! Remember, we have your armies to take care of these types of matters for you.” “No, I can take care of this myself; you know I love a good fight!” Wu Kung jumps around while tied to a heavy stone throne. Eventually he forces his way out and escapes. Wu Kung travels to the Pig Kingdom and fights off enemies with amazing prowess. Afterward, the Pig King jollily welcomes Wu Kung but won’t leave him alone, asking for additional favors of protection, money, etc… Wu Neng is especially captivated by Sun Wu Kung’s powers and staff. Wu Neng begs Wu Kung for the secrets of these powers. The Monkey King keeps insisting he was born with his powers while trying to leave. Wu Neng doesn’t believe this and clutches onto Wu Kung wherever he goes. Wu Kung tries to lose Wu Neng by running away but gets lost in the wilderness. Wu Neng says he knows directions, so Wu Kung lets him lead. They soon find themselves in the wrong Kingdom.
#5 The Honorable Dog Warrior
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung meets Zhang Yi, an imprisoned dog warrior who becomes disgruntled with the Dog Kingdom. The dog joins Wu Kung on his journeys.
“You sure this is the right way to my Kingdom?” asks Wu Kung. The Monkey King and Pig King stumble into the Dog Kingdom. They find themselves in the company of dog villagers: Chow Chow, Shar Pei, Chinese Crested, and Pekingese breeds. They are greeted by a highly respected general. Wu Neng flirts and steals from the general’s daughter. Both of them get jailed, meeting cellmate Zheng Yi, an imprisoned dog. Zheng says he got jailed because he refuses to be silent on condemning his general’s affair with the Dog Queen. Zheng turned down bribes, promises of promotion to cover his general’s mess. Zheng is disgusted at how dishonorable the situation is. He wants to clear his name and tell the Dog King. The Monkey King helps Zhang bust out of jail. Zhang tells the Dog King of his general’s affair but the King sadly admits he already knows. The Dog King doesn’t want it exposed either, thinking he’ll loose face (i.e. respect). He justifies being tight lipped by saying it would be bad for everyone to go public with the situation. The Queen, and General are too loyal, respected, and valuable for the king to renounce. Zhang Yi becomes disenchanted in his king. The Dog King allows Zhang Yi to be pardoned on the condition he remains silent. Zhang Yi obeys his king for the last time but looses faith in the King and kingdom: “From now on, my only allegiance is to chivalry and justice. The only loyalty I owe to is righteousness. Mark my words; I will cleanse every kingdom of corruption!!” Zhang Yi vows to make a difference in Wu Kung and Wu Neng’s kingdoms. Wu Kung takes advantage of Zhang Yi’s inspired moment to lead them back to The Monkey Kingdom.
#6 Plague of the Rats
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung asks the Rat King for help after hordes of unintelligible wild rats overrun the Monkey Kingdom.
Wu Kung returns home to his frantic court. The countryside’s been overrun with hordes of vicious two foot long rats! Not intelligent rats, wild animal rats! Fright and famine occurs all over the Monkey Kingdom. Wu Kung and Zhang Yi try whacking and luring the rats away but they don’t stop. The Monkey King travels to the Rat Kingdom to find out if they are responsible and if they can call all the rats back. Wu Kung notices the Rats people are very prosperous in rice farming and storage. The jolly Rat King expresses his sympathy, but says wild rats are not under his control. He claims to have nothing to do with wild rats outside his kingdom. Still, he agrees to personally help Wu Kung get rid of them. But the Rat King makes Wu Kung pay a handsome price for stockpiles of rice needed to replenish the food supply lost in the Monkey Kingdom. Wu Neng transports the rice back to the Monkey Kingdom (don’t eat it all before you get there). Zhang Yi acts really grumpy, feeling like Wu Kung has been taken advantage of in a desperate situation with little choice. Outside the Rat Kingdom, Rats have a reputation for being untrustworthy. But Zhang Yi knows the Monkey Kingdom is starving. The Rat King and Monkey King team up to get rid of the rats. They become friends as they trace the rats retreating back to a large cave. Zhang Yi sees that he has misjudged the Rat King. Rats overwhelm them and take them to the source- a Rat demon. Wu Kung and Zhang Yi fight a protection fight since the Rat King doesn’t know how to fight. The Rat King and Zhang Yi are swept away by the horde. The Monkey King, however, is agile enough to escape. He confidently plays around with the rat demon boasting of his iron skin protecting him from the demon’s claws. Wu Kung gets a little careless, letting the demon take a shot. The rat demon takes advantage of Wu Kung by smashing instead of slashing, showing Wu Kung is internally vulnerable despite a tough exterior. Before a final strike, Zhang Yi breaks through and manages to bail out Wu Kung. They both barely escape the cave but vow to return to save the Rat King. To be continued…
#7 Here Come the Snakes
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung tricks the Snake Kingdom into helping to save the Rat King and fight the wild rats.
The Monkey King resolves to save the Rat King as he recovers from his last encounter. Wu Kung goes back to the Rat Kingdom to tell them what happened. He gets a bunch of rat soldiers to accompany him. Wu Neng naturally suggests getting the Snake Kingdom involved to help since snakes eat rats. Wu Kung thinks it’s a good idea but the Rats want to keep their distance. “You can try but we don’t want any part of those snakes!” Wu Kung travels the Snake Kingdom. The Rats want to stay away and out of sight. Zhang Yi stays with them. Wu Kung meets and pleads the Snake King to get his soldiers to follow him into the rat cave to no avail. Snake King: “We’re a noble and scholarly kingdom. It would be unwise of us to plunge into other kingdom’s affairs, especially of those Rats.” Meanwhile, back in the cave, the Rat Demon demands ownership of the Rat King’s crown and kingdom. Back in the Snake Kingdom, Wu Kung tries to tempt the snakes by describing how delicious plump and juicy two foot rats should be. When that doesn’t work, the Monkey King concocts a story that the Rats plan to indirectly undermine them by building up an army of wild rats. He points to the group of rat soldiers in the distance saying they already stationed some soldiers waiting to invade. When the Snake King sees this he immediately gathers a group of soldiers to fight them. Wu Kung leaps back to the Rats and tells them the Snakes have agreed to help and they hurry to the cave. Lead by Zhang Yi, the Rats arrive first at the cave’s entrance where they fight off the wild rats. They are followed closely by the Snakes. The Snake and Rat soldiers give Wu Kung enough momentum to reach the Rat demon again. After fighting, Wu Kung slams the demon down through the ground, with his pole, into the pits of hell. All the wild rats descend into the gaping hole. Wu Kung lifts a giant boulder and plugs the hole “He won’t be coming back anytime soon.” Now free, the Rat King sees his soldiers squaring off with the Snake soldiers. After some confusion, everyone finds out Wu Kung put the Snakes up to fighting both rats. The Rat and Snake soldiers both look at Wu Kung. Wu Kung cheerfully concludes, “Well, isn’t it great? You Rats get your king back and you Snakes can feast on the wild rats. It just goes to show, Snakes and Rats can both work together and mend relations.” The Rat and Snake soldiers don’t buy Wu Kung’s words. They all chase after him in a comical “freeze frame” ending.
#8 Playing Horse Games/Competing with Horses
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung and company go to the Horse Kingdom to watch and participate in the annual Horse Games.
The Snake and Rat soldiers bag, chain, and hang Wu Kung from a large banner that reads “King of Fools”. They parade him around the Snake and Rat kingdom before dumping him in the Monkey Kingdom. Zhang Yi shakes his head and unties Wu Kung “You should have known better than to play games with the Snakes and Rats.” Wu Kung retorts, “Huh! Unappreciative jerks! After all I did for them… saving their king… getting those two to work together, and how do they treat me?” Zhang Yi responds, “Like a fool.” “Maybe next time you should show the other kingdoms more honesty in your helpings.” Wu Neng comes to them enthusiastic about the start of the annual Horse games in the Horse Kingdom. Wu Kung, Wu Neng, and Zhang Yi travel to the Horse Kingdom to watch the tournaments. They see kite flying, races, wrestling, hackey sack, archery, hunting, boating, polo, pitchpot/golf, and cuju/soccer. The Horse King meets greets the Monkey King and gives them royal seats. The three take a particular interest in watching the horses compete in cuju. The sport takes place in a rectangular field, kicking around a leather ball (similar to soccer). The Horse King asks Wu Kung “Is it true you became king through winning a tournament of skill and strength?” Wu Kung boasts “That’s right. They say I’m the swiftest and strongest monkey alive. No one can beat me.” Upon hearing that, the Horse King invites Wu Kung to play in the competitions. The Horse King makes several special exhibition matches between his champions and Wu Kung. Zhang Yi coaches Wu Kung as Wu Neng gambles on the matches’ outcomes. Wu Kung plays and just keeps creaming everyone in every game. On the final game, Wu Kung plays cuju. This game is particularly one of national pride for the horses. They battle it out in a climactic game. The score is tied. Towards the final minute, Zhang Yi notices Wu Kung’s hot streak is making all the Horses feel angry and sad. Zhang Yi calls this to the attention of the Monkey King, who recognizes it and feels bad. So Wu Kung decides to lose the last shot on purpose to make the Horses win. The Horses happy win and keep their pride. Wu Neng loses all his earnings and cries. Wu Kung congratulates the Horse team and Kingdom and thanks them for the fun.
#9 A Ram’s Injury
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung swipes a Forbidden Fruit from Heaven to heal a ram he accidentally injured.
Wu Kung and company go to the Ram Kingdom to get royal portraits painted. He gets a tour of watercolor and sculpture masterpieces and watches the rams at work. During the portrait painting, Wu Neng gets really bored. He gets on Wu Kung’s nerves by whining about doing something better with their time like treasure hunting, and telling the secrets of his monkey powers. Wu Neng bugs Wu Kung so much, the Monkey King starts attacking the pig with his pole. Zhang Yi tries to stop the fighting. Wu Neng dodges the blows but Wu Kung in his fury, accidentally injures the elderly Ram artist in a swing. Wu Kung feels responsible for the Ram artist’s career and life threatening injury. Figuring out how to help the ram, Zhang Yi recalls a legend of a forbidden fruit in heaven that heals anyone who eats it of any sickness or injury. It also gives a long healthy life to anyone who eats it. Although it is guarded by fairies, he suggests going to get the Heavenly Forbidden Fruit to help heal the Ram artist’s injury. Wu Kung grabs hold of Zhang Yi and Wu Neng and leaps high into heaven to go get it. Wu Neng drools over using the fruit for his own benefit and profit. Wu Kung feels guilty over his action. Zhang Yi is also in conflict on stealing the fruit but concludes helping the ram is more important. Zhang Yi decides that helping to fix Wu Kung’s accident is more important. Sneaking into heaven, the fairies keep watch over the fruit. Zhang Yi and the Monkey King confront the fairies and explain their motives. The fairies don’t believe their intentions and start fighting. They fight the fairies and manage to get some fruit. Wu Neng hides, going after the fruit when he has a chance. Wu Kung smacks the fruit out of Wu Neng’s hands. They barely manage to flee with a single fruit. Wu Kung gets back to the Ram artist in time and heals him with the Fruit. Witnessing Wu Kung’s compassion, the angry fairies calm themselves and depart. The Ram artist recovers and finishes up the royal portrait.
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung and company rebuild rice fields and a bridge after damaging them in a wild boating incident.
Wu Kung gets himself a brand new boat and decides to go on a joy ride down the Yangtze River. Wu Kung and Wu Neng fight over control for the boat like children as they weave through heavy traffic. They drift uncontrollably into the Ox Kingdom. The boat runs into a bridge, destroying both the boat and the bridge. They’re going so fast they run aground, flooding several rice fields in the process. The Ox King arrives on the scene furious. Zhang Yi helps to dispel the angry oxen by telling them himself, Wu Kung, and Wu Neng will help to fix and rebuild everything. Wu Kung looks at the situation and agrees. The Ox King wants to oversee and aid in everything. They try to build a bridge better and bigger than the one before. Wu Neng wants to be lazy, Wu Kung wants to have fun, and Zhang Yi wants them to get serious. Show the contrast of laziness vs. having fun vs. hard work. Show the bridge construction and rice farming processes. There’s planning, gathering of materials, preparing the materials, and construction. Wu Neng and Zhang Yi irrigate and plow the rice fields. The Monkey King can’t help showing off his skills and super abilities for tasks. Working on the bridge and fields, he plays around, juggling massive logs, kicking things high into the sky and catching them again, sucking up water and spraying it back etc… Wu Neng can’t help eating most of the rice crop. He does some work but his short cut attempts don’t escape the infuriating criticism of the Ox King. Wu Kung is so overenthusiastic and flamboyant his carelessness undermines early efforts. He tries to have fun doing tasks and do it quickly his own way. Zhang Yi criticizes them both while they blame each other. Wu Kung and Wu Neng keep arguing about each other’s approach. The Ox King becomes so upset with both of them, he starts doing their work for them, much to their delight. While constructing the bridge, Wu-Neng suddenly gets washed away in a vicious river current. He is unable to swim. Wu Kung impulsively jumps in after him and becomes caught in the current too. Zhang Yi works together with the Ox workers/King to save both of them. They learn about the need of working together and apologize to each other. This time, everyone cooperates and everything is repaired. In the end, the guys admit to having enjoyed helping the Oxen and the Oxen give Wu Kung a fully repaired boat.
#11 The King of Gamblers
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung and Wu Neng gamble their money away at a rigged gambling house. Zhang Yi meets the King of Gamblers and settles a debt with the big boss.
Continuing down the river, they enter the Rooster Kingdom, a place known for it’s gambling lifestyle. A gambling competition attracts Wu Kung and Wu Neng. There’s mostly dice gambling going on. They get introduced to high roller Ko Chun, the King of Gamblers, as he wraps up his winning streak. After watching Ko Chun, Wu Kung and Wu Neng think winning is easy and start gambling away. Zhang Yi wants nothing to do with it and goes to practice his swordplay. As he practices, he hears someone cry for help. Just before Zhang Yi reacts, Ko Chun emerges from the shadows to beat back the robbers. Zhang Yi rushes in to see that all’s well. Ko Chun gives person money and sends her off. Ko Chun recognizes Zhang Yi as a famous warrior and wants to treat him to a drink. Zhang Yi refuses and invites Ko Chun to a meal instead. Over the meal, Ko talks about gambling for a living. “Is it true that dogs don’t gamble?” Zhang Yi replies “One should learn to control one’s self.” They talk about corruption and gambling. Ko Chun remarks on Wu Kung and Wu Neng: “It would do your friends good to follow your values.” Ko Chun tells Zhang Yi not to gamble because the most of the games are set up. The gambling houses set up to exploit the poor. Ko Chun: “I don’t know why I keep winning. It’s as if I were born to gamble. Everyone calls me the King of Gamblers. The only thing I have to worry about is when it will all end.” Zhang Yi disagrees with having to gamble, but agrees on certain issues of justice and make friends. Ko Chun leaves. The Monkey king and Pig king lose the boat in a gamble and accumulate a huge debt that they can’t pay. Zhang Yi returns in time to expose the game was played with loaded dice, causing a ruckus. Wu Kung and Wu Neng are angry over being cheated and the corruption. After being taken advantage of, an emotional and aggressive Wu Kung seeks to shut the gambling house boss down. They have a big fight until Wu Neng is held at knifepoint. There’s a tense standoff between the boss and the others. Suddenly, Ko Chun arrives with a ton of money and convinces the boss to settle the matter with a gambling showdown. Ko Chun gambles his money and his life. He wins through tricks of his own. The boss calls it even, stating that “even thieves have their principles.” proclaiming he is not a ruthless as they think. The boss then gives back the boat to send them off.
#12 Tiger Wars: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Monkey
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung’s old rival impersonates him and offends the aggressive and militaristic Tiger King. Chaos ensues.
Reintroduce Mo Fang, the monkey who placed second in the challenge to be king; the second strongest monkey alive. He now wants to be king so bad he impersonates Wu Kung to live selfishly and soil his name. Wu Kung and company sail along a snowy mountainous river in the Tiger Kingdom. In fright, Wu Neng recalls hearing rumors of the Tiger King’s fierceness and desire for conquering other kingdoms. Wu Neng nags his concerns to the Monkey King. Wu Kung decides to seek the audience of the Tiger King to see if he’s as fierce as they say and to talk about peace. Running aground, Wu Neng insists on the staying on boat. Zhang Yi advises Wu Kung to not do anything stupid to anger the militaristic tigers. Wu Kung promises he won’t do anything. Zhang Yi and Wu Kung talk to the Tiger King about peace but he only wants to talk about who’s army’s bigger and better. During his stay, Mo Fang frames Wu Kung and offends the Tiger King. The Tigers only see Mo Fang by himself. When nobody is looking, Wu Kung runs into the impersonator, who quickly gets away. It’s a big misunderstanding but only Wu Kung knows it. Mo Fang even fools Wu Neng and escapes on the boat. Wu Kung tries to clear things up but even Zhang Yi has his doubts. The Tiger King decides he’s had enough and orders soldiers to attack Wu Kung. A big fight ensues against armies of Tigers. They chase Wu Kung and Zhang Yi all over the snowy mountains. A snow storm brews. Show off the Tiger style fighting. Zhang Yi and Wu Kung become cornered and square off in a showdown against the King’s personal guard, the White Tiger, an absurdly strong fighter. The White Tiger taunts, “A hunting dog is destined to die on the mountain.” or “A dog who hunts in the mountains is destined to die.” Zhang Yi responds, “Even a tiger should never advance to a cornered dog.” or “And a tiger should know better than to advance in on a cornered dog.” The two duel it out while Wu Kung battles off hordes of tigers. Just before Wu Kung becomes overwhelmed, Zhang Yi sacrifices himself to protect the Monkey King. Zhang Yi tells Wu Kung to escape and don’t look back. Badly beaten, Wu Kung barely manages to flee by bouncing off the top of the tigers’ heads to the top of a steep peak. He looks back to see Zhang Yi swallowed in a sea of tiger warriors. Meanwhile, Wu Neng starts to question Mo Fang, suspecting something’s not right. He lowers the anchor (a stone ring) and argues with the impersonator. Wu Kung catches up with the boat and fights to expose the impersonator. The Tigers arrive to see there are two Monkey Kings. Wu Kung beats Mo Fang and flings him off a cliff. Tiger King apologizes and sets things right. He vows to appreciate the value of peace. Zhang Yi’s in bad shape but he’ll survive. After seeing most of their army bet beaten up, the Tigers agree that some days, peace is more preferable to war. Still, they welcome Wu Kung and Zhang Yi to fight for their kingdom again only next time, on more “friendlier” terms.
#13 A Royal Rabbit’s Wedding: Love, Money, Duty
Brief Synopsis: Wu Kung is invited to a wedding in the Rabbit Kingdom and discovers a tangled mess of love, money, and duty.
Wu Kung is invited to a royal wedding in the Rabbit Kingdom. A Rabbit bride with poor but royal connections is set to marry a wealthy rabbit businessman. The extravagant Rabbit Kingdom has many goods to trade and show off. Show the silk making process. The Rabbits are rich in tea, iron, ceramics, paper money, silk, etc… However, there’s a price to pay for such fine materials. There is a great division between the rich and poor. Many Rabbits slave for the production of these goods. Wu Neng unintentionally stirs up an ambitious revolution by remarking to the workers that the kingdom has such deplorable poor working conditions. The uprising forces the bride to postpone wedding. Wu Kung and Zhang Yi try to investigate the root of the strike and undo damage. They discover a secret monopoly scheme that the wealthy groom has partnered with. The plan makes sure the poor stay poor and rich get even richer. The groom’s love is true but so is his dirt. When confronted, he regrettably says that’s the way business is done in the Rabbit Kingdom. He promises it is all business and at least he treats his workers fair and well. Wu Neng informs the bride, who feels betrayed. She is torn over how she feels about the groom, her people, and the money. The three fight and help clean things up. Wu Kung exposes the scheme and tells the wealthy to be fairer in the future. The groom vows to give more back to the people and live a different life. Wu Kung and Wu Neng leverage their kingdom’s trading flow on the wealthy and force them to reach a compromise with the workers. The bride and groom make up and wed at the end.
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