Whether he’s sculpting monsters for to use as epic reference models, drawing grand manga fights, or developing an original anime with his own anime studio Village Studio, iconic One-Punch Man and Eyeshield 21 mangaka Yusuke Murata is slowly becoming the example of a modern-day renaissance man.
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On February 23rd (translated via DeepL), Murata unveiled Village Studios’ first original anime, Zaiyuki.
Inspired by The Journey to the West, the series will tell a coming-of-age-story centered around a frail kappa boy named Gojyo who is thrust into a life-changing adventure after getting caught up in the turmoil caused by a group of treasure hunting rogues.
Alongside the initial announcement, Murata also released sketches introducing the main characters of his upcoming take on the classic Chinese folktale.
First up was the aforementioned Kappa named Gojyo and the leader of the treasure hunting gang that throws his life into chaos, Xuanzang – both of whose characters take their inspirations from the fictional monk Tang Sanzang (or Tripitaka), the main protagonist of the original story and whose task of retrieving a set of Buddhist scriptures from ‘The West’ (India) composes its main narrative.
Next was Xuanzang’s partner in crime, the gyaru Ros, herself based on The Journey to The West’s resident hedonist, Zhu Bajie (or simply Pigsy in some translations):
And finally the series’ version of the golden-clad monkey Sun Wu Kong himself, Seitein Daisho:
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Following this initial tease, fans were shocked when just two weeks later, Murata tweeted out a a two-part teaser trailer for the series. Simply titled “A Part,” the first portion of the trailer focuses on introducing Zaiyuki‘s lead protagonist, the cowardly Gojyo.
Emphasizing the type of frail, weak and pathetic lifestyle he has been living thus far, this initial part concludes with what seems to be a life changing encounter between Gojyo and Seiten Daisho at an airport:
いったんAパートの出来上がってるとこだけ字幕つけてまとめてみました。重いので分割1/2。 pic.twitter.com/is8xSHrHom 
— 村田雄介 (@NEBU_KURO) March 6, 2023 
The second part of the trailer continues with a fast paced intense action sequence involving Gojyo and Seiten Daisho at the airport fighting off an army of police who are attempting to arrest the latter.
As the fight intensifies, a getaway van being driven by Xuanzang suddenly crashes through the airport’s glass doors. After the van comes to a complete stop, its sliding door opens to reveal Pigsy, who then proceeds to pull the two wanted individuals inside before successfully making a getaway.
分割2/2。オリジナルのアニメを制作中です。 pic.twitter.com/2iSUaECMmN 
— 村田雄介 (@NEBU_KURO) March 6, 2023 
Notably, though Zaiyuki will be Murata and Village Studio’s first full blown series, it is not tot their first overall animation production.
That honor actually belongs to a September 2021 short known as Go Saitama. A supplementary story for that month’s chapter of One-Punch Man, the short followed the titular Saitama as he raced to the 1 Yen hot pot sale being held at his local grocery store.
お待たせしております。となジャン版ワンパンマン、諸般の事情で最新話更新が滞っております。今しばらくお待ち下さい。空いた手で短編アニメなど作ってみました。ぜひご覧ください。 pic.twitter.com/ATUzfjsWzh 
— 村田雄介 (@NEBU_KURO) September 23, 2021 
As of writing, Zaiyuki has yet to receive an official release date.
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