Films

Published on May 26th, 2006 | by admin

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Monkey (Season 2, Volumes 14 & 15)

By Melanie Sheridan

The nature of Monkey is irrepressible! Well, it was when I was a kid. In these “missing episodes” Monkey seems to have been, well, monk-y whipped. I remember him being chastised much more often by sexy shemale monk Tripitaka (the perfect embodiment of Buddha, no?). But the girlyboy priest hardly uses the chanting headaches at all during these seven episodes.

And as water sprite Sandy asks the king of the monkeys in You Win Some You Lose Some, “when did you turn into such a moralist?”

Moralist or not, Masaaki Sakai – Monkey Magic himself – was the first man I ever fell in love with. I can’t remember how old I was when Monkey first screened on ABC TV, but those sideburns made me feel all funny, and that gold headband was way sexy, despite its being an instrument of torture.

I was a very dumb child, however, and I never noticed that Monkey was dubbed. So reliving my childhood obsession is even more fun now that I’ve developed the observational skills to notice poor lip-syncing. But there’s little “reliving” to be had with these episodes. Dubbed (pun totally intended) the “13 missing episodes”, they were skipped during the English voice-over dubbing of Monkey in the late 1970s and hence never screened on Australian television.

Thanks to the fabulously named Fabulous Films, who began dubbing the lost episodes in December 2003 with most of the original dubbing cast and crew, we can finally see what we never knew was missing.

But the only thing that’s missing is the chanting headaches. The horse, which used to be a dragon and is sometimes a man, is here. The ape’s candyfloss cloud gets plenty of whistle outs. His wishing staff goes from laser canon to dream catcher. There’s lots of sexy chest hair action, from the mini Monkey army to a dream-locating device that looks like a karaoke machine. Pigsy is still the Austin Powers of the group. And Monkey still knows every magic trick under the sun.

George Roubicek, who worked on the original 39 English scripts, translated the scripts for these ones. How closely he stuck to the original dialogue is a mystery but, regardless, it’s much saucier than I remember. When Sandy convinces Monkey to turn himself into a di in order to beat a gambling demon, he becomes a di with two number ones, both red. Monkey, who previously declared his “arse sometimes goes bright red”, explains this is because his “bum’s separated down the middle, one cheek on either side”.

Despite being a Chinese demon played by a Japanese actor with an Irish accent, this gambling demon is quite logical compared to the Fraction demon in Pigsy Learns A Lesson. This beautiful lady beast tests children on their maths, kidnapping the ones who can add up fractions correctly! Naturally the kids refuse to do their homework, causing the intellectual Sandy to bemoan “the whole education system is entirely in ruins”. Monkey simply says that “apes can survive even if they don’t understand fractions.”

Is it any wonder that a mathophobe like me loves this crazy monkey? Monkey Magic ooh ooh indeed.


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