Friday, September 5, 2008

Granddaughter of the Monkey King

Ever since its composure in the 16th-Century, the timeless Chinese epic Journey to the West has been a source of creative inspiration for writers, artists and filmmakers throughout Asia. There have been books, plays, comics, manga, anime, movies, TV shows and video games all based off the story of Sun Wukong and his fabled traveling companions.

One of these games was the 1984 Capcom arcade game Sonson. Loosely based on the actual legend, Sonson allowed players to play as the Monkey King or Songoku as he is called in Japan. Along with Sanjo Hoshi (Tripitaka), Hatskai (Pigsy) and Sagojyo (Sandy), players had to do battle with a never ending onslaught of pixilated monsters, demons, and gods drawn from both Chinese and Japanese mythology. Naturally, the game proved a big success and a sequel, Sonson II, was made. However, this was the last game in the Sonson series…sort of.

As it would turn out, in the world of Capcom some characters never truly go away. In 2000 Capcom released the highly anticipated Marvel vs. Capcom II, the second game in what is undoubtedly one of Capcom’s most successful series. Marvel vs. Capcom pits characters from the Marvel Comics Universe (Spider-Man, Iron-Man, X-Men) against characters from the Capcom Universe. In Marvel vs. Capcom II one of these characters is Sonson; the granddaughter of Songoku! Essentially a female version of her granddaddy Sonson is on a mission to discover the source of a mysterious plague that struck her native village. Sonson has many of the same powers as Songoku including his magical size-changing Bo staff and the ability to create clones via strands of hairs. However, some abilities are truly special such as one attack in which Sonson tries to cook her opponent in the Shinka Hakke Jin and turn them into sake.

Of course, nothing in the original Journey to the West myth ever suggests that Sun Wukong ever sired any offspring, much less had a granddaughter. However, it’s still nice to think that if the Great Sage Equal to Heaven had, that she might be something like Capcom’s Sonson.

Top Left: Sonson from Marvel vs. Capcom II.


Dr. Knightshade said...

Have you seen the RPG, Scion from White Wolf games? They are about to do a book which includes The Monkey King as one of the gods of China.

Justin M... said...

No I havn't but I will keep an eye out for it.