Good Dog (いい犬 Ii Inu)
FIRST APPEARS IN:
Monkey, Season 2, Episode 18:
Such a Nice Monster
– a ratty, loose fitting dog costume
– cute little red bow tie and matching hair bow
– a… moustache?
SKILLS AND QUIRKS:
– cooking glorious meals for potential masters
– growing to enormous sizes
– having a serious crisis of identity
– being a generally nice monster
I’d imagine for most Brits and Australians in their late-twenties to mid-thirties, Monkey, or Monkey Magic as it’s sometimes affectionately referred to, is the ultimate adaptation of Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West. This funky 70s show made quite an impact when it screened on Western shores in the 80s and 90s. And with its focus on martial arts, cheap but effective demons and monsters, hilarious dubbing, and the greatest theme song ever recorded, it’s no wonder it became such a hit.
Sadly it was not nearly as popular in its native Japan and lasted only two seasons. Tripitaka, Monkey, Sandy and Pigsy never made it to India. But at least we were left with over fifty loony episodes, several of which were only made available to an English speaking audience in 2004. Monkey could be oddly dark, wildly melodramatic, and, in the case of this article’s subject, utterly absurd.
Season 2 of Monkey is not quite as good the first. They lost a brilliant Pigsy in Toshiyuki Nishida and replaced him with the shockingly bland Tonpei Hidari. The great theme song is also missing and in its place a boring recap of its main characters. It also felt as if the budget had been stripped back somewhat. But in some cases, a low budget leads to brilliant lunacy like the episode “Such a Nice Monster”, which features what is certainly the cheapest costume in Monkey history (which comes from a long line of cheap costumes).
The episode centres on a “puppy dog” demon (played by Mitsuo Senda — I think… it’s a bit hard to find cast listings in English) on the hunt for a master. He’s not actually a dog. Housing some rather complicated fantasies, he is a human-shaped demon who dresses up in a dog costume so shitty it would offend even the least discerning of furries. Good Dog puts out food for potential masters (obviously not quite understanding what the roles and abilities of a dog is), but finds himself mocked and attacked by the local villagers.
In an insane attempt to assist Good Dog, Monkey plays the bad guy. He grows to gigantic kaijū size, which is matched by Good Dog. In a ridiculous staged brawl, Monkey allows Good Dog to beat him up in front of the villagers.
“Such a Nice Monster” is a brilliant example of Monkey‘s incredible ability to create engaging, hilarious episodes with very little. Good Dog may be in a truly god-awful costume, but his characterisation is hysterical and even a little bit genuinely melancholic. While this is perhaps not the best place to start for those new to Monkey, Good Dog sticks out as one of the show’s most memorable monsters.