|“||I'm The Great Sage Who Pacifies Heaven.||„|
|~ The Bull King declared his own title.|
The Bull King (in Chinese: 牛魔王), also known as the Bull Demon King or the Ox-King, or as his self-proclaimed title The Great Sage Who Pacifies Heaven, is a major antagonist of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West and its multiple adaptations, and can actually be considered to be the main antagonist of the story, despite his limited appearances. He also appears in the film Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West as the main antagonist. He is one of the most popular Journey to the West villains, alongside his wife Princess Iron Fan, his son the Red Boy, the Six Eared Macaque, and the Baigujing.
In the classic 1986 adaptation series of Journey to the West, he was primarily portrayed by Wang Futang. However, during his early scenes as Sun Wukong's friend, he was portrayed by Yan Huaili, who also played Sha Wujing (one of the four main protagonists) in the same series. In Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West, he was voiced by Hidekatsu Shibata.
In his humanoid form, the Bull King is a muscular anthropomorphic ox who wears armors and a cape. Being a monarch, he also has a crown on his head. In the original novel, his true form is depicted as a titanic white ox (having eyes as size of a moon or a sun look from Earth). However, in the 1986 adaptation, his true form is just a big gray ox. In the movie Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West, the Bull King is described as gigantic, whose size dwarfed most, if not all of the other characters in the movie. His armor also has a red Chinese character that means "King" in the center.
PersonalityUnlike most of the demons in Journey to the West, the Bull King is not outrightly malevolent, but rather a vengeful person who just wants revenge on Sun Wukong for turning his son, the Red Boy, to the good side. Despite his brutal nature, the Bull King genuinely cares about his family, as not only tried to avenge his son, he also tried to avenge his former wife, Princess Iron Fan, despite the fact that the two had been divorced. In the end, he also shown remorse upon being subdued by the deities, though this partially was to save his own skin.
The Bull King is a demonic ox who befriended and being the sworn brother of Sun Wukong along with other five demon kings. Upon hearing that Sun Wukong had successfully got the title of "The Great Sage Equal to Heaven", he along with other demon kings went to meet him to celebrate the stone monkey's victory. When Wukong told the six demon kings to get their own titles, the Bull King was the one who speaks first, proclaimed himself "The Great Sage Who Pacifies Heaven". The seven sworn brothers had fun in the party for one day, before heading back to their caves.
Sometime during Sun Wukong's imprisonment for 500 years by the Buddha, the Bull King eventually married Princess Iron Fan and gave birth to the Red Boy.
Bull King first appeared as a disguise of Sun Wukong to trick Red Boy into release Xuanzang. However, upon seeing that this "Bull King" does not remember his birthday, Red Boy deduced that he is a fake one and blew his cover as Wukong. Though wasn't physically seen, the Bull King was going to be invited by his son to eat Xuanzang, and was mentioned numberous times, and the fact that the Red Boy mistook Sun Wukong's disguise with him gave an evidence about the Bull King's appearance.
Bull King later appeared when Xuanzang and his companions arrived at the Flame Mountain, having re-married to Princess Jade Face (a demonic fox). After being told by her that she was just being "harassed" by Sun Wukong, he angered and went out to fight Wukong. At first, the Bull King decided to spare Wukong's life, but upon hearing his former sworn brother's request of borrowing the Iron Fan, he angrily refused and the two fought, but eventually the Bull King decided to postpone the fight as he was going to go to a party held by the Washeng Dragon King. During the party, Wukong stole his steed, disguised as him and took away the Iron Fan from his former wife Princess Iron Fan. Upon learning this, Bull King angered and swore revenge.
He later disguised as Zhu Bajie to trick Wukong into giving him the Iron Fan. Angered, Wukong, along with Zhu Bajie (who angered due to Bull King disguised as him) fight the Bull King, forced him to revert into his true form to attack them. However, with the help of the deities, Wukong managed to defeat the Bull King and get the Iron Fan.
Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West
Like other demons, the Bull King is also escaped, along with his wife Queen Iron Fan, from Doraemon's gaming machine due to Doraemon forgot to turn it off. He and his wife set up plans to eat Xuanzang so that the demons can evolve into more humanoid beings, and succeeded in capturing Xuanzang along with Doraemon, Nobita, Shizuka, Suneo and Jaian with the help of his son Linlei, but eventually he was killed by Nobita (who he believed to be Sun Wukong) in a duel and thus all of the magic that the demons caused were disposed. Queen Iron Fan, due to this, died shortly afterwards by falling into the lava. This incarnation of the character appears to be the supreme leader of all the demons, as the Golden Horned King and Silver Horned King, another two demons in the original novel, also served him and Queen Iron Fan.
In this version, his son is Linlei, who while loosely based on the Red Boy, is a totally different character. Linlei later redeemed himself and joined Xuanzang in the latter's journey to India in honor of his deceased parents and the demons.
- Unlike most of other demons in Journey to the West, Bull King has no interest in Xuanzang, let alone eating his flesh. Ironically, in Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West, he and his wife Princess Iron Fan (Queen Iron Fan in this version) are the masterminds behind the plan to capture and eat Xuanzang.
- In addition to this, Bull King acts more as an antagonist than an outright villain, opposed to other demons in the story, as his ultimate goal is just to humiliate Wukong for what the latter had done to his son and former wife. However, the Red Boy did mentioned that the Bull King had committed several crimes and eat humans, though it was never shown. Nevertheless, his crimes of assault and trying to kill Sun Wukong still make him a villain.
- He is the main inspiration of the Ox-King from the Dragon Ball series, even the name, and both live on the Flame Mountain. However, unlike the Bull King, this Ox-King, despite his barbaric nature, is a heroic character.
- Despite being the main antagonist of Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West, he has little screentime, and doesn't fully appear in person until towards the end of the movie.
- Due to his close relationship with Sun Wukong, along with him being involved (both directly and indirectly) in more than two cases, the Bull King is the closest villain that the story had to be a Big Bad and can be considered Sun Wukong's main archenemy, in a similar manner that Professor James Moriarty was considered the main antagonist of the Sherlock Holmes book series and Sherlock Holmes' archenemy, despite appeared only in one book. It's possible that this is the reason he was made to be the main antagonist and lead demon in Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West.