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This Week in Anime - Why Saint Seiya is the OG Psychadelic Shonen Action Show


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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 1739
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:17 pm Reply with quote
Admittedly don't read This Week in Anime much, as the format just doesn't really work for me, but glad I gave it a try here, because this was a fun one to read. Happy to see both writers had a lot of fun with the early episodes.

Quote:
it also def feels like the story didn't quite know what it wanted to be in these early stages


That's because Masami Kurumada didn't know what the series would be like at the start. He admitted in the Author's Note in the first volume of the manga that he made Saint Seiya precisely to please mainstream audiences, since they shunned his previous series, Otoko Zaka, which was meant to be his magnum opus.

Yeah, Saint Seiya was essentially Kurumada getting vengeance on Japanese Shonen Jump readers by making something they had no choice but to love. That's brilliant.

Anyway, that's why the series starts with a tournament arc, because that's a popular story arc with readers. Kurumada also didn't quite have his "five-man band", so to speak, ready from the very start, hence why Unicorn Jabu is initially set up as Seiya's rival, and was even given the character design of Jun Kenzaki from Ring ni Kakero, Kurumada's first big hit, as he was the rival to Ryuji Takane, who Seiya is modeled after. Once he introduced the Bronze Saints, though, Kurumada simply prioritized the ones that readers instantly liked the most, so Jabu winds up being forgotten, in the long run (though at least given one or two quick moments, here & there).

Quote:
the most effeminate member of the bunch has the most OP (and most useful outside of combat) ability we've seen so far


This is only the start. As the series goes on, it becomes obvious, though never directly stated, that Shun is easily the strongest of the main characters, having control over his Cosmo in a way that none of the others have, even Seiya. This ties into the Hades Chapter later on, obviously, but I won't go into that territory, since that's well beyond what this article is about. Overall, though, Kurumada did establish that the strongest type of man isn't simply the one with the biggest muscles, but rather is the one that has the kindest heart, which exemplifies Shun perfectly.
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FinalVentCard



Joined: 28 Oct 2018
Posts: 81
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:33 pm Reply with quote
spoiler[Okay, so being Latino and Saint Seiya being what it is I wanted to do this post entirely in Spanish but I don't wanna piss the mods off so just pretend I'm doing this in Spanish yeah? Cool.]

I'm thrilled that Netflix included the classic Mexican dub for Saint Seiya. It's aged incredibly well, and really nails the camp in the best ways. The late, great Jesus Barrero was the voice of Seiya for as long as there was a Seiya to voice, and he nails Seiya's young, enthusiastic heart so well. Also, if you think Pegasus Fantasy sounds great in Japanese, it's legendary in Spanish. It's so beloved, you've got people singing it at The Voice.

Saint Seiya on Netflix is definitely a highlight of the year for me.
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vanishingblood



Joined: 19 Oct 2013
Posts: 9
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:09 pm Reply with quote
Is the misspelling of "psychedelic" intentional here? I'll also take the time to say I really don't like this "text message" format thing. It is funny sometimes but I come her for news and journalism, not comedy sketches.
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FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 1534
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:13 pm Reply with quote
It's great that the original show is getting the love it deserves after so many years of either being mangled to bits (DiC) or having its dub not completed due to rights issues (ADV), and the Netflix dub is definitely welcome. But how come only the first 15 episodes are dubbed in English, yet the 41 episodes that are up aren't? Has Netflix said anything about this? I'm really confused by this decision. Here's hoping it'll be rectified later on.
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octopodpie
ANN Managing Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
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Location: Washington State
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:18 pm Reply with quote
vanishingblood wrote:
Is the misspelling of "psychedelic" intentional here? I'll also take the time to say I really don't like this "text message" format thing. It is funny sometimes but I come her for news and journalism, not comedy sketches.


Typo fixed. If you don't come here for humor, then you probably won't enjoy this editorial column. This is the format for it since it launched. The News and Interest section is probably what you're looking for.
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maximilianjenus



Joined: 29 Apr 2013
Posts: 1947
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:24 pm Reply with quote
No mention of naruto run ? I guess it has not appeare in those chapters yet, but IIRC saint seiya is the series that created that running style.

Lord Geo wrote:


Yeah, Saint Seiya was essentially Kurumada getting vengeance on Japanese Shonen Jump readers by making something they had no choice but to love. That's brilliant.


so vengeful, it reminds me of prison school.
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1dbad



Joined: 12 Jul 2015
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Location: Texas
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:38 pm Reply with quote
FireChick wrote:
But how come only the first 15 episodes are dubbed in English, yet the 41 episodes that are up aren't? Has Netflix said anything about this? I'm really confused by this decision. Here's hoping it'll be rectified later on.

16-41 are available English dubbed now. Netflix updated with them a week or so ago.
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LightningCount



Joined: 04 Mar 2018
Posts: 123
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:27 pm Reply with quote
Ronin Warriors/Samurai Troopers (by the future director of Gundam Wing) seemed to be Sunrise's reaction to Saint Seiya, and it did pretty well in the U.S., so it's surprising that Saint Seiya never got a better shake. As a fan of Ronin Warriors/Samurai Troopers, I've always been intrigued by Saint Seiya, but I only saw a little bit of the "And I Ran" dub version that aired on TV circa 2004-ish, IIRC. (I don't really know how edited that dub was, but I imagine it was pretty heavily edited.) I don't even know if all the Saint Seiya series and OVAs and movies are connected, or are reboots.
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Eigengrau



Joined: 09 May 2015
Posts: 71
Location: Belgium
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:39 pm Reply with quote
TBH though, Saint Seiya's aesthetic was not really typical of the eighties, but a throwback to the seventies. When the series premiered here in '87, I remember thinking even back then that it had a very retro look to it. That's because many of the people working on it were also responsible for many of the Go Nagai shows almost 15 years earlier.
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Custom Apex



Joined: 30 Jun 2019
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:55 pm Reply with quote
I just saw a few episodes today and they were pretty good. I don't know why this article has the word "Psychadelic" in it.
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Zeino



Joined: 19 May 2017
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:47 pm Reply with quote
Saint Seiya is a good series for it's time but man, can it get repetitive in a way that the likes of Dragon Ball and JoJo never did. Prepare for alot of Saori/Athena getting kidnapped and needing to be rescued over and over again in up coming arcs.
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Márcio Voltz Jardim



Joined: 19 Dec 2018
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:04 pm Reply with quote
my favorite show ever
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SAG4



Joined: 22 Jun 2018
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:22 pm Reply with quote
The tournament is designed to make the Sanctuary's evil come to light. The goal of the victors would be to defeat the Sanctuary ruled by its master. But this detail was left out of the anime.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm Reply with quote
The definitive endorsement of Saint Seiya, in my book, remains editor Shaenon Garrity's 2006 blog post gushing about the manga, released here in the States as Knights of the Zodiac:

Quote:
"It's pure. It's the most manga manga I have ever read. A rocking metal guitar riff plays in my head every time I read it. I had to invent a new word to describe the feeling each page stirs in me, and that word is RAD-TASTIC."

"Virtually every manga in Shonen Jump today is pretty much like Knights of the Zodiac. That is, they're like Knights of the Zodiac, only wussier."

"Knights of the Zodiac has never been censored. Most of the potentially controversial material involves gruesome violence rather than nudity, which makes it okay in America. Also, if you tried to censor Knights of the Zodiac, it would punch you in the face and then explode."

"Each volume is more outlandishly over the top than the one before. This series simply does not stop getting better. Every time you think you've seen the insanest thing you're going to see, something two million times insaner pulls up to the curb. A masked woman in armor getting dunked into the sea while tied upside-down to a cross is barely worth pausing to comment on."

"Nothing that happens in Knights of the Zodiac makes a lick of sense. Or rather, it has its own logic, a logic not directly connected to our reality. It's a kid logic, and in fact the series reads very much like it was scooped directly from the brain of a ten-year-old boy and schlopped down onto the page."

"I know I'm likely to get pilloried for this, but it reminds me of the work of Jack Kirby, after he snapped his editorial restriants and went completely batshit drawing stuff for DC. Kurumada's art isn't as good as Kirby's, but the point of Kirby was never the art, anyway; it was the feverish invocation of a sprawling, larger-than-life reality that could only ever exist in comic books. Kurumada's got that going on. And he's equally insane. When Kirby lets fly with the giant screeching man-bats, Kurumada tosses up a serene flautist casually beheading a guy with one hand."


It sounds like that sincerity and enthusiasm is a lot of why the classic show worked better for at least Micchy than the Netflix version, along with the stronger aesthetics and possibly improved pacing.

Lord Geo wrote:
That's because Masami Kurumada didn't know what the series would be like at the start. He admitted in the Author's Note in the first volume of the manga that he made Saint Seiya precisely to please mainstream audiences, since they shunned his previous series, Otoko Zaka, which was meant to be his magnum opus.

Yeah, Saint Seiya was essentially Kurumada getting vengeance on Japanese Shonen Jump readers by making something they had no choice but to love. That's brilliant.


The whole saga of his career up to then is honestly fascinating to me.

According to Comic Vine, this was the table of contents for Jump #414, released on January 10, 1977, premiering Kurumada's Ring ni Kakero:

Quote:
Ring ni Kakero Ch. 1
Circuit no Ōkami Ch. 101
Play Ball Ch. 155
Kochikame Ch. 13
Tōdai Icchokusen Ch. 26
Akutare Kyojin Ch. 48
U.F.O. Kari Ch. 2
Doberman Deka Ch. 68
1•2 no Ahho!! Ch. 61
Yon-chome no Kaijin-kun Ch. 20
Neppu no Tora Ch. 27
Toilet Hakase Ch. 307
Hokuto no Kishi Ch. 13


And here's the ToC for #890, from January 1, 1986, sharing only Kochikame in common with the 1977 list:

Quote:
Saint Seiya Ch. 1
Hokuto no Ken Ch. 113
Dragon Ball Chapter 53 - Kuraimakkusu
Kinnikuman Ch. 321
Chōkidōin Vander Ch. 2
High School! Kimengumi Ch. 186
Love & Fire Ch. 3
Captain Tsubasa Ch. 237
Sakigake!! Otokojuku Ch. 32
Tsuide ni Tonchinkan Ch. 40
Kochikame Ch. 464
City Hunter Ch. 41
Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin Ch. 104
Kimagure Orange Road Ch. 89
Road Runner Ch. 13
Shape Up Ran Ch. 128


Jump changed a ton in those nine years. First Kurumada himself gets the ball rolling by infusing some Astro Kyudan into his Ashita no Joe homage, pushing Jump's circulation above 3 million and revolutionizing battle manga in the process. Then other manga push the envelope even further -- Kinnikuman, Captain Tsubasa, and then Fist of the North Star abandoning the sports framework altogether. Hell, even the author of Jump's most popular gag manga ever had gone with a fantastical martial-arts adventure story for his next series, instead of sticking to his guns.

And the thing that really impresses me? After Kurumada spent so long in the headspace of Otoko Ippiki Gaki Daisho -- a relatively grounded late-'60s, early-'70s manga -- while he was planning and finally writing Otoko Zaka, which flopped because it was such a throwback and Jump had advanced beyond even the innovations of Ring ni Kakero... he jumped right ahead to the cutting edge, going further than ever along the trail he'd blazed and easily keeping up with the new leaders of the pack. (Granted, Yudetamago and Buronson and Toriyama had been his colleagues since the RnK days, but still, they'd been keeping current and he hadn't.)

He got the tastes of 1986 readers, different as they were to what he was used to catering to. That really is a remarkable feat -- look at how much Kishimoto's been struggling to appeal to 2019 readers with Samurai 8, despite having made the second-most-popular manga of the 2000s. And yet Kurumada bounced back from the biggest disappointment of his career by striking a perfect chord with the readers and anime-watchers of the late 1980s, to the point that for a while Saint Seiya was more popular than Dragon Ball.

For that matter, if it weren't for Saint Seiya, we might never have had Dragon Ball Z:

DB editor Kazuhiko Torishima wrote:
“Even though we tried to make the Dragon Ball anime better than Dr. Slump's, the ratings still went gradually down. We then tried to figure out why that was happening, why the series wasn't doing well. One thing we discovered was that the producer for the Dragon Ball anime was the same as on Dr. Slump. As he had an image of Toriyama's manga as being something cute and funny, which meant his style of Dragon Ball became too similar to Dr. Slump. This meant he was missing the more serious tone we had developed in the Dragon Ball manga. For instance, when I saw the scene in the anime where Goku pierces Piccolo I realized I couldn't work with this producer.

“So I talked with the studio and asked to have the producer changed. This was something that had never happened before, as it was an entirely different company.

“Around the same time, Saint Seiya was a very popular anime. This was interesting because the Saint Seiya manga was rather average but the anime by comparison was a lot better. So I wanted to know why the Saint Seiya anime was doing so well and we did some research on that. We found that there were two key figures. The first was Kouzou Morishita, who was the director, and the second was Takao Koyama, who wrote the script. So I visited these two guys and asked them if they'd help me reboot Dragon Ball and they both agreed.


(I suspect it was a major influence on Sailor Moon, too, but I don't know any solid sources for that.)

Luckily, the saga has had a happy ending -- in 2014, Kurumada finally got to return to his true love Otoko Zaka, serializing it online. He's since added to the original three-volume run with an extra four. Hopefully, he'll one day be able to properly conclude the story he's always wanted to tell.

SAG4 wrote:
The tournament is designed to make the Sanctuary's evil come to light. The goal of the victors would be to defeat the Sanctuary ruled by its master. But this detail was left out of the anime.


True, but I don't think the beginning of the manga foreshadows that at all, so it reads strongly like that was a reason made up after the fact. Most likely, it just had a tournament because Kurumada knew that's what the Kinnikuman crowd liked, and he came up with a way to reconcile it with the earlier dialogue later.
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Mewzard



Joined: 30 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:44 pm Reply with quote
Zeino wrote:
Saint Seiya is a good series for it's time but man, can it get repetitive in a way that the likes of Dragon Ball and JoJo never did. Prepare for alot of Saori/Athena getting kidnapped and needing to be rescued over and over again in up coming arcs.


It is worth noting that this happens far less often in the manga than it did in the anime (I mean, still happened a bit more than I'd like in the manga, but half of the times it happened, it was usually because Athena had some sort of goal involved, be it spoiler[buying time for the Earth to stop Poseidon's flood so the Saints could resolve events before more deaths occurred, and later letting Hades take her to the depths of Elyseum at the end so his guard would be so lowered, he would return to his true divine body, so Athena could kill him permanently.]).

It's a fantastic ride to be sure. I prefer the manga personally because of the story, the designs, the visuals on some of the attacks, and the mythological imagery. That said, the things the anime created, the music and the voice acting? Both are top tier, some of the finest Toei's ever had. And while I don't like a lot of the anime's designs, it could hit some amazing animation at times.

Shay Guy wrote:
True, but I don't think the beginning of the manga foreshadows that at all, so it reads strongly like that was a reason made up after the fact. Most likely, it just had a tournament because Kurumada knew that's what the Kinnikuman crowd liked, and he came up with a way to reconcile it with the earlier dialogue later.


I mean, probably, but the fact that Sanctuary's rules on personal battles was established before we learned about the tournament, and Hyoga being sent by Sanctuary to deal with the traitors as an assassin...only to realize there had to be some bigger reason for all this seems like he was at least playing with some ideas.
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