Nowadays, thanks to platforms like TikTok and Instagram, horoscopes have become very popular. When you talk to a millennial or a Gen Z individual, one of the first questions they ask is about your zodiac sign. But back when I was a child, things were quite different: if someone asked you that as a kid, they were actually referring to your favorite Saint Seiya character.
The 90s were one of the happiest times to grow up in Spain, and I can personally testify to that, as well as the television of that era. It was common to see anime on our screens back then—oh, how we’ve missed it—Dragon Ball, Captain Tsubasa (Oliver and Benji), and Sailor Moon were part of our daily programming. Among them, there was one series that stood out for its blend of extravagance and shonen action: Saint Seiya (Knights of the Zodiac).
During a certain period, Saint Seiya was seen as one of the most popular series worldwide, and it achieved such success that the story of Pegasus transcended beyond that and its mythology expanded through spin-off series, movies, OVAs, and even expensive collectible figures. There’s no doubt that Knights of the Zodiac has left its mark on several generations, and to realize its success, one only needs to look at the live-action film that is about to be released.
Headed by Tomasz Bagiński, director of several animated short films and an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Short Film for The Cathedral (Katedra), the film is a US production by Sony, supported by Toei Animation, the Japanese studio that holds the rights to the manga.
The film boasts a substantial budget of $60 million and was released on April 28 in Japan… with, let’s say, not very positive reviews. Now, it arrives in our country aiming to conquer the followers of the original manga and anime, but it doesn’t seem likely to succeed, just like Dragonball Evolution did not. Nevertheless, it makes sense to make a live-action adaptation of Saint Seiya, just like Netflix is doing with One Piece. And the main reason for that is simple: it has a legion of fans worldwide.
A mythology created to perfection
The manga series of Saint Seiya was created by Masami Kurumada for the magazine Shūkan Shōnen Jump in 1986, and it quickly became a hit in Japan. The story follows the adventures of a group of young warriors who fight to protect the goddess Athena and defend Earth against the forces of evil. With an epic narrative, memorable characters, and a distinctive art style, Saint Seiya quickly attracted a large number of followers.
It didn’t take long for Saint Seiya to cross the borders of Japan and become an international phenomenon. In the 1990s, the anime based on the manga began airing in different countries, including Spain, where it was known as Los Caballeros del Zodiaco. The television series became an instant success and captured the imagination of young viewers with its thrilling combination of action, friendship, and sacrifice.
The key to the success of Saint Seiya lies in its ability to connect with the audience on an emotional level. The main characters, known as the Bronze Saints, embody universal values of courage, loyalty, and friendship. Each of them has a unique personality and deep motivations, allowing viewers to relate to them and form an emotional bond with the story.
The aesthetics of Saint Seiya also contributed to its global appeal. The character designs, with their armor inspired by the constellations of the Zodiac, were visually stunning and stood out among other anime of the time. Furthermore, the combination of thrilling action, poignant moments, and an epic soundtrack created a cinematic experience that transcended cultural and linguistic barriers.
Despite the original Saint Seiya anime concluding in the 1990s, its impact remains relevant today. The series’ legacy has stayed alive through various sequels, spin-offs, movies, and adaptations in other forms of media such as video games and comics. This has allowed new generations of fans to discover the story of the Knights of the Zodiac and immerse themselves in its fascinating universe.
Furthermore, the influence of Saint Seiya extends beyond the world of anime and manga. Many artists and content creators have continued to be inspired by Saint Seiya, and its aesthetics and themes have left a mark on the entertainment industry as a whole. Even in Western popular culture, references and tributes to the series have been made in TV shows, movies, and even music.
It is, therefore, one of the most important anime series in history, and that is why it sometimes falls into ill-fated projects like the upcoming live-action adaptation. Nevertheless, nothing can take away the original series and everything it has generated. Because we will always have the iconic phrase, “Give me your strength, Pegasus!”
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