Saint Seiya: The Knights of the Zodiac are back on DNA and it’s an event!

The cult animated series “Saint Seiya”, also known in France as “Knights of the Zodiac”, is coming to DNA from this Wednesday, April 27!

This week, many viewers will fall back into childhood, on the occasion of the arrival of the Saint Seiya anime on the specialized DNA platform! Much more than just a successful series, the adaptation of Masami Kurumada’s manga is considered a founding shônen of the 80s, whose influence still affects many series today.

The series was discovered by the French public in April 1988, under the French title: The Knights of the Zodiac. Quickly becoming one of Club Dorothée’s flagship series, the anime then captivated millions of young viewers, fascinated by these Bronze Knights ready to do anything to defend Saori, reincarnation of the goddess Athena, from the perils that threaten her.

“Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque was one of the most popular series during the decade of the presence of AB Production’s flagship program on TF1, and the importance and diversity of the goodies that landed with us testify to this vitality and of this undeniable love for Kurumada’s license in our country” underline for us the expert in Japanese animation Ludovic Gottigny, author of the two issues devoted by the specialized journal Otomo to the franchise Saint Seiya.

How to explain such a success? The reasons are of course many. First of all, the series was born when Japanese productions began to experience unprecedented enthusiasm among French audiences. Notably for their portrayal of pure-hearted heroes, fighting merciless battles at the risk of their own lives to triumph over the forces of evil. The shônen spirit was then to take root definitively in the collective imagination of young viewers of the time.

Before the anime series saw the light of day, the manga Saint Seiya had already had great success with Japanese readers (published in 1986 in his country of origin, the manga not having been published in France until 1997 by the publisher Kana). It must be said that the mangaka Masami Kurumada, marked by several consecutive failures, designed Saint Seiya only for one purpose: to become a success with readers. A bet won hands down, as Ludovic Gottigny explains to us:

The animated adaptation was a huge success because it flowed directly from Kurumada’s plan of attack, which saw the license as the ultimate realization of the Mediamix theory (transposition of a license on different media of a different nature with a successful equal). The popularity of the anime, produced very quickly after the start of the manga, combined with the deployment of many massively and particularly well-marketed derivative products created a virtuous circle of positive fallout for Saint Seiya in the broad sense, going so far as to allow the manga original to last longer.

Toei Animation Company

Fantasy Pegasus

The enthusiasm met by the animated adaptation of Saint Seiya can also be explained by the work provided by a veritable dream-team of talents from Japanese animation: the combined efforts of producer Yoshifumi Hatano, director Kôzô Morishita, chara-designer Michi Himeno or composer Seiji Yokoyama are most certainly the main reason for this success.

The music obviously played a key role in the popularity of the work. In addition to the soundtrack, the credits Fantasy Pegasus (performed by the Japanese metal band Make-Up) strongly marked the viewers of the time, and remains to this day considered one of the best anime theme songs of all time! In France, the French credits performed by Bernard Minet also enjoyed immense success! “It seemed to us that the soundtrack may be that key, because the music still works extremely well today.” specifies on this subject Julien Lemoine, administrator of the DNA platform.

Remained in the memories of all Club Dorothée faithful, the license Saint Seiya has however experienced difficulties in renewing itself over the years, unlike Dragon Ball, which has remained very popular thanks in particular to its new Dragon Ball Super series. “Saint Seiya Omega, which was supposed to rejuvenate the franchise, did not meet with success. Conversely, The Lost Canvas worked well. (…) We can therefore say that it is in a way cursed, but in no way that she is not transgenerational since all the children who discover her adore her! analyzes Julien Lemoine.

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Toei Animation Company

An observation shared, although somewhat nuanced, by Ludovic Gottigny: “While Saint Seiya is somewhat forgotten in Japan today, apart from early fans, its influence is actually found everywhere and its historical importance is indisputable. In France, Belgium, Spain, Italy , in Mexico or in Brazil, a large international community of lovers continues to maintain the flame, faithful to the ideals and values ​​of their series of hearts.

Landing for the first time on a French streaming platform, the anime Saint Seiya embarks on a double mission. Win back early fans, having grown up with the series during the heyday of Club Dorothée, but also address the new generation of anime fans, and face competition from recent successes, such as My Hero Academia and Demon Slayer.

A complicated bet in advance, but by no means impossible, especially for heroes for whom the word “give up” does not appear in the vocabulary! The first part of the animated series Saint Seiya (episodes 1 to 73) is available now exclusively on ADN; the second part (episodes 74 to 114) will be online from May 11!

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Saint Seiya: The Knights of the Zodiac are back on DNA and it’s an event!

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