Saint SeiyaWhere The Knights of the Zodiac, tells the story of five fighters, Seiya, Shiryu, Yoga, Shun and Ikki, chosen to protect the reincarnation of the goddess Athena in the person of Saori. All have armor representing a figure of the zodiac and of great inner strength, their cosmos.
Since the dawn of time, the gods of Olympus have been fighting for control of the Earth. Facing them stands the goddess Athena, helped by her knights. As a new adversary enters the scene, the very future of the Knights is in jeopardy. Ikki, the bronze knight of the Phoenix, will he be able to untie the threads of fate?
This is the character that Jérôme Alquié likes the most. “As we bounced off the fact that this was his rebirth against the Silver Knights, it was obvious that it was him.” If the designer loves this character so much, “It’s for his bad boy side, the bad guy who turns nice, because he has a scar and it’s classy.” But if he likes Ikki so much, it’s mostly “for his weakness, the guilt he may feel in relation to Esmeralda. This guilt will allow him to be able to recognize that he has made mistakes but that it is not by making others that he will be able to make up for it. So he’s going to do what’s right.” For Jérôme Alquié, “It echoes a lot of things from everyday life.”
Jérôme Alquié’s ambition is above all to explore the gray areas left by Masami Kurumada, while being perfectly respectful of the original work. “We couldn’t do a prequel because it’s already been done. So what was interesting was to add material within the classic work. I wanted to put a spotlight on the areas of shadow left by Masami Kurumada, as the master of the island of the Queen of Death.”
For his comic strip, Jérôme Alquié did not focus on a specific moment in the original story. He wanted “that we see a little all the armours”. Saint Seiya – Time Odyssey therefore explores several eras, in particular thanks to an antagonist capable of making jumps at different times in the story. The story begins after the Silver Knights story arc and just before the Pope decides to send the Golden Knights to Japan before the Battle of the Twelve Houses.
Masami Kurumada, author of Saint Seiya, supervised every stage of the comic, from the script and the storyboard. After a long moment of silence from Masami Kurumada, Jérôme Alquié and his co-screenwriter Arnaud Dollen begin to wonder “whether he reads or not” what they do.” Until the scene with the Death Mask where “There were a lot of remarks on the dialogues. The latter did not suit the idea that the author had of this character. They were hyper precise remarks. It had become so picky that we said to himself that in fact he was watching everything and that if there had been nothing before it was because it suited him. It gave us a lot of strength”explains Jérôme Alquié.
Start working on Saint Seiya is not easy and can quickly put pressure on you. Fans are known to be intransigent and regularly argue with each other over the interpretation of certain scenes. What give some cold sweats to Jérôme Alquié who has “took a year” before landing. “At the beginning, I was terribly afraid of the project, even if I was a motor. I had apprehension” vis-à-vis the fans, he admits. “I wondered if we’re going to have tomatoes, are people going to like it? Will it be both? Are people going to go wild.” All this pressure got her “forced to be hyper conscientious, to check that there was no inconsistency with the original manga.” Having Masami Kurumada’s proofreading and his approval reassured the designer and his co-writer a little. But even though, “the pressure is still there” so as not to disappoint the fans.
It is not necessary to know Saint Seiya to enjoy Jérôme Alquié’s comics. “That’s why the first pages of the beginning remind the context. For the fans, it helps to explain when it will start in the original work.”
Planned in five volumes, Saint Seiya – Time Odyssey should end “in 2025-2026.” Then, Jérôme Alquié does not yet know what he will do because he has other projects outside of comics such as posters, exhibitions, courses. If he had to readjust another license afterwards? “It would be Ulysses 31. I would love for Greek mythology, in particular.”
Saint Seiya – Time Odyssey, Jérôme Alquié (drawing, script, color) and Arnaud Dollen (script), Kana, 64 pages, 13.50 euros. (A collector’s edition, limited to 15,000 copies, will also be on sale. Price: 34.90 euros)
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“Saint Seiya – Time Odyssey”: the return of the Knights of the Zodiac in a French comic strip
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