OH GOSH. The new Saint Seiya Netflix remake is seriously …
I rarely review Anime series, but this will be an exception because it’s Saint Seiya.
Masami Kurumada’s Saint Seiya. The very first Japanese Manga series that I read in the 80s. My absolute favourite Manga series then and the one that established my lifelong love for Manga, Anime, and all things otaku.
To share a little more, I’ve since grown out of the whole Shounen fight-and-save-the-world trope, though this doesn’t mean I no longer love Kurumada’s masterpiece.
It has also NOT been an enjoyable ride for me in recent years. As thrilled as I was when the Hades Arc was finally made into an Anime series, none of the subsequent attempts to revive the franchise thrilled me.
Either the art style was too different or the story was way too derivative. (Or worse, too contradictory to canon) Coming back to this new Netflix remake, oh dear, where do I even begin? My mind is still in a galaxian mess and so I’m going to go the easier route. I’ll just list down in point forms what I was fine with, and what I absolutely hated.
1. The CGI Art Style
There’s a lot of hate regarding this but you know what, I’m actually quite fine with it. (Although this might be because of my fondness and work with DAZ3D products)
Just to be clear, I don’t deny the CGI animation is, at times, clunky. Limitations in rendering technology probably also forced the producers to remove one of the most thrilling elements of the original work I.E. the shattering of cloths to bits.
What I’m saying is, overall, I’m not thrilled. But I don’t have any major complaints with the CGI artstyle of this Netflix remake either.
What I hated most about this remake. What I found to be the most inexplicable too.
Why all the new names? A slew of westernized ones that follow no coherent convention, no matter how I look at it.
I understand this might have been a move to promote Saint Seiya to new international viewers. I can also see the necessity for some renaming because of the changes involving Mitsumasa Kido. (Some of the original terms just don’t translate well to English too, such as “cloth”)
But Hyoga to Magnus? Is our icy guy now American?
Seika to Patricia, while Seiya remains Seiya and uses the Ryu Sei Ken. Are they now of mixed parentage?
Tatsumi to Mylock, when he still uses a katana?
Let me put it this way, the changes are inexplicable to me because they make absolutely no commercial sense. The main characters are globally known as Shiryu, Hyoga, Shun, etc. Even Wikipedia lists them that way. So what’s the objective here? To introduce an alternate line of story and merchandising? To establish a new franchise entirely?
It’s like renaming Iron Man as Ferrite Dude.
I need a lot of cosmo to figure this one out.
* One change that DOES make sense to me, however, is Shiryu. Being Chinese and having trained in China, he would informally be called “Long.” He would, by habit, also use the Chinese names of his techniques, instead of the Japanese ones. Strange, though, that Libra Dokho is not renamed as Libra Tong Hu.
3. The Voiceover
Like the CGI animation, I’m fine with this too.
It’s not exemplary but it does give a little more personality to the heroes.
Let’s face it, the original Saint Seiya Anime series was rather … straightforward when it comes to characterisation. Everybody was uniformly heroic, or self-sacrificing, or wicked, and so on.
Magnus, I mean Hyoga, being sassy is … refreshing. Seiya speaking like an American kid, well, that’s odd but nonetheless something new. Too bad Saori is still rather cold and aloof. (Never did like her, sorry)
4. Pegasus Fantasy
My second biggest gripe about this Saint Seiya Netflix remake. The new title song.
Hold it in your heart,
Cosmo is a part of you,
Burning hard, gonna flow,
Don’t you stop it, LET IT GO! (Cue for Aurora Execution)
I’m sorry. To me, the lyrics are just … 80s Sunday morning cartoon. Outside of that, again it makes no sense. Why change the song name to Pegasus Seiya when the original song name is in English? When “Pegasus Fantasy” is so well known too.
You know, I get the feeling Netflix is trying to establish some sort of entirely new continuity here. But frankly, I think this is going to flop. Big time.
PS: My Electone score for Pegasus Fantasy here!
5. The Techniques
Dazzling “ultimate” techniques was a huge attraction of the original Manga/Anime. (Galaxian Explosion! Starlight Extinction! Lightning Plasma!!!!) Sadly, while Netflix’s remake is graphically faithful, somehow, the exuberance is lacking.
Maybe the animations are too fast. Or maybe 2D simplicity is simply superior in feel and exhilaration when compared to 3D renditions. (I.E. your eyes can pick up more things in those few seconds)
And oh, what I mentioned above – the shattering of cloth/armor. To give an example, in the original works, Shun’s real power really comes across in the first arc when HE effortlessly decimated Jabu’s cloth. Now, Jabu just, drops dead. The difference in feel is glaring.
6. WTF?!?!?! Andromeda Shun is now, gasp, a GIRL!
Okay, I’ve come to the elephant in the room. The Godzilla in the room! To put it mildly.
Andromeda Shun sex-changed into a GIRL! Saint Seiya Netflix Shun is a girl!
Oceans of hate for this since announcement. Fan fury so intense Hades himself would cringe.
But you know what, I actually didn’t mind this change.
I’m serious. And nope, I’m not trying to stir controversy. I don’t mind Shun being a girl because I’ve always thought of him as female. In fact, when reading the Manga in the 80s, I refused to believe Shun was male. Till I heard “his” voice in the Anime.
Of course, you can say I’m missing the point here. What Shun originally represented and the underlying message about toxic masculinity, and all that.
But come on, the message is still there, isn’t it? “She” did still effortlessly thrash abrasive Jabu.
As for the original Shun being an emblem of gender equality, etc, well, did that truly happen or was it purely a fan thing? Forgive me for saying this, I’ve supported gender equality my whole life but never once did I looked at Andromeda Shun that way.
I’ll add that my worldview about gender equality was never influenced by Shun too. Favourite Manga series in the past it might have been for me, end of the day, it’s but a fantasy story.
In other words, I don’t look to it to shape my world-views. Frankly, I don’t think anyone should too.