Saint Seiya

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Name: Saint Seiya, 聖闘士星矢, Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac, Knights of the Zodiac
Creator: Kurumada Masami
Date(s): 1986 - 1990 (original manga)
1986 - 1989 (original anime)
2002 Saint Seiya Gigantomachia
2002 - 2003 Saint Seiya Hades Chapter: Sanctuary
2005 - 2007 Saint Seiya Hades Chapter: Inferno
2015 Saint Seiya Soul of Gold
2006 - Ongoing - Saint Seiya Next Dimension
2012 - 2013 Saint Seiya Ω Chapter: Mars
2013 - 2014 Saint Seiya Ω Chapter: Palas
2006 - 2011 Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas
2011 - 2016 Saint Seiya The Lost Canvas Gaiden
2009 - 2011 Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas - OVAs
2007 - 2008 Saint Seiya Episode G Vol Zero: Aioros
2002 - 2013 Saint Seiya Episode G
2014 - 2019 Saint Seiya Episodio G Assassin
2013 - 2021 Saint Seiya Saintia Sho
2020 Saint Seiya: Meiō Iden - Dark Wing
2022 Saint Seiya Saintia Sho: Bangai-Hen
2019 - 2022 Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac
2022- Ongoing Saint Seiya: Rerise of Poseidon
Medium: manga, anime
Country of Origin: Japan
External Links:
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Saint Seiya is a popular 1986-1990 manga serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump. The manga is adapted into a 114 episode television series. It also has a manga sequel, called Saint Seiya: Next Dimension and several anime and manga spin-offs. It also inspired several films, videogames and OVAs.


The English Dub(s)

In English-speaking fandom, the Saint Seiya dub is among the most well-known examples of the reasons why some anime fans are so adamant about subbed anime versus dubbed anime. The show was first licensed by DiC Entertainment under the name Knights of the Zodiac. The original show is quite bloody, something that wasn't as acceptable for children in the US, so it was heavily censored with what the fandom has termed "blue blood."[1] The DiC dub is perhaps most famous for the fact that, for unknown reasons, the show removed the original opening and replaced it with Bowling for Soup's "I Ran."[2] This dub was produced at the same time as ADV's uncensored dub. However, Saint Seiya comes in at 114 episodes and ADV only ever released 60. The remaining episodes of the anime were simply unavailable in English for almost two decades until Netflix dubbed the entire show in 2019.


Outside of Japan, Saint Seiya is extremely popular in European and Latin American fannish communities. Countries like Brazil, France and Mexico have huge fanbases of devoted Saint Seiya fans, even for such an old franchise. This may make Saint Seiya the only example of an anime that's incredibly popular in both the European and Latin American market, but virtually unknown in the US due to the extremely poor marketing and heavily censored dub that most people were exposed to first. This is reflected in the fact that Saint Seiya is one of the few fandoms on AO3 that's primarily composed of fic in non-English languages. As of February 2022, out of 5229 works in the Saint Seiya tag on AO3, only 1508 have English listed as the work's language.[3] The true number of fics in English is even lower than than, as several of the older fics that show up are clearly mistagged and in a different language, and even then many of the English language fics are written by authors from other countries who are writing in English for various reasons.

In 2002, Toei Animation decides to pick up the canceled Saint Seiya anime project and animate the last arc of the manga. This is how after so many years, the Hades Chapter was released in OVA format, directly on DVD. In the West, the series' first opening theme (Chikyūgi) was not well received by some demographics, particularly male fans, who found the song's slow, melancholy melody "too girly" and "shojo-like", not in line with the fighting spirit of the previous openings which they considered more appropriate for a shounen series.

On late June 2022, it was announced that there would be a third season of Netflix's Knights of the Zodiac and that it would premiere on Crunchyroll. The 3D image remake "Knights of the Zodiac", which originally aired on Netflix, had caused controversy for, among other things, genderbend Andromeda Shun. The new season would encompass the Twelve Houses arc. In one of the first images released, fans noticed that the Pope's robes had been changed from black to white and that he was wearing short sleeves, leading to several fanarts [4] and memes. Fans were also struck by the size of the horns on Shura's helmet.[5] The appearance of Chameleon June, Shun's childhood friend (renamed Shaun as female), and her more prominent role in the series, made the ship in its yuri version gain popularity.

On July 23, 2022, the pitch for the next live-action movie was presented at the SDCC. That same day, the first fanart based on the film's actors was posted, by equuxSTAR[6].

On September 15 2022, the first chapter of "Saint Seiya: Rerise of Poseidon", a spin-off centered in Poseidon and his army, was published in the Champion Red magazine. The first fanart was posted a day later by SSMythClothEXP. Manga author Tsunakan Suda responded with a drawing to a fan comment that pointed out an anachronism in one of the cartoons, showing buildings in Shanghai that shouldn't even have existed in the early 1990s.[7]


As it is a series heavy on male characters, most of the ships are yaoi, to the point where on some fanfiction pages, authors feel compelled to specify "NOT YAOI" when writing a non-yaoi fanfic.

Some yaoi ships are:

Some het ships are:

Controversy & Criticism

Age-based gatekeeping

Many of the older straight male fans, particularly those who watched the series in the 1990s, often complain that new material does not capture "the essence" of the original Saint Seiya series. These fans also do not consider younger or newer members of the fandom to be "true fans," and often dismiss their opinions and preferences. It is not uncommon for these older fans to quiz newer fans in an attempt to determine their "fan status."

The premiere of the Saint Seiya live-action movie in 2023 served as an example of gatekeeping behavior. Many of the series' oldest fans criticized the movie for not preserving certain original details, such as the armor designs, and incorporating more updated designs with respect to the original times.The absence of some characters was also a point of contention. These fans attacked those who were looking forward to the film, accusing them of consuming products that do not have the "essence of Saint Seiya" and of not truly understanding it since they did not watch it on television when they were children.

Misogyny-based gatekeeping

Gatekeeping also often manifests in the form of gender discrimination. Straight male fans in the Saint Seiya fandom often belittle and exclude female fans and assume they do not have the same level of knowledge or appreciation for the series.

Moreover, they tend to dictate what counts as "true content" and what doesn't. News, character analysis, theories, gen fanart drawn in Shingo Araki's style, and epic fanfiction are deemed as "true content," while original characters (OCs), yaoi art, and headcanons are not. [8] Straight male fans predominantly occupy Facebook groups,[9] while female and queer fans tend to congregate on Twitter. Female fans frequently report being quizzed by male fans to prove their "true fan" status.[10]

In December 2022, the discussion resurfaced when "Grupo Next Dimension," an information and news account, claimed that the majority of fans were male since their YouTube channel's statistics showed that 85% of their followers were male. When someone pointed out that these stats were not representative of the fandom as a whole, the admin started mansplaining and said that implying that women don't follow news and are only interested in yaoi is underestimating them.[11]

Men that believe that female fans in the StS fandom don't count have that awful prejudice because not a single woman wants to speak to a bunch of rancid misogynistic old dudes. I've been in the fandom for at least 12 years and I've made countless projects with my friends, we've even met in real life to discuss the lore and we meet as often as we can. If you think that being a "content creator" means posting podcasts on YT only, without taking into account that the fandom is an exponential factor for the development of various arts and abilities, well then, these people not only ignore us women in the fandom but also any other type of art that doesn't consist of giving your bullshit and sexist opinions on YT.[12]

By IzStardust (Original Tweet in Spanish)

"I can't believe there are women in the saint seiya fandom who make content" it's not our fault they think only those who make yt podcasts matter 🕴 And don't forget that sts is one of those shonen whose female fanbase has an important role in maintaining their fandom 😳 Many times we either lose critical weight or receive less support if we make content that "doesn't cater to male otakus". I have female mutuals who could spend hours in sts debates and they accuse them of being whiny and obnoxious. Mutuals that make art content and that only receive male support if it is something "kurumada-style" or directly straight ships and with this I am not saying that those are bad things, I am just saying that before stating that there are no women in the fandom, they should accept that there are, but that they don't count for them. I'm sorry if it sounds like I am looking for trouble but there is nothing that annoys me more than that phrase that denies our existence when we are present, but we are ignored if we do not follow the established norm 🤧[13]

by Eufonia (original Tweet in Spanish)

If you can't admit that women MOVE the Saint Seiya fandom forward then you're an idiot, most of the guys got stuck in the 90's anime, girls are constantly generating content, by the way the official page of SS Argentina is ran by a woman, most of the fanartists and fanfic writers are women, of all the spin offs only one was made by a man, that is what the fandom is, not the idiot who is in a facebook group and who gives a like to the "NO ONE WANTS TO BE PISCES BECAUSE APHRODITE IS A FAGGOT" meme.[14]

By Lex (Original tweet in Spanish)

Saga or Shaka: Who is the strongest one?

This is probably one of the oldest fandom dramas from the Sts fandom. Fans joke about it being a neverending topic and it has turned heated more than once. In the Spanish fandom they call them "Saguistas" and "Shakistas".

Examples of comments in Saga's defence:

This discussion came up so many times. As many times as a new character is presented as said to be as powerful as the gods/or closer to them/or most powerful saint and stuff like that. At some point Kurumada stated on a Q&A that Saga was the most powerful gold saint but, only from his generation. Kurumada said that he wouldn’t have defeated Shion... had Shion been younger, of course, and at least not that easily. Why the Athena exclamation was used? This had been theorized a lot. I would agree that it had been all part of a plan to show how ‘loyal’ Saga, Cadmus and Shura were to Hades by using a banned skill. Was it necessary against Shaka? Maybe, maybe not. But it would look like the best opportunity to use it.[15]

It's also important to note that they weren't wearing a gold cloth but just surplice imitation. You can see these surplice get broken very easily from attacks, but we have only ever seen the gold cloths damaged from a god's attack. Cloths have been shown to amplify cosmo. Not having the same level of cloth mean they are at a disadvantage. Also, from the nature of Shaka technique, his power from when he opens his eyes is from stored up cosmo and isn't a good representative of his real cosmo. Besides that, Saga, Shura and Camus never used their strong attacks (eg. Galaxian Explosion, Aurora Execution) on him.[16]

Already mentioned there, but Saga is the stronger of his generation, and Shion and Dohko are said to be even more powerful when they were in their prime. Btw Shaka has the most accumulated cosmo, so in technical ways, yeah, Shaka is the stronger at the moment he open his eyes.

But if other gold saints accumulated cosmo like Shaka, by meditating for years, they would be as strong and some even more powerful than him. And obviously, wanting it or not, the five bronze protagonists are the strongest of the franchise.[17]

Examples of comments in Shaka's defence:

The classic manga shows that Shaka is stronger than Saga.

Saga only fights a Seiya very weakened by the battles with the Gold Saints (Aiolia fights with a Seiya with less damage). Saga can't take down Seiya (very hurt) and Shaka can take down Seiya (with better armor, better control of the cosmos and kamikaze mode) with one finger.

Ikki without its maximum cosmos and miracle mode.

Fighting with a Bronze Saints that is weakened, hurt, without maximum cosmos and miracle mode is not impressive, even Charon almost kills Seiya in his second fight or Pharaoh easily defeats Seiya and Shun.

Shaka defeats Saga, Camus and Shura in a fight, and Saga needs the Athena Exclamation to surpass the cosmos of Shaka and destroy the Tenbu Horin. Shaka reaches and dominates the Eighth Sense, Saga never reaches the Eighth Sense.[18]

Knights of the Zodiac Live Action Film (2023)

In April 2023, the live action film adaptation of the franchise Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac was released, sparking a contentious debate within the fanbase. Some fans eagerly supported the film, while others vehemently despised it, leading to a heated discussion about the essence of the franchise and about who are "real fans" and who aren't. The supporters accused the detractors of hindering the success of the franchise with their negativity, while the critics accused the supporters of blindly consuming low-quality content produced by TOEI Animation. The debate also touched on the challenges faced by the franchise in gaining popularity among English-speaking audiences, with some fans from other parts of the world criticising the overly passionate and intense attitude of the Latin American fanbase.[19]

Despite multiple attempts, the franchise has struggled to gain a foothold in the US market, leading some US fans to express skepticism about the film's potential success and why the franchise will never make it in the US if it hasn't done it already.[20]




Fan Films





Events and Challenges

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