Original Title: Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac
Story by: Eugene Son (Based on Masami Kuramada)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation
Language: Japanese, English
Netflix’s Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya released in 2019 has a story by Eugene Son based on Masami Kurumada’s Saint Seiya of the ’80s, with several tweaks. It tells the saga of a group of Bronze Knights with the mission of protecting the Greek goddess Athena.
Hello, there! I’m dos Santos, and this is Ulven Reviews, with Movies and series from all over the world and all eras. Today’s review is of Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya.
I’ll use the name of the characters of the Japanese version because those are the names I grew up with. Also, I won’t mention the voice actors’ names because each language has its own dubbing, and therefore, its own voice actors.
The series begins with the traditional narration, telling us about Greek Goddess Athena and her Knights, who protected the earth and humanity from the Gods Poseidon, and Hades, since the ancient times.
But our story starts with a young Seiya, sleeping with his sister Seika when an army invades their room and tries to kidnap her because she can use the Cosmos. The gold knight Leo Aiolia saves the children, but takes Seika anyway, leaving Seiya alone in the orphanage.
In the early teenage years, Seiya is discovered by Mitsumasa Kido, who tells the story of the moribund Sagittarius Aiolos, with baby Athena (reincarnated) in his arms. Mitsumasa raised the girl as his granddaughter, Saori Kido.
Seiya is then sent to an island to be trained by the Silver Knight Aquila Marin. In this island, he learns the secrets of the cosmos and fights Cassios for the Pegasus Bronze Armor (I don’t remember if they call it armor or cloth).
In possession of the Pegasus Armor, the teenager goes to a tournament organized by Saori. There he meets other Bronze Knights, like Dragon Shiryu, Cygnus Hyoga, and Andromeda Shun, who is a girl in this new series, so she is a Dame, I guess (?!).
In the middle of the tournament, a powerful enemy presents himself and steals the prize of it: The Sagittarius Gold Armor. So the Bronze Knights must fight to recover it.
The second season has the same amount of episodes, six. After the ordeal with the stolen Sagittarius Cloth, a new threat appears. The Silver Knights, sent by the Sanctuary in Greece to recover the Gold Armor and kill the Bronze Knights, treated as traitors.
Saint Seiya is one of my favorite things since I was around four-years-old. As a grown-ass-man, I watched and re-watched the original series, movies, and the new series (Lost Canvas and Omega). Also, I bought every Gold Saint action figure I could find and afford.
However, I’m not those fans that follow news and shit, and only became aware of the new series when I was watching the first season of After Life and Netflix suggested this Saint Seiya to me.
I’m relaxed and open about changes, reboots and remakes, so I don’t get salty about it, neither adopt a blind defensive position. In the case of this show, there are both positive and negative, and we’ll talk about both.
First, there was the Manga. The adaptation from Manga to Anime already had some changes, most of them making it more friendly to a younger audience. Now, from the original animation to the new show, the logic was the same, and the changes were aimed at an even younger audience. This version is significantly softer and with more humor.
The first season was better than the second one. It had that nice feeling of an adventure starting and every little component related to it. Also, I saw potential in the seasons to come.
The second season was not as good as the first. The pace was faster, but it ended up feeling away too rushed. My biggest frustration with the second season was this rush while wasting time with the Vander Graad subplot that I’ll talk about in a bit.
So, to sum up, the first is the setting up and hope, while the second is a disappointing development that led to the next season. I believe the third will be amazing, but the reasons for this opinion would include spoilers, so I won’t say them.
Now, the changes. I’ll begin with the most significant changes, that are also the negative points but stay with me, the positive will come eventually.
In the original, the Sanctuary didn’t know Saori was Athena, they thought she was an impostor. In the new one, they know who she is, but want to kill her because of some prophecy that says she’ll destroy the world. I think this change is unnecessary, and made the story worst than the original in this specific matter.
Another crucial change was the addition of paramilitary villain Vander Graad, who wants to save the world from the gods using technology. He doesn’t add anything at all to the series, and the show would be better if he was completely wiped off.
A changed I liked was Shun as a girl, it doesn’t change anything for the character, especially since they ditched the obligation of wearing a mask for women. Andromeda was a Princess, the armor/cloth has a feminine design since the anime, and even has tits, so it makes sense to have a girl with this armor.
There are some other minor changes, but nothing too fundamental or controversial that I remember.
The series is set in more current times than the original, and they implemented little details that make a difference. For example, the show has smartphones, and even Seiya’s shoes are more modern. In the original, he wore something similar to a Red Converse All-Star, while now, he wears newer Air-Jordan-like sneakers.
Since we’re talking about the characters’ wardrobes, their clothes are very faithful to the original design. There are some little adjustments here and there, but the one that changed the most was Shun’s, who got a more feminine attire.
Now I’ll talk about the cinematography, but I’ll use the same terms I use when talking about non-animation films and series. I don’t know if I’m being accurate, but it’s the only way I’m familiar with.
In general, the cinematography is pretty good. The framing is always excellent, competent lighting, colors, the movement of the camera, and the dynamic of some shots to imply movement. My favorite thing is the shine of the Cosmos, especially the one of the Gold Knights.
I liked the animation style. It slightly reminded me of the one in the Clone Wars, for example, Mitsumasa Kido, had a resemblance with Clone Wars’ Count Dooku, with more smooth features. However the style was very derivative of the ’80s Anime, especially the appearance of the leading characters.
The show is visually good-looking, but it’s not as breathtaking as some other animations, like Moana, for example, that I absolutely loved the appearance.
The score is generic, not noteworthy at all. The only thing that makes it noticeable is because it’s inevitable to compare to the marvelous original one, composed by Seiji Yokoyama.
Even though I love the original show, I always felt it was dated and desperately needed a remake, then came this one. It’s not perfect, but it’s what we have for now. I’ll give the first two seasons of Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya 8 Moons.
That’s it for now. Don’t forget to be supportive of the projects you believe in. Bye!