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Home MANGA We Don’t Need Hollywood Saint Seiya

We Don’t Need Hollywood Saint Seiya


Hollywood’s Saint Seiya film could be the revival the franchise has been searching for, but it could also be its downfall if not handled carefully.

Masami Kurumada’s Saint Seiya has maintained its position as an anime classic for over 30 years. Its ability to evolve undoubtedly contributes to its longevity, as the franchise has morphed to fit trends by producing fresh spinoffs and shiny CG adaptations. It also continues to push boundaries with its cast of magical boys and feminine men, giving it a unique and modern edge when it comes to shonen titles.

A recent casting announcement for Hollywood’s upcoming live-action film Knights of the Zodiac has reignited conversation about the series and live-action adaptations in general. Everyone seems nervous about the adaptation for a slew of valid reasons (see: Dragonball Evolution and Netflix’s Death Note). However, while some fans already consider the film a failure, others are excited to see such a beloved series brought to life, or at least hopeful that it may be a solid adaptation.

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One thing that has fans shaking their heads is the severe lack of Japanese actors signed onto the film, but they shouldn’t write the movie off too soon for this. Saint Seiya has always addressed issues of race, especially through its Greek and mixed-raced characters, so this could actually be a great chance for the filmmakers to create depth and add commentary. Of course, casting should be relatively faithful in order to avoid whitewashing, but the context surrounding this series in particular does allow for some leeway. Moreover, a clear glimmer of hope for the film likes in Tomasz Baginski at the helm, whose work on The Witcher is impressive. Fans can therefore expect potentially great things with him as the director of Knights of the Zodiac.

It’s also unrealistic to expect an exact one-to-one remake of the anime, as the people working on the film are artists just as much as Kurumada. It may be a challenge to recreate the more over-the-top elements that make Saint Seiya a ‘magical boy’ anime, but the series has always been about more than just fights and epic powers. With great writing and characters, Knights of the Zodiac could be a fine addition to the franchise — and since revision is a critical part of the creative process, it could be said that fans should be open-minded when it comes to adaptations in more general terms.

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But why is Hollywood so obsessed with snatching up foreign franchises to begin with? Critics have begun questioning why it seems impossible for the industry to create anything original these days. Still, it goes without saying that Hollywood is the global industry standard for film and television, and “making it” in Hollywood is the epitome of success. If Knights of the Zodiac succeeds, both Hollywood and the Saint Seiya franchise will benefit greatly, as Hollywood will have captured a massive dedicated fanbase, with the shonen title reaffirming and emphasizing its legitimacy as a major pop culture force.

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to judge the film before it’s released. While Hollywood may not have the best track record when it comes to live-action anime films, we can still hope that the talented creators behind Knights of the Zodiac will do the series justice and provide fans with a satisfying adaptation.

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