icon_uk: (andromeda shun saint Seiya)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
So this week has already seen two rather different incidents in the world of long running manga and anime franchise, Saint Seiya. One good, the other... well, I'll get to that.


Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a long time Saint Seiya fan, it's one of my favorite anime, had amazing music, and has produced multiple lines of excellent action figures. It's also one of the first anime I read the whole manga for (even if I had to do it in French). It dates back to 1987 and so predates Sailor Moon (one suggestion is that SM was deliberately chosen for promotion as a Saint Seiya, but for girls) and the likes of YoRaiden Samurai Troopers (also known as Ronin Warriors)

It was massive in Japan, much of Europe and South America in the late 80's and into the 90's with various follow ups and re-versions appearing every few years, and a new spin off coming to anime in Japan in December (Saintia Sho, which I really do intend to do a post about sometime.

There was one less than succesful attempt to adapt the anime into English in the late 90's, but it came at the tail end of the anime boom at the time, and the dub was both uninspired, with them giving the emotionally repressed Cygnus Hyoga a surfer dude voice a stand-out. And as for the action figure line which didn't even make use of the core "transforming armou"r gimmick, well...

Still, it's the franchise that just won't quit!

As an example of this, the first news is that the anime of the female-led Saint Seiya spin-off "Saintia Sho" just aired!


The animation style is very close to classic Saint Seiya, which I know disappointed some who were looking forward to them adopting more of tha manga style. (and yes, I will post some of it soon, I promise!). The end theme is illustrated with images from the manga though, so you can see the difference.


The second news is a little more disappointing to me as a fan.

When Netflix announced they were remaking the series for 2019, I was optimistic, that this was a chance to introduce the series to a new US generation, and hopefully update a few of the unfortunate tropes that the series had (Much as the likes of the Voltron and She-Ra reboots have done).

Also, as the icon I used for this point might hint, I'm a huge fan of Shun, the Andromeda Saint, about whom I made a couple of posts about a few years ago, one about his origin, and the other about the range of his powers.

Shun is a male character in a team where the other members are all muscular, athletic young men who enjoy combat, but he stands out because despite his power being basically greater than any of the rest of the Saints, his basic nature is pacifistic, gentle and sensitive with a definitely androgynous appearance and armour which is both patterned after a specficially female constellation, and is bright pink. He will fight, but will make every effort to avoid a fight if he can,

So this is the trailer that's just been released;


So they did what I feared they would, and took the seemingly laziest method of adding some gender diversity to Saint Seiya, by making Andromeda Shun female (Under the new name “Shaun”, which is even more confusing to me, as Shaun is an exclusively male name in my experience).

Now, I was genuinely hoping at least one of the core five Bronze Saints would be genderflipped, because love the show though I do, it could do with some better female representation in the core cast. By the same token, I was also hoping that Shun would be left male if any of them were, precisely because the core character traits he displays (gentleness, pacifism, a sensitive nature, and open-ness with his emotions) are NOT ones associated with males in such series’ but are, alas, almost exclusively given to female characters, he was a mould breaker character and those aren't easy to find.

Give me a female Phoenix Ikki, with all their anger and rage making them dangerous as hell, or a female Shiryu, with all their dedication and focus on their skills to the exclusion of almost all else in their life, but a female Andromeda Shun seems like such a wasted opportunity.

Eugene Son, the new show's producer comments on Twitter haven’t really helped my mood here (which is "disappointed" rather than angry, because I don't want to be that sort of a fan, EVER), but you can read that for yourself.

I will also say from the outset that he has also been extremely professional and courteous towards those he knows will be upset/annoyed/angered by the change to a particularly beloved character, (which he acknowledges was contentious even at Toei) and might well be put off having anything to do with the new series, and I do respect his approach there.. even if I find his given reasons for the change to be debatable at best. (Not wanting to create a new female character to add to the cast, but then doing more or less exactly that by changing Shun that much? Not seemingly considering changing the gender of anyone else?)

Now, my Pollyana-ish streak is saying to give the new show a chance, maybe I will be blown away Shaun's character and development and whatever other changes they might make... but still, this just doesn’t feel like progress for 2019, this actually feels like reinforcing the most blatant gender stereotypes of old (Boys are all ardent warriors, girls are a gentle and pacifist). That's almost an achievement, in it’s own weird, disappointing way. (And if they're changing Shaun to remove the pacifist part, what on earth is the point of the character)

On the other hand, I do wonder if, by reacting like this, I'm falling down the same hole as fans of Doctor Who who believe (and some who clearly still believe) the Doctor shouldn't be female? Why shouldn't Shun be female after all?

I don't think I am, since the reasons that Shun was important as a male character were pretty much unique to his place in the Bronze Saints team, but it's something I might have to watch myself with, as I watch the show, which I will, because it's Saint Seiya and I'm weak.
 

Date: 2018-12-11 01:44 am (UTC)
cypherfdp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cypherfdp
Here's a question I've always had about this series that maybe you can answer, is it like a single universe with continuity between different Saint Seiya series, or is it loosely connected or not at all? Like, is Saintia Sho directly tied to previous entries?

Date: 2018-12-11 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] locuatico
You forgot Soul of Gold. which is canon to the anime, but not the manga, since it is basically a sequel of the "Asgard" filler arc.

Date: 2018-12-11 05:23 pm (UTC)
malurette: (ducky)
From: [personal profile] malurette
I think the time travel happens in the other prequel-fusion-sequel, Next Dimension. (I stopped reading it partly because I dislike time travel.)

Date: 2018-12-12 07:44 pm (UTC)
malurette: (ducky)
From: [personal profile] malurette
Well there ae so many series now it's all too easy to miss one or two! (I confess that I often forget that Episode G exists at all, that's what tends to happen when you prefer the Bronze Saints over the Gold.)

Date: 2018-12-12 09:18 pm (UTC)
full_metal_ox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] full_metal_ox
Saintia Sho is unusual inasmuch as our seems to be happening at about the same time as the original series first arc but is running in parallel to it, so wont overlap but some characters might wander into it.

Saintia Sho strikes me as bearing the same relation to Saint Seiya TOS that (classic) She-Ra did to He-Man: a Distaff Counterpart having parallel but largely separate adventures.

Date: 2018-12-11 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] locuatico
Like Icon, Saint Seiya is basically THE anime for me. I pretty much grew watching it and it had a great impact on me.
And the second I heard they were making it, I got really excited. Despite the flaws, I really liked the CG movie and Soul of Gold.
I also thought Shun's armor was the coolest one.

I also been meditating a lot about wether or not they would genderflip one of the main five. Some of the theories I had was that, maybe, they would change one of the female saints into a Main character. maybe have Marin join them or something like that.
Ikki... I don't know because, honestly, given his first backstory, he is a book example of toxic masculinity and his redemption involves him getting over the toxic ideas he received during his training from hell. In other words, I DO think him being a male character IS important for the character.

Shun was the most obvious and lazy choice they could go with. Though, if Toei was raising an issue, I can understand that this was some sort of compromise. I can also understand the change in personality, altough it is a shame to lose it.
However, given what we have seen of her characterization so far... I feel Hyoga would have worked a lot better. He had a somewhat similar personality and I could see her having Hyoga's backstory.

However, and I don't say this lightly: If i had to choose between having shun be the only female main character aside from Saori/Athena or no major female saints... I choose Shun.
Edited Date: 2018-12-11 04:12 am (UTC)

Date: 2018-12-11 09:05 am (UTC)
janegray: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janegray
I really hope both series are good. I used to love Saint Seiya as a kid, but as an adult I now find the original series damn nearly unwatchable due to the insane amount of filler (and not the fun kind either. Watching the cast have cute light-hearted non-plot-related scenes would be nice, but it's the kind of filler where it takes them 5 episodes to charge up a super move). A streamlined remake would be ideal, and I've always loved female saints.

Date: 2018-12-11 01:12 pm (UTC)
janegray: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janegray
I haven't seen it, but it looks interesting. I think I'll add it to my backlog.

Date: 2018-12-11 09:26 am (UTC)
luxshine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] luxshine
I think a female Shiryu would've been a bit difficult to keep in a pg-13 series given Shiryu's thing of getting half-naked at the drop of a hat because of the tattoo on his back. OTOH, PLEASE give me female Ikki with anger issues and being the strong protector of her pacifist brother. Or female Hyoga, trying to get out of the shadow of her dead mother. Fuck, give me female Seiya and a whole subplot of her love for Athena/Saori.

OTOH, I am a bit curious if Shaun is still going to be Hades' reincarnation. Because if she is, then I miiight be more open to the change (Even if the "Female has a huge power but won't use it because she turns evil" trope has been done to death)

Date: 2018-12-11 11:33 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] onsokumaru
I still didn't try Saintia Sho. The images I've seen of the MC saved by Milo gave me some damsel in distress vibes.

Netflix Saint Seiya.
Damn...

1) Female Shun
I'm not for genderbending any of the Bronze Saints. It's not like there is now a lack of female representation in action cartoons (in my book, that's a cartoon, not an anime anymore). The whole stuff reeks of fake progressism.
And yes, Shun was the worst choice. I'm now expecting female Misty, Mu and Aphrodite.
Female Shiryu would have been fun. Watching people being offended at what Shiryu does the best would have been a delight.

2) The art/CG. I could go with female Shun. But what I've seen in the trailer is just too cheap and ugly.

3) Saints vs army. A lot of people seem to hate it. Personnaly, that's the kind of fight I always hoped to see. Seiya has been showed catching bullets in the anime fillers (which makes sense) but I want more.

Date: 2018-12-11 01:55 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
That twitter link doesen't seem to go anywhere.

Date: 2018-12-11 02:20 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] zachbeacon
Still disappointed by the lack of Bowling for Soup covering A Flock of Seagulls songs.

Date: 2018-12-11 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] zachbeacon
Was not being sarcastic. I love that theme song. It's the thing I remember most about watching that show as a kid.

Date: 2018-12-11 10:24 pm (UTC)
hikarimew: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hikarimew
Wish they'd just give more screentime and such to Saori, instead. Have her Athena it up and lead the Bronze Saints to victory.

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