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Netflix have released a trailer for their upcoming CG adaption of classic anime Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac coming to the platform in Summer 2019. To say the reception has not shined bright is an understatement.
As of this time of writing, the trailer has been viewed 282,269 times, with 5,700 upvotes and 10,778 downvotes (a ratio of almost 1:2). The Latin American trailer fairs even worse, with 469,748 views, 5410 upvotes and 21,192 downvotes (almost a ratio of 1:4).
Part of the reason may be due to one of the character’s genders being changed- Andromeda Shun- and that some names were changed as well. Similar occurred with Netflix’s Voltron in 2018, where a character’s gender was changed and another was made gay.
The new Saint Seiya‘s producer Eugene Son (who has written for cartoons such as Avengers Assemble, Star Wars Resistance, Generator Rex, 2018’s Voltron, and Ultimate Spider-Man) took to Twitter to deal with the reaction. He has since deleted his Twitter account and the archive can be found here.
Dealing with the “smaller questions” first, he states the names were changed before he came on board. “There was some question why characters from China, Europe, South America all have Japanese names. So between Toei and Kurumada, they chose to update a few of the character names.”
He then states why Andromeda was changed from a man to a woman. “This one is all on me” Son posted. He began by claiming the show’s creators wished to change very little, and how the original anime holds up well even thirty years later.
“The only thing that concerned me: the Bronze Knights with Pegasus Seiya are all dudes. Now the series has always had fantastic strong dynamic female characters, and it reflects in the tremendous number of women who are passionate about the Seiya manga and anime-
But thirty years ago, a group of guys battling to save the world with no girls around was no big deal. That was the default then. Today the world has changed. Guys and girls working side-by-side is the default. We’re USED to seeing it. Right or wrong, the audience could interpret an all-male team as us trying to make a STATEMENT about something-
And maybe 30 years ago seeing women punching and kicking each other wasn’t a thing. But today? Not the same. […] There are plenty of female characters in the anime and manga. Marin and Shaina are both incredible. But they’re both powerful already – no one wants to see them turned into Bronze Knights-
Do we take an existing character like Sienna (formerly named Saori) or Shunrei or Miho, give them powers, and turn them into our April O’Neil? Or do we create a new female character and have her join the team?
Maybe…? But I didn’t want to create a new female character that would stick out and be obvious – especially if she was not created naturally and has no character/personality except “to be the girl.”
Then we discussed Andromeda. Everyone agrees – an AWESOME character.
So what if the original was “Andromeda Shun” and our interpretation was “Andromeda Shaun”? The more we developed it, the more we saw the potential. A great character with a great look.”
Son went on to explain how the core concepts of the character would not change. “She uses her chains to defend herself and her friends – which she learned from her protective brother who taught her how to fight.“
Son continues stating he knew that it would be controversial, but rather than see it as changing a character, he feels it is a new interpretation. However, he holds no malice to those who do not like it.
“If you think this is weird and don’t like it, I get it. Even within Toei, there was plenty of “Are you SURE about this?” A lot of hardcore fans of Shun really love Shun. But I hope you’ll be willing to check it out when it’s available and see what you think.
I know some (many?) of you already hate it. Even in Toei, Andromeda was their favorite character and this feels like a slap in the face.
So if you hate it (and me) and say “This new series is NOT for me” – no problem. I understand. I appreciate your passion for Seiya.”
Son compares the change to Starbuck being a woman in 2004’s Battlestar Galactica while in the original 1978 series she was a man.
“When I was a kid, I dug the original Battlestar Galactica. When they changed Starbuck to a woman, I thought it was weird. But I watched and loved the new BSG. A terrific character and a new interpretation.
Anyways, that’s what I was thinking when I suggested it. That’s why we did it. And I think the new series will be a lot of fun once we talk about the change to Andromeda.
Hopefully you’ll check out the series when it comes to Netflix in 2019.
But again, if you aren’t interested and it’s just a big NOPE, then I totally understand.”
Stating he would answer what questions he could, @RaphaelSoma asked “In the original series, many times Shun was a “damsel in distress”, being saved by Ikki a lot. With “him” being “her” now, A LOT of girls right now fear this change will aggravate that stereotype. You can answer something about this question?”
Son replied that “we are trying not to make Shaun a damsel-in-distress,” though a user stated that not only was Andromeda’s displeasure of wanting to fight was part of his character, but pointed out it was key due to events that occur in the original show.
Earlier in the tweet thread, Son even says “hardcore Seiya fans know what happens to Andromeda as the series progresses. What would that look like with a woman Andromeda? I thought it would be interesting to see.”
According to HypeBeast, the 12-episode season will follow the original manga source material from the Galaxian Wars to Silver Saints arcs.
So what do you all think? Sound off in the comments below!