Sunday, November 06, 2005

Saint Seiya Meikai-hen, or the Sundering of a Dream

Errrm, yeah, this is going to be about anime. Who promised I'd stick to politics and my undying love for neo-liberals, neo-cons and Georges W Bush forever? :P


Those for whom the title "Saint Seiya" evokes more than a vague "duh?" will know what I'm refering to when I say "Meikai-hen".

The 2nd part of the Hades Chapter, the Chapter of Hell is certainly the very best part of Saint Seiya. A chapter that has been left in the shadows for 20 years, an eternity during which fans have dreamed in secret that one day it might avctually be adapted in anime.

Well, the time for this has come. And I'm starting to wonder if that project shouldn't die now, while not a minute of it has been aired. Why?

Well, the heart of Saint Seiya, the anime, beats in four essential elements: the music, by Seiji Yokoyama, the character design of Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno, the direction of animation by Yamauchi, and the voices of the seiyuus which have given a life and a soul to the characters.

Those elements are being eradicated, set aside, by incomprehensible whims of the mangaka, Masami Kurumada, who seems to have lost more than a few neurons between his developping an unhealthy taste for catch fighting and his obsession with his beloved Ring ni Kakero.

Said Masami Kurumada has first fired the animation director, even though Yamauchi Shiegyasu has worked on the whole TV series, has made Saint Seiya the beautiful anime millions of fans love throughout Europe, South America and many other places. No, it doesn't matter that Mr. Yamauchi loves the series, loves the characters, understands them like no one else, and knows how to give them a life on the screen, how to give depth and intensity to the story like nobody can. It doesn't matter, because Mr. Kurumada didn't like the movie Saint Seiya, Tenkai-hen, which is nonetheless the one and only Saint Seiya movie worthy of the name (the previous four being absymally bad parodies of Saint Seiya). Far too complicated for Mr Kurumada, who seems to understand only two things these days: fights (and fights and fights and fights, too much abuse of catch is bad for your mental health) and "youth" (everything must sound young, you know).

Which brings us to the second root of Saint Seiya being swept aside: the seiyuus. The main voices are all being replaced, on another whime of our dear Mr Kurumada, who claims the hyper-famous seiyuus have grown too old and that their voices no longer match the characters. A ludicrous excuse, when we heard them no less than two years ago in the first part of the Hades Chapter, the Juunikyuu-hen. Not to mention that the voice a voice actor uses isn't his true voice, and doesn't change with age since it's a fabricated voice, but Mr. Kurumada isn't shy about displaying his stupidity. The new cast has been tried in radio drama that are a total fiasco. The fans in Japan hate the new cast, but Mr Kurumada, who knows better, has been spending his time saying the fans should behave and repeating ad liitum ad nauseum that the new cast is fantastic. Problem is: no matter how many times you repeat it, no matter that you turnt the sentence into a mantra, it's not going to become any truer...

And let's get to the third: insisting rumors claim that the situaiton with Mr Kurumada has deteriorated so far that Shingo Araki wouldn't continue being on the Saint Seiya staff. This means the death of the series. Of course, the Toei would put someone else in his place if it happened, but then, the replacement would most likely be from the awful Ring ni Kakero staff. Do this, and you kill Saint Seiya as certainly as if you cancelled the production.

Fourth, and final blow: no announce of an OST has made it through, even though the first episodes of the Meikai-hen have been announced for December this year. This means that no contract has been signed with Yokoyama Seiji, and that he's not going to be the creator of the Meikai-hen OST...unless once again the TOEI uses the old musics composed in 1997 when the Hades chapter was a project that died in infancy. It would alsmo mean that another person will compose the OST, again a certainty of failure, and a death warrant for the series.

All this is hard to understand from where the fans stand. Proof has been made with the DVD sales of the Juunikyuu-hen, that the fanbase is enough for the TOEI to make huge profits. There are strong indications that all the changes due to stupid whims of Mr Kurumada will cause a boycott of the DVDs and a complete failure for the Meikai-hen, whereas in keeping the "old" staff, success would be a given. The TOEI being a company which, like all companies, must enjoy profits, why oh why has it decided to yeild to suicidal whims of a man like Mr Kurumada?

I don't think I'll ever understand. I also don't think Mr Kurumada gives a damn about Saint Seiya, contrary to his claims. The fans love Saint Seiya, they've been waiting for 20 years for the Meikai-hen, while Mr Kurumada was busy obsessing about Ring ni Kakero. If someone no longer understands what Saint Seiya is all about, it's not the fans.

Mr Kurumada, your name will soon be on the list of the authors who managed to kill their own characters and series. Congratulations.

(and while I'm busy ranting about my favorite anime title of all times, all is well with the world, Mr Sarkozy keep carvoting and barking and making things worse, the Patriot Act gives license to the FBI to send NSL everywhere in the US so ordinary citizens can be watched as is the custom in all good dictatorships, the CIA goes around torturing or having people tortured, even in our good friends the new European countries, who all protest their innocent, hand over their heart--wait, isn't that where you also put your wallet? etc etc etc.)

Have a nice Sunday :P

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