The Warriors of Athena are back in theaters! Since the release of the trailer for The Knights of the Zodiac: The Legend of the Sanctuary (Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary, Japan, 2014), fans of the acclaimed anime that was hugely successful in Brazil in the 1990s look forward to today, September 11, the date on which the feature hits the screens of our country. The wait is over and it can be said that this is one of those cases in which waiting for the party is much tastier than the party itself.
Produced in honor of the 40-year career of Masami Kurumada, author of the Saint Seiya manga, the work that gave rise to the animated series, The Legend of the Sanctuary presents a reinterpretation for the story arc called “The Battle of the Twelve Houses”, the culmination of the celebrated “Saga do Santuário”, the one shown in Brazil by Rede Manchete and which gathered thousands of child spectators when introducing the characters on Brazilian soil. Both in the television attraction and in the film that hits theaters this weekend, the plot revolves around the mission that the Bronze Knights have to save Saori Kido, the reincarnation of the goddess Athena. For this, the warriors must face the twelve Golden Saints, defenders of the zodiacal houses and the most powerful among the knights, in order to unmask the Master of the Sanctuary and, thus, to place the true Athena in its proper position, in Olympus.
While in the anime, the thirty-two episodes account for all the dramatic load present in the ultimate battle of the Guardians of the Universe, the ninety minutes of The Knights of the Zodiac: The Legend of the Sanctuary are not enough to deliver a satisfying plot both for those already knows the heroes, as well as for those who have never seen an episode of the series. Excessively accelerated and with huge holes in the narrative, the long part of the flight of Aioros, Golden Knight of Sagittarius, from the sanctuary, carrying baby Saori in his arms, in an attempt to save Athena's reincarnation from the hands of the Master of the Shrine. Fatally injured due to the fight against other Golden Saints, Sagittarius hands the child over to the care of Mitsumasa Kido, an adventurous gentleman who accepts the mission of watching over the girl, until, at the age of 16, the task of protecting her pass on to the fearless Bronze Saints, led by Seiya of Pegasus. From that moment on, it doesn't take long for the Battle of the Twelve Houses to begin and the audience to be bombarded by insane but emotionless fights.
This is the main defect of The Knights of the Zodiac: The Legend of the Sanctuary: everything happens so fast, that it is impossible to feel any emotion before what is happening on the screen. Of course, recruiting the cast of original voice actors to, once again, give voice to the iconic characters was a clever insight from Diamond Films. After all, it is the adults who grew up with the adventures of Seiya, Shiryu, Hyoga, Shun and Ikki who are the target audience of this production and pulling the emotion for nostalgia is, without a doubt, a legal strategy. However, there is very little in the face of the mistakes that overtake the big screen.
Just as the narrative aspect of the feature is due, the visual is not far behind. The work of computer graphics, very different from the traditional 2D, so striking on TV, is very reasonable and what could save the production ends up being another of its defects. To crown this point, the freedoms taken in the characterization of the characters can shock, ranging from the look of the armor, to the change in the tone of characters that were very cool before (can someone explain to me what that Death Mask is, Knight of Cancer ?? ?).
In the end, the question remains as to who the animation really pleased and whether this is a tribute to the height of Masami Kurumada's legacy and his greatest creation. Let us hope that, in the future, something more dignified will be produced or that they allow the Knights of Athena to rest in peace, in the memory of their admirers.