Saint Seiya is thirty years old. It celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in style at a gallery in Akihabara’s UDX 2F Akiba Square.
The original Saint Seiya manga by artist Masami Kurumada started in 1986, and since its debut, went on to spawn multiple animation series and movies. Alongside such classics as Dragon Ball and Fist of the North Star it was one of the pillars of the manga and anime world during its day.
On display at the gallery were original comic pages, character images, and background settings that were used in the anime, a collection of life-sized Gold Saint armor statues, and more.
From the start, visitors are treated to walls lined with original comic pages, right off the artist’s drawing table. The manga was created back before digital comics were even possible, so all the little details are preserved in their original form, from the dialogue pasted directly in the word bubbles to artist memos and messages.
Some of artist Masami Kurumada’s personal belongings were also on display, like the pens and rulers he used to create his work.
Further on, anime-related pieces were on display. Character designs and background information, as well as an overview of all the series from the original TV series to the latest spinoffs, are all on display.
There was also an interactive feature where people can pretend to be a saint and don the Pegasus armor in an AR short (Sorry, no pictures).
One part of the gallery was dedicated to a collection of the armor of the 12 Gold Saints. Life-sized statues were lined up, adorned with the shining armor of the legendary guardians of Athena.
Of course, you can’t cover the history of a franchise without getting into the merchandise. All of the various figures and toys that had been released over the years were on display–from the earliest toys from the 80s (I owned most of them), to the latest official high-quality figures and miniatures.
Much like in the West, where people look back fondly to the old days of G1 Transformers or Thundercats, Saint Seiya is a beloved classic that has managed to endure over the years in Japan. Here’s to another thirty great years.