Saint Seiya (Knights of the Zodiac) is an awesome Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada (thanks for doing it!!!) and serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump (thanks to you also!!) from 1986 to 1991, and adapted into an anime TV series (one of the best anime shows ever!!!) by Toei Animation from 1986 to 1989.
The story follows five mystical warriors called the "Saints" (or "Knights") who fight wearing sacred armors named "Cloths" , the designs of which derive from the various constellations the characters have adopted as their destined guardian symbols. These Saints have sworn to defend the reincarnation of the Greek goddess Athena in her battle against the other Olympian gods who want to dominate Earth.
Four animated feature films were even shown in Japanese theaters; however, the anime was cancelled and left unfinished in 1989 :(, leaving one arc of the manga non-animated (Hades's). In 2002, Toei Animation continued the anime in the form of three OVA series (the final one ended in 2008) in order to adapt the remaining manga story arcs :D, and following this revival of the franchise, a fifth film was screened in 2004.
Six years before the events at the focus of the series, one hundred orphans from Japan are sent to different parts of the world to become legendary warriors known as "Saints", who are the soldiers under the command of Greek goddess Athena. These warriors are under the protection of a celestial constellation.
The power of the Saints originates from the understanding of the nature of the "Cosmo", an inner spiritual essence, originated in the Big Bang. The concept of the "Cosmo" advocates that each atom within a human body resembles a small solar system, and since the human body consists of billions of atoms, the totality forms a "small Cosmo" or a "small Universe". Each person's Cosmo has its own unique signature. The Saints take the knowledge of the Cosmo to the next level: since humans are composed of atoms, humans should be able to use the mysterious forces behind the atoms to achieve super human feats.
The story focuses on one of these orphans named Seiya. He is sent to the Sanctuary in Greece to become the Pegasus Saint. After six years, Seiya becomes the Pegasus Saint and returns to Japan to find his older sister. Because his sister disappeared the same day Seiya went to the Sanctuary, Saori Kido, the granddaughter of the person who sent all the orphans to train, makes a deal with him to go to fight in a tournament called the Galaxian Wars, where the orphans who survived and became Bronze Saints must fight to win the most powerful Cloth: The Sagittarius Gold Cloth. If Seiya goes to compete there and wins, Saori would start a search to find Seiya's sister.
During the series, Seiya becomes the partner and friend of other Bronze Saints: Shun, Shiryu, Ikki, and Hyoga. As the myth of the Saints, they must fight together to protect the reincarnation of the goddess Athena from any danger, as their predecessors have during millennia.
The original Saint Seiya manga was conceived, written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada and was published by Shueisha in the magazineWeekly Shōnen Jump from January 1986 to December 1990 and collected in 28 tankōbon volumes. The series has three main parts or acts:Sanctuary Act (volumes 1 to 13), Poseidon Act (volumes 14 to 18), and Hades Act (volumes 19 to 28). Volume 13 also contains a separate short story called The chapter of Nastassja from the Land of Ice . The series is licensed in English in North America by Viz Media. Viz released the first collected volume of the series on January 21, 2004, and as of February 2, 2010 all twenty-eight volumes have been released.
In addition to the original tankōbon volumes listed below, the series has been reissued four times. The first reissue was the 15 Aizōban volumes in 1995, the "Collector's Version". The second reissue was in 2001 of the Bunkoban, the "Library Version". The series was released again in 2003 in 19 volumes with Setteis from the anime adaptation, and called the "Remix Version". The fourth reissue, in 22 volumes and called the "Complete Version", contains additional colored pages as well as colored armor schematics. Another "Remix Version" was published at the end of 2007 to coincide with the broadcast of Chapter Elysion of the anime.
The anime adaptation is based on the manga of the same title and follows it closely. Produced by Toei Animation, it first premiered on Japan's TV Asahi on October 11, 1986, lasting from 1986 to 1989. It was directed first by Kōzō Morishita (episodes 1–73) and then by Kazuhito Kikuchi (episodes 74–114). The animation character designers and aestheticists were Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno, and Seiji Yokoyama composed the soundtracks. Adapting Kurumada's storylines from the manga, the chief scriptwriters were Takao Koyama and Yoshiyuki Suga. The series has three main parts: Sanctuary (episodes 1–73), Asgard, which exists only in the anime adaptation (episodes 74–99), and Poseidon (episodes 100–114). In the United States, the series premiered in Cartoon Network on August 30, 2003, but only the first thirty-two episodes aired. This dub, retitled Knights of the Zodiac, was licensed by DiC Entertainment (now known as Cookie Jar). This dub was heavily edited; the edits included cutting overly violent scenes, adding in previously non-existent digital transitions, coloring all instances of blood blue and renaming it "mystical energies," re-writing the scripts, and replacing the opening theme, ending theme, and background music >:/. ADV Films licensed the Home Video rights to the series and released the DIC dubbed episodes, as well as the uncut subbtitled versions of the episodes, featuring an uncut dub (with a different voice cast than the one used by DiC). The first two seasons were released in this way. In early 2009, the uncut version was reissued in two boxsets, and regained ADV's interest in the series, but ADV shut down and ceased operations later that year.
This is considered as one of the best manga/anime series that has ever been made!!!! It is also with Dragoin Ball considered as one of the pioneers of manga/anime outside of Japan and Asia.