Knights of the Zodiac (partially lost DIC English dub of "Saint Seiya" anime series; 2003-2004)

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Knights of the zodiac adv DVD 1.jpg

Knights of the Zodiac DVD released by ADV Films.

Status: Partially Lost

Knights of the Zodiac is the international title for the Saint Seiya media franchise created by Masami Kurumada. Debuting in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump in 1986, the series later sprawled out to include multiple spinoffs, sequels, and anime adaptations. The first of which was produced by Toei Animation for 114 episodes on the TV Asahi network between 1986 and 1989.

After achieving great success internationally in French, Portuguese and Spanish speaking markets, the original anime series was brought to English audiences in the early 2000s. One of those attempts included an edited dub produced by DIC Entertainment, which received only a partial home video release. Over the years, this dub has become infamous for its poor visual editing, primarily with the blood being recolored into something else other than red, questionable dialogue changes, with removing almost any mention of death in the series and replacing it with terms related to sleep being a notable example, and Stuart Stone's role as Cygnus Hyoga (Swan Hyoga in the DIC dub) being too out of character and sounding too similar to that of a stereotypical surfer boy.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

In July 2002, anime distributor ADV Films announced at their Otakon 2002 panel that they had purchased the rights to release the series in North America.[2] The following June, it was revealed that the company had only acquired a sublicense to Saint Seiya through an agreement with children's entertainment company DIC Entertainment - similar to their earlier partnership on another anime series, Sailor Moon. The French studio announced that it had sold 40 episodes of the show to Cartoon Network for broadcast in the United States under the name Knights of the Zodiac.[3]

The company produced an edited English dub recorded in Toronto, Ontario, by Kaleidoscope Entertainment. This version featured significant visual edits, storyline modifications and a cover of The Flock of Seagulls song I Ran by American rock band Bowling for Soup as its opening theme song. The series debuted on Cartoon Network in the United States on August 30, 2003.[4] Canadian broadcaster YTV aired a preview episode on September 1st before airing the show in its regular rotation on September 5th, 2003.[5][6][Notes 1] Parallel to DIC's dub, ADV Films produced their own uncut version under the Saint Seiya name.[7] Utilizing an entirely separate voice cast from the Houston, Texas area, their dub was primarily released on home video and ran for 60 episodes.

Though Cartoon Network initially planned to run the rest of DIC's dub in a late-night slot,[8] the show was pulled from the channel's schedule in April 2004 after 32 episodes aired.[9][10]

In Canada, however, all 40 episodes aired on television, with the dub's conclusion airing on July 24th, 2004.[11] The channel ran episodes 33-36 twice, with 37-40 only airing once, as YTV permanently removed Knights of the Zodiac from its lineup on October 9th, 2004.[12] The existence of the dub is supported by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), who approved 40 Knights of the Zodiac episodes as Canadian content on December 1st, 2003.[13] That indicates production on the entire batch was finished months beforehand.

Nearly 20 years after the DIC dub aired, the original anime, as well as an entirely new dub, produced by Sentai Filmworks, was released on Netflix between 2019[14] and 2020[15][16], making it the first one to dub the whole series in English. Both the series and the third dub are no longer available on the platform as of December 2021.[17]

Availability[edit | edit source]

Of the 40 episodes that exist of this dub, only 28 have ever been released on DVD.[18] However, five more volumes were planned, but were cancelled for unknown reasons, which resulted in the remaining 12 episodes to become lost.[19] With the DIC dub having been long out of circulation, it is very hard to come by, especially when compared to the ADV and Sentai Filmworks dubs, which are available online via torrents.

As of 2022, the 28 episodes released on DVD have been made available on the Internet Archive by Lost Media Wiki user Vexer6. The once missing episode 31 was also uploaded by the same user on April 4th, albeit in poor quality. For now, 11 episodes of the dub currently remain lost.

Missing Episodes[edit | edit source]

The following episodes are believed to have aired exclusively in Canada on YTV:

# Episode Title[Notes 2] Air Date
33 Sightless Dragon's Tears June 5th, 2004
34 Farewell, Comrade June 12th, 2004
35 Seiya's Journey of Hope June 19th, 2004
36 Twelve Gold Cloths June 26th, 2004
37 Decision of the Mask July 3rd, 2004
38 Battle of the Gold Knights July 10th, 2004
39 Dragon Defends His Master July 17th, 2004
40 Away We Go! July 24th, 2004

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. This dub also allegedly ran on Cartoon Network in Australia, though information regarding the broadcast is difficult to come by. Local home video distributor MRA Entertainment released seven DVDs containing the first 23 episodes between June 2005 and February 2006.
  2. Episode title and broadcast dates via the CRTC logs for YTV in June and July 2004.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Land of Obscusion's review of the DIC dub. Retrieved 10 May '22
  2. Anime News Network article on the announcements ADV Films made at their Otakon panel. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  3. Business Wire article detailing how DIC Entertainment was granted with airing the English dub of Knights of the Zodiac in the US, Bandi America is granted the toy license, and ADV is granted the home video rights. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  4. Anime News Network article on Knights of the Zodiac on Cartoon Network. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  5. Anime News Network article on YTV airing dates of Inu Yasha, St. Seiya, and Knights of the Zodiac. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  6. YTV broadcast log for September 2003, includes Knights of the Zodiac. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  7. Anime News Network article on ADV releasing two varieties of St. Seiya. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  8. Anime News Network article for a Saturday schedule in 2004 including Knights of the Zodiac. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  9. Toonzone forum thread about a Saturday 2004 Toonami schedule that could have happened. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  10. Toomzone forum thread about Knights of the Zodiac. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  11. YTV broadcast log for July 2004, which includes the finale of Knights of the Zodiac. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  12. Another YTV broadcast log for July 2004. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  13. A list of CRTC Canadian program recognition numbers, including Knights of the Zodiac. Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  14. Anime News Network: Netflix Adds 1st 41 Episodes of 1986 Saint Seiya Anime With New English Dub, Subtitles (Updated) Retrieved 10 May '22
  15. Anime News Network: Netflix Adds 32 More Episodes of 1986 Saint Seiya Anime With New English Dub, Subtitles Retrieved 10 May '22
  16. Anime News Network: Netflix Adds Final 41 Episodes of 1986 Saint Seiya Anime With New English Dub, Subtitles Retrieved 10 May '22
  17. Anime News Network: 1986 Saint Seiya Anime Leaves Netflix in December Retrieved 10 May '22
  18. Anime News Network Encyclopedia page on Knights of the Zodiac - Battle of the Bronze Knights (Dub. DVD 1). Retrieved 04 Jun '18.
  19. Anime News Network Encyclopedia page on Knights of the Zodiac - Brink of the Abyss (Dub. DVD 8). Retrieved 04 Jun '18.