Exhibition begins on popular Japanese cartoon

Original paintings and sculptures of classic figures, armor and scenes from a popular Japanese cartoon series are being displayed at an exhibition in Huangpu.
Yang Jian / SHINE

A visitor checks out sculptures of the five Saint warriors, the main characters of the Japanese manga series Saint Seiya who fight wearing sacred armor at the exhibition about the classic series.

An exhibition was unveiled in downtown Huangpu District today on the popular Japanese cartoon series Saint Seiya, marking its 30th anniversary of being released.

The exhibition, featuring the models of "Saints," or mystical warriors and their sacred armor, is being held at the Shanghai New World Daimaru on Nanjing Road E. through March 5.

Written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada, The Japanese manga series — also known as Knights of the Zodiac — became popular among young audiences in China from the early 1990s after being imported and broadcast by local television stations. 

The story follows five saint warriors who fight wearing sacred armor called "Kurosu", empowered by a mystical energy called "Cosmo."

Yang Jian / SHINE

A visitor takes picture of models of the saint warriors that were transported from the author's studio in Japan and are being exhibited for the first time in the city.

The sculptures of the sacred armor of five bronze and 12 gold saints, the main characters of the series, were transported from Japan, making their mainland debut at the exhibition.

Seven Zodiac pavilions, including those of Cancer, Aquarius, Virgo and Gemini — the most classic scenes where the bronze and golden saint warriors fought with each other — are also duplicated at the exhibition, which covers 700 square meters.

The manga series that were played on local TV channels in the early 1990s have become a common memory of the generations born after the 1980s. It is also the first impression many locals have of the Japanese animation industry.

Yang Jian / SHINE

Two visitors watch a film of the Japanese animated series Saint Seiya at the 30th anniversary exhibition.

"I've been obsessed with the Saint Seiya series since I was only 5 years old, and the passion lasts till now," said a local white collar worker, Tian Qing, who was among the first batch of visitors.

Many original paintings and sketches from the author, Masami Kurumada, are also being exhibited for the first time at the exhibition. 

Yang Jian / SHINE

A classic scene from the animated series Saint Seiya is recreated at the exhibition so visitors can pose with the sculptures of five golden Saint warriors guarding the throne of the "Pope of Sanctuary."

Saint Seiya has been very successful, with over 34 million copies sold in Japan alone as of 2013. The series began to be known in the West after it became popular in France in 1988, where it was given the name Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque. This was also the first foreign release of the series.

Both the original manga and the anime adaptation were also successful in other Asian, European and American countries.

Standard tickets cost 80 yuan (US$12) for one visitor and 150 yuan for two.

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