"Dead or Dead" & "Adieu, Gold Saints"

In order to make a huge present to Saint Seiya fans frustrated about the Hades chapter being unreleased in anime, my team and myself then undertook the crazy project to animate five little minutes about a preview of what this series could be.

It was the year 2000. We were then miles away from thinking think that TOEI would launch in 2002, for our greatest delight, the official production of this series.

In April 2001, we introduced to the public - during the CARTOONIST festival - the outcome of nine months of work.

Two scenes were shown :

- TRAILER "Dead or Dead", featuring a pre-opening showing the meeting between Pandora and Ikki, followed by an opening based on the "Dead or Dead" song recorded on the Hades CD in 1990.

- The "FAREWELL GOLD SAINTS" scene, based on the scenario and drawings by Masami Kurumada in the manga.

Encouraged by the outstanding welcome of the public and the amazing craze for this "work" made with non-professional ways but with all the passion possible for an anime, we've presented this trailer during many festivals in 2001. This roadshow ended in apotheosis in Paris, at November CARTOONIST, with a special public screening on the 11th November to honor the exceptional presence at stalls of the Saint Seiya character designer : SHINGO ARAKI.

I wish you a nice visit to watch or rewatch this trailer, read and see the public and ARAKI's reactions during the 11th November 2001 screening, as well as a few notes about this project and a few related press articles.

This sequence showing the meeting between Ikki (carrying Shun, then still a baby, in temple ruins) and Pandora (carrying Hades, her young brother magically appearing appearing like magic) is presented to you in a re-mastered version.
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This sequence showing the farewell of the four Athena saints to the twelve Gold Saints who have sacrificed to open a path in the Wailing Wall is one of the most moving scenes in Saint Seiya. It is presented to you in a re-mastered version.
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Here is the text I wrote a few days after this 11th November 2001 :

"Some of you were maybe in the meeting room during this Sunday 11th November 2001, at the "Cité des sciences et de l'industrie". Maube you were part of the hardcore fans wishing more than anything to see again for the last time this trailer live in a cinema room. You, who've been following me since April when I presented this trailer at Cartoonist Toulon, you showed your will to follow me in this awesome experience. I couldn't disappoint you !

If I sum up your Sunday planning, you came to the Louis Armand room at about noon, just to be sure to get a nice position to attend the show. Afterwards, as you were nervously staring at the hour shown by your watches, you then began wondering if it wasn't the time to call it a scandal as the talker who was to appear before you (i.e. me) was making himself waited. Who knows, maybe you stretch to thinking that " I j'avais pris une tête grosse comme une citrouille " and that I find it cool to make myself desire. And then a few minutes (about twenty in fact) after the planned/scheduled hour on the paper, I finally stepped in to give this informal " conference " about the trailer creation. Except that I brought back in my suitcases a present for you, one I dare say quite impressive/astounding !

C’est justement le temps de faire comme il faut ces valises qui m’a fait arriver en retard au rendez-vous que je vous avais moi-même fixé. It's precisely the time necessary to prepare as it should be/fitly these suitcases that caused my arriving late to the meeting point I set myself.

You, who have lived this moment on the spectator side, or who are living it while watching the short film attached to this article, allow me to share with you the behind-the-scenes of this meeting which, for me, will remain memorable.

Our story begins a few days before the November festival.

A phone call was going to change everything ! Olivier Gilbert, the Cartoonist festival organizer (if you didn't know him by now),

called me to announce two things to me :

The first one was that he planned for me in the show broadcasting schedule a " short " moment to present my work on the trailer, a kind of conference I'd give to share my passion for animation with those who would have come to see the trailer. When he says "short", read "One hour and twenty minutes" ! OK, until now, nothing outstanding, except that I had to prepare stuff to tell you about just a week before the show.

The second one would make me cry for mercy. With a voice as quiet as he was telling me that black clouds were gathering in Paris sky, he just told me " By the way, Mr.Araki confirmed his coming to France for the festival. He would be happy to see your work, and I was thinking about organizing a little meeting between both of you for this occasion. Why not during the conference ? ". The difficult task lying before me was to stay as Zen as possible to be able to correctly articulate a valid answer ! " Yeah, why not ? Could be interesting ! " I replied with a unconcerned tone just not to let show my huge adrenaline unload.

OK, we were there, a week before the show. I knew that he would come, that he'd be here at one time or another to watch the trailer, that he would give his opinion and that we shall chat about it for a while, and that the conference would be a particularly fit meeting place; and all this whereas ten minutes earlier, I thought I would spend a tranquil week-end, a kind of early retirement for festival old-timer… Fortunately, Olivier Gilbert doesn't give me these kind of news everyday or I'd be sure to die from heart attack !

I then prepared my conference with my usual meticulousness, thanks to visual supports (planches paper, screened planches rétro, trailer and other timed speeches) and arrived very early on the Sunday morning to meet the guys from the stage-managing in order to come to an agreement about the chosen steps of the presentation.

I then had the intuition that despite all these preparations, something was going to miss for this event. It didn't take long for me to figure out what was missing : a big present for you. And the present was obvious : it couldn't be other than the presence of Mr Araki himself !

It's for this reason that I disappeared from my booth for one hour running after the man of the situation, whom I unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to see since the beginning of the week-end. To make sure he'd know me before coming and join me, and secondarily to check if he was aware about this special surprise, I simply "dug myself" in the press conference in order to be introduced to him. It was noon, i.e 45 minutes before my conference. I had left alone my team, who had to wonder what the hell I was doing, to come and get Araki where his more or less respected planning decided he would be.

And here was I, sitting in an auditorium where cameras and journalists were gathered for a one-hour long conference. It wasn't necessary to have studied in Harvard to calculate that this conference was scheduled to end at 1PM, which was 15 minutes after the beginning of mine. Oops ! I then started going for broke by cutting short the public's questions while asking mine, just to introduce myself and to tell him that he was expected to attend my conference at 12h45.

It was 1PM and my conference still hadn't begun. I then talked to calm down the crowd and to tell them it would start soon, but I would have a little surprise in tow, worth a few minutes more to wait. And I left everyone jilted, to go back to Araki's place, to check if he was about to leave. He stood up, finally, but it was just to se prêter to traditional pictures. And then, ô miracle, a friend of mine, one of the scarce journalists that like me, stood up and asked if it was possible to have a picture of Araki and me side by side. I grasp the opportunity to " catch " Araki and to propose him to follow me to my auditorium, which he gladly accepted, as much by curiosity to see this trailer as to run away from all these cameras in front of which he's not particularly fond of showing himself.

At 13h05, I finally arrive in Louis Armand conference room and announce the beginning of the " ceremony " as well as the surprise arrival of our favorite designer-animator : Shingo Araki. The public, standing up, applauses the master.

The conference could at last begin!

An acquaintance of mine (Kryss, to name him) realizes that I'm looking for a honor seat for M. Araki and his translator, and kindly proposes me his seat at first rank. Once Araki was placed and the public madness calmed down, lights sifted and the trailer was finally screened. At this moment when everyone had his eyes locked on the screen, mine were locked on Araki, ready to grasp the slightest reaction his enthusiasm would have revealed. Alas, apart from a few tender smiles following particular plans, he didn't let anything leaking. I was beginning to wonder if all this wasn't going to end in a total flop (Araki saying "OK guys, you're nice and all but this sucks !" was my greatest fear) ! Anyway, and I'm grateful to the public on this one, all clappings gave me a bit of strength to get back on the scene and to talk to him again. I had planned to make all the questions & answers at that time, but Mr.Araki (or rather his translator who had to follow the planning) me beckoned to me that they had to leaver, I modified a little my planning and presented what was coming next. I got a few moments from his translator to enjoy the presence of the master encore un peu.

I needed his presence for two reasons : firstly, I wanted to announce that until now the trailer wasn't available but that situation shall change, and secondly I wanted symbolically hand over to Mr.Araki the one and only copy of this tape, as well as an original cell of Pandora tiré from the trailer. So I invited him to come on the scene with me, in order to exchange a few words together about what he had seen. In my inner self, I was praying for him not to tell too vehemently that he disliked it. But here are the two sentences I retained from his speech, modest boarding on embarrassed, but also with joyful eyes :

" When I see this work done by Jérôme, I find it hard to believe that I didn't take part to it. "

A storm of applauses boomed, but I was so much in a bliss that I had trouble to hear it. Yet, I could hardly realize what was happening and I felt, despite the pressure and the intensity of such a moment, no real/vivid emotion.

" When I see what this trailer delivers as a result, it's clear that the Saint Seiya Hades series had to be made not in Japan, but in France with Jérôme as director ".

Again, a vive emotion goes through the crowd and I felt that a lot of people took a real pleasure to be here, sharing this moment which may be (history will decide) a starting point for this hypothetical sequel.

I had trouble myself to realize what was happening. I felt that a part of the applauses was addressed to me, but I was happier to see everyone's joy (the eyes of those who accompagner and supported us during this endless labor and the fact to have been able to make a present to you out of his presence) than rejoicing for myself and the master's congratulations that were intended to me. This was a great moment, that I don't relive today the same way because I have more hindsight, but it was really fantastic.

He then left us, promising to make good use of this videotape by showing it to the rightful ones, and everyone's applauses l'accompagnèrent in his departure

The pressure went down a little, and when my team and myself sat in the seats planned for the conference, I let a big relief "Phew" slip, which made smile my closest friends. The game of questions & answers could begin at last.

When this was over, I presented the last step of the conference, and this is maybe what moved me the most. I introduced Arnaud Dollen, my old friend, the one who helped me to make the Saint Seiya artbooks with his enchanting sentences, the one who introduced his sister to me - today my wife-, and overall the one I have an absolute faith in and whose talent deserves so much to be known. My emotion was very deep at that very moment, and I let him speak with the pride to offer him the attention of all my public for his work, the " l'Anneau des Sept " ("The Ring of the Seven ones") book.

I invite you to go to " the Ring of the Seven ones " page to find out who Arnaud is and the extent of his talent through his book.

All in all, it was an unforgettable moment…

To see or see again this conference movie, including the screening, the public welcome as well as Mr. Araki's intervention, click on one of the following pictures :
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After the screening of both trailers, and well before the production of the Hades chapter has been officially announced by TOEI, we received (among others via this website) quite a few thanks letters in the name of the fans, for having made relive for a few minutes the mythical character of their series.

Beyond all this support, the craze behind the trailers triggered reactions in neighboring countries (Belgium, Italy, Spain...) up to far away countries (USA, China, Japan, Brazil, Argentine...).

Naturally, behind such a craze, a few articles of the specialized press have been written about these trailers. I propose a brief review of some of them ...

- Article in ANIMELAND (July August 2001) - FRANCE
Report : Animation as amateur
- Article in WEBZINEMAKER (November 2001) - FRANCE Web
- Article in Animeland webzine (November 2001) - FRANCE Web
- Article dans le magazine OTAKU (2001) - FRANCE
Storyboard, dessins et direction artistique  : JEROME ALQUIE
Réalisation, mixage  : JEAN-SEBASTIEN AUDIBERT
Adaptation des textes  : ARNAUD DOLLEN
Retouche d’images  : KEVIN AUDIBERT
Auteur original  : MASAMI KURUMADA
Character design original  : SHINGO ARAKI
© Masami Kurumada / Shûeisha – Tôei Animation
" Anyone daring to enter Hades kingdom has to be punished... "

This grave sentence, pronounced by angry Gods a few years ago, resonates even louder today. As Ulysses, we had our share of trials to go through. The elaboration of this trailer was a fabulous adventure as well as a real initiatory journey during which we had to use our ingenuity to give life to images slumbering in the depths of our minds.

This wasn't a piece of cake, believe me. A lot of people tried to dissuade us from persevering, but fortunately others were here to encourage, help or motivate us. It's all these people I wanted to thank.

Today, we're ahead of the gates leading to Hades kingdom and we have the key. As Bernard Deyriès confided to me last year during his coming to Cartoonist : " Believe in your dreams, for they know no limits ". We can proceed thanks to them and no gate could ever stop us.

Jean-Sébastien AUDIBERT

Comme c'est le cas for 90% of my drawings, I clearly had in my mind, and this for a long time, the project to make an animation sequence. The only problem was : "What to animate ?". I tried my hand at this difficult art about two years earlier with a scene putting the space pirate into action, famous among the people of our generation ; alas, the project petered out, the army being not innocent in this case...

So what to do ?

I then remembered that, a few years ago, I had made a precise storyboard of the " dead or dead " opening from the sadly infamous series sulked by TOEI : Saint Seiya " the Hades ". Suddenly, images verily complete sequences scrolled in my head. It was as if my imagination had become a giant screen broadcasting the unpublished series.

Ah ! If only I had a brainwave Dictaphone or VCR that day, the Hades series would already be available in fifty episodes at your favorite video store. Alas !

So I tried somehow to gather the best images I glimpsed in my spirit, to extract a storyboard from it, concrete and on paper this time. It was about a scene the soundtrack of which was available in the wonderful CD compiling the music and dramas of the said series. All I had to do was, oh, to put everything in image !

This was a long, a very long, task. A Sunday evening, after having spent the last three days to work on electrocuted Ikki, at the rate of fourteen hours per day, I cried out, happy with the accomplished work : " Great, I have four seconds of animation ! ". " Four seconds ! ". Realizing the speed at which these images would go in front of your eyes gave me a big chill : " Three days of work for four seconds... I'm utterly crazy, but so much the worse ! "

Now, I would rather tend to say " so much the better "...

To all those who showed their support during this project...

It's commonly believed that a work is made just by a bunch of skilled individuals gathered around a same goal. If this no completely false, it's still reductive nonetheless, as there are a lot of people who supported these artists with their support and affection...

It was exactly the case when we worked on this project. There are numerous people deserving to be thanked for having supported or helped us at the right time, with a totally disinterested spirit.

Let's name all these people here and now ; don't try to see an order of preference or " merit ", for there is none !

Olivier GILBERT (organizer of the Cartoonist show),

Célia DOLLEN (not for long as we're getting married ^^),

Arnaud et Audrey DOLLEN (for the Thursday evening phone call),

Hélène ROGER and all people with her (the below poster is dedicated to her !),

my parents who are so dear to me

all people loving this series and Japanese animation who showed me by visiting us at my booth their gratitude during festivals

... and finally, thank to all fans of this series who, thanks to their passion for this mythical story of knights of modern times, continue to make live the memory of these brave teenagers in our hearts, and thus gave us the will to finish this incredible project.

Thanks to all of you, we made this for YOU !