Bandai[バンダイ] wanted to be one of the sponsors of the anime. When Shingo
and Michi first designed the Cloths, they stayed true to the manga design
but they also tried different coloring schemes. After conversing with Bandai,
they changed the design. The helmet idea actually came from designers who
worked on Mobile Suit Gundam[機動戦士ガンダム: Kidousenshi Gandamu].
The development of the toy line, Saint Cloth Series[聖闘士聖衣大系: Seitoushi Seii Taikei: Sacred Fighter Sacred Cloth Series] started in Oct. 1986. The basic idea is to create a toy line for boys, a doll that can change their costumes, but the costumes are actually armor, made out of die-cast. The code name for the series was "Super Alloy Saint Seiya[超合金 聖闘士星矢:Chougoukin Seitoushi Seiya]".
The first toys produced were Bronze Cloths: Pegasus Seiya, Dragon Shiryu, Cygnus Hyoga, Andromeda Shun and Phoenix Ikki.(1) Sales in the beginning was actually not good. For 3 months, the toys were not selling that well. At one point, Bandai thought about closing the line when the anime reached the end of Silver Chapter. But finally in the fourth month, the TV ratings rose and so did the sales of the toys!
The first mail-in campaign(2) was held from Jan. 20 to Jun. 9th, 1987. The item was the Gold Cloth(Sagittarius Fake form). There were 10,000 items. Bandai then considered making the Black Cloths: Pegasus, Dragon, Swan, Andromeda, Phoenix as products but because they thought that bad guys won't sell as much, they made them Limited Editions. However, they regretted the descision because they sold so well and it pushed the idea of selling Gold Cloths. The second mail-in campaign was held from Jul. 7th to Nov. 3rd, 1987. The items were the 5 Cloth Boxes. There were 8500 items. (Later these products were transfered to Saint Paradise Toy line.)
Steel Saints: Sky Cloth Shou, Land Cloth Daichi, Marine Cloth Ushio were also sold but it was the Gold Cloth toys that made the sales break records: Aries Mu, Taurus Aldebaran, Gemini Saint(3), Leo Aiolia, Virgo Shaka, Libra Dohko(4), Scorpion Milo, Sagittarius Aiolos(5), Capricorn Shura(6), Pisces Aphrodite. Bandai needed so much of the raw materials to make the Cloth plates[メッキ:mekki], they had to search the whole country. The third mail-in campaign was held from Nov. 23rd, 1987 to Mar. 7th, 1988. The items was Pope Ares with throne. On Jan., 1988, to commemorate breaking 5 millions figures sold, the 5 Bronze Cloths Gold Version was sold.
The next products sold were New Bronze Cloths(7) and the only Silver Cloth, Eagle Marin.(8). The reason why the New Bronze went back to a more manga design was Masami's idea to stay true to the fact that the main heros use their bodies to fight. With his help, the New Bronze sold very well.(9) The fourth mail-in campaign was held from Apr. 30th to Aug. 31st, 1988. The item was Odin Robe(only has the Robe, no figure inside.) There were 12,600 items.
The next products were the God Robes: Alpha Siegfried, Zeta Syd, Beta Hagen, Epsilon Fenrir, Eta Meeme, Delta Alberich, Gemma Thor. Zeta Bud was sold as a Limited Edition. Finally the last products were the Scale. Initially, Masami had an idea to use a blue color for them in the manga but after conversing with Bandai or Toei, he decided on gold, Bandai decided on orange and gold; Toei decided on orange.
Poseidon, Mermaid Tethys, Siren Sorrento, Sea Dragon Canon(10), Sea Horse Baian, Scylla Io, Chrysaor Krishna, Lynmades Kaysa, Kraken Issac were released.(11) The fifth and last mail-in campaign was held from Oct. 1st, 1988 to Jan. 31st, 1989. The items were New Bronze Cloths Black Version. There were 10,000 items.
Beside the main figures, a Colosseum was produced and transparent Cloths were packed in with candy products produced by Fujiya[不二家]. The last sales figures disclosed was beyond 8 million figures sold. What was the actual number when the TV series ended is unknown. But they did plan 10 million commemoration figures, Black Steel Cloths. Prototypes were actually made. After the end of TV Series, there were plans to create figures for the manga but they only reached the design phase. They were Pegasus and Dragon God Cloths.
In the event, "Jump Festa 2001", a box set of reproduction 12 Gold Saints was released titled, "Saint Cloth Series Gold Saints Gather 12 [黄金十二聖闘士集結]". Later, it was sold in Lalabit Market. It was a big hit. In 2002-2003 when the TV Series were released on DVD, the limited edition had 5 Gold New Bronze figures coupled with the 5 Box sets. In 2004, when the DVD box set of all 4 movies was released, the limited Edition came with a Sagittarius Seiya figure
With the popularity of "Saint Cloth Series Gold Saints Gather 12 [黄金十二聖闘士集結]", in Hong Kong, Bandai Asia was able to produce old and new figures.
5 Bronze 5 Black 3 Steel Silver(Marin) 5 New Cloth 12 Gold 9 God Robe(with Bud, Odin Seiya(with Seiya figure)) 9 Scale Pope Ares(Limited)
Pisces Aphrodite Cancer DM Capricorn Shura Aquarius Camus Gemini Saga Aries Shion Wyern Rhadamanthys Cyclopes Gigant Papllion Myu
5 New Cloth Gold Version+Sagittarius Cloth (with Sag Cloth Box) Set Unicorn Jabu.
Ophiuchus Shaina Lizard Misty Perseus Algor
Sagittarius Seiya Libra Shiryu Aquarius Hyoga
While the TV Series and manga was still continuing and even after the end of the TV series and manga, Saint Seiya was brought to other countries and the Saint Cloth Series toys were released again with different languages on the box. The levels of QC depended on the country where they were made. Fakes were also made and the original Japanese toys were starting to be very collectible.
Notes & Trivia
1. The first packaging had a window where
you can see inside the figure later when people were well aware of the
Saint Cloth Series line, they changed the packaging and removed the window.
2. To have a chance to get a campaign toy, you have to buy Saint Cloth Series figures, cut out the application stamp located on the back of the box. Stick that stamp on an application that comes inside the box and mail it in for a drawing. Depending on the conditions, sometimes you need more than 1 stamp.
3. The idenity of the Gemini was not known so the face is just a shadow face.
4. The young face was based on the face in Asgard flashback scenes.
5. Sagittarius Aiolos was the biggest hit item for boys in 1987.
6. The helmet of the hear-gear is based on the anime but horns on the helmet and the horns on the shoulders are based on the manga.
7. In Outside story 1, Shun and Ikki are wearing New Bronze Cloths.
8. The face of Marin of the toy is based on the face of Seika.
9. At that time, Bronze Pegasus Cloth sold the most and then Sagittarius Aiolos, and then the New Bronze Cloths.
10. The anime production planned Canon to have gray hair. A lot of the initial products reflected that but later the anime production changed their mind and went back to the blue hair like normal Saga.
11. Chrysaor, Kraken and Lynmades were the last Scales released. Because Bandai was closing the toy line, the number of figures produced for those 3 figures were very low. That is why, they became very collectable, demanding high prices years later.