Not-so-secret Secret Stories of Saint Seiya

Look who’s talking in and about SECRET STORIES OF SAINT SEIYA!

I am perfectly prepared. I am 100% ready for this. — Seiya, SAINT SEIYA

Mr. DeMille, I am ready for my close-up. — Norma Desmond, SUNSET BOULEVARD

Me, too! (In terms of close-ups, I mean . . .) — Marlene Sharp

Before one attributes a recent thunderous explosion to holiday fireworks, one should realize that the Internet broke 4 days ago. It was loud. On Thursday, December 1, YouTuber Ray Mona dropped her 90-minute non-fiction magnum opus entitled THE SECRET STORIES OF SAINT SEIYA (PART I): TALES OF THE LOST (SSSS). At 73,000 views (and like snow), this film doesn’t show signs of stopping. It’s another win for ’90s nostalgia, Japanese content, toys, and other ancillaries, plus savvy storytelling from authoritative echelons of fandom.

The new YouTube documentary SECRET STORIES OF SAINT SEIYA dropped on December 1, 2022. Ray Mona is the auteur behind this epic non-fiction, feature length film.

Full disclosure: The author is also a contributor to the aforementioned toy and ‘toon centric documentary. Quick but convoluted backstory: Four years ago, and in passive aggressive protest to my uncredited interview for a 2018 online anime expose, I released a dormant demo reel from my tenure as a child(ish) prodigy employee at Renaissance-Atlantic Films.

In 2019, ToonBarn writer Neil Raymundo published an article about the vintage Renaissance-Atlantic demo reel release. Originally uploaded onto the Pink Poodle Productions website, said demo is the first appearance of the 20-seccond STARSTORM clip. STARSTORM is the non-broadcast, live-action American SAINT SEIYA pilot by Renaissance-Atlantic Films.

My former for-hire role had required that I curate clips from iconic vintage, Japanese merch-heavy kids’ fare, such as POWER RANGERS and BIG BAD BEETLEBORGS. SAINT SEIYA, a sometime rebooted, dubbed, and subbed manga-inspired media and consumer products empire, was also part of the Renaissance-Atlantic hit parade. Onto the demo reel it went. To my knowledge, said demo reel never saw daylight until 2018 . . .

On the aforementioned low res compilation tape, SAINT SEIYA was featured in live-action, re-titled form as STARSTORM. Upon the demo reel YouTube debut on my personal channel, eager fans ripped said clip. Since then, pirated copies abound under the banner of ‘the lost American SAINT SEIYA adaptation.’ In the last four years, enthusiasts have whipped themselves into a frenzy to find the long-form source of that 20-second cut. Sadly, I don’t have the source material. But that didn’t stop me from saying my piece, and then some, in Ray Mona’s fact-based SAINT SEIYA origin movie.

The big picture . . .

Cut to summer 2022: Canadian filmmaker and niche culture savant Ray Mona randomly messaged me on Instagram. Through the nerd culture grapevine, she had heard of my former employ with Frank Ward (founder and principal of dearly departed, Beverly Hills-based, Bandai-adjacent Renaissance-Atlantic Films). She asked me to participate in her motion picture about the elusive fifteen-minute SAINT SEIYA live action pilot. I obliged. The result is my headless talking head pontification of what it means to be queen geek . . . in terms of finessing mostly foreign boys’ action properties for the screen. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, YO-KAI WATCH, and other beloved universes receive ample mention. (You’re welcome!)

The author and her former boss Frank Ward, founder and head of Renaissance-Atlantic Films. Screen shot from SECRET STORIES OF SAINT SEIYA.

Snark aside, Ray Mona’s cinematic achievement is considerable. In four days, this feature-length, high quality, humorous Netflix-worthy work has generated nearly 600 YouTube comments. It has attracted thousands more subscribers to Ray’s channel (Ray Mona) and has spawned multiple watch-along live streams. SSSS viewing parties are something of their own phenomenon; many originate south of the (USA) border and have heaps of devotees (per YouTube analytics). The breaking SSSS story also has snagged press coverage via Anime News Network and Catsuka.

A tweet from the author. It acknowledges Anime News Network coverage of SECRET STORIES OF SAINT SEIYA. It also depicts one of many companion watch-along videos that surfaced on YouTube.

Ray Mona probably is not finished with her excavation of buried treasure. Consider this fresh thread [edited for brevity] from her Twitter feed:

RM: There’s so much Renaissance-Atlantic lost media that it’s actually pretty mind-boggling. It’s not that surprising though when you think about the partnership they had with Bandai and Toei, but in an alt universe, Renaissance [-Atlantic] would have been the number 1 anime importer in the USA.

Fan: There has to be a lot of lost media about Tokusatsu (POWER RANGERS, MASKED RIDER) in North America and more. Maybe in a future, you can look at it?

RM: For sure, I’d be interested!

Effusive fan feedback on the film in question.

Godspeed, Ray Mona, and please take me along for the next ride!


To view the entirety of SECRET STORIES OF SAINT SEIYA, visit

Skip ahead to the best part: Chapter 9!



Marlene Sharp is a creative and business-savvy entertainment multi-hyphenate who originally hails from New Orleans but is now a (San Fernando) Valley girl.

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Marlene Sharp

Marlene Sharp is a creative and business-savvy entertainment multi-hyphenate who originally hails from New Orleans but is now a (San Fernando) Valley girl.