‘I cannot miss this’: grown Hong Kong men spend hours in line for limited-edition Saint Seiya figures

Hundreds gather at Times Square to buy merchandise based on Japanese animated series popular in city in the ’90s

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 August, 2016, 4:26pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 August, 2016, 10:02pm

In the past few weeks, fans of Japanese comics and animation in the city have camped overnight for the opening of the five-day ­Ani-Com convention and packed the streets hunting for virtual creatures with Pokemon Go.

And on Monday they queued halfway around Times Square, in Causeway Bay, to buy limited ­edition Saint Seiya figurines.

By 11am, when the coveted 30th anniversary figures became available, more than 500 people were queuing from near the mall’s car park exit.

Mr Chan, among the first dozen in the line, said he had ­arrived at 4am to get the figures.

“I bought nearly all the figures from the comics series in the past, so I cannot miss this,” Chan said as he paid HK$6,300 for a set of ­figures. Chan, 31, who works for a medicine wholesale company, took a day off work to buy them.

“Even my boss knows I am ­taking leave to buy the figures – he watched the cartoon when he was young too.”

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The Japanese manga series Saint Seiya, also known as Knights of the Zodiac, was on television in Hong Kong from 1990 after the comics were hugely popular in Japan upon their release in 1986.

The four eight-inch figures from the Saint Seiya Myth Ex ­series cost HK$600 to HK$700 each. Each customer was limited to buying three of each figure.

Taiwanese tourist Joe Wu, 34, came to Hong Kong to buy two of the four figures because they were ­special editions available only in the city. “I bought the two other limited edition ones when they were available in Japan two months ago,” said Wu.

“But I am here to get the Hong Kong ones because Taiwan does not have its own edition. I used all [my] quota because I also bought them for my friends,” Wu said as he packed the figures inside two boxes to take back to Taiwan.

Wu was not the only one who came to Hong Kong for the­ ­figures. A 12-year-old boy from Chongqing stood out in the long line of grown men, as the comic was popular two decades before he was born.

The boy, who gave his ­surname as Zhou, said: “I am the only one who likes Saint Seiya among my peers because I used to watch it with my dad.”

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Zhou’s mother, who paid HK$5,270 for her son’s figures, said she had no idea what the ­cartoon was about. “I hope he will not be too indulgent in comics and forget his studies,” she said.

Henry Ng Man-ho, spokesman for toy company Daniel & Co, which is in charge of the sales, said they had expected to see a long queue for the figures and had therefore stocked over 1,000 each of the limited edition ones.

“Hong Kong has not had such a large-scale exhibition of Saint Seiya for a long time, so I guess this is why people are so excited,” Ng said. “Many of those who are in the queue are diehard fans in their 30s as this is part of their childhood memories.”

The launch of the limited ­figures on Monday was part of the promotion for Times Square’s 30th Anniversary of Saint Seiya exhibition, which runs from ­Monday until August 31.