Saint Seiya was one of the very first anime series I watched as a young kid. Being that I might've had a bias towards this anime, I decided to watch it again not very long ago. While I admit this series is not as good as I remembered it, I belive it is still worth watching.
Saint Seiya had a brief run on Cartoon Network, but due to its violent content, it was moved to a very poor time and gradually lost any attention it received. If you followed it while they aired it or if you are just curious, I encourage you
to give it a try.
The story follows the following paradigm: Athena, with the help of the zodiac saints, protects the Earth from the other gods whose wishes are only to do away with humanity. The use of Greek mythology is vastly employed throughout the story as other gods such as Poseidon and characters such as Medusa make appearances.
While that may sound quite simple (and it is very much straight forward), the characters undergo a thorough process of development. With each fight they seem to acquire more knowledge and powers that help them mature from teenagers to men. The themes of friendship, loyalty and endurance are some of the most explored throughout this anime. The bond that ties the saints with Athena is mere responsibility at first, but extends itself to friendship and love.
Regarding action, there is plenty of fighting from beginning to end. At first the matches are part of a game, but later on they develop into life and death situations. As the series progresses, the saints also acquire more power, which makes the fights all the more interesting. I do have to warn you, though, since there is quite an amount of death and blood throughout these fights.
When it comes to animation, it shows that the the series was made in the 1980's. For its time, and even compared to some more recent anime, the animation is quite decent. I have no complaints about it.
The OST fits the series very well. Most of the tracks help convey the series' feeling of the larger-than-life plot and battles in the entire story. I believe they did a phenomenal job here.
One last comment I'd like to make: This is not another dragon ball z. While there are some similarities, there is more involvment of more characters than in dbz (it doesn't always come down to helping the main character do everything).
Saint Seiya is a shounen that features several elements of mythology (mostly Greek mythology) and astronomy (constellations). The main characters, the Bronze Saints (knights), are responsible to protect goddess Athena and the humanity against the evil gods.
The fights are generally interesting, specially because the majority of the characters have a badass aura around them. On the other hand, they are more static than in other anime of the same genre, mainly because of the few techniques used by the Saints/knights.
The story is quite simple for the most part, and goes in a very monodimensional way, but it is solid.
Although the main focus of
the plot is the war between Gods, the plot of the first arc revolves around the consequences of the Pope’s betrayal in Athena’s Sanctuary.
The first episodes feature the Bronze Saints fighting each other in the highly used but never old “tournament system”, competing for a very desired prize: Sagittarius Gold Cloth.
After the introduction of the main characters, Sanctuary arc really starts. We are introduced to a corrupted Pope, a man who should profess Athena's wishes, but uses Athena's soldiers to his evil intentions.
The Pope sends the Silver Saints to kill the Bronze Saints with the excuse that they deviated from their path. Some of the Sanctuary Saints know about the Pope’s evil intentions, others not.
It’s valid to say that it takes some episodes to reveal Athena's true identity. The same thing for the Pope.
It also takes some episodes for the Gold Saints appear. They are the strongest Athena's soldiers.
After this small summary, I tell you that Saint Seiya is a very entertaining anime, but it may have not aged well for the newer audience. I really don't now if it will please people that are only into modern days shounen.
Also, as I said, there are a lot of faults in the anime story when you compare it with its manga. So I wil tell some of them in the next lines.
Differences between anime and manga
The anime has some features that are superior than the manga, like the art in general, especially Character Design and Clothes (armors).
But the studio also created a lot of filler characters: some of them has not even a category (Bronze, Silver or Gold) or a constellation well defined.
There are also the total unnecessary Steel Saints, that have good-looking armors, but fight just using mechanical weapons, without cosmo (chi). They appear in some episodes at the beggining, but then they vanish without any explanation.
Other big difference is that Hyoga is disciple of Camus in the manga. In the anime, Hyoga is disciple of Crystal Saint. And Crystal Saint is disciple of Camus. This will have a significant implication in the future arcs (reveal more than this would be a spoiler).
The 12 Zodiac Temples Arc starts well, following the manga as much as possible, but the final fight is very different.
After this part, there is a whole filler arc, the Asgard arc. It features new enemies: the God Warriors. The armors and personalities of the enemies are very well made and solid for a filler. But fillers always have some fault: the God Warriors were made so strong, that they somehow overshadow the power of Marinas (from the following saga, cannon material).
This anime ends in the Poseidon arc, and has its sequel in Hades Chapter OVAs.
Animation and sound
Saint Seiya's songs are very, very good. The quality of the animation decreases in some episodes but it can be considered generally satisfactory if you take into account the time it was made. The character design, as I said, is way better than in the manga, especially the Clothes (armors).
Though some people may criticize their lack of free will in following Athena, I think the main characters of Saint Seiya are very catch. Each one of them helped to create the stereotypes of shounen characters (even influencing the conception of Gundam Wing's main cast):
Pegasus Seiya (impulsive and obstinate); Shiryu (calm and rational); Hyoga (sometimes hesitant, but rational when fighting seriously); Shun (kind-hearted, peaceful and emotive); Ikki (antihero, independent and secure).
All this characters are orphans who grew up together. But the singular relation between them is better justified in the manga, where they are all brothers.
Other saints I must highlight are the Gold Saints. Each Gold Saint represents one of the signs of the zodiac, sometimes even in powers and personalities, though some of them must be a little stereotyped.
Most of the enemies in the series are fairly developed for an 80's anime, as they usually have a background story and a meaning to fight that takes the story beyond the good x evil plot.
I am suspicious in praising Saint Seiya, since it was my first anime, so it was very important to my childhood. But I can recommend it to those who like old-school anime, since it may be dated to younger viewers. I also recommend to read the manga, if you have time and want to better understand the story. The art is worse, but the plot works better.
Let me start by saying that this was the very first anime I watched complete. Truth is I was really young when I watched it the first time, but just recently when new OVAs came out I watch it once again.
Basically the story follows a group of 5 "Zodiac warriors" of Athena in their mission to save the world from the "evil" gods who want to destroy it. The anime heavily relies on Greek mythology, so the story follows a path trough Olympian’s gods.
The story is really absorbing and exciting, the fact that the 12 zodiac signs appears as a main part of
the story sets the mood for a more personal and deeper involvement in the story (who doesn't want to watch he's own Zodiac sign win??). Whilst the animation is not up to what we are used nowadays, it’s quite decent for its time. The sound is decent but just that. And the characters are well built.
But what makes Saint Seiya stand alone, is, its art. Every warrior is based upon a constellation, and every warrior has his unique armor. Somewhat around 100 armors are displayed trough the anime.
So I really recommend this anime if you are interested in watching a cult anime, with really cool art, average animation, and a no so deep story arc.
This series is a hard one for me to rate at all. It is one of my all-time favourites, has amazing nostalgic values + I like to think of it as the father of all Shounen Fighting Anime. This is because it started a lot of storylines that have now become cliches Naruto, Bleach and many more use quite often. These include giving the opponent a backbone by giving him a backstory. Tournament arcs are touched on. The attacks of those shows are also very reflective of Saint Seiya and two other animes from its decade (DBZ and Fist of the North Star.) Even Yakitate
Japan uses ideas born in Saint Seiya, but obviously in a more satirical way...
The animation for this series is obviously going to seem dated because of the poor frame rate and some jerkiness in its presentation. However new masters have been made available recently and I had a chance to get a look at them. Overall, it has stood the test of time fairly well. The only things that might be a problem for some viewers are the (as mentioned above) poor frame rate, repeated footage but also the fact that some episodes have inconsistent artwork.
Overall, these series has beautiful character designs for both the boys and the girls AND some beautiful backgrounds to match. It's just that some episodes reflect those better than others. Of course, at the time the series was made and with the demand for more episodes, its fidelity to the art is amazing. It does not make the characters look cheap so that they stay on budget. This already makes it better (animation wise) than later shows like Ranma or Naruto where the quality just drops as the series progresses.
In the second and third series of Saint Seiya (criminally not given their own sections by most sites) the animation quality raises a bar. The artwork looks a lot cleaner and sharper. The saints are given better armors (or cloths) to fight in. The backgrounds are even more detailed (the Asgard series just looks breathtaking).
The sound of Saint Seiya is made up of JRock intros, JPop outro and symphonic compositions within the episodes (with vocals on some tracks). Overall, this gives the series a magnificently epic feel as all types of music are produced incredibly well to suit the mood/s of the show. Soldier Dream is the stand out vocal track for me. The stand out composition in a sea of greatness is Athena's Theme. The only reason I did not give sound a 10 is because these symphonies are reused a few times and as lovely as they are to hear, I just kept wishing for more of them. This does not mean the series is a one trick poney as it does have about 13 soundtracks at last count.
The story is what will get you into this series as first. As the synopsis describes it is about a war for humankind (yeah I know, a cliche in today's anime climate but not so much at the time it was made). The interesting thing about this though is that it uses mythological aspects to move the story along. A lot of mythologies are explored, with the obvious ones being Greek, Norse and Bhuddist. The saints themselves wear armors that are derivative of mythologies but in an astrological sense. Like Seiya having the Pegasus armor, Shun having the Andromeda armor or Algol having the Medusa armor.
The best thing about the story is how it manages to keep a lot of mysteries to itself in the first series (the Sanctuary Arc) as you do not know if the protagonists are actually right until about episode 50. Preceeding episode 50 are wonderful episodes that develop the characters so well that its climax just moves you to tears.
The second and third series have different stories that are persued but despite the length (25 and 15 eps respectively) they still maintain the epic atmosphere and have some of the most touching characters in all of anime.
The characters in the Asgard series are probably the best antagonists (as a group) that anime has to offer. They are marvellously well developed so that you feel their triumphs and failures like they were transcending you. Mime, Fenrir, Thor and, Syb and Bud are the best of that cast and their respective stories have the potential to move you to tears (Think Now and Then Here and There). The best part of it is how they actually affect our leading team of five (Seiya, Shun, Shiryu, Hoyga and Ikki) which makes them connect with us even more.
The main five are also very successful characters. Of them my favourite is Shiryu because of his values and willingness to sacrifice himself. Shun and Hyoga are close seconds as they have interesting backstories and a powerful bond. Ikki has a very interesting personality that is developed very successfully as the series goes. Seiya, although the main, is my least favourite of the five as he is a little childish and annoying (yet, still well developed). I have grown to like him a lot more with the newer releases of the series though.
The great thing about this series is that you are sure to connect with at least one of the characters as there are quite a few of them and, even ones that don't feature for very long have enough of a story that you don't feel they are a waste of time.
The sanctuary arc has Aphrodite, Camus, Shura, Saga, Shaka, Shaina, Cassios, Aiolia and Aldebaran as stand outs for various reasons I do not want to spoil. The poseidon arc has Krishna, Scylla, Lymnades, Canon and Poseidon himself to keep you interested. All these characters are so well done that some of their characteristics have become cliches. So you should watch Saint Seiya to see where it all starts.
I own this whole series and it a definitely a must see. If you're unsure as to whether you will like it, ADV Films is releasing an affordable thinpak with the first 30 episodes for you to decide whether it is your cup of tea. Also try www.rightstuf.com for good deals on the singles. I think they are something like $5 at the moment for 5 episodes a disc, which is amazing value.
I thoroughly enjoy this show everytime I rewatch it as a whole or in parts so I think all of you shounen fans will find something to like too. The chracter design also allows for a few bishounens so the girls are thought of as well.
Ahh, Saint Seiya. The curious case of Saint Seiya. An absolute classic that helped Dragon Ball in popularizing the long-running fighting shounen "genre" back in the late 80s, that yet, as opposed to Mr. Toriyama's work, gets so little attention, interest and recognition online in comparison to virtually all of the other big ones that followed it later, with some of them even being inspired by it (well-known authors like Tite Kubo, Masashi Kishimoto and CLAMP have all declared to have been inspired by this show. In fact, Bleach’s most popular arc was inspired by Saint Seiya’s most popular arc too). Along with the
fact that this was the first ever anime show I completed back in the 90s (when internet wasn’t even a thing yet) that instantly became one of my all-time favorites, I must admit that this has been somewhat disheartening to notice. Though, this result is understandable when remembering not only that this is an old property, but also that this was the ONLY major long-running fighting shounen to absolutely BOMB in the highly coveted US market and by extension in every other English speaking country due to an unfortunate very late release in Toonami back in the early 00s (almost 20 years after its original release in JP) with probably one of the worst cases of localization in all of anime (see “Additional comments” at the end of this review), which ultimately prevented it from building any relevant fanbase there forever. Anyway, no matter its scarce knowledge and traction in English based sites, truth is that Saint Seiya’s position as one the most popular anime shows worldwide is undisputed, mainly supported by the Latin American and Latin European (France, Spain, Portugal and Italy) regions, where its fate, as opposed to the one it suffered in the Anglosphere, was quite different. In fact…the polar opposite.
Saint Seiya was HUGE here, even more than in Japan, and the French are the ones to blame, by being the first in bringing the series to the West and renaming it as “Knights of the Zodiac”. So much that, specifically in Latin America, this show got an almost religious following since it first aired. To put things into perspective, pick random people in any Latin American street, ask them what anime shows do they know, and Saint Seiya will be among the titles with the most mentions along shows like DB, Pokemon and Naruto. Go to any anime related store or shopping center and you’ll see the radiant (and expensive!) action figures -whose sales are still red-hot after all these decades- being displayed right in the main shop windows. Every time anime pops-up as a theme of conversation in social meetings, Saint Seiya is vigorously discussed. And this is the ONLY fighting shounen franchise along Dragon Ball that has ALL of its installments (including non-canon movies) completely dubbed to Latin American Spanish, something that not a single member of the so-called “Big 3” ever achieved here. It’s truly an icon of the “Latinsphere” pop culture and its collective memory. But why was it so successful? What was the reason behind the madness? If I had to describe it in few words…simply because Saint Seiya is just a fascinating tale about honour, courage and loyalty, and a blast of energy, style and passion. Well, let’s start digging out this.
Undoubtedly, one of the main reasons of its appeal has to do with its setting: Saint Seiya is a shounen heavily inspired and nourished by mythological themes, mainly greek. This is a world where mythological deities coexist with the real world and fight for the control of the Earth, in large-scale conflicts known as “holy wars”. For this purpose, each of them count with an order of warriors (in the case of the Goddess Athena, the one the author chose as the “protector of the Earth”, known as “Saints”), who swear them allegiance. These warriors wear armours known as “cloths”, sacred robes forged by gods which not only are used to protect their bodies, but also to enhance their powers, which represent diverse mythological concepts/entities. In the case of saints, the 88 greek-based constellations; for example, the Leo warrior, representing the constellation of Leo, wears a cloth that when not being used, its pieces assemble together taking the shape of a lion (watching the assembled form of each of these cloths is such a pleasure, especially the zodiac constellations!). The cloths must only be used for noble causes and never for personal ambitions, and aren’t mere inert objects, they are imbued with a “soul”, and a form of intelligence, they establish a bond with their bearers and may even reject them if they detect that they have deviated from the right paths.
To acquire the title of saint and wear a cloth, the warrior must first learn to channel their inner spiritual energy called “cosmos”, from which he gets his powers (the equivalent to chi, chakra and nen). Ever heard that every human being is “made of stars’ dust”? Well, battle system sorta plays with that; it relies on the fact that the spirits of individuals are linked to their “guardian constellations”, which protect them and grant them power if they discover how to “become one” with them. It’s nothing really complex, but it’s still, let’s say, very “poetic”. And as a show with a mythological motif, this actually fits. This way, fights aren’t really entirely decided based on who’s physically the strongest, but rather on who can manipulate and “burn their inner cosmos” or create an “explosion” inside their bodies and become one with their guardian constellation the most. Fights are NOT decided by mere power levels!
Within the order of Athena’s saints, there are three different ranks: the bronze saints (the lower rank), the silver saints (intermediate rank) and the golden saints (higher rank). Our main cast of 5 members belong to the first category. All of them are orphans (ever heard of that before?) with painful pasts which represent the tests they have to overcome in order to grow as better warriors. SS might not be exactly your show with lots of characters study, but it still does a good job in making its main characters more than just the powerful cool dudes that go to the field to fight, throw some attacks to defeat their enemies, entertain the audience and that’s it. They aren’t static and with every fight they grow as both human beings and saints. Believe me, they (at least) have A LOT more fleshing than Goku and gang! So it’s not like the show does nothing with them besides using them as plot devices to just showcase the cool action scenes. It’s also important to note that, unlike what happens in most battle shounen series, Saint Seiya is a role model in having a team of warriors all of them sharing equal amount of spotlight; the distribution of fights is pretty even (despite the fact that at the end of every conflict it is Seiya the one who, given his MC status, gets a brief credit-plus).
Seiya, who gives the show its name, is the “main” of the 5. He represents everything in old shounen heroes: brave, determined, impulsive, the nice dude every kid wants to be friend with and…wears obviously red! Then you have Shun, who started the trend of “the girly” dude in shounens (he may have been the inspiration for Kurapika, who, the same as Shun, has powers related to chains), very sensitive, delicate and kind, with a soft personality and pacifist. He’s the younger brother of Ikki, the cold-hearted, powerful and distant lone-wolf who’s always arguing with the rest of the group, acts by himself and obviously wears…blue. Before Vegeta, there was Ikki! He’s also the most psychologically complex of all since he was basically trained in Mordor, where he was inculcated the hate philosophy: hating yourself and the nefarious world around you will make you stronger. And that’s as far as archetypes here go (though to be fair, Shun and Ikki pretty much were pioneers, so they weren’t really archetypical back in the day), since the other two, Shiryu and Hyoga, seem pretty “untaggable”. The former is a noble, serene and wise chinese dude with a strong sense of honor, loyalty and self-sacrifice, embodying best the ideals and virtues of a saint, and the latter is a russian dude who’s by far the less stereotypical of the bunch with a very real characterization. He’s the “cool”, calculating and smart of the group who shows himself as strong and tough, when in reality hides a very emo-ish side and has the hardest time when it comes to overcome his tragic past and grow both as a person and saint.
You would probably be thinking, after reading all this, that Saint Seiya is "oh, just another dumb battle shounen show made for kids". Don’t get me wrong, the saints wear cool-looking armours, use, pose and yell cool special moves, and give passionate, overdramatized speeches, and all of this is certainly appealing to kids, but this doesn’t mean it’s just another 80s show with a kiddy tone made only to sell tons of action figures. In fact, it’s quite the contrary: Saint Seiya (the original) is probably one of the shounens with the most grown-up, adult feel you’ll find out there. Not because it tackles “dark themes” whatsoever, but because unlike most shounens, the tone here is very serious and basically never lighthearted. Saint Seiya never feels “shounen-y”, in the sense of presenting a charismatic set of characters you would like to “hang out with” that will put all these funny goofy faces and will engage in funny dialogues during lighthearted/silly parts which are typical of most shounen shows and that try to make you “love” the characters. There’s none of that in Saint Seiya. Believe me…SS is closer in tone to Trust & Betrayal rather than the TV Rurouni Kenshin! There are a bunch of comedic moments, but they are minimal, only for very punctual comical relief (and most of them involving a situation with kids), they are “lovely” rather than goofy and only come in during the first part of the show. The show is just fully dramatic and sober the whole time and avoids the inclusion of any type of silliness, something that not even more substantial shounens like FMAB or HxH can say. It is important to note that it’s precisely thanks to this overall serious, dramatic and classy tone that all of the cheesy speeches the saints give never feel fake, tasteless, cringey and annoyingly forced like it may occur in other shounens, but indeed are actually effective in making the viewer really feel all the passion this series breathes out in a credible, intense and inspirational way like an heroic, ancient epic Greek drama. Finally, the fact that this appeals to kids doesn’t mean it was suitable to them, since Saint Seiya is VERY violent and bloody and never tries to hide it. Characters are seen being tortured in most of the fights with some gruesome moments and a lot of times bleed rivers (though towards the latter arcs the level of violence is relatively softened). This is exaggerated and may look absurd at times, but its part of its essence and style. It wasn’t so heavily censored in the US turning it into a complete failure there for nothing! I mean the very first episode features a human ear being ripped-off! Not for no reason the show generated a lot of controversy back in the 90s among parents and even the Church who could not understand how could something this violent could have been aired during after-school timeslots, and the series was even prohibited in some countries. To conclude: no, it may be appealing to kids, but it’s not a kiddy show.
Following with the style, the show may not be anything truly outstanding when it comes to substance, but it CERTAINLY is in regards to its artwork, one of the other main factors that explained the popularity of the show. The level of detail and creativity poured in the designs of each of the many cloths to make all of them appealing, cool-looking and distinctive from each other and also into all the many buildings/temples that pay homage to the beautiful arquitecture from ancient Greece and the Neoclassicism artistic movement (Sanctuary itself is reminiscent of the Acropolis), reveals all the passion, love and hard work that the designers had to put in which are nothing short of admirable. The designs of all the many characters are also very detailed and stylized and there’s no one that will look similar to another. This is another thing: Saint Seiya, despite being a shounen, actually has a very shoujo-esque artstyle, because of the relatively big eyes, the long, fluffy hairstyles with vibrant coloring and the fine body proportions that not only made the characters look handsome, but also so respectable and so CLASSY, particularly the golden saints. It it also important to note that the artistic decisions in regards to character designs largely contributed to give the series the adult, solemn and serious feel it irradiates that was explained earlier. No single relevant character has a “funny”, “sweet”, “kiddy” or “teeny” appearance (excluding children obviously), something that can make lighter the tone of a series, especially in shounens, and in fact, the bronze saints (the main cast) while all of them officially around 13-16 years old, are really drawn as if they were WAY older. Seiya is the only one that can pass as a teenager, though never younger than 17. Finally, animation can look a bit poor at times, in fact there’re lots of reused animation sequences here (think of Sailor Moon transformation moments), and there’re clear budget disparities among episodes, but this is pretty much the norm in every long-running show (especially from Toei) so it’s nothing to feel very bothered about. Also the visual-effects are stunning, especially the ones to animate the cosmos gleaming light that the knights irradiate from their bodies that have nothing to envy to modern techniques. Overall, Saint Seiya is a gorgeous anime to look at.
And not only to look at, but also to hear. Not only because the voice-over cast did an excellent job, but also because it features probably the most outstanding soundtrack in anime history. I’m sorry if I trigger anyone with this comment, but if you think that Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Attack on Titan enjoy the best OSTs in anime, well, that’s because… you haven’t seen Saint Seiya yet! The music is simply INSANELY good. I know this is highly subjective, but what it’s not subjective is the fact that that the amount of memorable, resounding and powerful tracks that the genius Seiji Yokohama composed (as opposed to many shows with good OSTs but that in reality just feature at most two or three tracks that truly stick in your mind) is VAST. Most of the tracks not only boost the epic, triumphant and colossal nature of the show and brilliantly fit with EVERY single frame of it, but also explain a large part of what makes Saint Seiya the legend that it is. It just would not have made the same impact without them. You can really tell that each of the tunes was composed with the heart and brain at their fullest and there was a LOT of hard, passionate work behind them. I’ve yet to hear a score more exquisit, detailed, rich, stimulating, full of passion and love than the one Yokohama crafted. If SS’s score would have been the one of a Hollywood movie, it would have EASILY won the respective Oscar, and I mean it. And to insist with this: even the detractors of the show have recognized how damm awesome it was!
SS -similarly to DBZ- consists of 3 main arcs where the first one contains an introductory sub-arc. The first one (Sanctuary, episodes 1-73) kicks-off the series with a tournament part that introduces the 5 members of the main cast and their personal conflicts and that is interrupted towards the end by a major event (ever heard of this before?). Excluding the legendary Seiya vs Shiryu fight, it’s unfortunate that this string of first 15 episodes or so (a significant amount) not only is the less interesting/exciting part of the show; it is also the lamest. It does not give an accurate idea of the mythological essence of the show, it doesn’t tell you since the beginning that this will be a show relying heavily on fantasy, and introduces the terrible Black Saints which are literally a bunch of dudes looking exactly the same as all of our protagonists with no single explanation whatsoever. Bad decisions didn’t stop there and in the next part of this first arc (Silver Saints) Toei decided to cram in the Steel Saints who were basically the Centurions: biologically enhanced warriors wearing mechanical/artificial armours whose existence went against the mythological/spiritual nature of the show (think of them as the “Porygons” in the SS universe) and were included with the single purpose to increase the action figures’ sales. It was stupid and the studio knew it: they soon after made them vanish leaving no trace at all! It was also unfortunate that some of the Silver Saints were bad filler characters and their concepts didn’t even have associated real constellations. However, all of this is more than compensated given that this part still did a very good job when it comes to develop the dynamics, relationships and conflicts of the main cast, creating intrigue about what’s going on here by slowly revealing the details of the plot and universe and by quietly setting the stage for what would be one of the most memorable arcs in battle shounen history: the Golden Saints, the last part of this first arc, the fan-favorite one, the highest point of the whole franchise and what granted Saint Seiya its legendary status.
Perhaps only along the first half of Death Note, I’ve never seen any other series capable of creating, maintaining and handling such amounts of real tension and suspense as the ones seen in this arc. Spanning around 33-34 episodes, it easily catches the attention since the very beginning when an unexpected event takes you by surprise and from there onwards it’s just a non-stop epic hell of a ride charged with large amounts of adrenaline, real drama and passion all of which brilliantly blend together to yield one of the most memorable and fascinating tales I’ve ever experienced not only in anime, but in media in general. What made it good was that not only is a thrilling race against time with highly dramatic fights, but also an inspiring process of personal growth and learning from both the bronze saints and the golden saints, which were all of them enemies with rich, well-defined characterizations that made the viewer actually care about them and made them more than just forgettable “enemies of the moment”. (In fact, the golden saints are as equally if not more popular among the fanbase than the 5 protagonists themselves). The arc also efficiently manages to keep clear of the monotony that could have arisen given its stage-by-stage sequence by presenting some sort of novelty in most of the links of the chain. Not all of them are solved the same way and there’s a lot of creativity poured in, which lastly prevents any type of fatigue. I don’t want to spoil much, but it’s for this matter necessary to highlight that the main cast DOES NOT win all of the fights in their way up which is the most obvious expected outcome for a “typical shounen”. It is also a very inspirational journey where their virtues as saints and their determination are constantly being tested. The conclusion is nothing short of amazing (episode 72 is among my all-time favorite episodes), and while some argue that the way the conflict ended seemed somewhat convenient in the sense that it gave the bronze saints more credit than the one they were “logically” supposed to have, this was in reality the necessary way to go to prove wrong and destroy the ideals and beliefs of the main antagonist (who was probably one of the most interesting villains in all of battle shounens given the nature of his personality and concept linked to mythological themes) and to convey the overall message that “power alone is not enough to rule and it will never overcome justice”, which was the entire point of the whole arc.
The next two following clashes, Asgard and Poseidon, face some controversy since, given how successful and well-received the Sanctuary arc was, they copy-pasted its plot structure (a race against time where the 5 bronze saints have to fight a group of warriors step-by-step that culminates with the big boss at the end of the journey) adding some slight modifications here and there (in Poseidon for example, the ordered sequence was broken when some bronze saints reached the final boss before every henchman had been already defeated), a decision that for some may seem non-creative, and may make them legitimately think: “come on, this again?”. Personally, I never cared about this, to me they are still enjoyable rides, but the situation for others may not be the same and not without good reason. They have been also subject of controversy since, given the new context after the conclusion of the Sanctuary arc, it wasn’t the most logical decision that the bronze saints were the ones to go to the battlefield (twice) again, considering they were not the most powerful saints in the hierarchy and some mild conveniences had to be introduced to justify this situation. However, I argue that this was necessary considering that, otherwise, they would have lost their protagonist status, what wouldn’t have made much sense.
Anyway, going back to the arcs themselves, the Asgard arc (episodes 74-99), where the saints have to face a threat from the cold north, is basically a lecture of a “filler arc done right” that most long-running shounens would kill to have. Toei did an excellent job and proved that fillers don’t have to suck long before some other shounens did. The arc is well-integrated into the storyline and while the new enemies (the god warriors) aren’t as cool-looking, beloved and popular as the golden saints, they are still respectable and are in fact more developed in terms of characterization and backstory than the latter, which made them still very interesting. It may not have been as exciting and suspenseful as the Sanctuary arc, but it’s still a competent, highly enjoyable ride, with the Siegfried (the last and most powerful god warrior) confrontation as the highest point. Finally, the Poseidon arc (episodes 100-114), where the saints have to stop the ambitions of the king of the seas, while enjoyable overall (especially towards the end where it showcases the most colossal, larger-than-life moments of the whole series; certain event in the last episode always takes my breath away), it relatively failed to live-up to the hype since it was supposed to be the hardest confrontation of the series given that this was the first time they were battling against a real god and its army, when in reality most of the henchmen (the marina generals) were mediocre and were defeated without much difficulty by the bronze saints, which made things less exciting. It didn’t help that 4 of the 7 were totally forgettable enemies with no characterization at all. Nevertheless, the arc (and the show) still manages to end in a high-note with an inspiring and cheerful final message.
The Achilles’ heel
Now it’ time to talk about the show’s actual main flaws that no SS fan has ever denied: the consistency of its storytelling during the first arc and its lack of worldbuilding. During this part, the show suffers from some inconsistencies that anyone with a brain and a pair of eyes will notice, all of them arising from the fact that the author didn’t really have a very clear idea of where to head its work since the beginning. There’s just too much stuff of the likes “how can this be this way if this other thing I saw before was like that?”, especially regarding the identity and ambitions of the first main antagonist and the information some characters are supposed to possess given who they are and what they have lived in the past (for example: Seiya, who had trained in the Sanctuary for 6 years, is unaware of the existence of the golden saints, who precisely live right there! It’s not believable). Also one of the cloths changes its shape overnight and no one even wonders why. There is some discontinuity in terms of places too: some buildings that were not supposed to be located in a certain place given what had been shown before, suddenly are. And let’s not even talk, as I mentioned earlier, about the sudden vanishing of the Steel Saints. There are many others, but I don’t want to spoil and there’s no need to mention them all; the point is clear.
Also, the show leaves a lot to be desired in terms of worldbuilding: it will leave you wondering many aspects about its universe and its functioning that will never be explained. For example, it never bothers to tell where the cloths come from, who crafted them, when does a saint stops using it (they are after all humans and can’t be fit warriors forever) and inherits it to its next holder. It’s also never explained how does the Sanctuary interacts with the rest of the “real world” (the Sanctuary is a place where “normal” people can’t get in, it’s supposed to be hidden, despite the fact that it’s an open place right next to Athens!) and what kind of roles does it have besides being just the place where Goddess Athena will stare the world from its heights. In the end, the show raises a lot of questions regarding its universe that will never be answered in it, but rather in the source, other media or simply in interviews with the author, however I do think that it would have added a lot of value if they had been answered/explained within the TV show. Personally, as one of my favorites, I’ve never been really bothered by all of this, the lack of answers and inconsistencies are really all minor and hence unable to diminish by enjoyment, however for adult starters, this could legitimately not be the case. So as a final advice: don’t think this too much. It is not a show to expect logic from. It is a show with a mythological concept after all! You should watch it as if reading a myth, a poem, the nature of SS is highly poetic, so instead of feeling lazy or illogical, it actually feels romantic.
The unfortunate case of Saint Seiya is that for starters it might look like a shounen show that “didn’t age well”, and is in fact something that is said about this show by some people. (I myself hate using that term, not only because it has been overused to death and because it has become the cheapest way of all to argue that modern shows are better than older ones, but also because I just can’t think that artistic productions are subject to lose value in time like they were cars or any type of electronic device). Why? Because during the last decades, anime fans have become more “brainy” and rational when it comes to judge (and enjoy) shows and in Saint Seiya EVERYTHING is in reality “hearty” or “faithy”, something that hence inevitably isn’t compatible with their demands, and that ultimately has led them to be unable to realize the whole point of the show (more of this in next paragraph). They started watching shounens like FMA, Hunter x Hunter, One Piece or even Naruto, all of them who helped to modify the shounen trends, became the new generation battle shounen benchmarks and consequently have been placed as what every shounen should aspire to be. Unsurprisingly, when they out of curiosity watch (after them) a shounen from the 80s (15-20 years BEFORE the aforementioned shows premiered, when the trends where clearly completely different), they deem it as a “generic, cliched shounen”, when the truth is that it wasn’t really (that) generic during the time it came! Which is exactly the fate Saint Seiya has unfairly suffered. Would Saint Seiya look generic today? Maybe. Was it generic when it premiered? NO, since it, alongside DB and HnK, were among the first ones in using many of the common tropes that many other battle shounens keep using until these days! It was definitely not (that) generic when it was released. Of course, battle shounen realm has evolved in such a way that shows like Saint Seiya with simple premises and no major substantial themes (even if they aren’t dumb) may not be appealing for newer generations (especially if they are already adults) who are more demanding after having established shows like FMA and Hunter x Hunter as the shounen benchmarks, but this doesn’t have to render all the shounen shows that came before them and that obviously could not follow these new modern trends they established necessarily as bad ones. Saint Seiya, as one of the first long-running battle shounens, was indeed a good show by the time it came (though not necessarily the best) and it’s very important to have the right mindset and perspective prior to watch it. Comparing an 80s show with a post-2000 not only is unfair, it is also pointless, since it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison!
In line with the aforementioned issue, Saint Seiya has also been very criticized for its heavy use of shounen cliches like plot armour (the bronze saints suffer in many times severe damage, bleed like hell, are in many times at the edge of dying, and they never do, except for one of them), power-ups that seem illogical, main characters that stand up and never give up no matter how hurt they are and the so-called "power-of-friendship" resource that has nowadays been completely demonized after certain shows have overused it to an extreme with no grounds whatsoever. Some people were bothered that the fights did not have “tactical”, “strategic” or “logical” solutions, which demonstrates that they really never had a clue of the show they were watching and is a testament of the problems that arise when anime watchers become overly “brainy”: they are unable to understand shows that do not follow realistic paths. What do I mean with this? Saint Seiya is a show with a mythological motif, that pays homage to all those mythological greek tales, is entirely faith based, and people ask it… logic? Do all those tales seemed logic to begin with? To me, it’s just not the case. While I do agree that fights solved by strategy are more creative, this doesn’t imply that the ones that are not based on it have to be bad, and even if we consider them as “lazy writing”, facts still are that in this show every boost in power the saints experiment have a believable justification given the mythological context of the universe it takes places in and the rules it establishes since the very beginning which also are always consistent. The whole point and overall message of the show was always a highly romantic and “religious” one: imbued by the grace and protection of the god you believe in, overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles can be accomplished if your spiritual control linked to the cosmos, determination, perseverance and your faith in both yourself and the right causes you believe in and fight for, are strong enough, which is a theme that is permanently tackled throughout the whole show and is well-executed, so there’s never really any reason to feel annoyed by. Lastly, the “power of friendship” moments, aren’t exactly that, but rather “power of the union”, the same way the spirit bomb worked in DBZ. It’s not like the saints remember their friendship and voila, we are now more powerful, so the bad idea many people have towards this concept is not really present here.
Saint Seiya, despite its minor flaws in its storytelling and its inconsistencies (that don’t really hurt the experience in a relevant degree), the repetitiveness of its arc structures later in the series and the fact that it may seem like a cliched story by today’s standards, it’s still a worldwide relevant and competent action shounen that executes its relatively simple ambitions in terms of overall messages well and which can be a highly enjoyable, inspiring rollercoaster ride (boosted by the enormous level of detail in its style) if you watch it from the right perspective. It’s a good show if you are both able to realize that this is a mid 80s battle shounen when the demo was only starting to take shape, when what now may seem typical wasn’t really so back then, and that it isn’t a show that you should ask for much logic, considering its mythological/religious elements. It also may not be a very thematically rich show, but this doesn’t mean it’s a stupid “turn-your-brain-off” one either. It’s pure colossal, passionate and cheesy 80s fun and from the best you can find. It may not be the most compelling shounen ever, but this one is still as classic and legendary as Dragon Ball and deserves to get more credit, attention and recognition than the one it currently has.
• About the rest of the franchise: (i) Saint Seiya continued in 2002 with the Hades arc in OVA format, which, as canon material, should be watched. The arc has an spectacular first act, however, the second and third ones are sadly underwhelming. (ii) The first 4 movies of the 80s are all as interesting and exciting as your standard old DBZ movie. In other words: don’t bother with them. (iii) The Heaven arc overture movie was supposed to continue the show, but it was a failed project that never saw again the light of the day, so also don’t bother with it. (iv) The Lost Canvas is a non-canon “prequel” to SS. It is overall better written than SS, however, it also lacks the passion and excitement the original enjoys (still a good watch). (v) Saint Seiya Omega is the real “kiddy” dumbed-down version of SS. It is non-canon, has another universe and you’d be better avoiding it, as I did. (vi) Soul of Gold is just a cashgrab whose existence was as necessary as DBS.
• If you haven’t seen this show and you are from an English speaking country, AVOID the dub. It is an abomination, one of the main reasons the show never took off in the Anglosphere and it’s not even complete. (For further details, check: https://landofobscusion.blogspot.com/2018/08/dics-knights-of-zodiac-i-just-ran-i-ran.html).
• Despite the art being outstanding, sadly the versions that are available online are not very good and don’t make it justice, and belong to a “remastered” version that is probaby the only case of a remaster I’ve seen that ended being worse than the original. A lot of the beautiful details resulted butchered and the color pallette and contrasts are bad. Try to find the original version which is the best.
• There’s this misconception that SS is a super sentai show and is “the Sailor Moon for boys”, since both use universe concepts, have a team of warriors who pose and yell their attacks and give speeches about friendship, perseverance, love and faith. However, that’s as far as similarities go. Aside from the obvious fact that SM is a cute and lovely and magical girl show, SS is a raw and violent shounen, and it’s NOT a super sentai show. In sentai shows, the warriors always go to the battlefield and fight together, while in SS the saints move separately and combats are always one-to-one. It is also not episodic and there are no transformation sequences like sentai shows usually are and include, respectively.
• It’s also a myth that in SS the saints are overpowered. Sure, they are strong and powerful, but it’s not like they can destroy entire planets with their powers either like in DBZ.
• It will draw your attention that when the bronze saints put on their cloths, for no apparent reason their hair grow a bit and their trousers change their color. For example, Seiya wears blue-jeans and when he puts on his Pegasus cloth they magically turn red. No: the cloths do not include wigs neither ink: it’s just an author’s whim.
• The french (the first in bringing the show to the west) changed the title of the warriors from saints to knights, to avoid controversy with the Catholic Church, and hence in all the western dubs saints are known as knights.
• Netflix is preparing a remake for 2019. The trailer has recently been launched. Watch it and judge for yourself. If I did here, this review would have actually never ended.
As someone who had an interest in Greek Mythology since childhood, Saint Seiya was a series that naturally appealed to me. Coupled with it's other aesthetic elements such as the intricate, inventive and cool Cloth designs, the great level of detail and style in it's art to make the male characters noble and the females beautiful or having one of the best opening songs in anime and a great soundtrack in general, the series seems top tier from a stylistic point of view, but what about substance?
When it comes to plot and characters, the series can be described as simple but fairly well executed. All
of the major characters have pretty transparent motivations without too much subtlety, yet their personalities of it's major players are all very memorable and fairly consistent.
As for the plot, this is something that is pretty simple and unfortunately can suffer from a few poor Shonen tropes such as power of friendship, resolve power ups and general plot armour. However, this series manages to execute these poor plot devices far better than any modern Shonen. The nature of burning one's Cosmo excuses the power ups that can occur and many characters being plot armoured by Athena's intervention is actually fitting in it's ties to Greek Mythology, in which many heroes such as Heracles and Odysseus couldn't get through some impossible tasks without help from the Gods.
===Story Analysis - Part 1: Sanctuary Arc===
Moving on to talk about a few of the individual arcs, the first is the Sanctuary Arc. This arc had a pretty decent opening act with a tournament that had some actual stakes in the risk of the combatants dying and could have been one of the best tournaments in Shonen had it continued to the end, though it's understandable to abandon it when tournaments were a saturated plot line even during the mid 80s. While the later events with the Black Saints, filler villains such as Docrates and then the Silver Saints could feel quite repetitive in their structure, they did have quite a few highlights for the main cast to help emphasise their differences such as Shiryu's tendency of self-sacrifice and Ikki's merciless nature.
Things start to truly rise in quality when the events of the 12 Zodiac Palaces occur, which is the most popular part of the series and indeed it's peak. The tension was great as the race against time with a clear limit to reach, with the Gold Saints all having clearly distinct personalities and most of them being interesting characters. Gemini Saga is a particular highlight, with the conflict of his personalities being at constant odds with each other and being the best execution of a split-personality character in Shonen (better than the highly overrated Sensui from YYH). The arc can seem somewhat disappointing in the lack of major deaths in the main cast despite the severity of their injuries, though this is somewhat excusable when one major theme of the arc was the Bronze Saints proving themselves as worthy successors to the Gold Saints. Overall, it was a fairly solid action/adventure that I'd rate a 6.5/10.
===Part 2: Asgard Arc===
This anime exclusive arc is far more than just a filler arc; it's the best filler arc in anime as it actually bothers to make it's anime exclusive characters, the God Warriors, very memorable both in design and personality to the point their characters are even better written than most of the far more iconic Gold Saints for the most part. It was also very well done in how this arc transitions back into manga canon territory and ushers in the next arc in a far more exciting way than the original manga.
However, the arc wasn't as good as Sanctuary. For one, Hilda wasn't an interesting villain due to her actions being purely due to mind control. The sense of tension was nowhere near as great as the previous arc either. The amount of time the Bronze Saints had to accomplish their task within was nowhere near as well shown as in Sanctuary and aside from Siegfried, the God Warriors had power nowhere near as great or consistent a strength or grouping as the Gold Saints, with their 2nd strongest member still being only equal to Taurus Aldebaran. The general structure is also a copy-paste of Sanctuary as most of the series was from then on, showing how the series lost a lot of steam after it's first 73 episodes and went with rehashing it's most popular plot line in new ways. Despite that, it was still a decent arc and a masterpiece by filler standards. 6/10.
===Part 3: Poseidon Arc===
The final arc of the original anime was the Poseidon Arc, which was a definite step down from the previous two. It did at least try to be less formulaic by not having it's standard opponents be in such a linear road, but that means little when the execution is still repetitive and, unlike with the two previous arcs main group of villains, the Marina Generals are for the most part a major disappointment. Kanon was good due to his role as a manipulator and Isaac was decent due to his ties to Hyoga (though mainly only to serve as character development for Hyoga), yet the rest were completely bland beyond a gimmick or two. It doesn't help that power-wise, only Kanon, Krishna, Isaac and maybe Sorrento felt that impressive, with the rest getting steamrolled pretty quickly once the Bronze Saints got serious.
It was good that the battles required more than just beating the opponent, but it didn't really matter after the first battle since the destruction of the Sea Pillars was no longer a big deal with the Libra Cloth. Having a god as the main antagonist did increase the scale and Poseidon's desire to reshape the world wasn't too hyperbolic from his perspective, though he felt very underwhelming for such a powerful god when he was overpowered twice by the combined power of the main cast (the second time in which he'd gone through a gigantic power up of his own) and coming close to his full power didn't change much overall. It also doesn't help that the sense of tension, like the previous arc's, is nowhere near as great as Sanctuary due to having no solid grasp of how much time Athena had left. If anything, it was worse due to not even being told a solid time limit or constantly shown her physical condition prior to the end of the battle, which in both anime and manga lacked any sort of build up for the next arc (though this is expected with the anime concluding on this arc until adapting the Hades Arc over a decade later). 4/10.
Going back to the aesthetic qualities and expanding on them, it's truly where the series stands out as rule of cool. Along with the creativity within the armour of each character, the change of Kurumada's art style to this equally as iconic style of Shingo Araki's lead to it's art possibly being the best of Toei's TV Anime. The soundtrack has an excellent range from triumphant or emotional orchestras to cool rock in order to really fit the tone of each scene. Voice acting is also great with some very well revered seiyuu establishing their performances as iconic with the characters such as Toru Furuya's performance as Seiya, Hirotaka Suzuoka as Shiryu or Hideyuki Tanaka as both Aiolia and the narrator.
Overall, Saint Seiya is a fairly enjoyable series, even if fairly flawed. It's far from the peak of Shonen as even during it's era, there were quite a few Shonen of overall better quality such as Hokuto no Ken or the original series of Dragon Ball. However, what tropes of Shonen it established and utilised, it at least performed them better than most, if not all, Shonen to copy it's formula thereafter such as Yu Yu Hakusho and Bleach. Along with having some pretty likeable and unique characters, it deserves a place amongst the good Shonen titles.
Well, perhaps I'm one of those self-declared #1 fans. I can't tell exactly how many times I rewatched this series. All I know is that there were lots of times. So maybe now I can act like a kind of advertiser for the series.
I'd start saiying that Saint Seiya was my introdution to the world of anime. The story, the characters, the myth, the bloody and very impressive fights, the dilemmas the characters had to go through, all created a perfect and attractive piece of something I wasn't used to watching. I kinda compare it to the influence that the american music exerted over
me. I wasn't a music enthusiast untill I heard Mariah Carey for the first time. I mean after watching Saint Seiya, I experienced the kind of excitement that an animation could 'cause and became an otaku.
Let me try my very best to describe Saint Seiya:
It's about goddess Athena, who reincarnate on the earth every 200 or 300 years to protect it from the aproaching evil, and her saints, who are, in most of the cases, teenagers.
There are three different ranks of saints. Bronze saints(the lower rank), silver saints and the highest rank, that happens to be the gold ones. The five saints who are around Athena(in her current reincarnation as Saori Kido) in almost the whole series belong to the lower rank. Though they're supposedly the weakest ones, they manage to overcome even the gold saints in order to protect they're goddess. If you watch it, you'll find out sometimes that it's kinda hard to believe that those boys(Seiya, Shiryu, Hyoga, Ikki and Shun) could achieve such level of power, performing miracles to the point that they don't seem to be simple humans anymore.
Every saint has his own guiding constellation in wich the power of they're cosmos(something like chakra in Naruto's world) is based. As it's explained trough the series, the cosmos has no rank. So even a lower rank saint could master it and become strong enough to fight and defeat the gods.
There's also a lot to comment about the musical themes of the series. I kinda can't get those songs and arranges out of my mind. The one I like the most is that one played in the end of every episode, causing you that anxiety for the next episode that keeps you always coming for more. For myself, I can say that Seiji Yokoyama did an amazing job in composing the soundtracks.
Another Shounen animes
If you liked Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Hunter x Hunter, Dragon Ball Z, etc. Then you won't be wasting your time and Iencourage you to watch this amazing anime that h ad a huge influence over my entire life. Though it's not visually impressive as the ones I've just mentioned, it's still worth it watching. Belive me you won't regret.
I'm gonna finish it now, 'cause I'm afraid that this review could be so boring that you guys can't bear reading it 'till the end. That's it for now. Hope I have helped you get to know one of the best series out there.
Story and Characters
What really appealed to me about this story was the inclusion of Greek mythology and the use of the constellations to each represent a guardian to Athena. As a modern day re-telling of those qualities, I find that it's adapted very excellently. I like how the concept of chains for lets say Andromeda is transitioned from the original mythology to the character Shun, and of course everybody knows what the legend of the phoenix is, and its used very conveniently with the character Ikki. If you pretty much know the original Greek stories on a basic level, I say it can add a
bit more to the enjoyment. If you're expecting something very accurate and 100% faithful, don't bet on it. Keep in mind this is a semi-retelling of Greek mythology with some Asian cultural twists to it which add a unique element to it in that sense.
The pacing can be slow, but very spread out. The amount of episodes put into this series allows each character to have their own contribution to the story, as well as to have their own individual and relationship development. For example, the main character, Seiya, wants nothing to do with being a saint for Athena, and wants to find his long lost sister. But after awhile, he discovers that he can use his role to hopefully have his sister also find him early on in the series. But after a short while, Seiya comes to embrace his role as Earth's protector. But it's not only interesting that Seiya only develops, but the rest of the cast and even some of the villains have their own unique development as well. And when you get to know some of the characters in an individual sense, you do get drawn to them because of how well they are presented with their personal traits and background.
The personalities of the main cast overall can be considered stereotypical by modern day standards with Seiya as the act now/never think leader; Ikki as the lone wolf; and Shun as the more soft and feminine guy, but at least the chemistry is balanced and each character can be a foil to one another. Anybody can be a foil to Seiya in the group, and Seiya can be a foil to anybody and so on.
Of course being a Shounen Jump adapted anime, there are its share of fillers. The worst part about this series is certainly the Steel Saints. I felt their concept really negated what Saint Seiya was about with manipulating the cosmos in your body and really cheapened the value of that. But thankfully they are only in a few episodes and they disappear without a trace never to be seen again. But after the Sanctuary Arc, there is a filler arc called the Asgard Arc where the Bronze saints must fight the God Warriors inspired by Norse Mythology. I felt this is one filler arc that I found to be very productive and in some ways advanced and contributed to the development of the story, and finds a way to connect the last story arc of the anime TV series. I thought the respective characters were an excellent represenation of the myths they were adapated from and matched up very well with the Bronze saints.
Art and Animation
I have to say is that I really liked how the design of the characters and I find to be a bit better than the original manga version. I like how it feels more "cleaned up," and not as rough looking. Granted Saint Seiya is an action series, but the way Kurumada inks makes it difficult for me to follow sometimes. Then again, I got bad eyes. I like how the anime makes the characters faces a bit wider and more circular. In that sense, the characters come across more convincingly as teenagers. In the manga, I wouldn't believe that Seiya was thirteen, while in the anime, I believe he can. I also like how Ikki kind of looks like a Nagai Go design. It really makes him stick out and suits his big frame since Nagai liked to sometimes design characters like that. Sometimes I wonder if Ikki was meant to be a tribute to Nagai Go's style.
Of course what some people may have problems with is Shun's design. I'll admit that I first thought he was a girl looking at the pictures. His face, his figure, the design of his armor just makes you think he's a girl. Apparently thanks to this design of Shun, it pushed way for yaoi. Not only did Kurumada-sensei pave way for Shounen Jump with his original manga, Ring ni Kakero, his creation of Shun paved way for yaoi. Kind of interesting that Kurumada is the father of both Shounen Jump and yaoi. I don't know why I can forgive Shun for looking like a girl, I guess in series like these, you may not directly need a woman, but a guy with a feminine side and Shun fills that role very well.
What also makes this series very appealing is of course the various designs of the armor that ALL the characters wear. A good fraction of the armor isn't of course 100% accurate to what you see in Greek mythology, but I felt it works with the characters' individual builds, along the way the action and the individual techniques are performed with more emphasis on speed. The armors well represent their respective constellations, and I like when they don't wear their armor, the pieces will form the constellation they represent.
Another thing that sticks out to met before I talk about the action is of course the design of the God Warriors and the Asgard characters in general. Obviously they were not designed by Kurumada, and their coloring is a lot lighter and brighter, and their hair is much thinner compared to how Kurumada draws more wild and thicker hair styles. The designs reminded me of a Josei style manga. But I suppose it does allow more diversity to the style of Saint Seiya if you want to look at this more postiviely. But lets move on.
Another high and low point of this series is the action. A lot of recycled animation is used, but Saint Seiya of course isn't the only hit anime series guilty of this feature so I think myself along with a good amount of fans can forgive that. The fighting is explosive with some super bad ass techniques, but not to a point where it gets ridiculously over the top. Despite the more emphasis on special moves, the fights are still strategic, and I like how the concept of styles makes fights is applied here. For example, one character can't beat this guy because of such and such, but this character may be able to beat this bad guy because they have a technique or a feature with their cloth in which it gives them the opportunity to win. So in some ways, it makes you feel that this character isn't the strongest amongst the saints and so on. It's all about who matches up with who.
And I have to say that Saint Seiya has some of the coolest techniques I have ever seen in action anime. I think some of the techniques used in this anime are way cooler than what you see in Hokuto no Ken and Dragon Ball Z. So, if you want to see some cool action with some sweet moves and bad ass looking armor, then Saint Seiya is for you.
Music and Voice Acting
All I have to say is that Pegasus Fantasy by MAKE-UP is certainly one of the best opening themes of an anime in history. If anybody is going to make a top anime theme list, you are no true anime fan if this song is not on your list. The opening guitars just insantly grab you by the balls and the drum beats are catchy. The singing is very energetic and passionate, and the lyrics pretty much tell you the basics of what Saint Seiya is, and that it's about masculinity, the burning fire of youth being a hero,and kicking ass. It's just the talent of MAKE-UP just makes it sound so epic. If I were a pro-wrestler or professional fighter, this would certainly be my top choice of an entrance song just like how MMA fighter Josh Barnett comes out to Ai Wo Torimodose from Hokuto no Ken. The song is so awesome that this French guy went on French Idol, and actually sang it. Granted he wasn't a great singer, but I felt from his posture and his tone, that his inner cosmos igniting for the world to see made up for his lack of talent. Hell, I think he's far more talented than a majority of idiots who go on shows like that anyway.
The second opening theme, Dream Warrior sung by Kageyama Hironobu, who is also famous for doing the songs for Dragon Ball Z is also excellent in its own right though I don't think it compares to Pegasus Fantasy. The ending themes tend to be more relaxed and is a good way to cool the audience down after seeing the intensity of what this show has to offer, so it shows another good balance to the series. It still tells the same stories of living out your dreams and being a myth come to life.
The voice talent consists the best of what anime has to offer. I'll admit the one seiyuu who impressed me most was Horikawa Ryo, the voice of Vegeta from DBZ, as the voice of Andromeda Shun. With Vegeta, he's always angry and hostile and is ready to kick somebody's ass. While as Shun, he's very soft, feminine, and a pacifist. His acting is so convincing as this character, it makes it very hard to believe this guy would later voice Vegeta. It just shows how well talented he is. Another great name is of course the voice of Seiya himself, Furuya Tooru, who is world known as the voice of Amuro Ray from Gundam, and as Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon. His talent allows Seiya to be very young and yet masculine and hot-headed. The late great Suzuoki Hirotaka, famous for playing Captain Bright from Gundam, Kaifun from Macross, Kuno from Ranma, and Saitou Hajime from Rurouni Kenshin plays Shiryu. He makes him sound calm and contemplative. And I can't deny the presence of Ikeda Shuuichi as the voice of Milo, The Scorpio Gold Sait. This guy origially played the Mother Fucking Red Comet, Char Aznable from Gundam, and Hiko Seijuro from Rurouni Kenshin.
As for the many dubs out there, I can't speak much for them. I tried watching the English dub, but I found it horrid with the static acting, and the mispronunciating of names such as Shiryu as She-ru, Hyoga, as Hai-oh-ga, and Saori as Sei-o-ri. I just couldn't get past that. I know that Saint Seiya was already popular in Europe and Mexico, but I can't speak for the dubs of those countries. But as an English speaker and as a mediocre Japanese speaker, I can only speak for the Japanese and English version. But watch this in Japanese, you will get one of the best ensemble voice acting casts of all times. Not just for their names, but for their talents and how they bring their characters to life.
Sadly, despite it's popularity overseas, America was stupid 20 years ago and didn't pick up this series when it had the chance. It could have been a HUGE success and put anime on the map 100% worldwide long before Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z did. But for some reason, somebody just looked over this awesome classic and not many American fans have seen this old school epic, and it's one of the most influentional titles in the history of manga. But you know, that's the way it is. As for who I recommend this to, of course people who love old school for starters. And I say if you love Hokuto no Ken, then you gotta check out this baby. The basic premises are very similiar with using constellations and the presentation of the action is kind of the same but gives a different flavor with a different type of explosiveness.
I have never been so much interested in writing reviews since I joined, but since there are very few in the Saint Seiya series, I begin, obviously, from the legendary one.
I think everyone knows the knights of the zodiac, at least in name. A historical series, a pious milestone in the world of manga like Dragon Ball and JoJo, written by Masami Kurumadain the 80s, but which has found its fame mainly thanks to the anime, illustrated by the great hands of Micho Himeno and Shingo Araki, and with Seki Yokoyama music. A must watch!
I don't go in details, since there are already other
reviews., In short words, the story speaks of the Saints, warriors with superhuman abilities thanks to the dominion of the Cosmos, who wear armors called Cloths, 88 in total, associated with the constellations, trained to serve the goddess Athena and defend the Earth from evil, in a mythological atmosphere.
The development is generally simple and straightforward. The protagonists face a series of enemies, fights, risking their lives several times and becoming stronger, generally to save the goddess Athena (Saori Kido) and preserve peace on Earth. This is also subject to some clichés, or repetitions, and also to some inconsistencies (evaluating the series as a whole, because these 114 episodes cover 2 of the 3 main arches, plus the various fillers).
Anyway, history shows itself without problems, manages to immerse you in the Greek atmosphere, the 12 houses are a legendary saga, and the FILLERS are a great merit. Not all, but many are well made, excellent additions. The Asgard saga in particular, despite being filler, is perhaps one of the best.
NOTE: THE STORY OF SAINT SEIYA BETWEEN MANGA E ANIME IS SIMILAR, BUT BUT HAVING BEEN REALIZED IN THE SAME PERIOD, THE ANIME HAS ADDED FILLER AND CHANGED SOME IMPORTANT PARTIES, THEREFORE BECOME A ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE.
Sublime, exceptional, magnificent.
The same. From epic to deeply sad music, a show!
With the exception of the protagonists, and some secondary enemies (such as the God Warriors by Asgard, filler), the other important characters do not have a larger background, but stand out for a strong characterization, which leaves its impact.
Astrology, mythology, armor, mixed with exceptional designs and magical music, manage to immerse you in that atmosphere of classical Greece, to make you live, between enthusiasm and tears for certain very sad deaths, which characterize the series.
1 : the fights
Unlike a lot of people apparently, I don't like the fights in this anime. Why ? because almost every single one of them are resolve with a deus ex machina, creating little to no tension, despite the fact that the hero always come close to defeat at some point.
As this deus ex machina always comes after the hero looses his armor, it makes it as useless as some kind of super heavy insignia (except for those who literally have a weapon in it like Shun).
2 : the heros's immortality
For some reason, the main characters keep
"dying" over and over again sacrificing themselves for a reason or another. It wouldn't be a problem if they would actually stay dead (or at least use a valid method to bring them back like in Dragon Ball), for example, when trying to revive Seya's and his own armor, Shiryu survived reviving the two armors with his blood, despite Mu clearly stating it would be fatal if he did. And then winning and surviving a fight where he lost more blood than his body should have contained.
The only character that really dies is Ikki, which is conveniently the only one that can resurrect (as he is the saint of the phoenix constellation), rendering this op ability completely useless.
The main cast is not really interesting in terms of personality and objectives but that's just a detail compared to the other 2 major problems I mentioned.
On a more positive note, the art is appealing, the character design is not bad (especially the armors that are really cool), the music is nice, the opening is fucking awesome (the first one at least), and the animation is not bad either. Considering how old it is, it's actually pretty impressive how good the production is, but unfortunately, that is not enough to make a good story.
It was presented to me as a masterpiece of the level of Hokuto no Ken and Dragon Ball, that's why I'm so disappointed (I guess discovering Jojo's Bizarre Adventure just before might have helped).
To sum it up, if you're not nostalgic about it, I don't recommend watching it, it certainly does not live up to its reputation.
ps : if you disagree with me, please be an adult and don't hate me for it.
pss : English is not my mother tongue so if my writing is awkward or incorrect, I apologize.
Saint Seiya is quite an interesting manga/anime. Being interested in Greek mythology i thought it would be excellent and some of it was very good. The story was okay and the art was quite good. The story has a mix of typical Shonen manga mixed with Greek mythology and produces a good result. The music was okay but i didn't really like much of it apart from the 1st opening theme.
One of the main things that stopped me from completely enjoying the series were the character designs. Though i liked Phoenix Ikki and found him an interesting character due to not being a complete hero
i hated the characters Shun, Misty and Aphrodite as they looked to feminine. It also gets boring to listen to the main characters always yell out the same special attack names, even if it is common in most Super Sentai series. If you can get past the small amount of flaws and enjoy the plot then you can easily enjoy Saint Seiya.
There are a few things I want to say before I get into this review. This is my first ever review so it's probably not going to be anything special. I was inspired to write this because recently it's been announced that Saint Seiya is going to receive a live action movie, a spin-off anime (the manga of which is being officially licensed), and a Netflix remake. All of these are going to be coming out around 2019. That's a lot of material to be released in a one year timespan, especially from an 80s anime that barely anyone hears about. That's another thing, Saint
Seiya was never popular in North America (for various reasons, one being the anime has very bad subs about halfway in) so there's not a lot of people talking about it online. I think this is a good opportunity to review the series since it's possible more people will be interested in checking out the original. I want this review to be spoiler-free so I can't be extremely detailed.
Art & Animation:
Saint Seiya has beautiful art and the animation is good and pretty consistent. The art may not look very good because it's an old series and, in addition, it's pretty hard to find online in good quality. I've personally seen the series in Blu-Ray quality and that brought out the show's vibrant colors. Surprisingly, Saint Seiya has decent animation. It's nothing outstanding but it's not utter garbage like some of the stuff that Toei's recently been putting out.
The OST for Saint Seiya is one of its strong points. A lot of it isn't quite my taste, but I do admit it's very well done. The voice acting is also good I suppose. Sorry if this isn't very detailed, but I'm not one who pays attention to this kind of thing unless it's especially terrible. Thankfully, this isn't the case.
Saint Seiya has an average good-vs-evil premise. For that reason, I'd normally give this category a 5. However, I believe there's more to a story than simply its premise, which can usually be summed up in a sentence. One should also take into account the story's execution and the world it takes place in. Speaking of which, the storytelling is one of the show's downfalls. I don't want to go in depth as I want to keep this review spoiler free, but it seems that the mangaka didn't think too much about his story before putting it on paper. There are some plot holes and inconsistencies but you'll most likely not be bothered by them since they aren't major and won't ruin the story. To make things worse, deus ex machina is also a thing in this series. Another thing I want to talk about is the fights. I'm not sure it's something that belongs in the 'Story" category, but Saint Seiya is a battle shounen and the action is a big part of the series. The battle system is nothing special and boils down to who can "burn their Cosmos" to a higher level. That kind of battle system isn't something as complex as Nen from Hunter x Hunter or Stands from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, so the Saint Seiya fights aren't going to be as beautiful as fights in those series (in the technical aspect). For that reason, I think Saint Seiya's fights could've added some filler hand to hand combat so they weren't as static. However, even though the fights aren't visually impressive, they excel in the emotional aspect. They have you rooting for the main characters and you really feel for them when they win (which is pretty much always). This is due to the characters' backgrounds which I will talk more about in the next section. Anyway, I don't want to dwell on the fights too much since this section is supposed to be about the story.
The world of Saint Seiya is one of my favorite aspects. It's heavily inspired by Greek mythology (and Norse but it's only for one arc) and astronomy. It has an interesting and huge lore which the anime only scratches the surface of. Even then, it's very cool and has the kind of feel that you don't get in many other shounen. The lore feels mystical and epic and I guess that's the result of it being based on Greek mythology. Keep in mind, the mythology is only and influence. There are some changes to the original stories and not everything is included in the anime, especially since the series takes place in the modern era (modern as in when the manga was written).
The characters in Saint Seiya, like the premise, are pretty simple. Simple isn't a bad thing, as we see here. They all fit into a certain archetype and you can always tell which one they fit into after a few minutes of screentime. You could argue this is a bad thing because characters will act in a predictable manner, but they are well written for the series they're in. At the end of the day Saint Seiya is a simple show with simple characters. The characters have good backgrounds and clear motivations. One thing I specifically like about the characters is the villains. Most of the villains are better written than the protagonists and don't feel one-dimensionally evil. Some villains on the other hand (even non-villains, actually) in the beginning of the series are bland. I blame this on the fact that the anime premiered only a few months after the manga began so Toei was forced to cram in very bad filler. Consequently, the first 30 or so episodes are boring and have bad anime-only characters. It sucks because the filler was integrated into the story so it's impossible to skip.
I'm assuming this category means how much value the anime had to its genre so that's how I'll go about this. Now I know shounen isn't a genre, but I consider battle shounen to be popular enough to be considered a subgenre. With that in mind, Saint Seiya was among the first battle shounen and it inspired many others alongside Ring ni Kakero, Fist of the North Star, and Dragon Ball. If you look at it like that, Saint Seiya is a series with a lot of value so I'm giving it a 10 in this category.
I think I briefly covered the things I like about the series so there's not much to say here. It's my favorite anime so this is obviously a 10.
Some things to know:
I already mentioned this at the beginning, but at a certain point, the subs become very bad and almost unreadable. This is something you'll only be able to power through if you really like the series and want to see the ending. Speaking of the ending, the anime doesn't tell the whole story. It leaves out the final arc, which was adapted into a 3-part OVA series beginning in 2002. For me and many others, the final arc is the best, so if you liked Saint Seiya be sure to check out the Hades OVAs. They have newer art, fluid/non-static action, and good subtitles.
If you're interested in the series but discouraged by the bad subs, I recommend reading the manga. I'd recommend it even if you've already watched the anime because I think even though it has some of the same problems as the anime, it doesn't have the bad filler that plagues the anime. I don't want to write a whole review for the manga, but just trust me in that the manga is overall better. The official translation does have many of the names slightly changed, which that might get in the way if you decide to watch the Hades OVAs, but there is another fan translation that keeps the original names intact.
Saint Seiya é foda pelo simples fato de ser Saint Seiya. Foi a primeira série de anime a ser exibida no horário nobre da televisão aberta e o primeiro anime a ser chamado de anime por aqui, sendo o responsável direto pela criação do nicho "otaku" no Brasil. Sua história não é das melhores e possui alguns buracos difíceis de engolir, no entanto, os sagrados cavaleiros de Atena vem entretendo crianças, jovens e adultos à décadas. Sacrificar a própria vida em nome de uma causa justa tem se mostrado uma receita eficaz no mundo do entretenimento desde a Grécia antiga, e por coincidência do destino,
ou seria a influência dos deuses? é em cima desse cenário que Saint Seiya é escrito.
Não sou a pessoa mais confiável para fazer uma análise de Saint Seiya, primeiro anime que assisti nos tempos da manchete, é um dos meus favoritos...
This is my first review so please don't be to harsh on me.
I became a fan of this series only a couple of years ago because in the US this anime and manga series is ignored probably because of a poorly done dubbing back in the early 2000's.
The plot involves a group of orphan boys serve the Greek Goddess Athena and they fight with armor that is based on constellations called Cloths and they battle enemies that are in the Sanctuary and they battle other greek gods as well.
What I like about this series is that the cloth designs are really cool and
creative and I like the character designs as well.
What I don't like is that the characters need more development, most of the time they are serious but there is some comical scenes and I wish that the anime stuck more to the manga, because there is a lot of episodes that are fillers.
Overall I think it is a good series the fights are good and plus if you are a girl like me that likes Bishounen there is a ton of characters that are like that in this series. Also this series is considered a classic it may not be popular in the US but on other parts of the globe it is.
Saint Seiya is really a classic of anime shounen. It has remarkable characters with very well developed stories. Great fights with very remarkable soundtracks.
The protagonism is very forced having unexplained scenes.
The fights were very big, having some that lasted more than 20 episodes! Really.
Sagas good but very repetitive.
Great bad guys with good motivations. It does not focus much on the story, even taking a few flashbacks during a fight.
There are no episodes fillers, which is an element that makes the anime have all episodes are mandatory to watch.
The animation was very advanced for epoch, having very beautiful scenes.
Overall I give 7.00 rating to Saint Seiya.
Seiya é realmente um clássico dos animes shounen. Tem personagens marcantes com histórias muito bem desenvolvidas. Ótimas lutas com trilhas sonoras muito marcantes.
O protagonismo é muito forçado tendo cenas inexplicáveis.
As lutas eram muito grandes, tendo algumas que duravam mais de 20 episódios! É sério.
Sagas boas mas muito repetitivas.
Ótimos vilões com boas motivações. Não foca muito na história, mesmo tendo alguns flashbacks durante uma luta.
Não tem episódios fillers, que é um elemento que faz o anime ter todos episódios serem obrigatórios de assistir.
A animação era muito avançada para epóca, tendo cenas muito bonitas.
No geral eu dou nota 7,00 para Saint Seiya.
I'm sure that if you have been into anime or video games long enough, you have heard the name Saint Seiya. It is a behemoth legacy series that has inspired many of the following generations' works.
○ You can see similar designs to Saint Seiya in CLAMP, especially in CLAMP's human proportions, and Rumiko Takahashi's works, as well as similarities in sister shows such as: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Ronin Warriors, and the infamous Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Saint Seiya also became an important staple for fujoshi culture and a benchmark for the shounen fighting genre.
• Something that prevented Saint Seiya from becoming a bigger
show to a Western audience, and what I found really interesting about the series is the use of title ancestry. If you don't know what I'm referring to, an example is the main Saint: Pegasus Seiya. His name is Seiya and his title is Pegasus, before him there was a previous Pegasus Saint named Pegasus Tenma.
○ Also there are other parallels to prequels and sequels such as: Athena Sasha and Athena Saori, Aries Mu and Aries Shion, Virgo Shaka and Virgo Shijima, Pisces Aphrodite and Pisces Albafica, ETC. I'm not including all of the generations and descendants in the examples, but there's an awesome chart of the them on the Saint Seiya Wiki, if you're interested.
• The people who inherit the title or name of the Gods or Goddesses, such as Athena, Poseidon, and Hades all get their own Saints to fight for them. So, a Saint Seiya show may contain a large cast.
○ Each of them has an army of Gold Saints (one class out of the three Gold being the strongest and taking the names of astrological signs), as well as the two other classes, Silver and Bronze Saints. So, at minimum, if two Gods are fighting, then they at the very least have twice the amount of astrological signed Golds in their artillery, that would be the twelve signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces) times two.
○ Which would be a cast of twenty-four, other than the two Gods themselves and the plethora of Silver and Bronze Saints! That's a HUGE cast! That's like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones territory!
□ Thinking of how many characters are in Saint Seiya reminds me how daunting it is when I see those enormous crossover pictures for the Precure series that are reminiscent of a Where's Waldo portrait. Disclaimer: Saint Seiya may not be for you if you don't want to research hundreds of years of character history. That's why I'm not into superhero comics, I already have decades worth of anime to catch up with! I mean, just look at the X-Men relationship charts…
• Like many of you could have guessed, even with the 114 episode bulk of the series, the characters are still fairly episodic and rarely get very much screen time. I was disappointed at this, seeing as some of the characters that I really liked, such as, Pisces Aphrodite, Mime, and Siren Sorento, only got one episode or an episode and a half of screen time at most. But, who knows, maybe it's best that their screen time was short-lived, after all the main characters are almost caricature like in generic anime protagonist behavior. More on that coming up!
○ While I didn't particularly like this aspect, I understood that the ambition of the series was more a long the lines of, "Let's see how many cool magical attacks and fight scenes we can fit into this show." Essentially, the original series was very similar to Yu Yu Hakasho, but with less character emphasis and more of a focus on the atmosphere and stylistic aspects.
• Things I LOVED about Saint Seiya:
○ The designs are really unique. My introduction to Saint Seiya was randomly going to a Mexican thrift store with my Grandma and picking up a OOP booster pack that they were selling for fifty cents. I got a holographic card of Dragon Shiryu, though I had no clue who he was at the time, and loved the design of the armor! I particularly am a fan of the Gold Saints' designs.
○ The attacks are really cool. Seeing the reveal of the powers easily made the Gold Saints arc the best. Though, from watching and at least sampling every Saint Seiya series, the author really seems to like powers that deprive senses to awaken the sixth sense.
□ It seemed weird and rather frightening to me that that was so commonly used as a power, but Eastern culture does have a connection with Third Eye and Zen mythology, so of course it wouldn't make as much sense to my overly Westernized mind. The episodes with Virgo Shaka versus Phoenix Ikki in the original series are AMAZING episodes, if you don't want to make the commitment to watch the whole series, you at least NEED to watch THOSE episodes.
• Things I DIDN'T LIKE in Saint Seiya:
○ Main characters. Much like Inuyasha, or any other long running show, it's not that you particularly like the main cast, but more like you're Stockholm-ed into liking them. I feel that way about the Bronze Saints in the original series, oh, do I feel it. Those little fuckers will grow on you spores until their chubby, effeminate faces will somehow seem endearing.
□ It's like if you're trapped in an elevator with an obnoxious guy who coughs every three minutes and mumbles, "consternation," in a really weird and creepy inflection. Well, let's just say that you're trapped with said guy in the elevator for a few weeks, and suddenly, you start thinking that annoying quirk was somehow… endearing.
• You have:
□ A frog-faced maiden that you might find pretty sometimes.
□ A generic main character that wears ripped, red skinny jeans and shouts randomly.
□ A generic dragon guy who's trained by a generic, Chinese prune man.
□ An anti-hero big brother, who acts like an asshole, but actually loves his younger brother.
□ A girl-boy with magical galaxy chains, who's reserved but secretly powerful.
□ And, a whiny, emo Oedipus motherfucker who flaps his arms like a swan.
□ These little abominations grow on you like fungus on your mother's ninety year old pear tree or your grandmother’s retainers. Also, I am aware that the ones that I called generic weren't necessarily generic in their day. You see, I AM millennial. Seiya is infinitely generic though, no one can deny that. The show is named after the most uninteresting character? Yay? I don't know. His characterization is like a sunburn on a person’s penis.
○ I don't know if I'm too young or too old to be comparing characterization to penis burns. Let me preface my next point by saying, yes, I binge watched Saint Seiya. Is it a good idea? No. Long before we had Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Kiss Anime to watch things at our leisure, things were actually aired weekly on television. The original Saint Seiya started airing in 1986.
□ So, as you probably would expect, the episodes aren't paced to be ingested in large consumption. Weekly television episode pacing means that they are often a) excruciatingly repetitive and b) shounen-style formulaic. I recommend that you watch this show a couple of episodes at a time for more enjoyment.
□ Think about it this way, are you going to enjoy One Piece more if you watch all thousand or something episodes in one month, or will get more out of it if you watch a few episodes a week for a year?
□ An example of this is I love Detective Conan, but I'm only on episode one hundred forty-two, because 1) I'm really busy with life, and 2) I actually want to enjoy it, one murder mystery at a time. If I watch several hundred episodes of something in a week, I'll feel like killing myself, no matter how much I enjoy something, I'm not going to die over it.
□ You either risk your sanity or your credibility as a nerd/ability to discuss something in a forum. To me, my health is more important. But, if you're young and fuck it about life then sure!
○ Since I mentioned the accursed shounen formula, I might as well explain what I didn't like about it. I understand that this series has an excuse for characters not being permanently dead, because of the Greek mythology lore and Cancer Deathmask's ability, but I still abhor becoming completely apathetic about the Saint Seiya’s characters deaths.
○ I DID like the brutality and spontaneity of how some characters died though, like Hunter x Hunter, it added a sense of realism to their world. Not every death should be romanticized, especially if they're mythical men who fight to the death. I mean, you don't read an Arthurian legend and expect any of them to be resurrected, do you? Actually, Fate/stay night is a thing. Never mind!
□ Oh, what? Character A died, don't worry, their soul is just in the realm of the dead, which is pretty much a place where you can choose to restart the game or recover lost team members.
□ I have a crazy conspiracy theory: what if Saint Seiya really just meant to be a video game all along? I wonder. Speaking of video game logic, Athena Saori gets kidnapped as much as Princess Peach, if not more. This is why Athena Sasha from Lost Canvas definitely best girl; she’s powerful, enigmatic, and is voiced by Aya Hirano…
□ Among other reasons. *LOUD COUGHING* best girl *LOUD COUGHING* Saint Seiya was the progenitor to Sailor Moon, you can see such similarities as… the main characters having repetitive attack animation and shouting their moves out-loud, I think that's one of the reasons that I didn't care for the Bronze Saints as much as the Gold Saints.
□ That and one of the main Bronze Saints has what looks like a child's training potty on his head and his has a necrophile thing for his mommy. Shun Andromeda is pretty amazing though, even though he also has a weird incest thing for his… older brother. God, if he says Nee-san one more time… on second thought, he might be like that crazy little sister from Mahouka. "Onii-sama… Onii-sama… Oniisama..." I often hear that voice in my dreams.
○ As far as the other series go:
□ I didn't like the Hades Chapter, it was boring and the directing was choppy. The only reason for watching the first season is for nostalgia and Virgo Shaka gets a lot of screen time because he's amazing.
□ I dropped Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold after the first episode because it seemed like an empty cash grab. I really wanted to be invested, too. As I've stated previously, I love the Gold Saints, they are really interesting!
□ Saint Seiya Omega is bad, it's pretty (in some parts, others look like an elementary schooler drew and animated) and I love the version Pegasus Fantasy that they use for the OP. It gets you pumped. Too bad the show is nonsensical, and in my opinion, shouldn't be considered canonical. I dropped it after seven episodes.
□ Saint Seiya: Lost Canvas is really good. If you're a fan of the original, it's interesting to see the previous generation of Saints. The second cour wasn't as good, but I still enjoyed it. The designs are solid, the animation is pretty, there is a good amount character development, and there's interesting additions to the Saint mythos.
□ Overall, I enjoyed Lost Canvas more than the original series and it is my favorite Saint Seiya thus far. You don't have to watch the original series to get it either, so if you're interested, Lost Canvas may be an ideal introductory series.
○ These are my tier list of arcs from the original series, so you know what the best parts are or if you want to skip around:
i. Sanctuary (Ep. 1-73): This is the best arc, especially the last part with "the Pope" (no spoilers), the clocktower, and the Bronze Saints fighting with the Gold Saints in their houses.
□ There's a stupid subplot with "Steel Saints", which are glorified filler characters, that only have the purpose of making the Saints question, "Are they good guys or bad guys?" The answer is: "Nobody cares!" That was the worst part of the first arc, other than the beginning, which was rocky.
□ In fact, I first started watching Saint Seiya nine years ago, and dropped it because I couldn't get into it at first, BUT I finally finished it this year and now, I'm really obsessed. I would say, if you read this review and you're still not interested then don't try. But, if this has piqued your curiosity, give the series a grace period or skip to the introduction of the Gold Saints.
ii. Poseidon (Ep. 100-114): This arc was more climactic and less sluggish than the previous Asgard arc. The ending of the series wasn't anything special, but there were a couple of cool fight scenes.
iii. Asgard (Ep. 74-99): There is a reason that this arc is bad, well, because this arc is really just filler. It is not in the manga, and is an anime-only thing. Things we didn't need in a Saint Seiya Series, a seahorse saint and other side characters that no one cares about.
□ Well, I did really like Mime and Fenrir, but all of the other Saints backstories seemed pointless and anti-climactic. I didn't think Hilda was the worst character ever, but there was really no point in having her.
○ The original series has its pros and cons, I personally think that it's a good series if you watch it a little at a time and, especially, if you're interested in Greek mythology or want to see one of the most iconic action series. Saint Seiya (1986) gets a 6/10.
Saint Seiya is a series that ,unfortunately, a lot of people are not familiar with. If you ever have the honor of watching the anime, please do so because I can honestly say that the 3,420 hours you put in won't be disappointing.
~Story: As you should know, Saint Seiya is a back in the day shounen anime which means it is targeted to young males with a huge emphasis on A LOT of fighting/action and little to no romance. The story is told in a simplistic way, you will never be confused or lost as everything pretty much laid on the table for you. This
however does not take away from the fact that it sells soooooo well in the light of it's attempt to be humble and unique.
~Art: The art style was great, however it was only something that Saint Seiya could pull off back then. The elements they incorporate mesh well seeing as the nature of the universe is superb theme. The art is improved over the course of the anime
~Sound: Un-f*cking believable, I tried to keep the review professional and strict as possible but I'm sorry they could NOT have found a better voice acting cast or music composer. Unlike a lot of anime, Saint Seiya will leave a lasting impression on your eardrums. There are many notable tracks that play that make the scenes all the more better.
~Character: I love the way the personalities are set apart. For obvious reasons many characters stuck out more than others. I must say though, the way hierarchical scale is used is very creative. Ranks are intact and that makes the story even more simple. Development in the characters tend to be slow but at least they are not completely flat.
~Enjoyment: Last but not least I think you will enjoy this anime, give it a chance :D. If I'm wrong, let me know but you have to try it. To be honest I love the charisma that is shown throughout the anime, it portrays everything a anime like this should be. Influence is the way to go. It drives me to never give up in real life.
The story follows five young warriors called saints and a young lady named Saori, who is the reincarnation of Athena. The saints fight their hardest and would give there lives to protect their Goddess Athena.
Saint Seiya has a Greek mythology theme to it, the universe itself is set in a Greek world with Greek Gods. The sacred armor called cloths all the 88 of them are named after the constellations, there last name are replaced by there Greek animal or sign. While Greek myth is the most common theme in this anime, it mixes a bit of other myth's like Norse, Christianity,
The majority of the story revolves around five young warriors of Athena, knowing the true identity of Athena's reincarnation. They fight grueling and bloody battles with misguided warriors under the order of the Pope the leader of the warriors of Athena. Through the story they become stronger, find allies and uncover the true plot of the Pope.
Pegasus Seiya. Seiya is a bit simple minded Goku like character. A warrior that trained most of his life and can come off as dump, do to knowing nothing but fighting. He is the most loyal of the saints and will never stop fighting, even if hes been beaten badly, broken bones, having his senses removed, and fighting characters way out of his league, He will always stand and fight. Seiya may not the most in depth character but he is likable.
Andromeda Shun. A very kind and gentle character, even by looks I thought he was female before I watched the series. Unlike the others shun will not try to kill or even heavily hurt another person. cause of this he comes across as week, but when the situation calls for it he shows he is one of the most powerful of the group.
Dragon Shiryu. One of the most skilled and level headed of the group. he was trained by the highest tier saints, called a gold saint and uses the most durable Bronze Cloths. He like the others will fight to the death to protect Athena, Shiryu himself often fighting blind and nearly giving his life on more then one occasion. In all Shiryu is a cool and loyal character.
Cygnus Hyoga. One of the most calculating and battle smart of the Bronze saints. He was also trained under the guidance of gold saint. While he seems to just be quiet and calm, he dose have emotional bond with his master and mother. In all another good character you will enjoy as he develops.
Phoenix Ikki. By far the most brutal of the bronze saints, Ikki wears the strongest of the bronze cloth the Phoenix cloth. He starts at the beginning of the series as scary and heartless. But the more you learn about his tragic past and the more he develops in the story, you see he has a lighter side to him. Unlike the others he dose not care for Athena and will rarely help at first but he loves and will do anything for his brother shun. His Phoenix cloth gives him the ability to come back from the dead stronger then before, so he is often be the last man standing when facing a powerful enemy. All in all hes a very interesting and badass character.
The Gold Saints. The highest tier of Athena's warriors. The gold saints are one of the most interesting part of the story. They start as enemies, but among them there were those who were fooled by the false Pope, and chose to help. They each have there own reason and backstory for what they do. The conversations and emotional dialogue between them and the bronze saints are great and lead to some truly epic and moving moments.
Saint Seiya's Pros and Cons.
It is a old anime so the animation is very lacking by today's standards.
Characters could be more developed.
While it has a good opening that sets the mood very well for the show, it can be very slow at times.
The same techniques are often used a lot, with the same animation at times.
Anything that was removed from the manga I wish where there.
The worst part and what beings this anime down for me. Filler characters, one group of filler characters that do nothing but slow the anime down and disappear without a trace, as well as replacing a characters role that removes the emotional impact of a great fight in the manga. But that's what happens when you start an anime the same year as the manga.
The music in the anime Is really great and fits very well to whats going on.
Many likable characters throughout, most notable the gold saints who wish you could see more of.
While some may repeat, the techniques are still really cool.
A great mix of action and drama, there are some great emotional moments in this anime that's makes you more invested in the fights.
A great well developed villain.
A great interesting universe, to the powers they have and the mix of myths make the world very interesting.
While it's not nearly as gory as some other mature anime, it is still very bloody and brutal.
My final thoughts.
This is a good action anime, with some good drama and good characters.
This is my fav series so I might be bit biased, but if your like me and enjoy old school anime and your into Greek and other mythology's then saint Seiya is a must watch.