The whole Sanctuary was misled into danger due to the civil war instigated by the Gemini Gold Saint, Saga. Our story begins right after the end of those events... This is a story of the girls protecting Athena. These are the records of love and fierce fights they meet while opposing destiny on their way to maturity...
Because seriously, how much longer is this franchise going to suffer? Hasn’t it been humiliated enough? At this point it almost seems like it has been victim of a curse, since after the utter failure of the Heaven’s Overture movie in 2004 the franchise never knew again of a new installment that had been both successful and satisfying. Acts #2 and #3 of the Hades arc were mediocre with a bullshit conclusion coming right after a fantastic and spectacular act #1, and then the show was followed by a series of bad spin-offs which mostly only contributed to sink the
reputation of the original. Omega with its excessively kiddy approach didn’t do it any favor, Legend of Sanctuary movie was almost like a terrible CGI version of Seiya’s equivalent to Dragon Ball Evolution, Soul of Gold was just a bad excuse to sell more shiny and expensive action figures, and the single time they hit something right with the competent Lost Canvas, the japs just didn’t give a fuck and the prequel series was cancelled probably forever. Now, Saintia Shou is the latest attempt to put the franchise back in track but unfortunately it has turned out to be the complete opposite; it gives yet another stab wound to an already badly injured franchise and has made it hit a new low. (Ironically, I’m convinced the only way to “save it” or really redeem it is precisely making what always has had to be done; the Heaven’s Arc, precisely the continuation of the movie that started the bad-luck streak!).
First of all I can’t say I’m disappointed since after so many mediocre offerings, I never had many expectations with this one and I just watched it because well, it’s another addition to the universe that bears the name of one of my all time favorite shows and I just watched it out of curiosity. It’s not like I was genuinely excited from the beginning. So instead of disappointment, what I’m really feeling after completing this is only deep lamentation and regret for the bad luck its name and reputation have had to bear… once again. I really can’t believe what I saw. This is by far the worst adaptation of Seiya I’ve seen, and judging by the awful overall score it currently has in the site, I think I’m not alone here. When I thought nothing could be more awful and insulting to the legacy and reputation of the original series after Omega and Soul of Gold, well, I was wrong, it could! So much that I don’t even know where to start from to explain, nor how.
Simply put, the story is plain bad and the execution even worse. The latter is just so mind-bogglingly horrible that it almost feels like the staff wanted to troll the fan on purpose. It almost feels like an utter joke. The low budget assigned is no excuse. Many shows have been made with low budgets and their staffs have come up with creative ways to overcome that constraint in order to anyway make them at least acceptable, but this wasn’t the case. You just can almost tell like the staff just never really cared about this show and put very little effort. Heck, even with early Dragon Ball Super you could tell they were giving something more than a damn!
**Some spoilers of the original series**.
The story expands the original Seiya’s universe by introducing a new class of female saints known as “saintias”-who are not the same as the traditional female saints presented in the original work by Kurumada- in an attempt to create the female version of Saint Seiya featuring 5 female warriors protecting the Earth and the goddess they swear allegiance to from the threat of other gods because wouldn’t it be sooo cool to make female versions of action shounens with female heroines instead. Saintias are not saints strictly speaking; they are just maids/bodyguards serving and protecting Athena and are not forced to use masks unlike traditional female saints, which seems to be really the only difference, since “normal” female saints well, also train, serve and protect the goddess. So, why having a different, new class now? The reason is one and only one: because it obviously would have looked so weird to have a cast of main heroines all wearing a mask all the time without ever seeing her real faces! Obviously, from a commercial perspective it wouldn’t have worked at all. It’s understandable, so it can’t be an issue really.
But what is an issue and what comes as inevitably annoying is how bad the story tries to fit with the events of the original, since it chose to chronologically take place within them. We are in this occasion asked to happily believe that at the same time Athena was carrying out her Galaxian Tournament (who now we are told had assumed her role before this event, not after it), she was confronting the threat of goddess Eris and that this totally didn’t interfere with the celebration of the former since it couldn’t be the case since in the original obviously this never existed and we don’t wanna establish inconsistencies, right? It now inevitably feels weird that in the original Athena had never ever mentioned anything about Eris and neither the golden saints and the Pope that were similarly aware of her existence and threat and also how the bronze saints seemed to be totally unaware of both the conflict and the saintias themselves who were also protecting Saori considering how close they were to her. It just makes things harder to believe, since the original now makes it look like all this had been something going on in secrecy when it didn’t have to be the case. It’s hard to believe now that the Pope was also concerned about Eris when in the original it looked like he was dedicating his whole time to the recovery of the Sagittarius golden cloth and her conflict with Saori from the distance. It also looks, while feasible, so convenient that Eris had been seemingly defeated right before the start of Sanctuary’s assault under the orders of the Pope only to show up again and make her comeback right after the conclusion of the same Sanctuary conflict because -obviously- it couldn’t be another way if we didn’t want to introduce more questionable circumstances.
Athena vs Eris round was yet another Athena’s classic damsel in distress countdown, this time lying in between the Sanctuary and Poseidon clashes. What looked so funny is that now Athena had to face another one of these death curses, in a matter of just hours right after she had miraculously survived the previous one! It looked so silly, please, somebody give this lady some time to breathe! I know this was also the case in the Asgard to Poseidon transitions, but at least in those arcs there was more creativity regarding the type of threat Athena was facing (in Asgard she’s not really running a risk of dying, she was only slowly losing her energies) and it wasn’t THAT immediate! It comes as surprising that after 3 decades and several installments, the amount of creativity here is this low, and that they had opted for this way when the original already presented creative ways to showcase the same plot-structure. Additionally, some other elements of the conflict looked quite laughable. A floating temple under a giant tree about to collide with Athena’s Sanctuary? Memories and regrets of the dead become “alive” under the awakening of Eris thanks to how much blood was spilled in the 12 Houses’ fights? Really? Not to mention that Eris herself is a terrible, lousy enemy to begin with. While her motivations are interesting enough to consider her a decent villain, it can’t be helped that she literally looks like an evil Disney fairy-tale movie witch that doesn’t inspire a single pinch of true intimidation and authority unlike other goddesses like Artemisa or other previous female enemies like Hilda and Pandora which were portrayed in a much more respectful and serious way. Laughing maniacally with this “I am so evil and I seek destruction, muahahaha!” voice and face totally goes against the more serious nature of all the enemies of the franchise. The voice actress behind seems like she thought she was playing the evil witch role. It’s sad to see how Shou sells itself as something to take seriously, but at the same time takes these tactical decisions that are more suitable for a kids’ morning cartoon. I don’t see here the same adult tone of the original which is what I and most of the fans think when thinking about Saint Seiya.
It didn’t help the fact that it also unnecessarily depicted in different ways some events in the original just because it wanted to be more faithful to the source. For example, now it turns out that Saori and Saga had already met before the conclusion of the Sanctuary arc like it was the case in the original, partially ruining the great sense of tension and suspense this decision established by making the two parts not knowing each other until the very end and fighting in blind since the start. It also turns out now that instead of the bronze and gold saints beautifully meeting, taking a bow and walking with Athena all the way up to the Pope’s house and lastly everyone involved confronting Saga in Athena’s temple, Athena this time just walks alone, meets Saga in the middle of the road, there’s no Gemini cloth abandoning and testing Saga’s will, no one-last-time Saga’s evil side trying to win while explaining what drove his actions to everybody followed by Athena’s inspiring, compassionate answer, and no Gemini cloth’s helmet crying! And the final suicide moment comes as totally uninspiring as opposed to the gripping one we saw in the original. This show doesn’t make justice to that fascinating final encounter. While Shou’s version of the events is the real manga version, honestly, I feel the first anime version pulled it off way better and improved upon the source by caring to make the moment more thrilling and memorable, actually managing to make a powerful impact. Also… no Seiya being hit by Saga while he was aiming the shield to where Athena was lying at the last minute! Like, come on! If something already worked great, what’s the need to make it work not so great!?
Oh, and finally…now it also turns that Milo and Aphrodite always knew about the truth regarding Saori…and still stopped and delayed the bronze saints in their way up! Making honestly no sense. I can’t help but feeling this new story would have been a better idea had it not developed in the same universe as the original but rather in another new one. That way none of the aforementioned issues would have ever been a thing.
Moving on to the execution, the series is just too god-damn short for its own good. One of the most notorious and main problems in the series is that they decided to make something that should’ve lasted at least 25 episodes in… 10. There’s just so much relevant stuff going on in such a small amount of episodes that at the end it feels like you’re watching in 3x unintentionally. The rushed feeling of storytelling is so damn high that at the end the whole series feels like it was just a very long recap of something bigger, and as a result hardly the viewer can give a damn about anything that’s going on because it utterly fails to immerse him in the story at all (especially regarding Athena vs Eris supposedly grandiose clash between the saintias and the dryads and ghosts armies that lasted the grand total of… 3.5, yes, 3.5 episodes. How could they really expect to build and develop an exciting and memorable clash in just 3.5 episodes? It’s virtually impossible to do so, and at the end the conflict is rendered as something only anecdotal, like a forgettable, short non-canon extra movie).
Everything from beginning to end feels like a quick fulfillment of a checklist. Have you ever seen one of those short franchise-specials that quickly summarize an entire arc or storyline of the parent series? Like that Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto-arc that ridiculously squeezes in 1 hour a 30 episodes long story? Saintia Shou feels virtually like the exact same thing…except that this is a normal series, not a special! It totally lacks a sense of natural progression. You can really tell like if there were some missing scenes that naturally connect all the events of the story and that ultimately are the ones that actually can make the viewer care about what he’s watching. The amount of time to develop the story was so little that as a result there was no space to properly build the tension, the digestion after its release and the viewer's immersion into the world that would have made this at least minimally interesting and entertaining. Fights and conflicts also, given this, do not feel thrilling nor impactful enough (even the ones involving the popular and beloved golden saints) something the original series knew how to pull off so well. Every single event here, be it from the introduction, development and conclusion, like just…come and go! Without trying to leave a proper impact, a proper trace, and do not carry a single bit of emotional weight at all. To such an extent that even Soul of Gold looks like a masterpiece regarding this in comparison!
But obviously, there was no budget for 25 episodes, so they had to do the best they could, but honestly, if the result was going to be this bad, it would have been better not to adapt anything in the first place.
In addition, in Shou everything, how can I tell this?…feels so incredibly and annoyingly.. fake! In Shou everything is depicted like if it was a fucking children’s school-break game. Nothing feels remotely real. There’s no sense of realism. No sense of seriousness. Everything feels so IN YOUR FACE. No sense of watching something that at least TRIES to feel real. Many characters here behave and talk like they were actors not giving a damn about the fictional work they were realizing because they were being underpayed or not payed at all! Or because they didn’t feel it was “relevant” enough…like one of those high school festival plays nobody involved takes seriously enough. It feels that amateurish. It’s embarrassing and painful to watch to say the least.
The series, again, due to the extreme rush and compression of events, also fails to make us care about and relate with all the set of new characters, including the protagonist Shouko, who essentially is the female version of the determined, kind-hearted and impulsive Seiya by mirroring -and paying homage- to his themes (separated from her sister at a young age, a mythological-horse as a guardian constellation, the same iconic technique, among others). With the exception of Shouko, virtually all of them felt like empty shells. All the rest of saintias that were not Shouko, how can I put it? were just…there. None of them is introduced properly, and given the short run there was no time to do anything remotely engaging with them, which is what was seen. Not even their cloths look distinctive enough from each other. I’ve read that the series omitted a lot of relevant content present in the source in this regard. The only one that matters here is Shouko and all the rest are almost shown like they were just the backup singers, as opposed to the original which brilliantly knew how to make relevant all of the 5 main members, even from the start. Here, we don’t get to care nor get along nor feel anything for them. Consequently, why should I care what happens to them if the show does nothing to make me care for them to begin with? Here, the all-time fan (who is honestly the only one that was going to watch this show) will only care for the characters he always knew from before, this is, the golden saints and Saori.
There were also some elements that felt so out of place for a “Seiyaverse-based” installment that made me feel I was simply watching another franchise. A saintia riding a frickin’ motorbike like she was taken out from a cyberpunk movie? A vampire loli enemy that looks like taken out from a dumb fantasy show? A chinese girl acting like she was taken out from a Rumiko Takahashi comedy? And a fight against a fuckin’ giant TEDDY BEAR, among others? None of this feels appropriate in the very serious mythologically-based universe of Seiya, more so if the installment takes place in the same original timeline. In fact, it is quite annoying. A saint driving a motorbike doesn’t look “mythologically” romantic, it looks instead quite… mundane.
And I haven’t even mentioned anything about the god-awful animation yet! While the show is in most of the episodes beautifully drawn, using again the beautiful artstyle by Shingo Araki in (most of) the character designs, the same can’t be said about the animation. How can we feel true excitement from battles when movements are limited to showing a character’s body just stiffly shaking in a corner of the screen in front of a sea of fast moving parallel lines and that’s it? With no sense of realism at all and looking incredibly boring to watch? We don’t even see any type of minimal scratch or body damage after any character has been hit by an attack! This is quite curious considering this was not even shown by TV!
Music didn’t help either. How can I describe it? Most of the BGM here feels like taken from a kiddy Marvel comics' videogame. Really. Completely failing to set the proper serious and fascinating moods like it was the case with the original. I just couldn’t believe it when I knew that the same guy that gave us the amazing, captivating and full of personality score of Hunter x Hunter (1999) could make in this occasion a score this uninspiring, generic and forgettable. The opening wasn’t bad, but didn’t feel fitting either, since it looked like an opening from something like frickin’ Madoka Magica.
Despite all of the above, I have to recognize the show still presents some points that I liked and that were nice additions to not render it a completely worthless experience from an all-time fan perspective. It was good to see for example how it is mentioned here the realistic outcome that not every boy sent to train to foreign locations to become a bronze saint got to achieve it and came back with the cloth, and that some of them developed an understandable disdain towards Saori after years of mistreatment in the foundation, as brought to light in the figure of Toki. It was good to see how Saori feels guilty about this and overall how the series explores much more in depth how does she actually feel in regard to her role as a goddess and protector of the Earth, its meaning and implications, her anxieties, and how her actions in the past have impacted the world she’s supposed to defend, making her a better developed character, something we never really got to see in the original. I also liked the explicit inclusion of the conversation among Shion, Saga and Aioros regarding the future of the Sanctuary and the new Pope. And that the golden saint that got the most screentime and participation this time had been Milo; he has always been to my eyes one of the coolest golden saints of all and it felt very welcome to see him enjoying most of the spotlight. Nonetheless, obviously all of this just isn’t enough to compensate an overall terribly executed story and show.
Rushed, horribly directed, horribly animated, uninspiring, unexciting, unpassionate, unmemorable, devoid of any soul and made by a staff that looked like they just didn’t care, Saintia Sho only served to sink even more the reputation of the franchise after the streak of entries ranging from mediocre-to-terrible like the conclusion of the Hades arc in the original, Omega, Legend of Sanctuary and Soul of Gold. Watching adaptations like Shou honestly made me want to go back to the time when I wasn’t caring about anime anymore (which was a long time span), so that I didn’t have to be curious to watch entries like this one, spoiling my good memories in the process and missing the old staff of the original series who actually put love and care in their work.
If you're a Saint Seiya fan I recommend watching this. Saintia Sho revolves around female saints known as Saintias. What's the difference between these female saints and the female saints that wear masks? well these Saintias are Athena's personal body guards who work in the shadows. It perfectly fits with the timeline of the original series. Its gives you a new story revolving the Saintias while giving you iconic and nostalgic scenes from the original series. Believe me, keep watching and you'll enjoy it.
This is my first review because the creator of the manga needs help. The manga did not sell as much as
she intended it to do and therefore the animators are working with very little and under extreme conditions to bring us new episodes. Even though this is the case they're doing an awesome job. Many people do not know this and are complaining about how fast paced each episode is. I am trying to do my part and write a review in order to increase its popularity because I truly enjoy this series. Anyway's, be sure to give it a shot.
Saint Seiya fans who understands what that series was trying to teach/show us will understand this new adaptation! And no, it's not a complete remake with girl Saints and a girl replacing Pegasus Seiya... This is not an anime like Sailor Moon either. This one is much better and full of emotions. You can't help but root for the main characters and hope for the best... The story is actually happening during the original series of Saint Seiya that aired in the 80s. There may be some slight plot holes here and there, but overall, it ties in perfectly
with the original series. I must admit I was skeptical even before watching this new anime, but I am so glad that I started watching it because I would have missed out on an amazing story full of emotions...
The art does not follow the same style as the manga but that was on purpose. This anime tried to keep the same style as the original Saint Seiya series with a modern twist to it. I find that is perfectly fine as they have sequences where the animators drew masterpieces.
The soundtrack of this anime is also topnotch! I give that a solid "Godlike" 10. ;D Many tracks takes cue from the original serie's soundtrack and add its own twist to it. There are many new tracks in this anime that has the Saint Seiya uplifting theme and those are also amazing songs!!! Some tracks are of course, very sad/tragic... but nevertheless, amazingly done tracks!
I guarantee you are missing out in a real gem if you have not watched it yet. It's only 12 episodes and I wish there was more and pray this does not mean what I think it means... ;O
The new Spin-Off of Saint Seiya, Saintia Sho, this series had all the potential in front of him, his manga is undoubtedly a work of art, his style of drawing, his history, etc. But it seems that Toei little or nothing cares and although its original style is strange, the classic style is something that is appreciated and that is strange in Omega and Soul Of Gold, this anime sin of being very hasty, badly animated (although I know it's not Gonzo's fault), skipping several parts of the manga and inventing an ending to the FMA 2003. Although at the moment it is not known
for sure if it's finished or will continue, Toei returned to a series with a lot of potential in something mediocre.
El nuevo spin-off de Saint Seiya, Saintia Sho, esta serie tenía todo el potencial delante suyo, su manga es sin duda una obra de arte, su estilo de dibujo, su historia, etc. Pero parece que a Toei poco o nada le importo y si bien se extraña su estilo original, el estilo clasico es algo que se agradece y que se extraño en Omega y Soul Of Gold, este anime peca de ser muy apresurado, mal animado (aunque se que no es culpa de Gonzo), saltandose varias partes del manga e inventandose un final a lo FMA 2003. Aunque por el momento no se sabe a ciencia cierta si ya termino o va a continuar, Toei volvia a una serie con mucho potencial en algo mediocre.