As a heavy fan of Saint Seiya and as you would assume from many other long fans, I feel comfortable enough to speak for the majority of us when I say we are not necessarily satisfied with the amount of changes to this story. As soon as I saw Seiya riding in on a skateboard I knew I was in for it. I think the biggest change to the overall story has to be the inclusion of the antagonist Vander. Who's goal is to use the power of comso to fight against the Gods instead of with
them. Now I'm not going to necessarily say this is bad or inferior to the initial way the story was setup but you can best believe I obviously prefer the previous way the story was setup as I didn't necessarily have a problem with it. It felt like the director Yoshiharu Ashino wanted to explain things in the universe of Saint Seiya that 1) No one ever asked to be explained and 2) Didn't care if those questions were explained ever.
I guess someone did ask those questions and that person would be him. Nonetheless, I'll say this statement more than once in this review (so get use to me repeating myself when I say "if you aren't familiar with Saint Seiya and this is probably your first introduction to it then there's a high chance you didn't see any issue with any of this" but for me? A long time heavy Saint Seiya fan? I thought it was meh, it combined the Galaxian Wars and the Phoenix Ikki (or should I say Nero.. ughh) Arc with this new Vander plot and it wasn't too messy I guess, fast pace? definitely, but messy? not so much.
Art and Animation (7/10) Good Enough
I'm going to be completely honest with you, when I heard this would be CGI, disappointment filled my heart faster than a Gold Saint Attack. When I saw the trailers and saw the type of CG they were using I wasn't disgusted but I wasn't impress either. I think the best CG I've seen is from 2014's Saint Seiya Legend of Sanctuary movie, that was gorgeous. I wasn't a fan of the design changes but the CG quality was phenomenal. This on the other hand is a step down from that on both CG quality and animation. The fighting choerography was satisfactory I guess because that's something the 80s version was lacking for the most part so I'll give them that. It's good enough I guess but we all know what we really wanted was some nice handdrawn stuff. You know like Lost Canvas or The Overture Movie, Hell even Saint Seiya Omega S1 or the recent Saintia Sho levels of hand drawn quality would have been preferred by me over this which was suppose to be the new forefront Seiya Seiya.
Sound (6/10) Fair
Firstly I want to point out the fact that when I go about watching Saint Seiya I would prefer to listen to it in Japanese because that's how I always have, so seeing that Netlix decided to not even have one was quite disappointing. It's odd since the franchise was made in Japan and there's multiple different language voice options you can swap to, French, German, Italian and Spanish which we all know those were the languages this franchise were popular in sure but no Japanese? Really? Sigh What ever, I chose english and obviously this being the first time I experience Saint Seiya in English Dub I was not a fan (and for the most part that can be said about anyone watching anything in a language that they previously didn't listen to it in, we all remember the first time we heard Goku's JP voice actor right?). So just like the story section I don't think you would find anything remotely wrong with the voices, voice acting quality may vary. I didn't hear any impressive voice acting being done just average stuff nothing horrible so I guess that's fair. And the new English Opening of Pegasus Fantasy? Ehh It's okay, I can tell you for sure it's not something I can see myself re-listening to outside of this adaptation and I have with literally every other Saint Seiya Opening Spin off or not.
Characters (6/10) Fair Enough
So firstly I want to address the multiple elephants in the room. Why were there so many name changes? Seika = Patricia, Hyoga = Magnus, Shiryu = Long, Shun = Shuan, Ikki = Nero, Saori = Seinna. Literally the entire bronze saint cast's name got change except for Seiya which they obviously didn't change because his name is in the title. But hell even the word Saint isn't even used throughout the adaptation they are called Knights which sure that's what the old English Dub version called them also (but I had an issue with it back then too so yeah) but my point still stands WHY? One would assume "ohh well their names were change to be more western friendly who wants to say Shee-reee-you when they can just say Long??" Well if that was their reasoning then why was the Pegasus Ryu-Sei-Ken not changed to Pegasus Meteor Fist? And why was Rozan Shoryuha not changed to Rising Dragon Lord hell that one was changed into something chinese which is I guess is understandable because Shiryu is chinese but nonetheless my point is still the same and that is that all these name changes I feel didn't really needed to be changed. Like I said I feel this director was trying to change and 'fix' things that weren't necessarily broken.
Let's actually talk about the some of actual characters now shall we? Since that's what this section is about. So like I said they basically start the show off with Seiya riding in on a skateboard.... Anyway Seiya's character (it's been a while) is not what I remembered. He seems real reluctant into even becoming a Saint orr Knight should I say to begin with which was not the case in the OG version where he's excited as far as I remember. But I guess with the amount of changes to the overall beginning of the story his exciting attitude wouldn't make much sense now so his initial character is changed accordingly which is understandable from a writing standpoint so you have to take it or leave it. I'm personally not a fan of seeing Seiya basically act like a protagonist from a mech anime (Which is basically being reluctant to do what the plot requires him at first then coming around) they changed his backstory to fit their changes and doing so changing your outlook on the character this can be a positive or a negative thing depending on who you ask. And like I'll continuously say there's probably nothing wrong with it from a writing standpoint and I'm sure if you don't know what it initially was you most likely wouldn't have a problem with it either.
Seika/Patricia - Seiya's little sister was the first character they introduce that has a name change. And not only does she has a name change but a character design is changed too. In the original anime (and manga probably) her hair was not red it was brown like seiya's. And at first I was so confused as to why in the hell they made her hair red. And then when I saw Eagle Marin it all made sense.. If you don't know what I'm referring to I wouldn't say anymore but if you have watched or read anything Saint Seiya prior to this I assume you know as well as I do now what they are trying to do with this character and seeing as though they might not make it to the Hades arc in this adaption (or at least I'd hope they don't) they can probably get away with what they are trying to setup.
Shiryu/Long - Other than his name nothing as changed about my favorite character. Sure his fight with Seiya was drastically changed and definitely objectively watered down but this is about character wise and everything for the most part was the same about him.
Hyoga/Magnus - His backstory was changed slightly I don't necessarily remember him being ordered by the Sanctuary to kill Athena. I felt that was thrown in to express the plot more than anything else. I'll tell you what though they made him a jerk this time around his attitude is as cold as his attacks and I don't know how I feel about that. I guess they felt he was too boring of a character and this is what they felt they needed to do to spice him up? I don't know.. what I do know is that I knew people who's favorite character was Hyoga so I wonder how they'll feel about this drastic change in his character surely they don't mind right? I'm sure the fans of the next character I talk about would though.
Shun/Shuan - This character by far (even before this adaptation aired) was the most controversial. Because if you aren't aware of what the original version of this character was by now I'm surprised. She used to be a he and damn near everyone that I've talk to about this was not okay with this change. The director said his reasoning was because "there's no girl representation", my man Saint Seiya's target audience is always boys not girls. Girls had Sailor Moon and Saint Seiya Saintia Sho, although Saint Seiya was inspired by Super Sentai doesn't necessarily mean they should follow in their exact footsteps of having at least on female representation. I understand the want for pulling in new audience, making it more welcoming to that one girl that might have watched this show one Neflix and asked where's the girl saints? But fun fact (and I hate this fun fact in particular) but Saint Seiya was known as the catalyst series to jump start the popularity for Yaoi. It was because of the pretty boy look that all of the main cast had that actually made the girl watchers (which surprisingly even to me there was a handful of them) fantasize about them being together and doing... Yoai things..(ughhh). The point is you kind of took that away from the girl fans that had that because most of them loved pretty boy Shun, not "I'm a girl but I can fight too" Shuan. The dynamic of Shuan and her older brother Ikki (or Nero should I say..I shouldn't) was not only destroyed because of how it was initially setup in the original this version I felt didn't even do a good job in replacing that dynamic of the older brother/younger brother dynamic with this older brother/younger sister dynamic, it did not feel organic to me one bit. With the show going at a faster pace than the manga or 80s anime you could say they didn't have the time to focus on them too much but that's just failing to prepare on the directors part. But like every single thing I've critiqued prior I doubt you'd see a problem with any of this if you are new to the franchise. So who cares about the opinion of a long supporting fan right? You've got your new ones now right? I'm sure they'll support this franchise better than I ever did right? They'll carry the torch to the future of the success of the franchise! Only time will tell right!? You wanted to make Shun more unique by making him a girl but in actuality him being a girly boy is actually far more unique than actually being a girl.
Ikki/Nero - Other than linking his reasoning for taking the Gold Cloth to the new antagonist Vander, nothing has really changed about Ikki/Nero. I wasn't a fan of him getting hit with his own Genma Ken the sense be behind it was not to my liking but what ever right? This adaption wasn't meant for me as I was told.
Seinna/Saori - Nothing really changed other than her name.
Enjoyment (5/10) Medoicre
I wouldn't say that my enjoyment was good or even satisfactory as a long term fan. But I also wouldn't say that this was a terrible adaptation either. I feel the only reason I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have was because of my deep connection to the previous version, that 1986 version is my favorite anime after all time so this had some big shoes for me personally to fill and they didn't even fill the toe area. But like I said this adaptation wasn't meant for me and if they keep on pumping out Saint Seiya content like this they obviously don't care to keep someone like me entertained. Anyway this is only based off the first 6 episodes but I doubt the next 6 would change my opinion, if it does I'll update this review.
Overall (6/10) Fair Enough
I was intending on using this as a gateway introduction to anyone I would introduce to the franchise but now after seeing this, I don't know if I want to do that. Maybe this is a good gateway and my clouded judgement and deep connection to the previous version is preventing me from seeing the good in this or maybe it actually is trash that is ultimately your opinion to make. Either way take away from this what ever you can but as an OG Saint Seiya fan, if you ask me? Go to the 1986 Saint Seiya I'd still recommend it over this, because regardless what the director thinks I personally think it still holds up especially if you like 80s anime. But if you are like a 14 year old girl looking for some representation of a girl in a boys anime then I guess this one is most likely better for you to start off with.