The second season of Saint Seiya Lost Canvas just finished and I believe it's high time I took both series into consideration and shared my thoughts about them. Forgive me for collapsing the two into a single entity, but once the whole show is completed most reviewers will actually do the same.
For starters, it's worth mentioning, that although the series has been up as an OVA for more than 2 years now, we are still only half-way through. This is because at the time the first episode was aired, the manga was still ongoing and only recently came to a spectacular end (at least for
those we have no experience with SS franchise), therefore the animators took their time to polish Lost Canvas OVA instead of come up with poinstless fillers, like most people would do. Thank you dearly for that. I believe that it's a good thing, that the series is split into 13-episode-long seasons which end at crucial moments in the series. By doing so, the studio managed to pace the title just exaclty right and omit adding extra content or re-cap episodes just to buy some time for the manga to gain the distance. However, now that the manga is finished I'm sincerely hoping that the two final seasons will be delivered sooner than the previous ones. Otherwise those will be really painfull 4 or so years...
The story may appear a bit cliched with straightforward shounen backtracks at the first glance, but if one looks just a little bit deeper it may appear that the initial thoughts are somewhat invalid or distorted by the fact, that shounen series these days offer very little and in consequence blunt our-the viewers' hopes for new franchise(s). The grieveness of this idea is multiplied by the sincere lack of anything that would only little go beyond the accepted cliches of good guys fighting against bad guys. In Lost Canvas this small glimpse is represented not so much by the plot but by the characters and their overlapping development over the course of events. The authors are not scared by the fact that they have to deal with so many people (if we only consider the Golds it's 12 people already!!) and this accounts for supreme control over the content which appears on the screen. Every character gets his or her 5 minutes (the leads of course more), most motivations are solidly backgrounded and although some situations may apper too 'captain-obvious'-like, it's still refreshing to see the characters struggle not so much to defeat the enemy, but rather to survive in the end. Of course, this appears to be rather difficult in the rough SS world (sorry for the abbreviation, it's Saint Seiya obviously :] ) and people really die when they are killed, but it's for the best: we can move with the plot and grieve for all those who lost their lives, not necessarily reminiscenting about them every moment possible in every flashback possible (Hello there Naruto bozoos!).
The characters' strength lies in their difference. Even among the Saints or the Specters you will rarely find the two alike characters. Sure, the Golds are obsessed with fighting (you can tell just by their spiky hairstyles though :> ) and the Specters are obsessed with killing the Golds (this, well, you can tell just by looking at them :] ). Both the teams fight for their own leaders though, and although I do understand why 12 men wearing gold pants are into a lovely 18-year-old goddess from the Age of Myth, I still find it difficult to accept the other side of the fence admiring a dark-haired boy who loves to lick blood from the floor or play with his puppy-of-a-cerberus.
I also like the main character - the Pegasus Saint Tenma. He's a much better folly then his 20th century counterpart - Seiya, more decisive, less annoying and definitely more intelligent. He also appears to be slightly more talented than Seiya, which comes across as being crucial in some of the battles and saves his life on occasion. As we will learn from the upcoming seasons his background is also more solid than Seiya's and includes much more twists and wicked characters. Through the 90s' series Seiya appeared to be more of an 'accident' of a Saint, than a fated warrior whose destiny is to aid Athena in her final battle against Hades. Tenma is..., well exactly this definition with the small add-on: 'Oh Gods, I carry a torch both for Sasha and her brother Alone, who, erm, happen to be the Athena and the Hades'. Aside of that, he's a perfect protagonist. He shows up occasionally, isn't omnipotent and is far from being strong, even by the end of the series. He also understands, that since he cannot bring Alone back, he will have to take him down eventually.
The other characters are also a far better counterparts to their younger brothers and sisters from Saint Seiya the original. That may be, because we live with these people and most of them serve as not only mentors for Tenma, but also a rather eloquent battle subjects. The original was, at this particular point really scarce. At least half of the Sanctuary warriors died in the initial battles against the Bronze, only to be later revived by Hades - thus we know very little about them in general.
Another kudos should belong to two other protagonists: Sasha aka Athena and Alone aka Hades. They both play their roles splendidly, while introducing a more complex twists into the plot. Although you may find Sasha to be a bit too kind and extraverted at first, her 'alter ego' - Alone, is exactly the opposite. Cruel, decisive and a bit emotional version of one of the darkest and most well-known villains in the Mythology and yet you nearly believe in the world he's pointing at: without wars, killing and cruelty. The only problem is, this also means the world without humans.
Graphically and soundwise the production nearly reaches perfection. Of course, it's an OVA, anything lower than perfection is unacceptable, but the studio put so much care and heart into making this beatifully drawn manga into something of this quality, that it cannot remain untold. Every aspect of it, starting from extra smooth animation, detailed drawings and beautiful backgrounds to nearly non-existent CGI is a work of art. There is not a single episode of a less format than it should be, and that's good. It's the kind of enjoyment many of us have been waiting for for nearly a decade. The graphics also prove, that making the series into OVA rather than regular TV show was a much better solution. By doing so, the animators could retain the original concepts and beauty of the manga without rush and with more money to spend. Action scenes are really good and some could easily become a good show-off for all those, who aim at superb quality but end up doing rubbish instead. Special attention is required when we want to discuss the way the Cloths (armors) look. It's a completely different level from the ones availbile in the old series. Although I do like the old designs, the new cloths, while retaining the spirit of the originals, are far better looking, slicker and more modern.
The music is composed by Kaworu Wada, who made the entire OST for D-Gray man. Back in that show, I loved his creations and Lost Canvas is no different. The music is for most part fantastic, climatic and well suited with the tone of the series and the development of the characters. For some scenes you don't really notice it's there but for others it's crucial and without it the moment wouldn't be even half that good.
A separate paragraph should also follow the opening and ending sequences - those are fabulous. At first, I didn't quite like them as I'm not a fan of the Japanese artists singing English lyrics. This time around, however, what I usually assume to be something weak turned out to be so good, that I tend use my utter singing abilities to perform it occasionally in bath :] (a joke). The Realm of Athena, obviously, is a living proof of the Japanese using English consciously and nearly flawlessly - and for only that, you should check it. The ending is also good, but it gets old pretty fast, on the contrary, The Realm of Athena is a neverending feat that, when pops up on my playlist, reminds me of this great series instantly.
Voice acting is definitely the weakest part of the OVA, and although the studio hired pretty well-known people to do their work as seiyuus (Hirano Aya, Hiro Shimono, Tetsuya Kakihara) some parts just don't go too well with the epicness of the scenes. I tend to like Aya-san which voices Sasha and Tetsuya-san as Tenma, though. These two seiyuus really did their best to input as many emotions into their animated characters as possible and it paid off.
It's really difficult to credit something which is still on-going, but I'll try to pass the final verdict. Lost Canvas is a v.good OVA series, mainly because it follows the manga consequently and consistently leaving aside no room for fillers or recap episodes. Therefore it borrows all the good and bad parts of the manga, while retaining the general idea intact. For a shounen it sure is refreshing, to see the series which ends in 200-- chapters rather than a thousand or so, but I still can't get this odd feeling off, that it's a sheer rip-off from the original series. Although you do get a lot of new characters, a more developed protagonists (Saoru from Kurumada's manga was very very weak) and a better development of the other Saints beside the Pegasus and his henchmen it still is a good old Saint Seiya show. Thus, if you have nothing against battles that end in one-two attacks, overpowered and shiny armors and are into beautiful animation, epic ost and memorable characters - the series is for you!
Is my first review, english is not my first language, don´t be harsh XDDD.
SS Lost Canvas, is like a dreamed SHONEN adaptation, nice animation, a real war, no plotkai. Shonen series should imitate lost canvas
Im a classic Saint Seiya fan, but I consider Lost Canvas as the superior one.
Now, first I will introduce people about saint seiya:
This anime tells the story of the previous Holy War, taking place in the 18th century, 250 years before the original series, in the Saint Seiya universe. The story centers on the relation between Tenma, the Pegasus Saint and his beloved friends, Alone, who eventually becomes his greatest enemy,
Hades and Sasha who became Athena.
You don´t need to watch the original SS series.
Characters 8 of 10. Tenma starts as the generic shonen hero, but the setting and certain events will turn Tenma in something different. The good thing about LC, is that the side characters the Gold Saint receive a lot of attention, they have interesting backgrounds, you will care about them. The specter (hades army) represent the opposite you will hate them, but they are awesome too.
Alone is a hit or a miss, (wont spoil).
Animation 9 of 10: Great Backgrounds, awesome character and cloth (designs), fluid combat scenes. Saint Seiya is more "skill based" and "shout my hax move type" than melee brawl.
Soundtrack 8 0f 10: Good tunes, reall fits. But inferior to the original anime soundtrack.
Setting 10 of 10: If you like mythology, unique clothes, badasses, also bishies (for the female fan).
Epic holy war, there´s no clear victory, for both sides, BOTH SIDES HAVE LOSSES, something nowaday shonens don´t have
In this installment, picking up from where the last series leaves off, there is more at stake, more danger, and it gets progressively darker but yet exciting at the same time. Though Tenma is officially the main character, the 3 acts that this story centers more around 3 gold saints.
The 3 gold saints are Manigoldo, the Cancer saint, El Cid, the Capricorn saint, and Sisyphus, the Sagitaurrius saint. And even though their respective original series counterparts didn’t really have much screen time as lets say Saga, Mwu, or Milo did, these characters do a whole lot and demonstrate how fucking bad ass they are.
Formally speaking, they really go in-depth with these characters and explore why they became saints and why they fight.
Hypnos and Thanatos and are given a bigger role as opposed to their original series counterparts. Thanatos is still portrayed as brash, arrogant, and sadistic, and Hypnos is still calculating, manipulative and patient. Those qualities were shown with them in the original Saint Seiya manga, but they were more expanded upon in this season and the screen time in this series makes them more credible villains this time around since they really did almost nothing. OK, they did destroy 5 Gold cloths. That was cool and impacting for what little time they had last time.
Tenma still maintains the archetypical qualities of a shounen hero but I like how these qualities are put in a much darker context. It shows he’s very caring, can be an idiot, and he may be idealistic but yet understands the hard side of life, and yet those qualities are why he doesn’t give up hope. He does have his moments in this series, but this installment belongs to the three gold saints and I don’t mind that. But the series ends at a cliffhanger, but when it ends, it gets really, really exciting because it comes to a point where even though they won a huge battle, the stakes are starting to get higher than ever before and it leaves you wanting for more. And I hope that a new installment is made soon now that the manga is over.
The art and animation is more or less the same, but what really improves is the action. The action this time is just simply bad ass on a level that is just a few leagues below Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Granted it is balls to the walls, but it relies a lot on wit, strategy, and being a man. From beginning to end there is countless tension and intensity. The fights perfectly mixes physical, psychological, mystical and spiritual demands to make the action consistently exciting. The characters are placed in battles where it’s the equivalent of a 60 year old Rocky Balboa taking on a young Apollo Creed, young Mr. T, young Hulk Hogan, an Ivan Drago on every performance enhancing drug imaginable, a loaded Tommy Gunn, and a hungry Mason Dixon all at once on the mean streets of Philly and yet chooses to fight on. Even though Saint Seiya is a re-telling of Greek mythology, the characters demonstrate a good combination of the spirit of the ancient Japanese samurai warrior with the all-American million-to-one underdog. Yeah, they may lose, but the fact they choose to face such a challenge is what makes it more admirable. This is most demonstrated with El Cid. Remember that Rocky analogy I made a few seconds ago, El Cid is who I was talking about and what he does is what made him my favorite character in Lost Canvas so far. Hell, he’s way cooler than Shuura in my book.
Well, the style of the music and the songs used are still the same and I can’t go wrong with Realm of Athena, the best English anime song of all time that’s in the Japanese version. But early on in the series, I like how this organ song was more integrated into the action. At first, you think the music it is setting the mood, but it is of course not doing that for the audience, but for the victim in the TV screen itself. I like how this featured villain was playing an organ to manipulate people and it just really intensified the mood.
The seiyuu cast is still appropriately splendid. I really can’t say anything about it that I already said in my review of the last season. The performances perfectly reflected the nature of their characters. I like how Hirano Aya is Athena/Sasha can’t always act as this school girl who needs to be in the remedial classes and shows she can be this leader in a time of war. I
Well naturally, you do need to watch the first season first to get an understanding of the establishment of the main cast, specifically Tenma, Sasha, and Alone. But this season does a good job of re-establishing these characters in a certain way that may not be familiar to new audiences, but I do recommend watching this series from season 1 to get a better idea of course how the stakes got higher and how the danger gets more intense.
Once again, I do like to state that you don’t really need any previous exposure to the original Saint Seiya series though it will help a lot. But at the same time, the previous exposure does add more. But hey, this series still defines what makes Saint Seiya awesome; explosive action, thrilling adventure, and awesome music that grabs you by the balls.
This is the last part of the series and I am writing this review assuming that you've seen the first half. Alone continues painting the Lost Canvas as seen in the first half and like before he is slowly becoming Hades. There is no shortage in quality in this second part so if you enjoyed the first half jump in and enjoy this. There are some new characters many of whom are gods, the battles are verbally explained more than the first half. While one of the best battles remains the battle at the sanctuary surrounded by roses. This show did improve in some way
and decreased in others but generally this is a sequel and like any last season it concludes the show.