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...
Saint Seiya: Saintia Shou has been published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment since February 20, 2018, in Brazilian Portuguese as Os Cavaleiros do Zodíaco: Saintia Shô by JBC since October 22, 2016, and in Spanish as Los Caballeros Del Zodiaco: Saintia Sho by Ivréa since June 16, 2017.
The first review of this manga, let's get it right.
Although it is a manga with protagonist girls, it is a work I particularly recommend to all Saint Seiya fans. This manga is a midquel, that is, the story fits together with the facts of the original manga, and sees a war against the goddess Eris.
The merit of this manga, in addition to excellent drawings, is the care with which it is made. The authoress has a phenomenal coherence, a profound respect for the original work, even greater than the creator himself, Masami Kurumada (who has little in the way of consistency). Kuori tries to make
consistent joints, reproposes original tables with precise details (but with his style), and also takes on the classic characters, respecting their original characterization (unlike Okada who had to change them), but still managing to enrich them.
In addition, she also tried to solve the so-called "plot holes" left open by the original work. For example, the evil spirit that emerged from the body of Saga (of course, with Origin in 2019 came the canonical explanation, but for more than 30 years it was a mystery), or the redemption of Deathmask.
Overall the work is good, perhaps less epic than others (such as Episode G or Lost Canvas), more on normal levels, but as compared to the original work, it is excellence. And also in the field of quotation, to other works of SS, it is particularly rich.
TWO IMPORTANT THINGS, just to make you know, before you start.
1- obviously, being a spin-off strongly linked to the classic series, and with its characters, it should be read after seeing that one. And even better, after reading the ORIGINAL MANGA, as Sho relies on it.
Many will already know it, but the original manga and the historical anime present many differences, such as the ending of the 12 houses, and the link to the Poseidon saga. In the manga, the protagonist end up in a coma and spend a month of empty time, before Poseidon. And there the most of Sho's story take place (and that's why Seiya and the others aren't there to fight). In anime instead, things go differently, no coma and more, and there is the saga (filler) of Asgard.
2- if you've seen SHO ANIME first, and disappointed or discouraged you, forget it. Toei did a bad job, hurried and with different narrative changes, as well as inconsistent with any continuity (both that of the manga and of the classic anime). The manga is something else, don't exclude it because of this.
Excellent consistency aside, the story itself is simple. The main character (Shoko) is destined to become the avatar of the goddess Eris, but her sister (Kyoko) sacrifices herself for her, taking her place. Shoko then decides to become a Saintia (personal handmaids of the goddess Athena, who do not have the obligation of the mask) to save her.
Of course, this is the premise of volume 1, then the story will evolve into a disputed war, against Eris and her dryads on one side, and on the other Athena, the 5 saintas, and the Gold Saints (who will, will be active and they will fight, not like in the original manga).
Only to specify the temporal setting, Saintia Sho, midquel, is set in 3 parts:
- the first 3 volumes take place just before the Galaxian Wars, the beginning of the original manga.
- the volumes 4-5 are transitional, tracing the facts from the Galaxian Wars to the 12 houses.
- from the sixth volume, the main story takes place in the month of empty time between the 12 houses and the saga of Poseidon
Excellent drawing from the start, and keeping better. And like I said, the revised manga tables from the original (but also Next Dimension and some SS movies) are really nice.
There are classic characters like Saori Kido and the Gold Saints alive after the 12 houses, Scorpio Milo (who is the sixth protagonist), Leo Aiolia, Aries Mu, Virgo Shaka and Taurus Aldebaran, are active. Other historical characters make their appearance more or less briefly, the other Gold Saints, but also minor characters, like Marin and Shaina. There would be more, but it's spoiler.
For inedited characters, it depends. I would say 3 categories.
- the Saintias, the 5 protagonist girls. The authoress has tried to maintain a similarity with the classic protagonists. So Shoko is identical to Seiya (he also uses the same moves). Mii has a sense of duty similar to Shiryu. Katya is blonde, Russian and uses ice (like Hyoga). Xiao is the shy one but with potential, and pink dress, similar to Shun. Erda uses fire and is that badass (type Ikki). They are not bad, but they are valid only in advanced history, after the 8 volumes.
- the Silver Saints, the value of the work. Kuori presents us with 5 inedited silver knights, 3 of which are very strong (close to the gold level) and have an important role in history. We meet Mayura, the strongest woman in the Sanctuary, Rigel, a tragic knight, and Aeson, a mysterious type. The other 2, Georg and Juan, have a particular charisma, are more normal, but have little space for now.
- the Enemies. Eris is a very interesting character, who in history evolves thanks to Kyoko, becoming one of the best goddesses of the franchise. Also the other main antagonist (of which I don't name), is interesting, and a dream of many fans.
The subordinates are more or less interesting. Some stand out for a particular charisma, others are quite stereotyped, or become hateful. Certainly dryads don't shine too much, especially compared to saints, but they're not bad, and some have nice skills.
As I said before, the story is simple, but well-structured and cared for, as well as maniacally consistent with the original manga (although, due to the recent Saint Seiya Origin, Kurumada has put out of continuity also this series). Kuori has done an excellent job, and if you're a fan of Saint Seiya, you'll appreciate it.
However, as I said, the level is normal. The clashes are good, but they remain on normal levels, nothing too epic or too exaggerated, such as Episode G (where they fought with the titans) or the Lost Canvas (even here, high level enemies, sometimes gods).