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Kishi720's Saint Seiya Tv Review

Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya tv Review

Over 2000 years ago, the Universe was formed from the power of Gods. To protect mankind, the goddess Athena assigned the power of the stars in the bodies of chosen humans called "saints".

In Japan today, a young princess named Saori is proven to be the reincarnation of Athena. She will face her first test against evil when the world suddenly collapses, as it appears that one of her own men has planned a coup d'etat.

In her attempt to fight against the rebel, she calls upon her remaining Saints. One of those who answers is Seiya, the incarnation of Pegasus. With the help of Hyoga, the incarnation of Cygnus, Shiryu, an incarnation of Dragon, the gentle-hearted Shun -- incarnation of Andromeda, and his brother Ikki, the incarnation of Phoenix, the six of them set on a journey to Athens, Greece, to put the world back into order.

Credit: niomea

Saint Seiya character classes: Bronze Saints, Corona Saints, God Warriors, Gold Saints, Greek Gods, Mariners, Silver Saints, Specters, Steel Saints.

Story & Characters

Now, before I get into the story, I'm going to confess: I do love Saint Seiya, but I do see its downsides and don't think it's the best anime ever. In fact, even I get tired of its occasional lack of character developments and "Saint gets beat into the ground only to rise again victorious" ways. So, With that out of the way:

13 years ago, someone possessed by the spirit of Ares, kills off Aries Shion, the Pope of Sanctuary, attempts to kill the reincarnation of Athena, the goddess, and take her lands that he’s sworn to protect. Luckily for her, she has an ally in the form of the Sagittarius Gold Saint Aiolus. Unluckily for Aiolus, the other 11 Gold Saints are told by Ares that he was the one who tried to kill her and stolen Athena away! After being mortally wounded by Capricorn Shura, he passes the baby Athena off to a kindly Japanese traveler named Mitsumasa Kido. He adopts the baby as his granddaughter and gives her the mortal name Saori.

Orphans from all over the world were gathered in Japan soon after he returns to get special training in order to head out across the world again to go through extreme, rigorous training in order to obtain special armors called ‘cloths’ that are symbolic of Athena’s protectors, which are called Saints. They come in three ranks: Bronze, which are what the main characters wear; Silver, more powerful than a Bronze and can unconsciously summon something called the "Seventh Sense". The Silver saints job is to protect the name of Athena. And the Gold, who each represent a symbol of the Zodiac, who each stay in their own temples in Sanctuary, Athena’s Holy land, and are to protect the Pope, Master of Sanctuary, from harm.

So, that's the main setup to the story. What's really fun about the characters and the story is that they each have their own individual personalities and it sort of is a character-driven story (the first arc anyway, the latter "Asgard" and "Poseidon" arcs leave something to be desired. The Hades - Sanctuary Arc gets a little monotonous with stair climbing, but its fun to see the Bronze Saints NOT succeed against their Gold foes and the Gold and ex-Gold Saints have to duke it out.)

Another really fun thing is the way the mythology of so many things gets messed with in the series. Everyone's following Athena, who has a Pope controlling her holy lands, protected by the Astrological signs (One man, who's closest to God, is quite Buddhist), and a bunch of Bronze Saints (One who in the movies proclaims to only follow the Christian God, but sears allegiance to Athena. Talk about a confusion of faiths!).

And finally, as much as everyone (particularly the Bronzes) seems to use the same attack over and over again, I think of the story as an extreme lesson of perseverance. If you don't let the guy wearing the suit of better magical clothes get the better of you, and you can burn your energy source (Cosmo - liken it to Star Wars "Force") to its maximum to awaken your Seven(th) Senses, you will over come any obstacle in your way. Oh, and these guys don't whine and moan when things don't go their way. And their armors can (and have, even excluding the movies, on several occasions) break and fall to pieces. Everything in the series comes with a consequence, there's no tabula rosa at the beginning of the next episode, and the characters have to face it head on.

Now, a quick mini-arc review:

Sanctuary Arc I (1-40) - Pretty good, particularly the beginning, with the Galaxian Wars into the Black Saints. Gets sort of monotonous once Ares begins to send Silver Saints to kill the Bronze Saints, but there is character development and no battle is exactly the same.

Sanctuary Arc II (41-72) - Stairs. Athena, useless but useful... Stairs. Pretty people using pretty things to beat the crap out of each other... Boy howdy, is there ever stairs, and the one day that lasts 31 episodes. Everybody pull out their 'suspension of disbelief' hats, if they haven't already, because we're in for an epic 12 hour battle that lasts 12 hours. We don't cut corners here. HOWEVER, this still remains my favorite part of all the storylines. I like the Gold Saints. In fact, my favorite group of people is the Gold Saints, so I'm a little partial to them, with all their craziness. It builds more of the Bronze Boys up and makes everyone deal with their problems (and even some tearjerker moments *sniff* Cassios... *sniff*)

Asgard Arc - The only piece of anime that ever took me two years to complete. I can't tell you how much I HATE this arc. Bland, emotionless, cardboard cut outs of people hobbling around on cels, trying to look bad ass and cool. Too bad it takes 40+ episodes for nothing to happen. This is an anime-only storyline, looooooosly based on Movie II. Kurumada, you see, was taking too much time in drawing...

Poseidon Arc - Pretty. But pretty useless as well, as you see, this time we don't run up stairs, we just run around to the seven Neptune pillars to take them down (cool concept though, that Poseidon lives, literally, under the sea). They can't take them down with their own abilities, but Kiki (who grows on you: he's Aries Mu's "Appendix" (hey, he says it, not me)) finds each Bronzy, who just, after a display of a gold "Bronze" cloth, but sort of boringly beat up one of the seven Marine Generals (Shogun), and gives use them use of one of the Libra cloths weapons to use to destroy a pillar. Athena's trapped in the "Main Breadwinner" and they gotta break her out. They do... which leads to:

The Hades Chapter - Sanctuary - PRETTY... After about 20 years, Toei decided to animate the Hades Chapter. And, although you should watch them in order, a friend of mine, a Saint Seiya neophyte (Had no idea what the series was about) was able to easily figure out what was going on (and he'd ask questions if he didn't) and was soon sucked into the Saint Seiya mythos. It quickly became his favorite anime (and he doesn't really like the stuff). He's a little turned off by the 80's animation still, but he was able to access it more readily because he knew the characters from the more modern animation. So, if you've never watched the series, I suggest watching Hades first, but maybe going and watching the Saint Seiya Special (a quick hour-long plot synopsis from before Sanctuary through Poseidon) somewhere in the middle. Hopefully, Toei animates more of the Hades Chapter... which I *just* found out that “Saint Seiya The Hades Chapter: Meikai-ken” will air sometime in October with the first episode being entitled “Acheron”

Movies (excluding 5) - I like them in this order: three (they fight Abel, who is Athena's mythological "brother" and a badass who wants to flood the earth), two (the better of the two Asgard properties; this one and the TV arc have nothing in common other than some of the character's names are reused), four (Lucifer, not Hades, descends and Athena actually does something in this movie. The who reason why I can even recommend it over...), and one (Eris, goddess of disco(rd), and her Ghost Saints try to kill Athena, yadda yadda....). These are all short story arcs, that, excluding movie 3, play like a long TV episode. Even prettier animation than even Poseidon, with the character development of Asgard. Not recommended for anyone but fans who want to see it all.

Movie 5 - Movie 5 takes my soul. Its story takes place post-Hades. Seiya has been left cursed by Hades, and is being taken care of in a cottage by Saori. (you should really have read the manga before watching this movie, it took me a couple of times to figure out what was wrong with him) Battles take place against Artemis and her "Angels", much like in the other movies (but you find out that the Gold Saints' souls have been sealed away by the rest of the pantheon for assisting in killing Hades), but Saori really comes through in this movie. There's a climactic battle between Seiya and Apollo (who is really peeved at his little sister Athena) and it doesn't end well for Seiya or Athena. Let's just say that the ending gets artsy and anti-climactic. And no, Seiya does not kill Apollo. See this movie if only for a (un)satisfying end to the Seiya/Saori story. And, please, sit through the credits...

All in all, I give the story an 8. It has its (sometimes) fatal flaws, but what series doesn't. And what series can take and cobble together so many mythologies in a grandiose scale? I haven't seen one since, but I've seen them try and fail.

Rating: 8

Art

This isn't a very fair section. As most artists and artworks, the style of Saint Seiya evolved over time. The characters got prettier and prettier as time goes on (and the word "prettier" has a double meaning for me. I'd use the word "Bishounen" but they aren't really bishounen unless they are supposed to be (Shun, Lacerates Misty, any enemy who plays a musical instrument and Pisces Aphrodite come readily to mind). But once Asgard rolled around, their cloths changed and the characters themselves got a makeover (it confused and disoriented me to say the least). Poseidon even got a little nicer than Asgard. And the Movies are even nicer than Poseidon.

Then we leap 20 years into the future where animation itself has jumped leaps and bounds. The Hades Chapter - Sanctuary art is a testament to how much the animation world has grown (just comparing the Hades animated opening with Pegasus Fantasy should confuse you enough). But, it's also a testament to how crappy some CG effects can truly be and how, sometimes, I wish they'd stick with cel animation. But what do I know...

The 80s manga itself is sort of big and blocky (Kuramada's claim to fame is guys that take up huge amounts of page and all of his main characters have the "Seiya" archetype (I don't think it originated with Seiya, but still...)) But, then he, and other people, decided to go back and create a story that takes place before the Saint Seiya story, entitled Saint Seiya Episode G. If you want bishounen, look no further. Even Taurus Aldebaran is pretty...

I'll rate the art based on the median of the bulk of the animation, but if I were to give individual numbers:

Sanctuary - 5
Asgard/Poseidon/Movies 1-4 -- 6
Hades/Movie 5 - 8

Rating: 6

Sound

I love the music. I think that's something that really keeps me coming back. It parted ways with the cheesy "synth" sound of the 80s and used a small ensemble to make most of its music (Seiji Yokoyama arranged it, I'm thinking). It still uses the synths, but they actually mix well with the other things. There's also strings, and drums, and brass, and woodwinds, and HARD ROCKIN' GUITAR ACTION! But if you ever want an example of the tepid of the 80s, look no further than the stirring (it stirred something in me alright) "You are my Reason to Be", complete with bad Engrish.

The voice acting itself is enjoyably over the top, with a lot of them taking themselves too seriously. But its that sense of commitment in the series that adds a bit more to its charm. No one is mocking the story or their characters, they give it their all. However, one of the best line reading in the entire series happens in Movie II. The Asgard Pope, Dorbal (Balder?), speaks in this almost unrecognizable, "Christopher Walken"-esque monotone that I absolutely love and could listen to over and over again. Oh, excuse me, this is all for the Japanese version.

Having only heard pieces of the other dubs (and actually watched a good bit of the Portugese movie I0, I can't speak much for them. But, the English "Knights of the Zodiac" is an abomination to the whole property. I don't know if its bad direction, bad acting, or just a terribly bad script, but there's little to no sense of danger in the dub because everyone is telling bad jokes and breaking what little tension gets built up. I tried to sit through a couple of episodes and I about lost it. Do me a favor and ignore Knights of the Zodiac (and to a lesser extent, the better, but still not great Saint Seiya dub (I know its confusing, but KotZ and Saint Seiya are two different things in English, they just both have the same pictures)).

Rating: 7

Presentation

A lot of this is talked about in the other topics. It was very original for its time (you can't considerit sentai, there's too many dang suits and it's shounen, sure, but there's some love stories in it), and a few things copied it (or B'tX, in which case sometimes it seems like Kuramada copied himself) There is humor, it doesn't abound and it depends on where you are in the story (more humor is found at the beginning of the whole series and Kiki provides a lot in Poseidon), but you don't always need to laugh. I will again say, I enjoy it, but I do consider it a guilty pleasure of mine even within the anime world. If you like Dragonball Z, Yuu Yuu Hakusho, Yoroiden Samurai Troopers (Ronin Warriors), or even crazy Greek mythology, give this a whirl, I think you'll like it. If you don't like those properties, you should still try it, it's more realistic than most of them as there are no monsters fought (per se, Hades' Specters push the envelope a bit) just powered human versus powered human in knock down, drag out fights. And even if you don't like those things, you still might get swept away by the story. It's good, trust me...

Rating: 7

Final Verdict

7.17 (above average)

Reviewed by Kishi720, Aug 20, 2005

Comments

  1. crsg Aug 20, 2005

    Wow, this is very thorough - I'm impressed! Good review, unbiased but true to your own opinion.

  2. akika Oct 31, 2005

    This is such a detailed review XD I didn't expect you to go through all the different chapters. I totally agree with you that although it's a wonderful animem, it does have it's flaws. For instance, the dragon guy (I saw this all in Chinese I can't remember what the Jap names are T_T) always goes blind and then recovers magically...in nearly every chapter...to the point I even expected it. Small things like that that's just getting repetitive. I also saw most of it as a kid, and might have been a bit too violent for me.
    However, it is a childhood favourite anime and definitely wouldn't mind seeing it again. I can't believe after all these years, they're still coming out with more!
    I can understand why you're giving the art and sound a low score, most of them were made quite early, some in the 80s. So it's understandable that the art and sound technologies weren't as good back then.

  3. Cinderalla Jan 29, 2007

    Good review.

  4. rukasu04 Mute Member Aug 17, 2009

    I like it ^^'

    merged: 10-27-2009 ~ 12:50am
    Good review and great anime :]

  5. HdA Apr 05, 2010

    buena rese

  6. hitsu-chan Jul 20, 2011

    average... thx for ur review

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