This Year 2016 is the 30th Anniversary of Saint Seiya. A Shounen series that it is still alive up to this day, A series that while it captivated and captured the hearts of Japan, Europe and Latin America it never did in the English Speaking Countries with only a niche following in America and Britain. For that, and in order to show the people who might not know this series or what’s the deal with it. This Article was made.
First a little History. Saint Seiya is an 80´s Shounen Manga made by Masami Kurumada, which features a world where when it’s in danger the Goddess Athena will be reborn, and when she does it her army of Warriors, the Saints, will be in there to protect her! In order to do it, these warriors will use armors that represent the Constellations and will explode the universe inside of them called “Cosmos” which makes them pierce the Heavens with their fists and crack the Earth with their kicks!
The success of the Manga was so big that just mere months after its premier an Anime adaptation was greenlighted, making it beats in popularity and sales other popular Shounen Franchises of the time like Dragon Ball, winning for a time the label of “The Best Shounen” until of course such label was taken by Dragon Ball, then by One Piece, and so on.
Now since the Anime was greenlit with such a hurry, it is quite obvious that the Anime adaptation would be filled with…well, fillers and having that into account it´s other of the reasons on why this was being made.
<<<In the ever glittering sky,
Aim for the constellation that’s yours alone.
Until that day, I can’t lose
The battle that I engaged, putting my life at stake>>>
Chapter 1-15: Galaxian Wars Saga
The First Chapters of Saint Seiya are based on the origins and the first story arc which is a tournament where the Bronze Saints beat the crap out of each other in order for the winner to be “upgraded” with the Sagittarius Gold Armor. It basically follows the Manga quite well, and some of the fights are quite good too!
The action is quite nice and it introduces well the characters their motivations and even some dramas regarding the background of some of them.
The final part is a little WTF regarding the fact that some Clone characters appears as the true evil guys of the arc, and as hardly one can imagine, that thing happened in the manga if I remember well.
Filler: 0 Chapters. All pure.
Chapters 17-35: Sanctuary Saga- Silver Saints Chapter
Now on this new arc, after the Galaxian Wars, it is the moment where the main villain of the whole arc appears, the Sanctuary who is governed by the Patriarch (or Pope in the original manga) and he sends an Army of Silver Saints, who obviously are stronger than the Bronze ones…They are led by the Female Saint Ophiucus Shaina who will become one of Seiya´s Ships. But that´s another history.
This Arc is filler heavy, where basically everything revolved to either Shaina trying to kill Seiya and the other Silver Saints trying to get the Sagittarius Armor. The Fillers on this part can be very tricky since they put some actions that happens in the manga, to be performed by a non canon character. Specially regarding the mini arc of the Steel Saints (who uses technologic armors) and needless to be said, they at the presentation where a big thing; but after that fell short and where defeated quite easily if I remember well.
Other Filler that later was “Soft retconned” it´s about Hyoga´s Master, the Crystal Saint, which was an invented character only for the manga to reveal who was the true master of Hyoga (Aquarius Camus), it was “Soft retconned” because while they didn´t forget the Crystal Saint, they just said that since Aquarius Camus was the master of the Crystal Saint and he was the master of Hyoga then… Hyoga is disciple of Camus…Sounds logical :P
Other Important happenings on this is the realization of Saori Kido that she is in truth Athena´s resurrection, and that she was saved by two persons, one of them being her Grandfather Mitsumasa Kido.
Filler: 16-22 which include the Crystal Saint, and some never before mentioned disciples or underlings of Shaina who tries and fails to get the Gold Armor. 26: Steel Saints. 28: just the part that involves the Steel Saints. 32-34: Chapter 32 is about Ikki going back to where he receive his armor in order to beat the crap out of everyone basically; 33 and 34 It´s a mini arc featuring Shiryu and Ohko, a never before mentioned disciple of Dohko, Shiryu´s master, they are somewhat cool so if you want you can watch them.
Chapters 36-73: Sanctuary Saga- Gold Saints Chapter
While the chapter countdown is quite big, I was impressed by the little to no filler they had, by making only less than 5 Filler chapters in here, thing that is all good.
These chapters basically can be divided in 2 stages: Gold Saints Invasion and the 12 Temples battle. In the first one are, as it is said, the Gold Saints go to defeat the “Imposter” Athena and retrieve the Gold Armor, if the past battles against the Silver Saints where hard and very bloody, this are even more for our group of Bronze Saints! Also the character of Shaina gets fully developed by confessing to herself that her feelings for Seiya aren´t exactly Hateful but…
The Second Stage: The 12 Temples Battle is one of the most Iconic moments on the whole series and one that encapsulates everything that it is Saint Seiya. Where the Bronze Saints will have to fight Over powered enemies one after another and having a time limit, since if they fail not only Death will come from them…But for Athena, the person they swore to protect. The Battles where magnificent, the action was supreme, and the motivations and development for every character was top notch. Everything was quite good; also the revelation of the Mystery surrounding the Sanctuary (which was hinted in the Silver Saints Chapter) becomes clear as water.
On the filler parts it was basically some random fights against some never before mentioned Virgo Shaka´s disciples and part of the shenanigans that happens on the Sagittarius Temple.
Filler: 54: Ikki fighting some random Shaka´s disciples. Part of 63, just the last part it´s Canon
Chapters 74-99: Asgard Saga
The First Filler Arc of the Anime. While on the past the filler where only mere chapters, this one is a full filler Story Arc! Nonetheless it´s quality it is truly top notch since the history is good and the fights where awesome!
The Story in here is that the God Warriors (based on the Nordic Mythology) lead by Polaris Hilda , the representative of Odin, have decided to attack Athena and the Sanctuary! At first it looked like it was for mere pride and jealous; but what the Saints and the God Warriors didn´t know it was that there was some shadow acting behind the scenes…As the Puppeteer in this Holy Clash of cultures!
Even if it´s filler I have to say that it´s good filler. It has a good story, some good world building , nice fights and character development. On this last case it is an excellent example of the “Show, don´t tell” way. Since with some little scenes or dialogue, the personality and motivations of the God Warriors (the enemies) are quite clear and well putt. So much that sometimes one feels the need to root for them instead of the Athena´s Saints.
Also this story arc is one of the pillars for Soul of Gold too.
Filler: Everything, still it is very good so I recommend watching it!
Chapters 100-114: Poseidon Saga
The Last arc of the classic series before it went to an undefined Hiatus due to the manga loss on popularity. This Arc, unlike the Sanctuary or the Asgard one, it is one of the shortest and also one that has very little filler, and the filler it has it is only made in order to align it with past filler since one of the enemies is a Childhood friend of Hyoga.
The Story is basically that Saori/Athena as rich girl and another Rich Kid wants to marry her: Julian Solo, after he is rejected he reveals her that he is the reincarnation of the Sea God Poseidon! And as a God he has an objective flood the whole world!...Although certain sacrifice might make him change his mind...Athena´s life!
This Arc is nice, but not as good as the Sanctuary (specially the last part) or the Asgard one. Still it has some good things that gives some answers regarding some of the events that happened in the Sanctuary Saga. So even if it´s not as good, it is still nice and a must watch.
Filler: Basically 0, just a little part on chapter 180, made in order to align with past fillers.
Now This is the end of the Classic Series and for a Decade the series entered in a hiatus, leaving the last Story arc unfinished and not animated until the beginning of the XXI Century when a resurgence in popularity inspired Toei Animation to greenlit the Last Story Arc:
Saint Seiya- The Hades Saga-
Saint Seiya -The Hades Saga- it is a series of 31 chapters, and most of the filler events of the Anime where retconned, including some armor designs and events that in truth only made the whole story a mess that needed to be explained with X´s and O´s. But that´s a thing for another Article. In short the Anime was closer to the Manga and the only Filler that stayed was the Asgard Saga due to its popularity.
This Saga alongside the Sanctuary it´s one of the most popular ones since it is the definitive moment and THE reason on why the Saints exist in the world. Now, let us check it out.
Chapters 1-13 The Hades Saga: Chapter Sanctuary
The invasion of the Hades Army to the whole world in General and the Sanctuary in Particular. Various deceased Saints come back from the grave in order to kill Athena, since they swear loyalty to Hades in order to be reborn as Specters now.
Beautiful Animated, with strong dialogues, amazing fights, awesome development and pacing, incredible soundtrack. The Hades Saga: Chapter Sanctuary it is truly a master piece of its time and a must see for every Shounen lover that exist out there.
Filler: 0 Pure action content with 0% Filler and 100% quality!
Chapter 14-26 The Hades Saga: Chapter Inferno
The Saints and Athena decides to go to the Underworld, the Hell itself in order to fight Hades on his playground rather than being waiting for him to attack them. The Saints will have to cross all the Circles shown in the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
I have to say that If the Sanctuary chapter was gold and perfect, this was bronze and with defects. It was clear that the budget for this one wasn´t as big as the Sanctuary Chapter and Toei decided to go for a cheaper route since they were focusing at the moment on the “Heavens Arc- Overture-“ Movie.
I am not saying that it´s bad or anything, but it is like comparing the quality of Sailor Moon Crystal Seasons 1 and 2 with the Season 3, where the former just gets the job done and not much more while the latter has a lot of improvements. So yeah, while it isn´t as good as the Chapter Sanctuary, it is good enough to give it a watch and see how the things develop.
Filler: 0 Chapters although chapters 17,18 and 24 are somewhat boring.
Chapter 27-31 The Hades Saga: Chapter Elysion
The Saints had basically won the Holy War; but Athena has decided to end them forever rather than waiting for the next arrival of Hades, so the Heroes will have to go to the Elysion fields where the Soul and body of Hades is, so they can defeat him once and for all!
The Last part of the Hades Saga, while it is not of the same quality of Sanctuary it isn´t Inferno either. The Chapters where made for the most part well-made and the action was Ok, although somewhat rushed on the last part. There it is to say that finally one of the characters plots (Seiya) gets resolved although in a very Deus Ex Machina way, but hey! What can you do?
Filler: 0 Chapters, although the progress vary from slow to rushed from time to time
Saint Seiya, as any other Shounen series it is one that had lots and lots of Filler, but as you can see and read all the way down here, some of it was so good that it become Iconic for the Anime franchise and incredibly popular between its fans.
It is also an Anime (and Manga) that got to suffer somewhat due to the way that the Mangaka (Masami Kurumada) does things, which is basically throw things around and then forgetting about them (Aldebaran past). Still on the positive Saint Seiya it is one of the few franchises that got a Filler Arc that was just as good as the original Source, talking about the Asgard Saga, which was incredibly well made! So props to that!
There it is to say that when The Hades saga got finished it was also the time when the relationship between Toei and Kurumada was cold and sour due to the mess that it was the “Heavens Arc-Overture-“ Movie and the cancellation of the future projects regarding such Arc. So while Toei ended The Hades Arc it would be a time for a momentary good bye of Saint Seiya in the Anime world. And it wouldn´t be until 2012 when Toei would put its hands again on the franchise with Saint Seiya Omega and the Movie “Legend of Sanctuary”.
Finally Saint Seiya it is a Shounen where the friendship, the duty, the respect to your mission, the passion for it and the get to know that there are things that you must protect no matter what, and that no matter how hard and rude the way it is, if it´s something important then it´s worth it. Those are the message and the true definition of the Spirit of Saint Seiya!
Did you like it? I hope so because this is one just the first article of much others on this Saint Seiya 30th Anniversary celebration! So please leave your comments and opinions below!