Saint Seiya was a Manga that came in 1986, in that same year the Anime premiered. Obviously there would be some filler and stuff that would contradict in some way or another the source material. These things then to be not very important since the story in the Shounen mangas are somewhat simple to follow, so there wasn´t much damage… The Problem with Saint Seiya is that the story was presented in a different way…
…You see, in general terms the Saint Seiya history is simple; but the first story Arc, the Sanctuary, was presented in the form of a Mystery, and a good one at that! In every chapter a new tip was given regarding on what happened on the Sanctuary and why the place that it’s supposed to protect Athena now tries to kill her.
There will be Spoilers.
Now when the Anime was released and new fans joined in, lots and lots of doubts started since in very crucial things that the Anime tackled in a way as filler where revealed in a totally different one in the Manga and with a totally different answer.
Who is the patriarch?
There were 2 Patriarchs that Seiya meet?
Which one gave him his armor?
The Manga says that the patriarch was this guy…So who is the guy who was killed on Starhill? (Patriarch´s secret place)
This and a bunch of others questions and inconsistencies appeared and the things looked to have less and less sense as the history progressed. Especially in the Anime where the thing in some instances was so different that we could talk about a different story that it only had the same characters!
After some analysis, most of the doubts and incoherence’s comes from a certain character and its identity:
The Patriarch (Or Pope) is the Right hand of Athena and the one who manages the Sanctuary when the Godess hasn´t reborn yet. He is in charge of the election of Every Saint who trains in the Sanctuary, like Seiya who won his Pegasus Armor on the first chapter in front of the Patriarch. His identity is always behind a helmet and even sometimes behind a Mask.
It is believed that the Patriarch is someone who has a heart filled with love and the wish of justice in the entire world, not necessarily a Saint though; but someone who has a heart and intentions similar to those of Athena.
Everything seems normal on this point. The big obstacle and the source of confusion come from these characters: Shion, Aioros, Arles and Saga. Let´s check them one by one.
Shion the Patriarch
The previous Aries Saint and master of Aries Mu. He is a veteran of the past Holy war against Hades. It is said that some years before the events of the Manga, feeling the weight of the years, he was searching for a new substitute, someone who could do everything to protect the soon to come Athena; someone who has all the love in the world and can be a good father figure to the Goddess; someone who can also be strict enough to teach Athena so she can fulfill her duty. That person will be the new Patriarch.
Shion had already 2 persons in mind, both Gold Saints. Sagittarius Aioros and Gemini Saga. Still his choice was left in a mystery since the death came from him before he could do any announcement. Still there are rumours that Shion´s death was from murderer rather than for Natural reasons. Even though his Death was the same day that Aioros betrayed the Sanctuary and tried to Kill Athena
Arles the Patriarch
An Anime character that it was revealed that he was the Patriarch , and he was the one who is chasing Athena and trying to kill her.
Little is known about him other than he was the Silver Saint of Altar, and the right hand of the already deceased Shion. It is rumored that he was also the little brother of Shion, and that Arles wasn´t in truth a real Saint; but someone who got the title of “Saint of Altar” due to the fact that he is blood related to the Patriarch.
His personality it is said that his heart was with the sanctuary and its people. Still one day suddenly he had a change of heart and ordered the Sanctuary to attack an “Athena´s imposter” Saori Kiddo.
The Sagittarius Gold Saint and one of the 2 candidates to be the next Patriarch. He is popular among the Saints and their disciples as a fitting leader. His Little brother is the Leo Gold Saint Aioria.
It is said that one night he decided to kill Athena; but was stopped by the Patriarch and then killed by Capricorn Shura, getting the brand of a Traitor.
The Gemini Gold Saint. A man of high Benevolence, Compassion and love, he is very popular between the villages that surround the Sanctuary. Saga, alongside Aioros, is one of the 2 candidates to be the new Patriarch.
His whereabouts are unknown since he disappeared the same night when Aioros got killed.
Now that we have the characters that have to do on all of this mystery put in place it is the time to differentiate between Manga and Anime.
First Arles is an Anime only Character, and as such he doesn´t exist in the Manga. Having that into account let us first tell the Manga´s history and then the Anime one.
…If you haven´t figured out…Here comes more Spoilers!
Various years before the events of Saint Seiya.
Shion, the Patriarch, it´s on the last days of his life, he has been searching for a successor. From the whole Saint Army there where 2 people who figured out to be the new Patriarch. Sagittarius Aioros and Gemini Saga. One is popular among the Saints; the other among the citizens of the villages that surrounds the Sanctuary. Both have shown to be loyal to Athena and the Sanctuary, both could fit the role of Patriarch and help the soon to be resurrected Athena.
The day finally came and Shion will choose between those 2 Gold Saints. Who will be his Successor?. Shion has made a decision… The Next Patriarch will be…
FanArt made by the WolfMonster
Sagittarius Aioros. With those words, something broke inside the Gemini Gold Saint.
That same night Saga went to confront the Patriarch and demanding an explanation about why he decided Aioros instead of him! Shion explained him that he has felt that there are darkness inside of Saga. The Discussion heated up, Saga didn´t want to listen!
…Before long the inevitable passed…
Shion has been killed by Saga.
The Gemini Gold Saint then hides the body on Star Hill and decided to take the robes and impose as a Patriarch…But that wasn´t enough for him! Someone might find out! He can deal with Aioros; but there is that impeding danger…
That Baby! Athena! When she grows up she will see through his deception and will act against him! She has to be killed now!
Invested with the ropes of Patriarch, the usurper goes where the Baby is sleeping; he grabs a dagger and is ready to make his crime! Suddenly Aioros comes in a saves the baby getting damaged in the process, grabbing her and jumping from the window!
The Pariarch sends Shura to kill the “traitor” Aioros, who tried to “kill Athena”. The Capricorn Gold Saint goes to do his duty…
What comes next…It is either a surprise or something that everyone has already seen :P
Now let us check the Anime Version
Various years before the events of Saint Seiya.
Shion, the Patriarch, it´s on the last days of his life, he has been searching for a successor. From the whole Saint Army there where 2 people who figured out to be the new Patriarch. Sagittarius Aioros and Gemini Saga. One is popular among the Saints; the other among the citizens of the villages that surrounds the Sanctuary. Both have shown to be loyal to Athena and the Sanctuary, both could fit the role of Patriarch and help the soon to be resurrected Athena, helping her against the menace of Poseidon, who reborn every 230-250 years!
Capricorn Shura has come back to the Sanctuary after training his technique in Spain.
There it is to say that the Sanctuary is a tourist place, but only the outskirts of this, since the Patriarch protects the Sanctuary from strangers with his Cosmo, making a barrier that both Knock Out the strangers and makes them forget about the things they sought.
That same day, Gemini Saga, who was guarding the place where Poseidon will resurrect, comes back to the Sanctuary.
That night, a mysterious enemy has crossed the barriers. A Poseidon marine! He has killed the Patriarch Shion So Shura, Aioros and Arles fights him and manages to hurt the enemy! Specially Shura who manages to make a cut on the arm of the enemy!
The Marine manages to escape!
Later Saga comes in and Arles, who is now the Patriarch due that Shion never made his decision. Has decided that everyone will be on Guard, Saga will be guarding Poseidon, Aioros the Sanctuary and Shura will brought back every Saint out there!
Arles then detects something…Blood is coming out of Saga´s arm.
Arles summons Saga and confronts him about this. He argues that a Marine, regardless of his strength would have activated the barriers…So this was an inside job!
Saga confesses that he killed a Marine and the he grabbed his armor. Next the Gemini Saint kills Arles and hides his body on Star Hill. Saga now will impersonate the Patriarch from now on.
Time later the day has come and Athena has descended. The Patriarch “Arles”, who now hides his face with a Mask, has summoned Shura and has told him about Aioros plan to kill Athena. Shura can´t believe it though. Still the Patriarch insists.
That night…The Patriarch goes to where Athena is sleeping and tries to kill her with a Dagger! Aioros comes in and saves the baby getting damaged in the process! The Patriarch sends Shura (now without doubts on his heart) to kill the “Traitor” Aioros.
As you can see both histories are very different one from the other, and even changes some things regarding Poseidon, who takes the role of Hades regarding the years and resurrection stuff.
Other point is that most of the Anime version had to be given in a way of a Manga (or Light novel…Don´t remember well:P)called “The Secret of Excalibur” or something among those lines in order to give some sense from all the mess that the Anime give to the history at that point by adding the character of Arles.
Still there is the fact that when Saint Seiya –The Hades- Anime came, it was more closely to the Manga and Toei decided to retcon almost all of the Filler with the exception of Asgard (and later the Steel Saints; but that´s another story).
On any case, I hope that this have shed some light on this whole business!