One of the most popular Series inside Saint Seiya Fanbase it is without a doubt The Lost Canvas, a Spinoff that tells us the past war Against Hades on the 18th Century.
Made by Shiori Teshirogi in the year of 2006, it was original intended to be a Canon Prequel alongside Next Dimension and seen as the “other side of the coin” regarding to Kurumada´s manga. Although with the pass of the chapters, it was obvious that both stories where fairly different in a lot of areas, so it was then decided that Next Dimension would be the Official Prequel, while The Lost Canvas would be more of a retelling or another interpretation of such events.
An Anime version (who was very loyal to the Manga) was released later and covered basically half of the manga. So on this Article let us check both of them!
<<<Fights for peace and fights for love
The inconsistence is ironed out
Now we see the black clouds above
Halt all the bouts>>>
Easy to get into
Saint Seiya The Lost Canvas is the history on how the Saint Army lead by Athena fought against the Specters, led by Hades on the 18th Century. Especially how the lives of three friends: Sasha (Athena´s reincarnation), Alone (Hades Reincarnation) and Tenma (Pegasus Saint) gets shattered by the own will of the Gods.
With that knowledge, or even less, you are truly ready to go and enjoy The Lost Canvas!
I say this because It has come to my attention that some people might be turn off on wanting to get into Saint Seiya due to the fact that it is old and it appears to be an onslaught of information to digest.
Happily I can say that if that´s the case then The Lost Canvas it is what you need! Since their modern looking, and it is very easy to get into. So much that one can enter with little to no knowledge of the series that it is based on! Even the Mangaka was truly amazed by that fact since there were some people who got into the franchise thanks to this Spinoff.
The Manga and Anime make it quite easy to understand the words, the mythology and the entire world that it is Saint Seiya. So if one doesn´t want to see the 80´s Anime/Manga, then I can truly recommend starting with this, besides it is only 24 chapters on the Anime and 25 volumes of the Manga. Not much :P
An Epic Tale filled with Emotions
As it was said before, The Lost Canvas was made by Shiori Teshirogi, a Mangaka more known for her works on Shoujo genre especially when it involved psychological Drama (her work on the Delivery manga is excellent! If you have the time –and tears- I truly recommended it!), so it was a weird choice to have someone like her to draw an Spinoff that is based on a Shounen Genre where a bunch of Hot Blooded guys likes to beat the crap out at each other.
In the end, this was to be a right guess from part of Kurumada in choosing her, since this tale in truth was beautiful in the range of the motifs of every Saint, Specter, Gods, etc, their reasoning on why they do what they do was truly top notch and their intentions truly justified, so much that sometimes one even roots for the villains to win! The dramatic scenes and the feelings are also beautifully shown, making the true impact that the scene has, even for a little scene, the message and the impact appears!
This emotional impact makes you to truly enter into the history and all the events that happen on it, especially the Death of characters, and how those deaths make the story to keep going forward. Which it can be a case of a history similar to those like where one knows that some characters are going to get killed; but one doesn´t know how or when…But a truly mountains of corpses will be when this war ends .
Especial mention it has to be said about Pandora, since her history it is an emotional rollercoaster that gives a truly new perspective in her character compared to the Pandora of the Original Work.
The Fights on Lost Canvas are one of the central points, and I am glad to say that most of them are extremely epic! One can see technique to technique and how the fighters gets damaged, also mixing with this , either in conversation or memories, the development of such characters.
Still, this is one of the things that , while the fights are good, aren´t as much as the Original Manga, since sometimes viewing how the opponents throw a bunch of Super powers leaving the punches, the kicks and strategies on the side most of the time. Which is disappointing since one likes to see some fighting. Especially on a Shounen series! Still, as I said, the fights are still very exciting and it´s only a minor gripe.
Too Much Gold
One of the bad points in Lost Canvas is that most of the times it changes its attention on the central history, to focus on the Gold Saints, making it see that this is a history about them, rather than the history of Tenma, Sasha and Alone and their own personal journey. I am not saying that it is bad to focus on the secondary characters from time to time; but sometimes it can be a little too much, especially when we have other characters who aren´t Gold Saints and are as interesting as them. I am talking about Unicorn Yato, and Crane Yuzuriha, the members of “Tenma´s Team”.
I am saying it because both of them are truly interesting characters; but they have little time in the light since the focus changes from Tenma to the Gold Saints and going back to Tenma to pass to the Gold Saints and so forth. And that is truly sad since Yato is awesome and he could have done much more in the story; while Yuzuriha is amazing and even a character that Shiori made in order to have a strong female fighter on the team (something that the original Saint Seiya lacked) so yeah, it was truly a missing chance on them.
Character Deja-Vu Feeling
If you have already experienced the original Saint Seiya, you might find that most of the Gold Saints are straight up copies to the Original ones, and while some are only on design (Cancer Manigoldo, Virgo Asmitha, Scorpio Cardia, etc) others have a straight up copied the background of their “Saint Seiya” counterparts (The Gemini Gold Saints, which I won´t say more since it´s Spoiler).
I am not saying it is the exact same thing with everyone, since most of them have a different personality compared to their “Modern” counterpart, even though their designs are similar, I am talking about the Aquarius Gold Saint, Capricorn Gold Saint, Scorpio Gold Saint and so forth. As a matter of fact, every one of them, regardless of their frightening similarities to their “Saint Seiya” Counterparts is their own character on their own right.
There is to say also, that not every design is a straight up copy, since Pisces Albafica, Taurus Aldebaran/Rasgado, and Leo Regulus have a fairly different design that makes them easy to recognize between them with such easiness. (Yes I am excluding Aries Shion and Libra Dohko since they are imported from the original Saint Seiya :P)
When Saint Seiya The Lost Canvas ended, the manga was so successful that a series of other tales came out in the form of the Manga “Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas –Anecdotes-” Which features many histories surrounding the Gold Saints, being most of them prequels; but having others as Sequels, there it is to say that the only Character who had an “Anecdote” chapter without being a Gold Saint was Yuzuriha, and such chapter was annexed to the Anime as well. The Manga ended this year with the story of the 16th Century holy war that was lived by the Patriarch in Lost Canvas.
Saint Seiya The Lost Canvas is an amazing tale that it is easy to access and can be sustained on their own right and in truth doesn´t needs the original Saint Seiya to show how good this series is, still the similarities and other stuff that belongs to Saint Seiya world makes it much more interesting to read for the Saint Seiya Fan.
So if you have the chance or curiosity to enter in the world of Saint Seiya; but don´t want to indulge in the 80´s Anime/Manga, I highly recommend to give Lost Canvas a chance, heck even if you don´t want to know much of Saint Seiya, you can enjoy Lost Canvas without much problem!
Big thanks to Unimplied for the Header Gif. Amazing job!