I talk about Saint Seiya Season 1-3 here and Season 4 of Saint Seiya here.
Saint Seiya is a shonen series that I’ve really, seriously have gotten to like. I wasn’t expecting this when I started with it, but there is something special about this series. Especially after season 4 in the 12 temples where all the cards were on the line and our heroes were challenged to the best level that they could be on a physically and spiritual level. That’s the special bit because most shonen series haven’t done that recently. At the same time, I’ve been a little burnt out by it. Saint Seiya has over 100 or so episodes and there is a reason why I try to only watch 100-episode series a year or so. After a while, you start to see the same thing. That’s partially why I’ve been taking breaks between each specific part. There are other ones like emotions. I finished season 5 a little while ago and finally started season 6 just recently. At last, I will finish Saint Seiya. I would say spoiler things, but this is a fifth season. That comes naturally with all of this.
Saint Seiya Season 5 takes place a month after the fall out from the Twelve Temple’s Arc. In the world of Sanctuary and the Earth itself, everything has calmed down and seemingly reached a state of normalcy. However, in the far-off lands of the North called Asgard, trouble is brewing in the mists. The cold lands of the north look at the warm comfort of the Earth and scoff at it. They plan on eliminating the Earth with melting ice from another dimension. Ok, that is somewhat an exaggeration but I know that I would be jealous after living in the cold for that long. Polaris Hilda, the kind guardian of Asgard, is possessed by some mysterious force and summons her God Warriors to attack Sanctuary and take over while Asgard’s ice starts melting. Their mission? Kill Athena and take over the land of the Saints. Something normal people living on Earth won’t be noticed.
Well, the show doesn’t actually do things that way. Yes, a God Warrior attacks a Golden Saint and defeats him. Aldebaran, the golden bull saint, was defeated by Black Tiger Syd in the opening episode of the season before encountering Athena and her Saints. Well, mainly Pegasus Seiya our protagonist, Cygnus Hyoga, Andromeda Shun, and Dragon Shiryu. Look at my previous posts for more father Syd is fought in a battle that ends in a stale mate. That would usually be the start of an invasion. Instead of taking this lying down, Athena and her five saints, when Phoenix Ikki shows up dramatically so save his brother Shun again, invade Asgard by themselves to stop the invasion before it happens. Also, Athena is at the center of this and out of action to stop the glaciers from melting with her power. Do you think this show was making an environmental statement in the 80’s?
This arc might sound a lot like the 12 Temple arc and that is fair. More than fair. I think that is another reason why this arc isn’t as strong as the Twelve Temple arc. In some ways it feels like a redo which might be why I was a little exhausted after this arc to immediately jump to season 6. Even if the situation is different, the plot over all is the same. Stop the super powered minions on the way to getting to the leader to stop them. Yeah, that’s both the twelve temples and Asgard. There are some differences though. For starters, the most obvious one is the location and who they are fighting. We talked about who they are fighting. There is no set temple or anything in for these fights to happen, just different locations around a snowy mountainside that people destroy while fighting.
There are more differences to that too. Saint Seiya Season 5 is a lot like the saints of Athena fighting a mirror image of themselves coming in the form of the Asgard God Warriors. I feel like I should name them so I shall. In a random order, they are Thunder snake Thor, Blue Wolf Fenrir, Green Horse Hagen, Red Lyrre Mueller, Lime Skull Alberich, the already named Black Tiger Syd, and Double Dragon Siegfried. All names from Nordic lore in some way. Don’t qoute me on that, I haven’t checked that out yet. Each one of them has their own problems that they are fighting Athena’s Saints for. There are some heavy-duty class issues they want prestige, family issues they don’t know how to resolve, each character has their own ambitions they keep from each other. So there is this sense of power from them, but they have no unity because they don’t feel like they belong with each other.
That’s the story of this Asgard saga. Another uphill battle with the outnumbered and possibly out powered Athena’s Saints who are a team and have their issues figured against the God Warriors who were recently joined together and are very self-interested. A pretty simple thing to base a plot around. A lot of the issues that Athena’s Saints have solved are still being figured out or challenged on the Asgard side. In a way, you could say that the God Warriors are the main protagonists of this saga and I can agree with that statement in a lot of ways. All of which makes everything sad when things don’t end up in a positive way. Ok, I will just say it. Most of them die. Not in ways that you expect, but death happens while Athena’s saints are yet again pushed into a brink and beyond their limits.
While Athena’s saints know who they are and what they stand for, the lessons they got from the Twelve Temples didn’t completely ingrained themselves in them yet. Oh joy, this arc was just sad. People dying on one side and on the other, people struggling to push themselves forward on pure will powers when their bodies fail them. Mental fortitude is in strong supply with Athena’s saints. There wasn’t a magic “people are healed now” thing like the last arc. There is only struggle, death, will power, more struggle, death, and possibly more struggle at the end of this saga. Saint Seiya Season 5 isn’t playing around on any particular level here. Whether or not that is the same as the Twelve Temples, it still hurts when things hit you.
I feel like the art and animation stand point, Saint Seiya Season 5 is somehow an improvement from season 4. Maybe it’s the newer, easier to animated Saint designs and the big and expressive God Warrior Designs that help them. The character designs are generally more angular in design which makes the fight easier to animate and there are newer environments which could add excitement too. I think all of that makes the show feels more fresh. When a character is pummeled into the ground and the rocks start piling up, you can feel that happening on a visceral level. Same when the ground turns into lava suddenly, falling off high ground, beaten within an inch of their life, and who knows what else. It’s a very visceral in that way it’s constructed, story boarded, and honestly timeless in that way. Very powerful for something from the 1980’s. Almost like Saint Seiya is something timeless. Probably because it is.
I really did like my experience of going through Season Seiya Asgard. I’m just going to give it a solid, ok? I don’t think it hit me as hard as the Twelve Temple Arc in terms of execution, but the way the story explored the other characters even in tragedy is something powerful and thoughtful in what it does and what it wants to do. I don’t think the show exhausted because it’s just the same thing again, but because of how exhausted I got from crying all the time. Yes, I’m a cry baby. I think that I’ve just become a huge cry baby sense becoming older and Saint Seiya just knows how to hurt me. I can see why a lot of people in Latin America and Europe love Saint Seiya and just wish it could have made a more then appearance here in the States. I guess Dragon Ball Z won that older shonen battle in the end unfortunately. That’s not a bad thing because DBZ a solid show, but Saint Seiya is solid too.
The interesting thing about this arc is that it was a filler arc that doesn’t exist in the manga because the anime was catching up too fast on the Poseidon arc (unlike the Netflix listing, there was no season nor break in the original airing of that anime). With that in mind, it might very well be the best filler arc in anime history.
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I may have to agree with that then.. It’s so good. Like ridiculously good. I’m watching Poseidon now and Asgard doesn’t feel out of place at all.