After starting this long series journey in December, I have finally completed my watch of the original Saint Seiya series! I did it, I survived! Over 114 episodes of good boys fighting in a hot-blooded manor for infinite justice with relentless resolve. I struggle with watching longer series, so there is a reason why I might go after one really long series a year if I am in the mood to do it. I’m lucky that the original Saint Seiya appeared on Netflix in the United States so I could watch it. Not just up to finishing the Twelve Temples arc, but all of it. If you want to check out my other season reviews, please read them here. I do plan on checking out later Saint Seiya series eventually. Just when I have some distance between them because I’m burnt out from the series right now.
Last time in Saint Seiya, our warriors just fought tooth, nail, and even more tooth to save the land of Asgard. Pegasus Seiya, Adromeda Shun, Cygnus Hyoga, Phoenix Ikki, and Dragon Shiryu fought through Asgard’s God Warriors and somehow saved the possessed Hilda, leader of Asgard, and Asgard itself from heating up. Once again, read my posts on who they are up to this point because I split this up by seasons for a while. At the same time, Athena was there to hold back Asgard from melting by using all his powers. In her weakened state, she was kidnapped by Poseidon and taken away to the mystical Underwater Sanctuary. At the same time, the seas of the world are flooding and people are dying. So once again, the Saints are saving the world once again. Can they save the world and Athena?
The plot of this season is similar and yet different to all the other seasons of the show up to this point. That is strangely, a shonen battle thing for the 1980’s. Athena’s Saints need to save Athena from Poseidon and also destroy all seven pillars of the seven seas to stop the world from flooding and people from dying. To add to that problem, Athena has chosen once again to sacrifice herself in a device called the Breadwinner to hold back the flooding and it has the possibility of killing her in an unspecified time. All the Saints have to do is defeat Poseidon’s Marina Generals, destroy the impossible to destroy pillars, and beat Poseidon himself. Easy. Yeah. All in the usual Saints work. Same with all the struggling to do all of that for free.
Unlike Asgard, this season was more focused on developing our saints and culminating everything from the 12 temples and Asgard to a natural point of development. After the 12 temples arc, the golden saints used their blood to bring back our Saint’s cloths with their own blood. That happening appears here. In a time of need and pushing them further, each saint is able to bring out the gold in their cloths to achieve something. Maybe. This season shows the strength of their bonds together, justice, and for Athena with that gold in their armor. In moments that isn’t enough, there is the fact that cloths are golden cloths are apparently sentient and know when their successors have appeared and need help. That plays into this season too, because many golden saints have died in the 12 temples for all the complicated things that went down.
Cloth armor aside, this season was also good at characterizing the saints by how they fight, how they show determination in their own ways, and showing the strengths and weaknesses of their personalities. All of which are poked at by the Mariner opponents thrown in front of them. Saint Seiya is the lead and the definition of determination and risks. Shun is a person that needs to conqueror his own fears of hurting people and himself to continue, Ikki is Shun’s older brother and is learning to handle his love and toughness for his brother still, Hyoga still has a lot of attachment issues to resolve, and Shiryu is way too self-sacrificing for their friends and needs to think about his own safety more. They all had a lot of progress in this arc. All great character stuff to watch naturally happen.
Same with this show having characters just do things without explaining how they do them. One thing that bothers me about modern shonen series sometimes is the over explaining of characters of how they do things or where they got their abilities. I don’t mind throwing in logic and reason for things like Hunter X Hunter where that’s the name of the game, but there is just the coolness factor of a character being sent into another universe by certain abilities and then them just coming back because they can. Saint Seiya has a lot of that happen throw the stories of each character and abilities that pop up because they all got stronger for facing more enemies. One thing naturally leads to another thing which leads to thing all on screen. Flash backs are only used for character stories, not where a character got abilities, which is what I like because it keeps momentum going.
An unfortunate thing for this season is the smaller episode count. That making the villains less interesting or only focusing on a few of them. There are seven generals named after different mythical monsters on Poseidon’s side. Sea Horse Baian, Scylla Io, Chrysoar Krishna, Linmade Caca, Kraken Isaak, Siren Sorrento, and Sea Dragon Kanon. Each one defending their own pillar, has their own unique sets of armor, and their own abilities that makes them a pain for our Zodiac Saints to fight against. Julian Solo as Poseidon has his one deal which takes some time too. Out of Marina Generals, only two of them are developed in an interesting way, one has powers that forces characters to look inside of themselves, and the rest of them are just there as a threat. They have a personality, just not memorable ones.
All of which is a problem when it comes to Saint Seiya’s character drama. The villains having a more complex backstory or even having a morality and code of honor we don’t know is what makes Saint Seiya well…Saint Seiya. In this arc, can’t really say that. Kraken Isaak was Hyoga’s training partner which adds some many deep layers and gave me what I consider the best parts of this season. Sea Dragon Kanon is the brother to Gemini Saga, the villain of the 12 Temples, so he’s already much more interesting and we know about what he can do. Lastly, there is Linmade Caca who gave us all episodes where three of the saints saw what they are searching for before Ikki can stop Caca from killing them. That’s about it for intriguing elements besides the unique weapons and abilities used.
That lack luster element also goes into the visuals of this show too. On an art and animation stand point, I can’t help admitting that I am not as wowed by this show as I was from the previous seasons. That could be because I am more used to Saint Seiya and know how it functions or it could be because I noticed of original animation by seeing much more stock footage then earlier seasons or less impact from the fights themselves. Or the fact that the Mariner General’s armor is not as creative as the God Warriors and Golden Saints. It all helps to provide this “matter of fact” sort of appeal that this is just more Saint Seiya and the animators don’t have to work that hard. I mean, fair enough. This series is 114 episodes in length. I just wish they brought all the explosions home for a more explosive finale.
In conclusion, I feel like Saint Seiya didn’t go out on a whimper or a bang. Just somewhere in between where it feels comfy. I mean, this season had a lot of things you expect from a finale. Characters coming into their own place and power through the representation of armor, defeating an evil that is literally flooding the Earth as the characters speak and fight, and a somewhat good stopping point for their characters stories. I just feel like it lacked a lot in the villain department apart from four characters. Yeah that’s not like this show at all. The reason why I am giving this story a good instead of a solid. That doesn’t hurt any of the love I found in this series from the previous seasons because 12 Temples and Asgard are ingrained in my mind forever. Love this show. I’ll get to more eventually. Same with Fist of the North Star 2! I need to watch that.