Ready for yet another angsty review on a Saint Seiya property? I’m trying my hardest not to dump on the Saint Seiya films. It’s really hard to just see how pointless these films are. This is also one of my favorite shonen battle franchises now. This is the reason why I generally don’t like Shonen Jump films. They are usually pointless fanservice things which you get to see the characters again facing a different conflict, but they don’t add anything at all with better animation than usual. Which is the point of this month right? Hoping to find something gold? I really do think that I am a tv anime person and I am just proving that with some of these films.
I gave too much away in this post about how I feel, but this film isn’t a total loss in some ways. Let’s go over the plot first. I here describing the plot of things is a good place to start. Athena has a brother named Abel. One day he just shows up out of nowhere and Athena joins his side. Abel comes with his powerful Corona Saints and some of the gold saints who died in the 12 Temples arc. Of course, Athena’s Saints show up (Seiya, Hyoga, Shun, Ikki, and Shiryu) and refuse to accept everything that is happening. Seiya most of all who constantly gets squashed by all the Corona Saints for continually pushing further and further down into the ground for not listening. You know, the usual shonen standard stuff.
Legend of Crimson Youth is a bit longer of a film at one hour and ten minutes. I say this because the plot of the film is still Seiya and the others move to save Athena and the world once again. At least there is a bit more going on in this film despite that. The first ones are the role of the dead Gold Saints. They are, of course, to reconnect the five’s minds and bodies to where they went past their limits and defeated every golden saint in the twelve temples. So there is a bit of meat there in those regards. Same with Athena/Saori attempting to move against her brother after he lowered his guard. Some kind of planning there which clearly didn’t work out at all. But she tried and that is what matters. There was an attempt at doing something unique.
What I do think is great is the visual presentation. This is such a good looking film on so many layers. Great environments, great action scenes, great twists on character designs because they felt more weighted than usual too. The biggest thing to me is that you can feel the characters’ pain so much more in this film too. Everytime Seiya and others get pushed into the dirt or get hit by one of the Corona Saint’s rays. The character designs are so grounded that when they are stretched and squashed, you feel the pain. It’s a very visceral move on that front and possibly the reason why Saint Seiya Fans should watch this film. To see Saint Seiya in a much different light than how they usually would.
So yeah, I feel mean in saying this because the Hades Saga adaptations didn’t come out until the 2000’s, but this is diet Hades Saga stuff. A lot of things are cut down into slightly more than an hour of film. All of the points are there from the former golden saints working with the enemy but really there to help out the saints. Or Athena attacking the enemy herself and losing. It is a much easier version of the story, but it carries not as much of the emotional weight because of that fact. If you have access to the Saint Seiya films, just watch the Hades Saga instead. Its more then two cours of good Saint Seiya content in which these ideas are fully formed and feel unique. Not a bad film on its own if I didn’t have the meta, but I kind of do.
Even if I didn’t have that meta take there, this film is just doing the usual sort of shonen battle kind of stuff. Lets have an enemy that is barely attached to the franchise in some way to make us feel something with the biggest short cuts possible. Abel and his Corona saints have a connection with each other because Abel really is the boss in that relationship. It’s too bad that all of them are very bland characters. Not bad, but bland. Or the fact that the formula of what a shonen jump film is here with some more paint than usual. There could be something special if it did something creative or was attached to the main story at all. These are all filler characters and they end up not mattering in the end. At least make me feel something. Please. This film is between an Okay and a Good on the rating scale for me because of that fact.