From the top, left to right, Saint Beasts Luca, Judas, Rey, Shin, Goh, and Gai + Maya and Kira
Created by Arisugawa Kei, Saint Beast is a Yaoi series that grew out of characters introduced in Angel Tales but largely divorced itself from those origins. First a series of audio dramas, it has been adapted to two anime arcs, OVAs, a rather unsuccessful manga, and even a videogame.The audio dramas follow the growing dissension in Heaven as the god Zeus creates a ranking system among angels, causing competition and jealousy in the formerly paradisic realm. The position of Saint Beast is widely coveted as it will go to the six highest ranked angels, who end up being of course, our heroes. Judas, the de facto leader of the group, is particularly troubled by this promotion due to the unrest it has caused and because Zeus sends the six-some on increasingly morally ambiguous missions which they are to follow without question. The anime Saint Beast: Kouin Jojishi Tenshi Tan, commonly referred to as the prequel series, follows this material up until Judas' and Luca's decision to oppose Zeus for his growing tyranny.Skipping large amounts of time and plot, we come to the first-produced anime Saint Beast: Seijuu Kourin Hen. In the intervening time the other four Saint Beastshad turned on Judas and Luca in the war against Zeus. Without their backing, Judas and Luca lost and were banished to hell. The anime picks up with them breaking out of hell, now with a vengeance, and beginning to kidnap guardian angels. The disappearances attract the attention of the Goddess, and the four Saint Beasts are sent to investigate. Some fans consider this short series purely fanservice and deride the plot as contradictory to the established Canon. Either way the ongoing audio drama storyline does turn out rather differently.The OVAs Saint Beast: Ikusen no Hiru to Yoru Hen are largely Lighter and Softer, dealing with the Saint Beasts becoming adult angels and meeting each other. They do however unveil the Start of Darkness for Zeus, Lucifer, and arguably Judas.
Against the Setting Sun: Judas and Luca repeatedly end promises or finish important conversations by staring off at the setting sun. Kouin Jojishi Tenshi Tan finishes with all six main characters deciding to rebel together before gazing at the sunset.
Arcadia: Heaven is meant to be like this, but has a sinister edge thanks to the Jerkass God.
Ascetic Aesthetic: Zeus' shrine and Heaven's Palace are opulent for their sheer size, but there's very little filling the space and the dominant colour is white.
"Be Quiet!" Nudge: Goh applies his fist to Gai's head whenever he says something tactless or gets too worked up. Gai never understands what the problem is.
Birds of a Feather: Quite literally Rey and Luca, who are brought together by their ability to fly.
Blood Brothers: Judas and Luca. Judas repeatedly asks Luca to stand by him, and when he tries to do things alone Luca reminds him that alone means both of them.
Boys Love: Generally considered shounen-ai although the audio dramas are more explicit than the very tame anime series
Breaking the Fellowship: The formerly inseparable Saint Beasts are drawn apart after four of them betray the other two as a result of being Brainwashed and Crazy and Judas and Luca get sent to hell. Then, after shaking off the brainwashing and plotting to save their friends the other four are are betrayed in turn by the goddess, separated and Taken for Granite.
Cavalry Betrayal/Treacherous Advisor: Due to brainwashing, Goh, Shin, Rey and Gai turn against Luca and Judas at the moment they are most needed. Then, after Judas and Luca go to hell, the others plot to free them with the help of the Goddess. The Goddess is sick of fighting however and sells them out to Zeus, and they get Taken for Granite and have their souls sealed away in darkness. And Judas and Luca are still stuck in hell.
Chain of People: A giant one at the end of the first anime, all being held up by Rey. Of course they end up collapsing anyway, thanks to Hell.
Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Luca is the main instigator of this, knowing that relating mutinous sentiments is very dangerous under the tyrannical rule of Zeus. Pandora also tries to guide Judas away from defiance at the end of the prequel series with Judas indicating that he's done silencing himself and intends to openly defy Zeus' rule.
Chastity Couple: Both Judas and Shin and Rey and Luca are portrayed as romantically linked, but physically the most ever they do is hug in the anime.
Childhood Friends: Judas and Luca, Gai and Goh, and Rey and Shin are all childhood friends. Judas and Luca's friendship is explicitly the "person who you trust the most and knows you better than anyone" kind.
Compressed Adaptation: The 2007 anime does not cover very much of the story, and as a result Seija, the Goddess, and Takeru are all absent.
Crash into Hello: Gai and Maya crash into each other at the Festival while wearing the exact same home-made cat costume. After taking a moment to gawp over this fact, they break out into laughter and decide to become instant friends because strange minds evidently think alike.
Diving Save: Luca saves Rey from falling rocks (that Rey blew up) in both anime versions. In the first it's played off as something of a Meet CuteRescue Romance whereas the second retconned it into happening during training practice, long after they had met.
Dragged By The Collar: Instead of waiting for Shiva to say he'll help them with the festival preparations, Gai grabs his wrist and starts dragging him along with them. This upsets Shiva even further and he violently wrenches away and runs off.
Elemental Powers: Though they run against expectation Goh has Fire, Rey has Ice (Water), Shin has Wind and Gai has Earth. Judas and Luca appear to have powers involving light and darkness respectively, a theme which comes out in their personalities too.
Everyone Went To School Together: Subverted as there is one training academy in heaven and everyone did go there but only a few of them met during that time because they were learning different disciplines.
Expy: The only difference between Lucifer and Sephiroth is hair colour. Oddly enough, Sephiroth's usual voice actor plays Goh.
Fallen Angel: Lucifer and Gabriel. While kind of evil it's hard to say they were wrong to fall however.
Feminine Women Can Cook: Even though he's a man, Rey is actually an example of this, being possibly themostfeminine angel in the show and the designated cook among them. Surprisingly though, the second-best cook is Judas.
Fantastic Racism: Kira and Maya are the subject of it for being half-human half-angels. Made even more prominent because, though most don't know it, they are the sons of Lucifer and treated specially by Zeus as a result.
Flashback Nightmare: Both Goh and Shin have dreams of the war in heaven at the beginning and end of the OVAs. Zeus has a flashback daydream in the first OVA as well.
Flight Strength Heart: Luca got flight, strength, and the ability to read minds with his fingertips—and that last one was the one he really wanted...
Forgotten First Meeting: In the drama cds, Rey reveals to Shin that he had met Luca long before the day he actually introduced himself, and felt guilty for hiding it. In their adolesence Luca found Rey crying and lost in a forest and led him out. After searching out his rescuer, Rey was too embarassed to introduce himself until many years later when he received wings and felt he had something to bond over. Shin remarks that Luca probably knew all along and was too gracious to say anything.
The Four Gods: Where the series gets its name from, these animals are associated with Goh, Gai, Rey and Shin. There is an actual distinction made between the Vermilion Bird and The Phoenix in this case, with the former title going to Rey and the latter to Luca.
Full-Circle Revolution: Zeus overthrows a tyranny and subsequently becomes a tyrant leading to another (failed) rebellion.
The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: The Saint Beasts are the good, Lucifer is the bad, and Zeus is the evil, although initally the latter two seem the other way around. The angels know things aren't right with the missions Zeus is sending them on but reject Lucifer's offer to join him because they know he's responsible for demons attacking humans. Then they finally decide to rebel against Zeus and end up on the same side as Lucifer without actually agreeing to work together.
Heterosexual Life Partners: Judas and Luca full stop, and Goh and Gai if you consider them Just Friends. Surprisingly Rey and Shin avert this. Despite having known each other for as long as the others and being the non-romantic loose ends of the group in this respect, they interact more closely the other four instead of each other when they grow up (Rey->Luca and Gai; Shin->Judas and Goh). All six consider each other True Companions however.
Hope Spot: The remaining Saint Beasts get one when they think they will succeed in rescuing Judas and Luca. They get separated and turned to stone instead.
Hot God: Zeus. The Goddess qualifies for this as well.
Ice Palace: Zeus turns the palace where the Saint Beasts live into an ice palace and imprisons them there as punishment for disobeying.
I Have the High Ground: All the characters (but particularly Judas) spend time standing around on cliffs, trees, and other tall objects which add a sense of the dramatic. Zeus doesn't always have to even stand on anything when he can just float above everybody when he likes.
Meaningful Echo: In episode 3 Luca telling Rey: "All you have to do is follow me," is a tender moment, but when it's echoed in episode 8 with Zeus (his father) giving this as an order to Judas, it's far more sinister.
Mind Hive: The monster at the end of Kouin Jojishi Tenshi Tan is made up of the angry spirits of purged angels, sharing one giant body of miasma. A similar case occurs earlier with the dead of the lake town.
No Blood Ties: Angels are described as being created through the love of God and have no man-woman distinction so blood relationships are impossible. Humans and gods, however, can reproduce normally resulting in the half-human half-angels Kira and Maya, sons of Lucifer, and Luca, Zeus' son.
Opening Monologue: Opening and closing narration appears to frame the story in both the OVAs and the prequel series—which has it in Engrish to boot).
Overnight Age-Up: Angels have three stages of maturity, infancy, adolesence, and adulthood, and are transformed abruptly from one to the next by Zeus rather than gradual aging. The OVAs begin with the main characters having their final Age of Conversion ceremony, becoming adults.
The Purge: At Judas' request Zeus starts a yearly ritual of purging all the impure angels in heaven. He starts to enjoy it way too much.
Purity Personified: This is what the angels think they and Zeus are supposed to be, but slowly start to learn it is not what they are.
Pyrrhic Villainy: After defeating the rebelling angels Zeus is sick of war and decides to retire and go into a long sleep. A lose-lose situation on both sides since a peaceful heaven was what the angels were fighting for.
Qipao: The main characters' outfits are based off of qipaos.
Quivering Eyes: Used in emotional scenes, such as Maya throwing a tantrum over Kira wanting to leave heaven, and Rey and Luca promising to always fly together.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Judas (blue) and Goh (red) are portrayed this way in the opening titles of Kouin Jojishi Tenshi Tan, which is interesting food for thought given that both are variations of The Heroand you might expect the colours to have been reversed.
Scenery Porn: There is a lot of time spent panning over the peaceful scenery of heaven in the anime.
Shining City: Zeus' shrine has a white-and-gold neo-classical aesthetic and sits on top of a giant plateau which is only accessible by an extremely long, steep staircase, setting it off from the surrounding scenery.
Show Within a Show: The Poison Saint anime that pops up on television on Earth. Incidently, it recaps in Super-Deformed style things the characters just did, yet the characters never react to it as being about them and Gai particularly likes watching it.
Solemn Ending Theme: In comparison to the more Hot Blooded opening theme and first and third endings, "Tsubasa Aru Mono," the second ending song from Kouin Jojishi Tenshi Tan is very subdued and gentle.
Tearful Smile: Maya wakes up Shin from a Happy Flashback turned Flashback Nightmare and asks why he's crying. Shin responds that he's crying over happy memories, and when pressed further, explains it's because he's sad that those times are now over.
True Companions: The six Saint Beasts. Unfortunately brainwashing can override friendship.
Wings Do Nothing: Wings that do something are viewed as a "power" in the series, meaning most angelic characters have wings that do nothing if it's not granted to them. These wings tend to be hidden as such.
World Tree: The tree that stands in front of the training hall is infused with memories of the angels who spent time there, allowing Kira and Maya to access them and gather courage before taking their first step toward adulthood.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Whether the protagonists will ever succeed is up for debate, but up to this point things keep getting worse for them every time they get a Hope Spot.