Greek legend tells of the heroic Perseus, who severed the head of the monstruous Medusa. From the spilled blood sprang Pegasus, the magnificently winged sacred horse. Pegasus then took flight into the Heavens and become a constellation...
For sure, humans witnessed and became a part of the gods' wars. However, there were times Athena had to leave the battefield, so she left it in the care of brave, young men. There men came from all over the Earth, and were the epitome of true courage and power. They didn't use normal weapons, for their own bodies were weapons. Their fists were known to rend the Heavens and their kicks to crack the earth. The ages tell that wicked times would inevitably come again, and that the saints will be the warriors of hope.
Staple manga and later anime during The Eighties by Masami Kurumada, and launcher of the "pretty boys in armor" subgenre of shonen fighting manga/anime (shows that followed it include Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, Tenkuu Senki Shurato, and even Mobile Suit Gundam Wing if you replace "armor" with "mecha"). It tells the story of five friends who serve the reincarnation of the goddess Athena, Saori Kido, in her quest to reclaim her place as ruler of the Saints, a group of warriors themed after the Western Zodiac and pretty much every charted constellation.Each saint gets a suit of armor that can transform from a sculpture of their signature constellation into functional battle armor. There are three grades of armor, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, with each grade being far more powerful and resilient than the last. Each armor is also an Empathic Weapon and has some amount of choice in who wears it and whether they deserve to use it, as well as at least one special property.The five core cast members are:
The first arc is the Sanctuary Arc. Saori Kido, heiress to a vast empire, holds special games to see which among the bronze saints deserves the Sagittarius Gold Cloth: an armor so powerful it is considered to confer the power of a Weapon of Mass Destruction to its wearer. Seiya, Shiryu, Hyoga and Shun (among others) meet there to fight for it, but before the winner can be decided the Gold Cloth is stolen away by the Black Saints, renegade saints led by Ikki.The story in the anime and manga differs considerably following Ikki's defeat, but it centers in the Bronze Saints facing several other saints sent by the Sanctuary with orders to kill them (and in the anime only, recover the Sagittarius Cloth helmet, the only part of the Cloth the good guys were able to keep). Midway through the battles against the Silver Saints, it is revealed that Saori is the reincarnation of Athena and leadership of Sanctuary is hers by right, which at the time is under control of the nefarious Pope (no, not that one), who wants her dead so he can claim her position as protector of the Earth. Eventually Saori and all the Bronze Saints decide to challenge the Pope directly, and travel to the Sanctuary. Due to some treachery, Athena/Saori is hit by an arrow powerful enough to fell a god in twelve hours... time which the Saints must use to defeat the other eleven Gold Saints and use the shield on the statue of Athena to save their goddess from death.Later arcs tend to follow this form, with a series of fights to reach the offending god or mortal intent on bringing about a worldwide calamity while working under a time limit, failure leading to Athena's death or the destruction of the world. These arcs were Asgard, Poseidon, Hades, and Heaven. Both the last are ongoing.Wishing to repeat their success with Sailor Moon, the series was licensed and dubbed in English as Knights Of The Zodiac (which is actually the name the series has in most of the world outside Japan) by DIC Entertainment and shown on Cartoon Network, but the plot and characters didn't receive very good treatment, and it wasn't very popular, and only 32 of the 40 dubbed episodes aired. ADV Films would later re-release the series on DVD with a new, much more faithful dub (note the page image), however their dub suddenly haulted at episode 60, the last episode DiC had sub-licensed to them, and the series remained in limbo for years after. However, outside the States it was IMMENSELY popular. In Latin America, in particular, Los Caballeros del Zodiaco/Os Cavaleiros do Zodíaco has a raging Fandom up to this day, and the series is re-run constantly. Part of this is attributed to its phenomenal dub and respect for the source material. And in Europe it's not slouch either, specially France and Spain, where even to this day the manga sells by the crap loads.And it turns out that an OVA telling of Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas is being produced and entered its second season in 2011. In the meantime, we recommend another of Kurumada's works, Bt X.Right now, Saint Seiya Episode G, Saint Seiya Next Dimension and Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas Gaidens are still being released in manga form.The series has had several Video Game adaptations:
A Versus Fighter game running with the same engine as Saint Seiya Senki, Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers was released in 2013 in all regions, surprisingly including America this time. Covers the basics of all three main Sagas.
In Jump Festa 2011 a new movie was announced, originally planned to be released in 2013, Saint Seiya Legend Of Sanctuary, will be released in June 2014, done in full 3D animation. Its theme song, Hero, is composed and performed by Yoshiki Hayashi as a part of Violet UK.In Spring 2012, an anime spinoff, Saint Seiya Omega debuted that takes place twenty five years after the original.Discotek Media licensed the first four Saint Seiya movies and released them in Japanese with English subtitles (whether they'll release the fifth film remains to be seen), while Cinedigm is planning a new DVD-release of the original anime covering the entire Sanctuary Arc (little is known about this release other than that).
But not through Camus´s Freezing Coffin (at least not in the original Sanctuary arc)
Achilles' Heel: When Shiryu unleashes the Rozan Shoryu Ha, his defense wide open for a small second - and if you hit him there, he's as good as dead. When Seiya points that out in the tournament, Shiryu freaks out.
Anime-only god warrior Alpha Siegfried shares his Achilles' heel with his namesake from the Nibelungenlied— he slays a dragon and bathes in its blood, making himself immortal, but at that very moment a tiny leaf falls on his back (coincidentally over his heart), preventing that bit of skin from being touched by the blood, and therefore making that spot the only part of his body that can be dealt a mortal blow.
Adaptation Dye-Job: The hair colors in the manga tend to be realistic, whereas the ones in the anime range between green, pink, purple and other funky colors.
All Myths Are True / Crossover Cosmology: Saori/Athena and her fellow Greek Gods have various other mythological pantheons' heroes or figures as servants or rivals, and their followers are completely free to worship competing religions. For example...
Capricorn Shura has the legendary sword Excalibur in his arm (not literally, more like it's spirit) allowing him to cut anything.
Far up North, a whole culture lives in worship of Odin, led by Hilda (name comes from Brunnhilde, the strongest of the Valkyries) and her sister Freya (name was taken from the Goddess of beauty and love). Odin's Asgardian God Warriors (named after Norse mythological figures) had a patron star in the Ursa Major constellation.
Hyoga was nominally Christian (he sometimes explains the basics of Christianity to his fellow Saints), and one OVA movie had the saints fight Lucifer. (This one is not actually canon though.)
Poseidon's Generals are each patterned after an ocean, so you have typical Greek water demons as well as Kraken Isaac from the Arctic Ocean and Chrysaor Krishna from the Indian Ocean.
To sum it up, we have Greek Mythology, Shaka is reincarnation of Buddha, one of the movies features the Saints fending off Satan, Norse Mythology, etc. While it is odd, Kurumada simply puts this stuff in because he thinks its cool.
I like horror and ghost stories quite a bit. I get excited when people tell me about frightening experiences they've had or supposedly true encounters with ghosts. Just as I don't believe in gods or Buddha, I don't really believe in the existence of ghosts and spirits. But the beauty of a great story lies in that logic-defying ineffability. That's the fun of it.
Second and Third Season Opening (Asgard Arc to Poseidon Arc): Soldier Dream.
Second and Third Season Ending: Blue Dream
Hades Sanctuary Opening: Chikyuugi
Hades Sanctuary Ending: Kimi to Onaji Aozora
Hades Inferno & Elysion Opening: Megami no Senshi Pegasus Forever
Hades Inferno Ending: My Dear
Hades Elysion Ending: Kami no del Regno
Anti-Villain: Several of the Golden Saints, as well as some of the Asgard Warriors. See the entry for details.
Armor Is Useless: Variation. Sometimes armors are vital in the fighting strategies, sometimes they can be destroyed and nothing happens. It doesn't seem to matter a lot of the time what order your Cloth is, either - see immediately below. More than a few Silver Saints had their cloths completely shattered by Bronzes they'd spent the whole episode kicking around, too.
This becomes certainly amusing when Shiryuu cuts through the Capricorn armor... with his bare hand, because he'd been stripped off his armor by Shura. Rule of thumb: If the bronze saints' armors are still intact and in their normal shape, the fight's nowhere near over yet.
By the end of the series, helmets become useless. Everyone's helmet is either broken, lost in a fight or simply not used (because they look cool that way).Athena has hers for a single page and then loses it when Hades strikes her shield.
Artifact Title: Not on the original series itself, mind you, where Seiya always played an important role; but the subsequent spin-offs / prequels, don't always feature him, examples include The Lost Canvas and Episode G, (OK, The Lost Canvas is about his previous incarnation, but still...)
Funnily enough, the international title, Knights of the Zodiac, always stays relevant because it applies to all the Athena's Saints / Knights.
The animators of the anime themselves seem to have forgotten about this fact since at one point Hyoga is shown driving a car.
And don't let us get to Ikki's flashbacks in which he's seen carrying Shun, as a baby, in his arms! And that's supposing Ikki is 15 and Shun is 13!!!
At one point Kurumada himself might have forgotten how old he set his characters are, it get bizzare when Julian Solo who is Poseidon's vessel proposed Saori aka Athena. Julian was celebrating his 16th birthday that time and Saori was 13 years old. Noted loooong time ago in Japan's feudal era it was possible but surely it was not when Kurumada write this story.
Eventually lampshaded by Ikki: (after Curpstomping Aiacos ) "The same technique doesn't work twice on a saint. This should be common sense by now".
Attack Its Weak Point: Inverted at least once. Marin taught to Seiya if your adversary is too strong, you attack his/her STRONG point. The theory went if you destroy his/her best weapon, finishing your enemy off will be an easy task. It was played straight times, though -like in the Seiya and Shiryu fight-.
Barrier Maiden: Saori often has to take the place or tasks of another God or make a life-risking Batman Gambit to ensure buying time for her Saints to beat up the Bad Guys. Shun is also placed in that situation sometimes. Lampshaded in Shun's backstory since his armor is protected by the constellation of Andromeda, the one named after THE Barrier Maiden of Greek mythology.
Batman Gambit: Saori. See "Barrier Maiden" for more details. Other users of this technique are Saga, Ikki, Kanon, Mu, Dohko, and both Hilda and Alberich in the Asgard saga.
Battle Aura: All saints have one. Usually accompanied by a spectral vision of their constellation when they really start to turn it up.
Bears Are Bad News: Hyoga's harsh training. Every time you see him, he or Crystal Saint are out wrestling and testing moves with bears. Geki also illustrates the difficulty of his training on the fact that he had go out and kill bears with his own hands.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: You can kick a saint in the face with enough force to shatter a brick wall and still not break his nose or knock out his teeth.
Berserk Button: Guilty eventually found Ikki's by murdering his love interest, Esmeralda (which the anime even turned into Guilty's daughter). Deathmask also found out at his expense that messing with Shunrei won't make Shiryu happy to say the least.
Best Her to Bed Her: Variation: each and every Greek female saint had to use a mask and never let any man see her face. If one ever did she only had two options: a) Kill him or b)Love him. This only applies to Athena's Saints, though: Mermaid Tethys, Poseidon's messenger, was excepted. (Some fans joke that the true reason was that Athena couldn't stand not being the hottest chick in the whole place.)
Big Screwed-Up Family: The Kido Family. Saori Kido turns out to be the Goddess Athena, Mitsumasa Kido in the manga has 100 kids and then sends them to go become Saints. Let's not forget Hyoga and his Oedipus Complex with his dead mother.
Bodyguard Crush: Hagen, in regards to Freya. Maybe both Thor and Siegfried, in regards to Hilda. Jabu, in regards to Saori (anime only). Possibly, Seiya towards Saori.
Bowdlerise: Oh sweet merciful Athena!. "Kill" becomes "I'll use my psychic powers to put him to sleep", and a punch through the rib cage becomes "hitting a pressure point". That leaks Black Blood.
This only applies to the version aired on Cartoon Network. Both the video and audio of the DVD version released by ADV Films are uncut and even use the original terminology.
Viz's release of the manga is nearly uncut, except for using a few terms from the edited version ("Knight" instead of "Saint", "Mephisto" instead of "Deathmask"). Oddly, the name "Death Queen Island" remains unchanged.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Leo Aioria and Anime-only Crystal Saint are extremely brutal examples of this trope. So much it takes death (of another person, in Aioria's case; of himself, in the Crystal Saint's) to de-brainwash them.
Breakout Character: The Gold Saints serve primarily as the ultimate obstacles for the heroes in the Twelve Houses Arc but, due to their popularity, their roles started to become more important as time passed by and more prequels where created to the point that they have perhaps surpassed the heroes in terms of screen-time (anime and manga combined) and became the protagonists of their own manga in Episode G (and Lost Canvas to some extent).
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Steel Saints. A common joke/explanation among fans is that they must have missed the plane for the Sanctuary or took the wrong one.
Phaeton and Spartan from the anime. Giggars is usually believed to be one as well, but he's seen struck down by Ikki in the Flame Saint chapter, and gives off the impression he's as good as dead.
Asterion in the manga. Later remembered in the Kanzenban, in which his grave can be seen in one pannel.
Chameleon June is specially odd, as she appears once, is left on the care of Tatsumi and is never seen or heard off again in neither adaptation.
Cain and Abel: It looked like Ikki and Shun would become this, and they were in the beginning, but ultimately Ikki pulled a Heel-Face Turn and subverted this. Kanon and Saga (and in the anime, Sid and Bud), on the other hand...
In the "childhood friends" sense, we have two pairs: Shiryu and Ohko (anime only) and Hyoga and Kraken Isaac. Both cases end up in death.
Combined Energy Attack: A good deal of battles, particularly arc-ending battles end with Athena's Saints (usually just the Bronze Saints, but sometimes the Golds if they're available) willingly relinquishing their Cosmo to either Seiya or Athena herself to deal the final blow. Even more notable in that the Saints' patron constellations (like Cygnus, Draco, Phoenix, Andromeda, or Pegasus) manifest visually as helpers to the character delivering the attack.
Comic Book Time: Strikes in the Sanctuary arc. The last hour lasts for about six episodes while the previous one lasted only one episode.
Common Tongue: Every character speaks and understands each other no matter where they are from.
Contrived Coincidence: Wow, who would've thought that Saga would lock Kanon up in the one place that would lead to the jar imprisoning Poseidon with all the General's Cloths perfectly ready to be used?
Convection Shmonvection: One filler episode had Ikki fight a pair of Silver Saints at the top of a volcano. A little girl who was going to thrown inside it but was saved by Ikki didn't suffer from the heat either.
Crapsack World: The entire Saint Seiya universe qualifies as one of these, once you take everything about the gods, the Saints and especially the afterlife into consideration.
Crippling Overspecialization: Seiya's master, Marin, taught her disciple this "If you meet someone stronger than you, attacks his best weapon. If he punches hard, aim for his arms. If he kicks strong, aim for his legs. After you destroy it, you will be able to win with no trouble." Early on the series, Seiya met Bear Geki, a warrior had focused his training in reinforcing his arms to the point of he could easily throtle grizzly bears. As soon as Seiya managed breaking his arms, Geki was defenseless and the battle was over.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Hyoga tends to dish this big in the early chapters of the manga. Ichi, Black Cygnus, Babel and (much later in the story) Troll Ivan can attest to that.
Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Poseidon wholly took over the body of young Julian Solo right after he turned 16. Technically, he had possessed the guy much earlier, but wouldn't be able to take over until then and just lay dormant inside, influencing his subconscious. Lampshaded when Kanon woke Poseidon up and the God himself said he'd only truly control Julian in that day.
Deceptive Disciple: Ikki had to kill his master to take over the Phoenix cloth. He didn't want to at first, but after seeing said master kill Esmeralda, Ikki's Morality Pet, he lost it and did it.
Defeat By Genre Savvy: In the manga version of the battle against the Pope Ikki and he hit each other with their brainwashing techniques. Ikki's induces illusions and the Pope's causes his victims to obey him. The Pope decides to play it safe and make sure Ikki is under his control by having him stab his own arm before ordering him to kill Seiya and Ikki apparently does so until things go back to normal. Ikki remarks that had the Pope ordered him to kill Seiya right away, Ikki couldn't have shaken off the mind control fast enough.
Disability Super Power: Whenever Shiryu becomes blind, he learns to compensate for it but gets no extra powers out of the deal. In the manga, however, Dohko mentions that Shiryu's cosmos is stronger due to his blindness when he strikes Deathmask in their first bout.
Whenever someone starts losing a few of his senses, expect them to become stronger unless he is the current villain.
Played straight in both adaptations with Shaka. He voluntarily keeps his eyes shut, as giving up one of his senses would let him focus and raise his Cosmo (only to be fully unleashed the moment he opened them). Also, while fighting with him, Ikki tricks Shaka into cutting most of his senses, which in turn let him become strong enough to defeat him and die in the process.
In the various movies (of questionable canonicity), she fights Apollo, Minerva, Eris and Satan.
In Saint Seiya Omega she's had to fight Mars, who though a god was indirectly brainwashed by Abzu, an Ur god of elemental evil.
In season 2 of Omega she fights not one but two gods, Pallas and Saturn.
Doomsday Clock: Laid close to the Twelve Zodiac Houses is a tower whose clock has blue flames where the numbers would normally be. When Athena gets hit by a cursed arrow, the flames tell how many hours remain until the arrow ends up killing the wounded goddess. Once every hour, one flame is extinguished, so the main characters have only twelve hours to travel through the twelve houses, defeat the Gold Saints patrolling said houses, and convince the head honcho to remove the arrow from Athena's chest. In the end, all twelve flames in the clock disappear, but Athena manages to lift the curse and the arrow with her cosmic energy.
Driven to Suicide: In the manga, Saga kills himself to atone for all the horrible sins that his evil side committed for years, once Seiya cleansed him with Athena's shield, in the process of saving Athena at the last remaining second. In the anime, his good side also kills himself, but at this point his evil side is about to be destroyed from massive pummeling from Seiya and the main cast, he has lost his Cloth, and desperately leaps to punch and kill Athena; at which point his good side becomes this, as he uses his other hand to grab Athena's scepter and stab himself with it rather than harming the Goddess that should be his ward.
Drowning Pit: Saori is put inside one of these by Poseidon. Also, Kanon was locked in another one by Saga several years ago, before meeting Poseidon
Dual Wielding: Shun's Andromeda Chain and Cerberus Dante's chained spikeballs. The weapons in the Libra Cloth all come in pairs too.
Dub Name Change: Most of the main characters' names are changed in the Italian dub, usually by giving them the name of their constellation (eg: Seiya becomes Pegasus, Shun becomes Andromeda and so on) or by giving them a totally different, non-japanese name (Shiryuu becomes Sirio, Hyoga Crystal, Shaina is Tisifone and Saori is Isabel).
Dueling Messiahs: The reason behind The Forever War is Athena wanting to allow the world to develop on its own terms while Poseidon wanted to flood it to fix it.
As the series got older, the '80s Hair became less prominent with Mariners and Specters sporting shorter hair cuts. The sequel Saint Seiya Next Dimension finally phased it out with straighter, shorter hair (for the new characters at least).
Elemental Powers: Each Cloth and Saint have elemental focuses and affinities. Explicitly stated with the anime-only Steel Saints.
Everything's Better with Princesses: "Saori-sama" was often translated into "Princess Saori". And there is also Freya and Hilda, the Asgard princesses. The latter being also the eldest, she's a Princesses Rule example as she is technically a sovereign.
Expy: Kurumada reused character designs from his original manga series, Ring ni Kakero in this (Ikki is a far more bitter and less narcissistic expy of Superstar Kenzaki Jun (while retaining the same insane level of awesomeness), and Seiya is an expy of Takane Ryuuji). Likewise, series that came after Saint Seiya, such as Bt X, borrowed from its designs as well.
By the way, the design porting is so blatant in Kurumada's drawing style, this borders around Only Six Faces in his whole manga work. Luckily the anime's character designs avert this.
Eyes Always Shut: Shaka, the Virgo Saint, isn't blind, but he keeps his eyes closed as if he really were, so he can focus his energy; him opening his eyes is followed by a tremendous release of accumulated psychic powers that can and will literally render you senseless. According to the Genre Savvy Aioria, you must do everything in your power to prevent Shaka from opening his eyes. On the other hand, Asmita Virgo, Shaka's Expy from the Lost Canvas story, is blind.
Eye Scream: Shiryu, Hyoga (during the Poseidon Arc) and his friend Isaac.
Eyepatch of Power: Hyoga; Averted by Kraken Isaac, who has no qualms in showcasing his damaged eye.
The Faceless: Ikki's master on Death Queen Island, Guilty, wears a demon mask. Athena's female Saints also wear shiny and expressionless silver masks.
Fashionable Asymmetry: Several Cloths, most notably the Aquila Cloth, whose upper body has an armored and unarmored side.
Fastball Special: In the Poseidon arc, this is how the Main Breadwinner of the Marine Realm is finally destroyed. Using the combined force of their attacks, Shiryu and Hyoga hurl Seiya into the Pillar, bringing it down along with Poseidon's kingdom.
Faux Action Girl: In the anime, poor Marin is a Silver Saint and an excellent big sister mentor for Seiya, but she ends up just too often hit with The Worf Effect. This is thankfully averted in the manga, since all her defeats are anime-exclusive.
Subverted with Shaina. She managed to dodge it once she pulled off her Heel-Face Turn.
Fighting from the Inside: Say what you will about Shun's pacifism making him wimpy, but it gave him the resolve to throttle Hades while he was possessing his body! It gave Ikki an opening to kill Hades at the cost of his life.
The Dragon: Capricorn Shura, Scorpio Milo and Cancer Deathmask. Pisces Aphrodite can also be one, due to his house being the last before the Big Bad, and that he was sent to assassinate Shun's Master. Virgo Shaka as he's the most powerful among the Gold Saints, said to be the one closest to God.
Foreshadowing: When Ikki defeats Shaka, the Virgo Cloth reflects Shun's image, hinting that he is Virgo's successor. It becomes true in the Elysium OVA, though the Cloth is destroyed almost immediately after he puts it on.
Free Sample Plot Coupon: In order to save Athena in the last third of the Sanctuary Arc, the main characters must walk through the twelve zodiac houses and confront the Gold Saints whenever it's necessary. Fortunately, Aries won't be a major concern. Mu, the house's guardian, is in the good guys' side, and after jokingly faking a battle with them, he proceeds to repair their (at that point weakened) armors so they can be better prepared. Mu also gives them suggestions about how to confront the remaining Gold Saints.
Gainax Ending: The very ambiguous ending of Tenkai Hen, which lefts many plot points and danglers unresolved.
Gambit Roulette: Kanon's plan to take over the world and have his payback against Gemini Saga includes deliberately telling his very powerful yet mentally unstable twin brother about his personality problems to mess up with his mind, worm his way into a powerful God's favor, help stage the war against the Sanctuary and, in the anime, manipulate his godly boss into using a powerful yet peaceful priestess to re-start everything when he loses against Sanctuary...
Gold Colored Superiority: The gold cloths, seeing how all the gold saints are extremely powerful. The full breakdown in Saint Seiya is Bronze < Silver < Gold < God. This last one is used only by Gods, though there is an important exception late in the Hades Saga. It's also worth noting that five Bronze saints, basically Mooks / Red Shirts for the good guys, manage to fight their way up that chain all the way up to god and beat their opponents throughout the course of the series.
Good All Along: Camus, so much it hurts. He did not care about the struggle for Athena and did nothing to stop Seiya and Shun from running past him. All he wanted was to awaken Hyoga's Seventh Sense... And of course, that would come in handy later on.
Grasp the Sun: In a short but sad scene, Ikki's on the ground and sees the snow. He reaches to it and mutters how he promised he was going to show snow to Esmerelda one day.
Heel-Face Turn: After being Poseidon's Man Behind the Man, in the Hades saga Kanon takes over the Gemini cloth that his deceased twin brother Saga left behind and joins the good guys.
Hijacked by Jesus: Several of the Big Bad enemies that oppose Athena and her Saints are either gods (like Hades, Poseidon, Artemis or Eriis) or priests of other gods (like Hilda, priestess of Odin). Also, Virgo Shaka is the incarnation of Siddharta Gautama aka Buddha.
Holy Halo: Part of the Indian Ocean armor worn by Chrysaor Krishna.
Honor Before Reason: Sometimes the Saints' rivals acknowledged they were wrong, but preferred to go down fighting anyway and/or refused to pull a Heel-Face Turn out of loyalty or love to their masters.
Human Popsicle: Hyoga, with Milo explicity saying that preserving him was Camus' intention all along. Hyoga's deceased mother Natasha is forever preserved under the waters of Siberia.
Iaijutsu Practitioner: Taurus Aldebaran is an interesting case. While he does not use a sword, his Signature Move, the "Great Horn", works with a very similar mechanic. But using his bare fists instead. Seiya even takes advantage of this fact in order to deal with said technique during their fight.
I Am Not Left-Handed: It was pretty common for the Silver and Gold Saints to condescend to fight the Bronze saints on a handicap, only to go all out once they proved strong. Hyoga was also very guilty of this while fighting lower-level Bronzes (just ask poor Hydra) and random Mooks.
Worth to mention that this backfired spectacularly in Shaka's case. Shaka Opened his eyes, which means he is taking the fight seriously, while fighting Ikki and used one of his special moves to strip the latter of his five senses. Turns out that when you're completely alone with your thoughts nothing can distract you from the Seventh Sense.
Intimate Healing: After Hyoga is released from an ice coffin but is nearly dead from the cold, so Shun burns his cosmo while lying with Hyouga in his arms in order to revive him. Cue to LOTS of Ho Yay-tinted squealing coming from the Estrogen Brigade (can't fully blame them, though).
It Only Works Once: Hypothetically, each saint can adapt to any other saint's attack and defend against it. However; quite a few prideful antagonists would show off their entire repertoire at low power and act shocked, shocked! that the bronzies had found a way to defend against or exploit it. Most villains paired it with an Adaptive Ability. It's worth noting that in later arcs some attacks had little or no defense, and enemies could use them repeatedly against each other.
Kick the Dog: Kaza uses his shapeshifting abilities to lure Seiya (transforming into Marin) and Hyoga (transforming into Camus) in and then hurt them. Camus sinks the boat where Natasha's body is placed to force her son Hyoga to fight him. In the final arc, Thanatos does his damndest to kill Seiya's helpless older sister Seika just to punish him. Similarly, in a small anime filler two Silver Saints kill an old man and throw his granddaughter inside a volcano to lure Ikki out of his refuge inside said volcano.
Kid Hero: The Saints look to be in their mid-teens, but their given ages are actually a couple years younger.
Kill 'em All: Lots of people die. As in: for good. It simply isn't noticeable until the Hades arc. All the Gold Saints (13, including Kanon), all the Silvers excluding Marin and Shaina (14), all the Mariners excluding Sorento (5, if you exclude Kanon), God knows how many filler villains and normal characters (i.e. Cassios, Hyoga's mom, etc.)...
Knight Templar Big Brother: Hurt Shun in any way and you'll have Ikki screaming Mind Rape on you. Try to kill Shunrei and her adoptive brother Shiryu will throw you into the pits of Hell.
Lady of War: Aquila Marin. Saori, after she finally activates her own Cloth in the manga Arguably, Eris, Pandora and Artemis. Ophiucus Shaina is too Ax-Crazy at the beginning to count, but she becomes one later on.
Latino Is Brown: Aldebaran (Brazil) in the anime due to him having a darker tan then the other Gold Saints and being the only Gold Saint with black hair. Averted in the manga with him, like all the other Gold Saints, having blond hair.
Averted with Fly Dios (Mexico) and Cepheus Albiore (Argentina) since Dios has fair skin and red/pink hair while Albiore has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Levitating Lotus Position: Virgo Shaka awaits for the intruders to the House of Virgo in a Levitating Lotus Position. No surprise here for someone thinking he's the reincarnation of Buddha. Bonus points for keeping the pose while wearing the Gold Cloth armor of the Gold Saints.
Life Energy: The key to the Saints' power is their cosmos. Whoever can burn his cosmo to the higher level wins, no matter how injured or weakened they are.
Lighter and Softer: Both, manga and anime, can be this to each other depending on the situation yet the anime gets progressively less bloodier towards the later arcs.
Julian's surname is literally alone in spanish. That's quite the Meaningful Name you've got there.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Shiryu and his Dragon Shield. Also, the Libra Cloth has two huge shields that can be used defensively and offensively, since they had chains and it allowed the user to flail them around if needed. Also, Lacerta Misty and the Sea Horse's preferred method of defense has them set up barriers, then stand smugly before Seiya's unending unslaught (until he figures it out, at least.)
Shiryu always claims that the Dragon Shield is indestructible; yet it tends to break constantly (not in every fight, but still...) Though it was able to resist Excalibur. Once. Nothing else can even hope to do something like that.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted: No, Seiya, Marin is NOT your long-lost older sister. Her brother Touma is one of your enemies and your true sister grew up into a Waif Prophet.
Also played straight (in the manga at least): Mitsumasa Kido was actually the birth father of all the orphans he sent around the world to be trained as Saints. Busy guy, specially in how all of the children he sent... all of them have a VERY close age range.
Medium Blending: For some odd reason, in the Hades Sanctuary OVA, Seiya's transformation sequence was done completely in a very generic 3D. Shun's transformation sequence used traditional animation for his character and 3D in the back and it looks awesome.
Tôei was poking around and trying new stuff for the Hades OVAs in 2002, which was the first St S related production in years. The 3D transformation sequence got such violent backlash from the fans, they decided to go back to traditional animation for Shun's transformation in OVA 3.
Melodrama: The heroes have been through so much Wangst, it looks like they're fueled by it.
Men Are the Expendable Gender: Despite the high death count, all the female Saints, Marin, Shaina and June, manage to survive while all but the five main bronze boys die.
Merchandise-Driven: The Steel Saints were inserted in the anime at the request of Bandai to sell action figures about them. The redesign of the first version of the Bronze Saints Cloths (compared to those found in the manga) are also due to Bandai's request, one could argue it was for the better.
The Mariners qualify as well. Their arc is greatly overshadowed and again, in The Lost Canvas, Poseidon's threat is pretty much glanced at.
Mind Rape: Ikki's Phoenix Genma Ken. Virgo Shaka's main techniques, Rikudō Rinne and Tenbu Hōrin. Any Gemini saint and their Genrōmaōken to some degree as well. In the anime, this includes what happened to Hilda's good side when she was brainwashed by the Ring of the Nibelung and her Superpowered Evil Side took over; she was forced to see how her Asgard God Warriors died one by one.
Mr. Fanservice: All male cast excluding cannon fodder troops. The show could as well be names Mr Fanservice: The Series. And boy, do the fangirls approve!!
Ms. Fanservice: Subverted: the most fanservicy character was a male. Who possessed a very muscled body and had at least two very fanservicy bath and shower scenes. Obvious bait for the Estrogen Brigade watching the show.
The one and only instance of female fanservice was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene of Shunrei, Shiryu's adoptive sister, bathing in a river.
Chameleon June's Cloth: Eye boob cups.
Shaina sleeping naked under the covers while Cassios was taking care of her.
Multinational Team: There are many nationalities among the Saints, the Mariners and the Specters.
The Musical: A musical was performed back in the early nineties featuring popular JPOP group SMAP playing the lead roles and another JPOP group Tokio playing some of the other characters.
Musical Assassin: Mime (harp), the two Orpheus (lyre), Sorrento (flute) and Sphynx Pharao (harp).
Shaina: I'll deal with Seiya. You can look after... the others.
Shiryu and Shun (indignantly and at unison): Who are you calling the others?
My Name Is Inigo Montoya: You sometimes want the Saints to just stay down so they don't take more damage and then they get up and ARGH... Hello, Seiya and Shiryu.
My God, What Have I Done?: In the Asgard saga, Seiya has a hugeFreak Out when he thinks he's killed Hilda instead of de-brainwash her. And before that, Saga's suicide is triggered by this.
About the first example: Of course, his chosen method of de-brainwashing was apparently bonking her on the head with a legendary sword... It would have made more sense to try to strike the Ring of the Nibelung, or cut off the finger/hand Hilda wore it on, but no, Seiya had to go for swordblade to the head. Good thing it worked, though.
Then again, Seiya did hesitate heavily before he struck Hilda down, unable to bring himself to harm her since he knew she was Brainwashed and Crazy. He only did so when Odin himself told him "STFU and use my sword, kiddo!" He can't be fully blamed for what happened.
One of the most symbolic example of this happened in the anime, when Capricorn Shura realized the baby he tried to kill several years ago was in fact Athena. This epiphany was all the more powerful considering he took most of his pride in believing to be her most faithful knight.
Also spoken verbatim by Shiryu after winning an OVA duel against a Brainwashed and Crazy Hyoga. Arguably one of the best, most fast-paced and intense fights of the series, too.
Nigh-Invulnerability: Ikki (regenerative and resurrection powers), some of the high-ranked villains, the Gods (until Seiya kicks in), and somehow...Seiya (nearly any rival ends mopping the floor with him first, but he will always raise again, and again...and again...more times than Ikki if necessary, and he will finally kick your ass afterwards) This is why Fanon theories says he is the only one who can survive a direct Falcon Punch, and even can withstand an attack from the mighty supreme ruler warrior of all the multiverses Chuck Norris (inside the Latin american fandom, he is also know as the "the cockroach saint", since nothing seems to kill him...well, at least you can put him into a wheelchair...)
No Eye in Magic: Perseus Algol exhibits a similar petrification power to the mythical Medusa— not through his own eyes, but through the image of Medusa in his shield. This power could affect his victims through cloth or blindfolds, because it acted directly on the retina. The recipient could protect themselves with the Dragon Cloth's shield, however, and it doesn't work on the blind either.
No Indoor Voice: Happens sometimes during fights. A non-fight instance is in the Hades/Inferno Arc, when Seiya and Shun arrive at the first prison, a courthouse presided by Balron Lune. When Lune asks Seiya to state his business aloud, Seiya complies... by shouting who he is and what he is doing in Hell from the top of his lungs. It's so bad (Shun even covered his ears throughout this "rant"), he even staggers from losing his breath after he finishes.
Libra Dohko: an old man of more than 250 years old that walks using a stick (and that's actually an expy of Star Wars Yoda), can be even more badass than any of the younger Saints. Not to mention that he actually hides his young shape intact, shelled inside his old body, ready to use if becomes necessary
In the spinoff Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, is revealed that the ancient Virgo Saint, Asmita, is in fact blind. However he absolutely doesn't need sight, as his powers and perception are in the ranges of Awesomeness Is a Force .
Obi-Wan Moment: In Hades arc, Virgo Shaka elaborates on the ephemeral nature of life, and how death is only another step, as he is assassinated by three gold saints. Extra points for him staying in lotus position all the way through it, much in a Buddha-like manner. It is later revealed that accepting death was needed for one to freely wander in the realms of Hades.
It's actually ridiculous in the Scorpio Milo vs. Cygnus Hyoga battle, during which the latter gushes out more blood than his entire body could possibly contain. And not only does he live through it once Milo has realized the truth and stopped the blood loss via pressure points but he's back on his feet and fighting at full strength not even five minutes later.
Traveling at the Speed of Light: The amount of energy needed for any of the Gold Saints or anyone to perform light speed attacks is extremely high. Even approaching light speed would require more energy per second than all of Earth's industries use per year.
Ice Breaker: Anytime Hyoga or any of the other people who use ice use one of their signature attacks. Hyoga's skin would be destroyed anytime he touched anything and in the battle with Camus, Camus would've shattered instead of simply turning blue and dying. He wouldn't have been able to talk.
No Conservation of Energy: Whenever work is done, energy has to come from somewhere. In Saint Seiya, the source is the body and the atoms(miniature universes) from within the body. However, the body doesn't have the ability to create enough energy to do most of the attacks in the series. While this trope could be averted by stating that the Cloths themselves are the source of energy, there are several times where the Bronze Saints become more powerful without their Cloths (example: Shun and Nebula Storm) despite it being a possible energy source.
Space Is Noisy: Another Dimension. Sorry Shun. No matter how much you call for Hyoga, he technically can't here you due to the fact that sound cannot travel in a vacuum.
Plucky Girl: Saori. If you can withstand 12 hours with a golden arrow stuck in your chest without complaining a single time and even sending yourown cosmoto your warriors when they're in trouble, you've got to be one really resilient girl. Lampshaded few after she gets the arrow, when Saori weakly but calmly tells a panicking Seiya to just go and fight out there in the Sanctuary whereas she'll endure the pain and be patient.
Honorary mention goes to a Naďve Everygirl named Helen, who saw her grandpa being murdered by two Silver Saints looking for Ikki and was tossed in a volcano by them, but managed to grab and hold onto its inner walls and climb her way back up in time to give Ikki the Heroic Resolve he needed to punish her attackers
Power Levels: The intensity and strength of each characters' Cosmo functions as a rough gauge for power, health, and even mood.
Power Makes Your Hair Grow: While it has more to do with bad art, both Shun and Ikki have this problem when they go from their normal street clothes to their V1 Cloths, which sport full-head helms. Shun's normally shoulder length green hair reaches down to his waist while Ikki's is a little more obvious. It goes from very short, to past his shoulders. V2 Cloths (and onwards,) which traded the full-head helms for tiaras, eliminated this issue.
Race Against the Clock: All its arcs are built around that whether it is the completion of the 12 Temples within 12 hours to save Athena, freeing Hilda from the Nibelungen ring before the glaciers completely melt and to save Athena, breaking Poseidon's pillars to prevent an ongoing worldwide flood and to save Athena, stopping Hades before the alignment of the Planets / Total eclipse and to save Athena...Can you guess what is the common factor in all of these?
Rapunzel Hair: Several males have this, but Dragon Shiryu's long black hair reaches his knees. Aside of that, Saori's light purple hair goes down her hips, and Pandora's black-purple hair is just as long.
As there are far more males than females in Saint Seiya, the males tend to get more impressive hair. Out of admittedly few women, only Athena and Pandora have this hair, with the other girls having shorter (and more practical) styles - however, Shion, Mu, Saga, Kanon, Shiryu, Aldebaran, Aphrodite, Shaka, Camus and Hades himself all possess rather extreme hairstyling on the part of Kurumada. Considering this is a shonen anime, one wonders what he was thinking.
Red Is Heroic: Seiya always wears a red shirt. Also, when he wears his armor, the clothes under it are red.
Redemption Equals Death: Just * too* often. Cassius is one of the most tragic cases; even Seiya bawls when he dies through Heroic Sacrifice to de-brainwash Aioria. Other cases involve Saga, Siegfried, Ikki's first death...
Say My Name: "ATHEEEEENAAAAAAA!" "SAORI-SAAAAAAAAN!" "MARIIIIIIIN!" "MAAAAASTEEEEEEER!" "SEEEEEEIYAAAAAAA!" "SHIIIIIRYUUUUUU!" "BROOOOTHEEEEER!"
Scary Impractical Armor: By Hades Saga, we see a lot of stuff like this.◊ Although certain Cloths are far too bulky to walk in, let alone fight in, they're justified as being more status symbols than anything, and the more intricate the design, the less likely the enemy is to lower himself to throwing punches, what with being a powerful demigod who only needs to raise a finger to send everyone flying.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Twice: During the Age of Myth, Athena imprisoned Poseidon's soul within a jar sealed with a talisman bearing her name. Similarly, Hades' lieutenants, Thanatos and Hypnos, were sealed in a chest which came to the possession of Pandora's family.
Self-Sacrifice Scheme: Shun came up with this twice. The first was when he knocked out Shiryu in order to offer himself to Ikki to stop his rampage and the second was in the Hades Saga when Shun was allowed Hades to possess him so that his brother could kill him again. Both plans were foiled.
Sexy Mentor: Seiya's trainer Aquila Marin is one really hot young woman. So is Cassius's trainer Shaina.
And about Shaina sexiness, is remarkable the famous/infamous hospital episode, in which she removes her mask revealing her face (it already happened before) but this time by coincidences or destiny she looks specially sexy, so much her face looks like a perfect blend of The Woobie and Puppy-Dog Eyes tropes, generating lots (and I mean lots) of fanart about her and that situation only due to this only scene.
Princess Freya from the Asgard arc is a more stubborn, outspoken version of the trope.
A possible male example would be Andromeda Shun, who is very gentle and borderline passive but is not to be trifled with when his friends are in danger.
Single-Stroke Battle: What the Phoenix Genma Ken and the final blow of a successful Pegasus Ryusei Ken look like.
Sleep Mode Size: Dohko. He looks like a small old man a la Yoda, but if he does need to fight, he'll shred his disguise and show that he has not aged at all, thanks to a special power given to him by one of Athena's past incarnations
To specify, while a regular human's heart beats 100,000 times a day, Athena has blessed Dohko with the Misopetha-Menos technique, which makes his heart beat 100,000 times A YEAR. So while 243 years have passed since he was given the technique, he's only aged 243 days.
Smug Super: Most of the Silver Saints and the Spectres.
Speed Blitz: All Gold Saints and the five Main Bronze Saints are capable of moving at the Speed of Light.
Spikes of Villainy: The Sanctuary's Pope, full stop. During his more benign days, he tends to wear a golden (but not Gold) helm with extremely wide shoulderguards. When he goes evil, these shoulderguards come with gigantic spikes that make him almost as wide as he is tall.
Spin to Deflect Stuff: The stated power of the Andromeda Chain: while the arrow-headed one is used for offense, the ring-headed chain becomes an impregnable wall when Shun spins it around himself. Note that, for all its supposed defensive power, its very susceptible to The Worf Barrage against anything stronger than a Silver Saint.
He did have one rather awesome use of it in the Poseidon arc though. When facing Scylla Io, the marina general used an attack that was actually six in one on a "low" setting to taunt him. However, since It Only Works Once and Shun's chains are stated as early as the first tournament arc as being hyper adaptive to enemy attacks, Shun proceeds to counter each of his attacks, destroy his armor, and bind him in chains.
Soul Jar: Julian, for Poseidon. Who later is trapped into a real jar. Also Shun, for Hades.
Star Power: It's built on this early on, with both heroes and villains taking their powers from a constellation (From Pegasus Seiya to Gemini Saga). Later enemies have other sources for their powers, though.
Start of Darkness: It seems Gemini Saints have these curse. Gemini Saga fell pray to the taunts of his own brother Kanon. Who would, ironically, become his successor after his Heel-Face Turn..
Stripperiffic: While the Silver and Bronze Cloths don't cover as much as practical armor should, the few female Cloths have Breast Plates, cover less, are designed to be sexier and curvier, and often sport stiletto heels. This is also true for the Mermaid Scale, though the trend is very much averted by the anime-only character Ghost Saint Geist.
Stylish Protection Gear: Shun's shoulder guards are just as huge, but are set diagonally instead of horizontally —without the magic of animation, he shouldn't be able to raise his arms at all.
Suicide by Cop: Volker from the Asgard saga taunts his adoptive son Mime into killing him to atone for all of his crimes... including the deaths of Mime's biological parents. Mime doesn't realize this until it's too late, and when Ikki shows him the truth, he freaks out.
Sympathy for the Devil: Cassios, in the anime. Also several of the Asgard warriors, specially Fenrir, Hagen and Syd
A few of the Marinas, most notably Scylla Io and Kraken Isaac.
Time-Delayed Death: The Mind Rape-inducing Phoenix Genma Ken, which strikes the opponent's brain usually has this effect, once the madness has subsided. Also, Specter Deep Niobe suffered this from Aldebaran's Grand Horn.
To the Pain: Scorpio Milo calmly explains the effect of his Scarlet Needles to Hyoga as the other bleeds to death. Shaka describes the Seven Stages of Hell as he mind-rapes Ikki. And that's just him warming up.
Tranquil Fury: Virgo Shaka. Do NOT piss this polite and cold psychic off enough to open his perpetually closed eyes.
Even Ikki was compelled to run away from him, which doesn't work too well as he can't get too far, since any long distance to Shaka is like his enemy is running in the palm of Buddha, much like what happened to Sun Wukong.
To the point it took Gemini Saga, Aquarius Camus AND Capricorn Shura to take him down! Andeventhen...
Transforming Mecha: Sort of. Each manga volume has several extra pages detailing exactly how the pieces of a sculpture representing a constellation turn into the elements of a suit of armour. The anime takes this further as the Steel Saints' mechanical Cloths actually do become fully-functional, albeit small, animal-shaped vehicles.
Most fans actually thought the first Steel saints arrival "to the rescue" was more a Transformers/Saint Seiya crossover.
Villains Out Shopping: During any given saga, the Big BadFinal Boss (and some other enemies) will usually be shown waiting for the heroes doing things like taking a bath, feeding birds, sunbathing, or just walking about. Saga's bathing and shower scenes were infamous for this.
The Worf Effect: Taurus Aldebaran was often the recipient of such attacks after the Sanctuary arc. From the Asgardians, Poseidons generals, and Hades' Spectres. Killing him off screen might've been a Mercy Kill for him.
What an Idiot: Invoked in-universe by Ikki during the Poseidon Arc, and the audience pretty much agreed. Lyumnades Kaza had the power of Shapeshifting into people and he shapeshifted into Shun... Ikki punched a hole through his chest and when Kaza wondered why he didn't fall for it, Ikki explains:
What an idiot. The real Shun is right here in front of my eyes. You picked the wrong person to morph.
What Beautiful Eyes: Even though almost all character in Saint Seiya have beautiful eyes, which the main reason of Viewer Gender Confusion that happened through the series. The only one who got lampshaded is Hades himself! It didn't help the one who lampshade it was Seiya who said What are those beautiful eyes! I can't believe these eyes belong to feared Hades, the King of Underworld. They have the depth of a very deep well. Oh boy...And as you all know Kurumada seems so fond of putting hint of Ho Yay in this series. And in Hades and Seiya's case... Foe Yay. and also to add more seasoning to the Foe Yay. Stoic Hades snapped when he just realized he knew Seiya since LOOOOOOOONG time ago, and enraged because Seiya dared to reincarnate himself again and again. The irony is... Hades seems to believe Seiya did this not to protect Athena and human race but to come and wound him. He made it sounds like Seiya or Pegasus saints was obsessed of him after Seiya wound Hades once in the age of myth.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The Poseidon arc goes out of its way to depict devastation brought upon Earth by global flooding. No mention is ever made again about how humanity recovered from these disasters. A similar situation happened with the Sanctuary arc in the anime, showing off scenes of war amidst the world which are never mentioned or brought up again.
Phaeton/Bhaton who disappeared after the Sanctuary Arc.
Once the (Sagittarius) Gold Cloth, grand prize of the Galaxian Wars, is recovered, no attempt is made to continue the tournament. Especially noticeable when several other fights with Silver Saints and the Sanctuary's henchmen take place at the tournament coliseum! The ticket-buying public likely forgot all about it during the aforementioned, offscreen global wars.
And the Steel saints??? Oh yeah, nobody remember them. At least Fanon humor gives an explanation telling us they was dumped from the airplane in mid-flight when the party traveled to the Sanctuary in Greece (since the last time we saw them in the anime was boarding the ship, and we didn´t heard about them again ever...) at the rhythm of "your services are no longer required" (since they was created as anime-only characters for selling more toys) Way to go Bandai!!!
Whip It Good: Chameleon June, with a dominatrix-styled Cloth to go with it, though her Broken Bird personality isn't the usual type for this type.
"With Our Swords" Scene: The fight between Seiya and Ikki. After his friends are knocked out, Seiya is forced to fight alone and is systematically helped by Shiryu's Dragon Shield and Shun's Andromeda Chain. An interesting variation happens at the climax of the battle when Seiya finds out he has received Hyoga's "Diamond Dust" and uses it together with his "Ryu Sei Ken" for increased power.
A Wizard Did It: The only logical explanation for the Sagittarius Cloth suddenly changing under water, though Cloths are alive and have a certain degree of free will. In the manga, Mitsumasa Kido did it
The anime drops a mention about Mu, the cloth smith, having been gone for a while in some unspecified mission around that time, suggesting he was responsible. Still, did he work on it underwater in between scene cuts?
Wolverine Claws: Ophiuchus Shaina's primary weapon, and she just loves to use them.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The manga had normal hair colors, mostly, but that was changed in the anime, mostly for pragmatic animation reasons. Notably, the many blond-haired Gold Saints were a contrast nightmare.
Within you is the ability to use the power of the creation of this universe! A true saint, who learns on his own, has the possibility to gain super-human abilities! There are more stars than people on Earth. You can use your cosmo to make a Big Bang! Your fists can be like a meteor! A meteor!