Pegasus Seiya in his anime-only Cloth.
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
- Seiya: The Pegasus Saint (Light, Energy) - The Leader who often succeeds thanks to The Power of Friendship. Brash and loyal to a fault, though all his friends never give up, he's so Hot-Blooded that he often is the most capable of pulling off Heroic Resolve. Often veers into Too Dumb to Live territory, and is almost as hard as Ikki to kill.
- Shiryu: The Dragon Saint (Water) - The Lancer, and The Rival to Seiya at first. Despite his tendency to become blind in battlesnote , he is one of the stronger fighters, not to mention the smartest one along with Ikki. Usually bleeds at least a quart of blood per fight.
- Hyoga: The Cygnus Saint (Ice) - The Quiet One and sort of The Smart Guy, despite being a more-or-less devout Christian wholeheartedly helped Athena... yeah, good thing the setting was into Crossover Cosmology. Also notorious for his Oedipus complex.
- Shun: The Andromeda Saint (Chains, Wind and Energy) - The Chick (and yes, he's a guy), also had perhaps the most destructive power of the core five, and the most restraint on using it. He doesn't snap very often, but when it does happen, SNAP he does.
- Ikki: The Phoenix Saint (Fire, Rebirth, Hell) - The Loner in the Loners Are Freaks sense, and Sixth Ranger (er, fifth?). Shun's over-protective older brother and Big Bad in the first arc. Most likely to use Cool and Unusual Punishment and Fate Worse Than Death with his psychic attacks. Also, possibly immortal/unkillable; kill him and he'll keep on coming back... and back... and back.....to make matters even better, he comes back STRONGER.
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
, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas Gaidens
and Saint Seiya Saintia Sho
are still being released in manga form.
The series has had several Video Game
- A 1987 Platform-slash-RPG hybrid called Saint Seiya Ougon Densetsu for the NES, which received a 1988 sequel for the same system and a 2003 Video Game Remake for the WonderSwan Color. They all cover (in varying degrees of accuracy) the Sanctuary/Twelve Temples Saga.
- Saint Paradise - Saikyou no Senshitachi, a pure RPG with cute Super-Deformed sprites released for the Game Boy in 1992, which covers all the way up to the Poseidon Saga.
- Two PlayStation 2 Fighting Games based on the Sanctuary and the Hades Saga, Saint Seiya: Sanctuary Battle released in 2005, and Saint Seiya: The Hades released in 2006.
- One of the most bizarres: Saint Seiya Typing Ryuseiken, released in 2003 for PC, is a turn-based Japanese-only typing game.
- A Dynasty Warriors spinoff called Saint Seiya Senki/Chronicles for PlayStation 3 released in 2011, by both Bandai Namco and Dimps.
- 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.
- Saint Seiya Omega: Ultimate Cosmos, a 2012 Fighting Game based off the 2012 Anime spin-off for the PlayStation Portable.
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. In Spring 2015, another anime spin-off, Saint Seiya Soul Of Gold
, will be aired.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).
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!