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Anime / Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary

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Save your Athena... Again.
"Young men... I entrust Athena to you."
Sagittarius Aeolus

Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary is a 3D animation movie, inspired by the Sanctuary arc from the original Saint Seiya manga and intended as a Continuity Reboot of the anime series. Directed by Keiichi Sato (Tiger & Bunny, Karas), the movie was released in Japan on June 21, 2014.

The film follows Saori Kido, a young girl troubled by her mysterious powers. Upon being saved by Pegasus Seiya from an assassin sent to kill her, she learns that she is the reincarnation of Athena, the Greek God of Warfare who comes back to Earth to fight evil every time it threatens mankind. She should be aided and protected by her army, the Saints; however, when Saori's powers started to awaken, the Saints' leader, the Pope, deemed her a fake and ordered her assassination.

Seiya gathers his friends, fellow Bronze Saints, and follows Saori into Athena's Sanctuary, where they intend to confront the Pope and discover his true intentions. On their way to him, however, they will find themselves face to face with the most powerful Saints, the Gold Saints — Sanctuary's guardians, who protect the Pope and believe his claims.

Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out:
    • None of the Bronze Saints personal backgrounds or goals are adapted, making for less developed but easier to follow incarnation of the characters. To elaborate: Seiya's goal of finding his older sister doesn't exist in the movie, his goal is purely Saori's protection; Hyoga's backstory involving his mother and avenging her because of Aquarius Camus drowning her ship further in the sea is not adapted; and Ikki's love interest Esmeralda nor master are ever mentioned.
    • Only one Silver Saint was adapted: Sagitta Ptolemy, the final knight that cursed Saori, making the heroes rush through the twelve houses. In the original manga and anime, the Pope sends more and more of them as assassins to kill Saori and the Bronze Saints before they eventually decide to fight back and take the battle to Sanctuary, and two Silver Saints (Marin and Shaina) are relevant to Seiya's backstory and progress through the Sanctuary; not to mention Shun wanted to avenge his master Deidalos's death at the hands of Piscis Aphrodite.
    • Downplayed with Libra Dorko, Shiryu's Old Master in the source material. He is not mentioned at all in the film, yet it is implied Shiryu learned everything he knows about the Sanctuary and his techniques through him.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Inevitable, considering the movie is adapting 11 volumes into an hour-long movie, a lot of material had to be cut or changed for an abridged experience.
    • None of the Bronze Saints backgrounds are adapted beyond them being trained by the Mitsumasa Kido organization for Saori' protection, as she is the reincarnation of Athena. Likewise, Saori is changed considerably to be turned into a Naïve Newcomer Audience Surrogate for newcomers in the franchise. Saori likewise instead of remaining in the entrance of the temple unconscious and slowly dying, goes with the Bronze Saints through the Sanctuary.
    • Alongside this, due to the exclusion of multiple characters, the journey through Sanctuary is shorter as many of the Gold Saints react differently to a group of knights going with a young girl through the temple. While core scenes are adapted, others like the journey through the Gemini house, Ikki's conflict with Shaka Virgo or the duel between Shun and Aphrodite Piscis are cut.
    • The final confrontation is straight up different from the source material, more akin of a pop-corn movie. In the source material Saga Gemini reveals himself to Seiya in the final hour before Saori's eventual death, showing his evil personality and trashing the floor with Seiya and then Ikki. In the movie, feeling cornered, Saga kills Piscis Aphrodite and reveals himself to everyone, awakening multiple machines and becoming a giant monster for Seiya and Saori to defeat together.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Shiryu has brown hair as opposed to his usual black; Virgo Shaka has red hair instead of blond hair.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Capricorn Shura. In the manga, he was aware of Saga's Evil Plan and backed him up because he believed that Might Makes Right. In the movie, he didn't know and joins the Bronze Saints upon The Reveal.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Although he is revealed to have been the Big Bad of the Sanctuary Arc all along in the manga too, Gemini Saga had dissociative identity disorder; part of him was a good man and wanted to back down, but was a prisoner of his own evil self. In the movie, he was once a good man and then he became corrupted and evil, while still believing himself to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist at heart.
  • Age Lift: At least the heroes are confirmed as slightly older than their manga and anime counterparts, with Athena's rebirth having happened sixteen years ago, instead of thirteen. If the age variations between the heroes are the same as in the manga, that would make Seiya and Shun sixteen, Hyoga and Shiryu seventeen and Ikki eighteen.
  • All-CGI Cartoon
  • All Your Powers Combined: While countering Saga's Galaxian Explosion near the end, Seiya claims to not be fighting alone and summons a gauntlet made up of his friends' armor designs to punch the huge energy sphere away.
  • Alternate Continuity: The movie takes and adapts the Twelve Temples arc of the original series, but pragmatically and with some twists and turns.
  • Audience Surrogate: Saori Kido, of all people, is this at least during the first half of the movie.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: For Saori, near the end of the movie, as the Sanctuary and herself finally recognize her as the true Athena.
  • Battle Aura: Cosmo, as usual. The movie goes a little further by making the Saint's aura to materialize in the shape of their bodies before shaping into their signature attacks
  • Big Bad: Sanctuary's Pope. But not the real Pope, who was murdered by Gemini Saga years ago. Saga is secretly the Big Bad Pope.
  • Big Heroic Run: It's the Sanctuary arc, so it's a given.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Leo Aiolia after confronting the Pope about Athena. Virgo Shaka eventually saves him.
  • Bullet Time: Any time a Gold Saint gets in combat to show how faster they are to the Bronze Saints
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Butterflies are always seen every time a character is about to die.
  • Carpet of Virility: Unusual for a Japanese production: Deathmask's armpits are hairy and we get a glimpse of his hairy body after he loses his armor, and Aioria only wears his breastplate, which shows a glimpse of his hairy chest.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Say it with me: "PEGASUS RYUSEI KEN!"
  • Canon Foreigner: The false Athena. In the original series, the villain merely claims Athena stays inside her temple and forbids others from entering. Considering how hard would be to fool everyone with an excuse like that, the movie went with an illusion of Athena.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Even more with the new artstyle.
  • Circus of Fear: Cancer's Temple aesthetics lean towards this style, with its bright yet grotesque discord of colors, light and music. Deathmask even makes his entrance by descending with the help of a bunch of balloons.
  • Collapsible Helmet: Helping Helmets Are Hardly Heroic, the helmets are retractable, so unlike the anime they can be snapped into and out of place reflexively — no need for characters to constantly have them punched off or removed. The heroes actually put them on and off at various times.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Main Bronze Saints.
  • Cool Mask: The Pope now wears one that looks like a combination of a skull and an Incan headress.
    • The new motuh-plated helmets give this feel too.
  • Damsel in Distress: Saori, as per tradition. Considerably less so than in the original manga and anime, though, as thanks to her healing powers and going with the Bronze Knights trough the temple.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: Saori learns about her heritage, the Cosmos, and learns about the Saints all on her 16th birthday.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Mortally wounded, Gemini Saga has a sort of Heel Realization when Saori still tries to help him despite everything he's done to her. She forgives him and he dies, seemingly in peace.
  • Demoted to Extra: Pisces Aphrodite, who had a rather larger role in the manga. Libra Dohko and his Cloth also qualify, since the former gets only a quick mention and the latter doesn't appear at all.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Big Bad turns out to be the Saint who seemingly died in the opening scene.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Downplayed. Seiya claims he's going to be doing this, but all he does is to jump ahead the very same temple they were going to anyway. His team mates even arrive slightly earlier than he does.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Seiya gets to use the Sagittarius Cloth against Saga's monstrous transformation at the end.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Gemini Saga dons a half-gold, half-black Cloth. The golden pieces are ornate and slightly round, whereas the black pieces are sleek, sharp and edgy.
  • Gender Flip: Scorpio Milo is a man in the original manga and anime, but a woman in the movie.
  • Glowing Eyes: All the Saints have them whenever they ignite their cosmos. Some them even bear rather different colors whenever they do; like Shiryu, whose brown eyes turn into golden.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Gemini Saga, while acting like a Well-Intentioned Extremist, finally admits by the end that this is the last straw that made him snap: he was widely considered (by himself, even) the best Saint there is, but the Pope chose the humble Sagittarius Aeolus over him as his successor. Saga didn't take it well and found a way to have both the Pope and Aeolus killed before his choice went public.
  • Healing Hands: Saori/Athena's cosmo mostly manifests as an ability to heal, though by the end she's able to pull Super-Empowering to charge up an arrow to defeat Saga.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Both played straight and subverted. The trailers show that the Bronze Saints lose their helmets eventually, but they do wear them in the beginning and in this universe they cover more, having face plates.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Saga has Seiya on his knees, wounded and completely stationary, yet the closest shot he takes at him just barely hits his armor's shoulder.
  • Large Ham: Cancer Deathmask. So. Much. For starters, his temple has singing heads on the walls and floors that help him put on a musical number about the inevitability of death. Then there's the whole pscyho Blood Knight thing played with happy-go-lucky camp.
  • Lighter and Softer: The violence and tragedy elements from the original manga and anime are considerably toned down in this movie, and the horrible abuse the Saints endured during their childhood (including their Training from Hell) is completely omitted.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Gold Saints are the antagonists of the movie, and their very color scheme represents light. However they are just following orders. Except for Deathmask, who is fond of killing.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shiryu's Dragon Shield, even from a Gold Saint's punch, as shown in the trailer.
  • Mr. Exposition: One scene has Shiryu name each of the temples and go on to explain who are the people the Bronze Saints are up against... only to realize Seiya and the others are sneaking away at comically high speeds.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Most of the cast, especially Shiryu, who has been shown to lose most of his armor (and his shirt) during the movie.
  • Mythology Gag: The first line Seiya delivers after armoring up for the first time is taken directly from the "next episode" stingers of the classic series.
    Seiya: Hey, you. You're supposed to be a Saint, right? Have you ever felt true cosmos in your heart?
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Cancer Deathmask, who looks even more evil with his Cloth's Spikes of Villainy and his Beard of Evil.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Seiya in the Sagittarius cloth, a Gold Saint armor that granted him wings to fly and fight Saga's giant transformation.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Seiya's Pegasus Ryusei Ken and Aiolia's Lighting Plasma, mirroring the source material.
  • Scenery Porn: The Sanctuary is beautiful. And every palace is gorgeous, especially those of Leo and Aquarius.
  • Save the Princess: The Bronze Knights have to protect and serve Athena, ergo Saori, who has to go through the Sanctuary to reclaim her title.
  • Shirtless Scene: The second trailer briefly displays Shiryu, though its not surprising.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Milo is the only female Gold Saint, all the other eleven being male.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Capricorn Shura and the Silver Saints.
  • Stellar Name: Not the given names, but all Saints and their respective Cloths represent one constellation.
  • The Stinger: It features the Bronze Saints throwing a birthday party for Saori, mirroring and confirming the statement she made during her Awesome Moment of Crowning – That before being powerful warriors, they're ultimately kind and generous people.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The second trailer showed Seiya in the Sagittarius Cloth, something that didn't happen in the original manga.
  • Transformation Trinket: In this version the cloths transform into what seems to be dog tags, for transportation.
  • Tron Lines: The movie versions of many Cloths have this.
  • Villain Song: Cancer sings one entitled "Mr Deathmask", in which he also forces the souls of his victims to sing with him, just to display his ego.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Gemini Saga dies on the line of duty in the opening scene. Or so it seemed.
  • The Worf Effect: That arrogant jerk Ikki who is played up as stronger than the other Bronze Saints shows up near the end just to help Shun and the others like he always did in this series' past movies. Except he gets easily beaten up off screen this time.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Upon deciding he has absorbed enough of Athena's cosmo, the Pope decides that he doesn't need the Gold Saints anymore and kills Pisces Aphrodite.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Seen flying over the Sanctuary. They go along well with the futuristic yet antique aesthetic that it permeates all over its new design.