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Nightmare Fuel / Saint Seiya

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With all the High-Pressure Blood and the Cruel and Unusual Deaths, Saint Seiya is chock full of this. Kurumada and Co. can come up with such things...

  • Shaina before her High-Heel–Face Turn:
    • During her first fight in the series she faces Seiya, who until now has been built up as an awesome and almost invincible hero with incredible speed-and she casually blocks each and every one of his attacks while counting how many times per second he can strike before beating him down-and torturing him with her Thunder Claw.
    • Her disturbing fondness for trying to claw his opponent's face off. And not during the fight, but after they're down for the count.
    • The anime episode 16 has Shaina tricking Marin into a vicious fight, under the pretense of a sparring match. The outcome is downright chilling, and if Aeolia hadn't intervened to save her, Marin would have been dead right there.
    • Their anime-only second fight. Seiya won the first time because he had his Cloth and Shaina wouldn't wear hers on personal business, but now Seiya meets her while she's on official business and is thus wearing her Cloth. He thinks he can beat her, as he's much more experienced than last time... Then, two minutes later, he's bleeding and defenseless, and Shaina is a bit winded and ready to claw his face off. Seiya would never stop fearing her again.
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    • In their third fight Seiya has decisively defeated her (though that was Anime filler, it's not less awesome). She's not a threat anymore, right? Nope: next time she attacks she almost kills Hyoga and Shun at the same time, before they throw her down a cliff. There's a reason Seiya preferred throwing himself down that cliff rather than fighting her again: with a broken arm, he had better chances against the cliff than against Shaina... Who, like him, survived the cliff. And next time she appears, she's trying to kill Seiya in his sleep in a hospital room.
    • Even after her High-Heel–Face Turn she remains someone to not provoke lightly: in the Poseidon arc she spends some time facing Thetys, it seems an even battle... Then Shaina decides she has better things to do and mauls her, with the manga implying that the wounds weakened Thetis to the point she died saving Julian.
  • Speaking of the above episode 16, it is full of bloody nightmare fuel:
    • Sanctuary goons sabotaging peace conferences, causing civil wars, mayhem and wanton destruction all over the world.
    • Cue whiplash to peaceful Greece. Cue Mood Whiplash to the Sanctuary where were trainees are subjected to what amounts to extremely brutal torture in the name of training.
  • Ikki is already the bringer of Mind Rape and horribly bloody fights, but he actually tops himself in one memorable fight against Capella, a Silver Saint who threatened Seiya and Saori. Capella's Weapon of Choice is a set of shields attached to his armor, which can be also thrown as projectiles - so far so good, huh? Well, Ikki uses his powers to trick the guy into believing he cut off his own hands with said disks/shields (no Gory Discretion Shot here), and goes further when the guy ends up Hoist by His Own Petard by having said shields fatally injure him in the chest and stomach before he is shown physically unharmed but with his mind broken, as he falls off the cliff they're fighting on.
    • The manga rendition of his attack against Wolf Nachi in his first appearance is even worse. In the anime, his illusion punches shatter Nachi's cloth and knock him senseless. In the manga? They shatter his body, ripping off his arms when he tries to defend himself and eventually blowing open his torso, spilling his guts, giving a clear shot on his spine, before only leaving his smiling head. Ick.
    • His attack against Virtue Eligor in the Lucifer movie is nothing to laugh at either. The illusion starts with Eligor decapitating Ikki, only for his headless body to walk towards Eligor (which he proceeds to stab to no avail) while the fallen head is taunting him. Then said head screams maniacally about sending him to hell while a swarm of locusts comes flying out of it's mouth towards Eligor, only for the head to melt afterwards, while Eligor is pierced through the chest, leaving him falling dead. Jeez!
    • The Asgard movie features an illusion of Ikki getting impaled by Thymir Rung’s boomerangs, which serves to conceal the actual outcome: Rung’s boomerangs hit him in the chest.
  • Anything that Cancer Deathmask ever does until his Heel–Face Turn in the Hades Saga and the Soul of Gold series. Special mention to his namesake, the little matter of these "masks" in the Cancer Temple. And how he can send his opponents to a really scary fighting field where lack of fighting spirit will make you join the legions of the moaning dead going to Hell, and where one misstep might send you down to your death.
    • In Episode G, the masks scare the crap out of a giant. The giant was effectively a low-powered god who believed himself invincible. That is how nightmarish Deathmask is.
    • And to make things worse... This guy is a Gold Saint, meaning he has immense destructive power, can actually take some of what he dishes even without his near-indestructible Gold Cloth, and, most importantly, moves at the speed of light.
    • According to the Saint Seiya Taizen (the series Encyclopedia) not only the Gold Cloths are alive, but they hold a faint ember of their former owner, usually a righteous warrior yearning for justice, thus able to abandon their owner when he's going closer to darkness and evil. Go figure what an utterly despicable, evil and cruel Knight could do if the "moral compass" inside his armor happened to be the embers of the late Deathmask's personality...
  • Brainwashed and Crazy Leo Aeolia versus Seiya. Such brutality and bloodlust coming from a man so honorable is truly a scary sight.
    • Even worse is, as ruthless as Aeolia was when welcoming Seiya to his temple, he was still retaining some good in him, sticking to a Creepy Monotone demeanor, which the mention of Athena being in mortal peril could somehow bring out a humane reaction, with Aeolia visibly in pain. The viewers could be treated to a charming display of his brain wriggling and twisting due to the influence of the Illusion.
    • Then, when Seiya managed to land in a hit, which Saga fully counted on... He literally turned in a ruthless murder machine, with all good in him removed.
  • What Scorpio Milo's Scarlet Needle will do to you when you have taken fourteen hits: you will turn into a living blood fountain while you lose your strength and your five senses.
    • The first attacks are nothing to scoff at, if the reactions of Seiya and Shiryu are anything to go by.
  • During the Twelve Temples arc, when the Sagittarius Gold Cloth makes its return, Saga starts doubting whether he actually really managed to off Aeolus or not. Saga is sitting in his throne room when all of Saori's ten Bronze Saints barge in to attack. The Gold Saints, all twelve of them and fully armored, jump out of nowhere and put themselves between the invaders and Saga... And then, before Saga can realize there's something wrong with the situation, the Gold Saints turn toward him, faces obscured by shadows and only their eyes visible, and come close to kill him themselves. And there's all the Gold Saints in the group, including Deathmask (who by this point was already killed), Shaka (presumed dead), Aeolus (who is long dead), Aphrodite (described as the most terrifying of the Gold Saints by Saga himself), and the Gemini cloth itself. That's when Saga wakes up in terror... But this literal nightmare left him so shaken he can't help but look around in fear.
  • Gemini Saga, appearing to be a sincerely pure and good man, having a seizure in front of Seiya, before turning into evil incarnate out of the blue. YIKES.
    • To say nothing about how Saga at this point is a total No-Nonsense Nemesis, goes straight for the kill with Another Dimension, with Seiya ending up saved only because Saga's good side stops him. The evil side is willing to compromise: he will merely remove Seiya's five senses before offing him.
    • The ensuing conflict is extremely intense and it is truly sobering to see Seiya throw everything he has, and Saga standing up for more, brushing up even the Pegasus Rolling Crash as interesting, but ineffective.
    • Then Ikki comes in, and in the manga they have an illusion battle. Saga first tests out his control by having Ikki pierce his own arm before taking Seiya's head. Thankfully, Saga himself was under the influence of Ikki's own illusions, but by Ikki's account, if Saga had ordered him to kill Seiya first, he couldn't have shaken the mind control fast enough to avoid tragedy. Oof.
    • In the anime, it is no better. After Seiya managed to use the shield to save Athena, Saga is dealing a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Seiya, and Ikki who was only merely delayed comes to the rescue. Cue Saga inflicting the mother of Curb Stomp Battles on Ikki, instantly destroying his Cloth and removing his five senses in the span of a few seconds. The frenzy with which Saga punches in close combat is truly a terrifying sight to behold, so iconic it became one of Saga's combo moves in the fighting games.
    • In the manga, Saga having a Villainous Breakdown as he is stopped by his good side's Mind Screw / Armor-Piercing Question: "WHO ARE YOU?"
    • In the anime, the fact that the five Bronze Saints gave Seiya their Cosmo for a Pegasus Comet Fist so powerful it disintegrated what remained of his Bronze Cloth and very nearly put Saga in orbit, and that he... just came back for more. Or so he thought, until Saori pointed out that Seiya had dealt a lethal blow to his evil side. But the moment he came back was a major Oh, Crap! moment for everyone present, and we are talking about the five surviving Gold Saints nearly going This Is Gonna Suck.
    • In the manga, Saga's defeat: he's touched by the light of Athena's shield... And something comes out of him screaming while he goes back to normal. Apparently he was under a Demonic Possession the whole time... But we don't know what. (Recent extra chapters of the manga elaborate that this was a Lemure, an extra soul bound to Saga at birth by a servant of Hades)
    • When he comes back fully good, it turns out he's The Unfettered, and that the only difference between him and his evil side is the goal, with the latter aiming to Take Over the World because he genuinely thought he could do a better job than the gods and the former instead choosing to obey Athena.
    • One of the freakiest things about him is that, even if you count everything that happened above, Saga was the good twin. His brother, Kanon, was even worse.
  • Everything Shaka does in combat. Unless you have a very good reason, accept his offer to spare your life and run whence you came:
    • Anyone invading his Temple is shown a beautiful illusion of a magnificent land... That can turn into hell at a moment's notice.
      • He can also use his illusions, or just plain hallucinations, to Mind Rape an enemy and summon horrifying visions.
    • During the Twelve Temples Arc, Shun attacked him with the Nebula Chain. This is when the Attack Reflector trope makes its debut, as the chain stops, turns on Shun, and nearly strangles him to death before Shaka decides to just throw him on Seiya. That was terrifying enough that Seiya and Shiryu were stunned in horror.
    • During Tenma Kōfuku, an illusion of paradise appears (and in the anime, it's accompanying by an incredibly ominous, heavily voice-filtered Buddhist prayer)... Then Shaka appears, you hear the screams, and that's when you see the poor guys he just blasted with his Cosmo and that Shaka is levitating over a vision of hell. Until the Sanctuary Arc, nobody had survived this attack unless he wanted them to.
      • In the manga, this attack is so terrifying that Shaka took away Ikki's memory of their first encounter to prevent him from going insane, and when he restored it Ikki tried to run for the hills. Ikki.
    • Rikudō Rinne. Remember Deathmask's ability to send souls to the gates of hell? This attack skips the gates and directly throws you into one of the six Dharma's rebirth realms, that he'll describe before throwing you there to see where you'll end.
      • The visual in the anime is just as bad as one would expect from this attack.
    • During their fight, Ikki nailed him with the Phoenix Genmaken at one point. He wouldn't have noticed, had he not heard Ikki shouting its name-just as he sent it back to him, sending Ikki to The Riverbed of Death where he must carry Shun as a baby through an endless riverbed of sharp rocks while Shun keeps getting heavier, with Shaka offering him relief from the torment if only he'd drop that baby brother of his.note 
    • During the Hades saga he reveals a new attack, Tenkūhaja Chimimōryō-with which he summons evil spirits and sics them on his victims. The Specters facing it, who usually live in hell itself, were terrified by it.
    • And even if you realize what kind of monster you're fighting, don't bother running away: you cannot escape him, and if you try, the moment you stop to catch a breath, you'll find yourself on Buddha's palm as he compares you to Sun Wukong's equally fruitless attempt to escape from there. At least he won't drop a mountain on your head before imprisoning you for 500 years...
    • And finally, there's what happens when he gets serious and opens his eyes: Tenbu Hōrin, with which he takes away his enemy's senses one by one, describing what he is doing, and there's nothing they can do about it, not even run. Worse, if they still won't go down when he has taken all the five senses, he goes for the sixth-that is, the ability to think.
      • To make it worse, the attack also wounds the body. In the Hades Saga the Surplices worn by Saga, Shura and Camus get damaged every time he takes a sense, and when the attack debuted against Ikki his Cloth disassembled on it's own, fell on the floor and instantly disintegrated.
    • Just one last bit: once you start fighting him he knows no mercy. Not even the Mercy Kill... And the one time he tried to give it one, it was out of curiosity at what mercy is.
    • Almost forgetting... Even if you kill him, he won't stay dead. Ikki used a suicide attack to take him down, and all he could manage was to warp the both of them in Another Dimension, from which Shaka could have still come out on his own. The only reason he asked for Mu's help in teleporting back to the Sanctuary was because at that point, Shaka decided to spare Ikki's life, and couldn't bring Ikki back with him on his own. And when he did die in the Hades Saga, something that happened only because he threw the fight and even then he had to instruct his opponents on what to do because he was just that superior, the end result was that he had finally found a way to invade Hades' realm and wipe out his army in their base before attacking Hades himself. There's plenty of good reasons even Hades, an actual god, was terrified when he found out Shaka was coming for him...
    • And to make everything worse-no matter what, he may slip a monkey joke or two into the context of his attacks, just for the hell of it. He's having fun doing it.
  • Asgard Saga :
  • Poseidon Saga :
    • Scylla Io's introduction. A beautiful maiden turning into a monster assaulting you with six beasts. Shun very much thanked the Nebula Chain for bailing him out of that one.
    • Siren Sorento. A Musical Assassin who can pull a Brown Note on you going per the legend of sirens and their bewitching song.
      • The effect? It can either prevent you from using your full powers (see Taurus Aldebaran in the manga), or it can outright turn your brain into mush if Sorento decides to be serious with you. Basically, he can decide to nerf you at will, and you won't realize it until it's too late.
      • Another very nasty problem? Three people, Aldebaran, Siegfried (depending on the medium), and Shun assume the attack is sound-based since Sorento ostensibly uses his flute and his melody to attack. WRONG. It's something beyond sound that directly attacks the opponent, and blocking sound propagation either by punching out your eardrums or by creating a vacuum will NOT protect you.
    • Lymnades Kasa. A very creepy Master of Illusion and telepath specialized in plucking the memories of your dearest person, and mimicking their appearance to lead you to bring down your guard, becoming ripe for the killing, basically weaponizing a Heartwarming Moment. Seiya and Hyoga fall prey to it, and Shun narrowly escapes it thanks to his chain sensing murderous intent.
      • However, the man is still so skilled and adept at his mimicry, that Shun still falls prey even as Kasa impersonates Ikki IN FRONT OF HIM, in part due to an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole : in the anime Ikki had survived Asgard just fine, but in the manga, Ikki was supposedly dead from having been blasted to smithereens by Saga and gone missing ever since, so at least this version makes it more credible that Shun would desperately want to cling on to the hope that his brother was alive.
      • As for the effectiveness of his powers and his level of mastery in mimicking others, including personality? When Kasa finally found the memories of Esmeralda, he was near death and could not deal the killing blow, but Ikki concedes that if he had pulled that card sooner, he'd have been completely screwed.
    • Sea Dragon Kanon. At the very least, he gives Ikki the mother of Oh, Crap! moments upon their encounter, and you know that anything capable of scaring Ikki means BUSINESS.
      • And also, Ikki does give something back in kind with his illusion upon browsing through Kanon's memories.
  • Hades Saga:
    • Papillon Myu is a Specter who can transform multiple times. He starts out as a blob, then as a caterpillar-ish thing that will trap you into a cocoon, in which there is a very real possibility you will die. And if you survive this, he will reveal his own Bishōnen Line final form, and his array of psychokinesis powers.
    • Overlaps with Creepy Good in some way, but as mentioned above, Shaka ends up Horrifying the Horror when he pulls out his own specters and demons against the Specters in his temple.
    • Sphinx Pharaoh is a Specter with an Egyptian theme. He can perform the infamous Test of Osiris to see if you're a pure-hearted person by literally putting your heart in a scale to weigh it against the Feather of Truth. While you're still alive.
    • Pictured. Ikki pierces Shun's chest and extracts Hades' soul from his body (a creature that looks very much like an abomination), destroying it. Suddenly, Hades' real soul emerges from Shun's chest in Alien style, but it turns out that was all a dream in Seiya's head.
    • Seiya waking up in Cocytus, completely held in freezing ice, surrounded by the dead bodies of past Saints who dared to defy Hades. That is to say, every Saint will, by default, end up in Hades, since being a Saint is by definition, being an enemy to Hades.
    • Thanatos remotely killing Pandora. Then trying the same thing on Seika just to spite Seiya.
    • The fact that Hades has a sword, and is very willing to use it to deal piercing damage. Seiya sustains some of the more horrific wounds in the series at Hades' hands, and the worst of them stick through Next Dimension...
  • The series has some really scary music that sets the mood very well:
  • The Asgard Movie:
    • A Brainwashed and Crazy Hyoga being utterly ruthless against Shiryu. First, Hyoga removes his mask and gets him to lower his guard, offering his hand for a handshake, getting him to think he had just been a spy in enemy territory, for Hyoga's expression to turn downright vicious, freezing his hand to the bone, rendering him nearly unable to fight back, even if he had the WILL to. Shiryu pulls through via Heroic Willpower but gets beaten within an inch of his life before he can strike back effectively.
  • The Eris Movie:
    • Seiya yet again dealing with an enemy dabbling into poisons, and losing his five senses before being beaten to a pulp by Orion Jager.
    • Lyra Orpheus being the first enemy to weaponize his chords into Razor Floss. Say what you will about Shun, but if Ikki had not seen the technique first, it might not have gone so easily.
      • Also the illusion scene where Orpheus gets put on fire to a reprise of his theme is this, but with a touch of Nightmare Retardant, since it nearly gets funny at this point.
    • The scenes where the graves of forgotten past Saints are shown to be opening, and the sight is NOT pretty.
  • From the Abel Movie:
    • All scenes showing the Yomotsu Hirasaka and the poor wretches falling down the pit to the Underworld with wails of despair. The horror and despair factors are further upped from the original anime: is this the fate awaiting every human living in the Saint Seiya world? This implies the gods are deliberately letting Hades make the afterlife a Crapsack World for humanity and have been doing so for untold millenia.
    • What Ikki pulls on Aphrodite sounds like a very mild example at first, but with a helping of Fridge Horror does a very good job of reminding us of the true fear of the Phoenix Demon Illusion Fist : Showing him enjoying his beauty, and then turning into a grotesque mineral abomination, which is supposed to be what his soul looks like. THEN, a very pissed Aphrodite is taunted into striking with his Bloody Roses against Ikki's Phoenix Flaming Wings Takeoff. He ends up taking the blow in the face, and as he tries to stand up for more... He realizes his own heart was pierced by one of his own roses. That's right, not only does the illusion inflict the obvious Mind Rape, but even if it doesn't kill/neutralize you on the spot, the effects will also not wear off immediately and end up messing with the victim's reflexes and body control, so bad they run the very serious risk of ending up HARMING THEMSELVES if they try a poorly timed counterattack; and LETHALLY SO if they are taunted into attacking at full force. Once under the spell, WHEN does the illusion wear off exactly?
    • Hyoga made to nearly bleed to death against Berenice with his Razor Floss. You could actually argue it was a sweet mercy that Berenice decided to put him on fire for mouthing back at him.
    • Any time Abel shows his Nightmare Face. The worst part is that in such moments, he just has a very stoic and stern expression, and the nightmarish aspect comes from lighting effects on his face, eyes and expression, which do a perfectly fine job of highlighting his inhumane and unforgiving nature.
    • Even Abel's death is a thing of nightmare in a way. The music comes to a very tense climax, and after being pierced in the hear by the Sagittarius Arrow like so many villains, he is visibly leaking his essence from the very lethal wound, yet he somehow manages to stumble back to his throne, screaming like a demented madman in his death throes "ABEL IS GOD!", before being crushed by a mural from his temple falling apart.
  • The Lucifer Movie:
    • The introduction with Abel, Eris, Poseidon wreaking havoc on Earth. Eris' onslaught ends up causing very visible Body Horror.
    • Seeing the Gold Saints being utterly manhandled in literal seconds.
    • The aforementioned Ikki vs Eligor fight. YIKES.
  • During the Black Saints arc, Seiya has a nightmare about Mu killing Shiryu: In the anime, this is portrayed with a Jump Scare moment of Mu pushing Shiryu off a cliff, but in the manga, Mu beheads Shiryu and uses the blood of his severed head to repair the broken armors. And Mu is shown with a big smile on his face while doing this.
  • In the manga, Cassius collected the severed heads of the opponents he defeated, and was planning on doing the same thing with Seiya.