Americans Hate Tingle: Despite the popularity of the Shōnen genre in the USA, the show failed to replicate the success it obtained in Latin America and Europe. This is usually blamed on the fact that it took until 2003 to bring it over (the violent content made it difficult to import), by which point the show had already aged horribly. Notably, even Discotek won't touch the show (or any other Kurumada anime) because their sub-only DVDs for the movies and The Lost Canvas bombed hard, even for their niche standards.
Archive Panic: Saint Seiya is a difficult series to get into. The reason for this is due to the drastic changes done in Toei Animation anime series, which included not only filler, but characters created by the staff that were related to the protagonists. This wouldn't be so bad, but the multiple spin-offs tend to favor either the manga continuity by Masami Kurumada, or take elements from the anime, and unless you're familiar with what goes where, you can get intimidated by it.
Author's Saving Throw: Kurumada was on a tight schedule, and had trouble finding ideas for his manga's next chapter. Worst examples? In the manga, after Hyoga kills Babel, the serialized chapter has him say "We will keep on fighting... even if we have to take down Athena!". Next chapter? Saori introduced as Athena. The compiled volume replaces it with "...until our flame burns out".
Most of the criticism is because of the anime version (especially in the movies), where his role is being defeated by one of the Big Bad's minions, so Ikki can make a Big Damn Heroes entrance and save him.
Broken Base: The eternal discussion about who is the strongest Gold Saint: Saga, Shaka or Aiolos?
Common Knowledge: No, Deathmask didn't decorate his temple with the severed faces/heads of his victims; those are actually their souls haunting his house until he finally meets his demise at Shiryu's hands.
Damsel Scrappy: Saori Kido, who to be saved by the main characters about five times in the original manga, four other times in the movies, twice in the spin-off anime, and once in the manga sequel. Of course this gets her bashed six ways from Sunday by many fans.
Designated Hero: The anime version treats Mitsumasa Kido as a noble man who only did what he had to do. Keep in mind, he is also the man who sent a group of children to a Training from Hell, separated Seiya from his sister against his will, allowed Tatsumi to beat those children (Ikki, in particular). He is even worse in the manga, since The kids he sent to a Training from Hell are actually his own children. Even worse, they were about 100 and only 10 of them actually managed to survive.
The very sparsely featured Chameleon June is very popular for such a minor character.
Algol is one of the more popular Silver Saints. The manga has Ikki outright pointing that he is a league above regular Silver Saints, and in the anime he has the balls to flip off Aiolia, a Gold Saint (though this specific fact had not been revealed at this point). It also helps that he was assigned a VERY remarkable and popular VA in Japan.
Epileptic Trees: The Tenkai Hen movie's ending. It was meant to be the first chapter of a trilogy resulting in that confusing climax which goes from Seiya fighting Apolo to Seiya travelling to an unknown area without memories... to Seiya fighting Apolo with a Cloth never seen before.
Due to the age of the series and the fact that it was posted on the Internet more than ten years ago, a lot of people actually believe that Deathmask's real name is "Angelo". The alternate name was popularized on Stayka, an infamous Saint Seiya based fan site, and stayed in the fandom conciousness since. It's a deliciously ironic name, granted, but it's not stated anywhere in the actual series. And although it is true it's not canon, many fans still prefer to call him that anyway (after all... he NEEDS a name).
There is actually so much of this that there is an entire Fan Wiki!
Some fans might refuse to acknowledge Episode G as being part of the canon Saint Seiya universe, due to the personality of the protagonist, Aioria, not matching the character's personality traits and goals in the original manga, added to other details that don't match the narrative in the Kurumada's story. .
Others might do the same and add to the discarded list the Lost Canvas due to considering Next Dimension the original timeline, even Next Dimension plot is still being concluded.
Most fans write out of their minds characters used during fillers specific to the anime. And then you have the movies. You can add to that the Hades, Inferno and Elysium OVAs.
God Does Not Own This World is a main factor for the discussion, as Kurumada stated that the anime and manga are different continuities. And there's was no animation that adapted the manga's story in a satisfying and faithful way, filling the gaps while respecting the source material.
Discontinuity Nod also happened in the anime, in which the filler elements were ignored in the Hades arc in favour of the canon story in the manga, contributing to the Fanon Discontinuity discussion in the fandom
Continuity Snarl and Continuity Reboot in the animations, that ignore the story of Next Dimension manga, making completly different sequel for the anime: Omega. Not to mention the movies that have random stories and the endless fillers in the original anime that contradict the mangá which it's based.
The ages of the protagonists and Gold Saints are often ignored by the fandom, and the characters are often aged at least 3 years due to Improbable Age.
Some people also ignore the whole "all the Japanese bronze saints are actually half-brothers" reveal mostly because of shipping, and partly because of the absurdity of Mitsumasa Kido managing to impregnate at least 99 women.
Seiya and Shaina have way more fans than Seiya and Saori, that was an almost Official Couple in the anime continuity.
Seiya and Shaina's relationship gets way more focus in the manga, while the anime adaptations decided to focus on Seiya and Saori.
On the Yaoi side of things, there is Hyoga/Shun.
In the manga Shun is teased with only June, and Hyoga has no love interest, and they are canonicaly siblings nonethless. In the anime only, Hyoga have Ship Tease with several girls.
Camus/Milo is the most popular yaoi couple and one of the most popular couples in the franchise, despite their friendship never being confirmed in the manga (or particularly, it's never specified how close they actually are, they could as well be just acquitances).
Degel/Kardia is also a really popular yaoi ship, since they are expies of Camus/Milo.
Temna/Alone, and Sasha/Sisyphus in Lost Canvas.
Saori's crush on Seiya is often shunned in favour of pairing her up with either Saga or Kanon, despite the two being 28 and Saori being 13., even though the ages don't make sense continuity wise.
Deathmask and Aphrodite are popular for sharing the trait of being the only genuinely evil Gold Saints. It's helped by the fact that they're always seen together in the OVAs.
Ikki and Black Swan. The ship was actually approved by the author who allowed an official publication about the couple in a magazine.
Fan Wank: The internet fights over which parts of the franchise are canon and how (or even if) they all connect can reach immense levels.
Both the manga and the 80's anime were well received in Japan, and they're quite the Cult Classic. But it achieved its greatest success in Europe and Latin America, where it's really, really big, thanks to the excellent dubbing.
Adam Newman from SH Figuarts has said that the brand's Saint Seiya products are hugely popular in Europe and Latin America, and used it as an example of a brand that sells better overseas than in its native Japan.
Basically ask any male (and quite a few female) Chinese anime/manga fan of ages 20-30, they can at least quote 2 lines from the show. Pegasus Meteor Punch and Cosmos were so popular it had meme status in China even before memes were classified. Just watch this affectionate parody of one Chinese comedy show about a bunch of guys doing an online profile for their Japanese manga artist friend living in Shanghai. See it here
Growing the Beard: Say what you will bout the story looking afterward, but many of the things that made Saint Seiya what it is started because of the Sanctuary arc.
Harsher in Hindsight: During the Poseidon saga Ikki fights Lymnade Casa, who tries to trick him by pretending to be Shun. Ikki doesn't buy it and kills him easily. Then, during Hades saga Ikki has to actually kill Shun, who is possessed by Hades. He is shaking, crying (in a dream sequence) and, in the end, he can't do it.
The Latin-American TV dub for the Hades Saga has Seiya voiced by Irwin Daayán. Irwin's break-out role, 12 years ago, was... another Seiya.
The original Latin-American dub for the TV series had Daniel Abundis momentarily replacing Shiryu's VA Ricardo Mendoza. MANY episodes later, Abundis rejoined the cast as one of Shiryu's most memorable adversaries, Cancer Deathmask.
In the Asgard Saga, people from there believe that having twins is a sign of bad luck. Now, who was the Big Bad from the Sanctuary Arc?
In the Sanctuary arc Shiryu blinds himself in order to defeat a foe with the powers of Medusa, spends a while as a Handicapped Badass, and then eventually has his sight restored. a certain other famous superhero who fights for the Greek Gods had something similar happen to her nearly two decades later (except in her case, it was the actual Medusa).
Episode 59 features the infamous "House of Libra" scene, in which Shun volunteers to warm a frozen Hyoga back to life with his own body. It doesn't help that the episode is titled, "Revive, Swan! Life, Death, and Love," nor that the next time we see them finds Hyoga carrying (an unconscious) Shun bridal-style and talking tearfully about how Shun "rekindled his heart."
Most Silver Saints proclaim that they are out to avenge Misty and the others. One wonders: "How come he was so popular?"
Milo and Camus have this in spades, and the anime ramped it Up to Eleven.
Dohko and Shion, oh so very much, even if there were a few mere scenes in the Hades saga. And then came Lost Canvas...
Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold ramps this Up to Eleven. Aiolia/Shura, Milo/Camus, Shaka/Mu, Deathmask/Aphrodite, Shion/Dohko, Aiolos/Saga... ALL pairs have their own moments there. Heck, Milo/Camus and Deathmask/Aphrodite once attacked Loki with a Combination Attack. Cue fangirls screaming in happiness.
People also tend to ignore the canon age of the main characters, aging them up, since they don't act like teenagers and the ages don't make sense at all.
Some fans also prefer to pretend the main characters are at least 3 years older, due to the Improbable Age of some events in the manga. One example of these events is the backstory of Pandora with Ikki and Shun, with Ikki and Pandora being 3 years old yet acting like they were at least 7.
The spin off Legends of Sanctuary actually aged the characters, giving a more realistic take on their ages.
Gemini Saga is a man who had wrested with the evil in his heart his whole life. After murdering the Pope and taking his place, Saga frames the pure-hearted Gold Saint Sagittarius Aiolos for his attempted murder of baby Athena and has him mortally wounded, ruling Sanctuary for thirteen years with almost nobody the wiser. Having his forces close in on Athena, Saga later recovers his goodness and ends his own life to atone for his misdeeds. Later revived by Hades, Saga turns out to deceive Hades the whole time to free Athena from mortal constraints and gives his life to help Seiya and the other Saints.
Virgo Shaka is known as the Man Closest to God. A living Buddha, Shaka is known as perhaps the mightiest Gold Saint and one of the craftiest. Effortlessly outplaying Leo Aiolia, Shaka controls his mind to send him to fight the Bronze Saints and later faces Phoenix Ikki as a skillful fighter. When the revived Gold Saints come to Sanctuary, Shaka effortlessly defeats Hades' Spectres and then allows his own end at the hands of the revived Saga, Shura and Camus to send his soul to aid Athena to the end.
Capricorn Shura is one of Saga's Co-Dragons, helping to keep control of Sanctuary and directing their forces for total control despite known Saga is an imposter. Having lost faith in humanity, Shura reveals himself as a dangerous and skilled killer who faces Dragon Shiryu, finally overwhelmed as Shiryu prepares to sacrifice himself. Recovering his ideals, Shura gives his own life to preserve Shiryu's, later returning as part of Saga's conspiracy to help Athena and participates in the final sacrifice to assist the Bronze Saints.
Sea Dragon Kanon is the twin brother of Saga, the leader of Poseidon's Mariners who helped to awaken Poseidon to manipulate him and the Mariners in flooding the world. Using them as his secret army to help pave his own road to world domination, Kanon later repents and inherits his brother's mantle as "Gemini" Kanon, ultimately proving an invaluable ally who infiltrates the underworld to help stop Hades and dies a loyal Saint of Athena in a suicide attack against one of Hades' top minions.
Wyvern Rhadamanthys is perhaps the most powerful of Hades three Judges of the Underworld. Distrusting the revived Gold Saints, Rhadamanthys sends a secret force of Spectres to attack Sanctuary behind his superior Pandora's back and lures three Gold Saints to a trap where their powers are reduced so he can easily defeat them. When the Bronze Saints team up with the supposed defector Lyre Orphee, Rhadamanthys is the only one to block his binding music and deals him a fatal blow. Forming an enmity with Kanon, Rhadamanthys is able to even go head to head with the Gold Saint, showcasing himself as one of the mightiest and most intelligent generals in all of Hades' army.
Shun, due to the anime (in the filler stories) and non-canon movies' trend to make him weaker than in the manga and often need to be saved by his big brother Ikki.
The Silver Saints (in general), due to being Out of Focus compared to the Bronze and Gold ones. It's worse in the anime version, as some of them were revived by Hades only to be killed in one hit by the -now stronger- Bronze Saints.
Aldebaran, of the Gold Saints, is often considered by fans to be the weakest member because he has lost every battle in the story. Even his major moment of awesome in the Hades arc uses Taking You with Me to be killed (so, a draw this time!).
Another notable one, the image of Shiryu crying Manly Tears and saying "Ese es un verdadero hombre" ("That's a true man"). The original full dialogue actually was "Eso significa que a un hombre al que puedes encomendar tu niño después que mueres es un verdadero hombre." ("That means that a man you can entrust your child after you die is a true man") after he and the other Bronze saints read Aiolos' testament in the Saggitarius House.
From the Latin American Spanish dub: "DANCEN ROSAS PIRAÑAS, AAAAAAHHHH!" ("DANCE, PIRANHA ROSES, AAAAAAHHHH!", a parody of Aphrodite calling his Black Rose attack), "MUERE SEIYAAAAA!" and "A OTRA DIMENSIÓN!!" ("DIE, SEIYAAAAAA!" and "ANOTHER DIMENSION!!", delivered by Saga's LA-VA in an extremelyhammy manner), and a Gag Dub of the first OP that parodies the Ho Yay in the series.
The "DIE, SEIYAAAAAA!" meme exists among the Portuguese-speaking fans as well, complete with a short video of Saga's Brazilian VA delivering the line - with a twist. You know it's a meme when even Adult Goku's VA says it!
Translating for English speakers, he says "Die, Seiya, you little fag!". Even funnier considering that Saga's VA is Seiya's VA's father.
"Shiryu, amigo!" Shun is saved from falling down a cliff and, upon finding it was Shiryu, not Ikki, who saved him, shouts "Shiryu my frIIEEnd!" in an extremely dopey voice tone. Hyoga saying "Im also ready" afterwards sounds like a non-sequitur, and Shun replying "That's nice, Hyoga!" is considered hilariously dismissive.
"What happens in the House of Libra, stays in the House of Libra", in reference to the infamous scene where Shun saves Hyoga via Intimate Healing.
Many on LA started using stillframes of the Pope when the patriarchy is mentioned due to his title being translated as "the patriarch".
Taurus Aldebaran (who is Brazilian) is the Butt-Monkey of Saint Seiya's Brazilian fandom. He is almost universally regarded as the weakest Gold Saint and a boring character, but fans just love to make fun of him, to the point that no one hates him truly, they just love to pretend they do.
In Argentina, with Albiore (Shun's teacher), specially with the anime version of the character, which was portrayed as "one of the few Silver Saints with a power nearing a Gold Saint", and also since he is considered a bishonen character by many female fans (except the manga version, which is...ugh...very different)
In Europe, the Classic Asgard God Warriors are very popular, especially Syd and Mime.
One would think that Shiryu is only known for losing his sight.
Docrates is an anime-original villain who's very imposing and powerful and it took three Bronze Saints teaming up to defeat him. However he's mostly remembered (and mocked) for running away at the sight of the police (who are never a factor anywhere else in the series).
Periphery Demographic: Saint Seiya is filled with action, violence, and blood, yet amassed a large and healthy female fanbase nonetheless that still persists thanks to the anime adaptation and the series' Cast Full of Pretty Boys. More than one of them have gotten the honor of creating side material for the franchise, and it definitely shows, as some of them try to keep a female audience in mind.
Seasonal Rot: The anime started losing popularity during The Filler arc Asgard. It was a Tough Act to Follow considering the previous arc received Sanctuary arc. The fact that Michi Himeno replaced Shingo Araki as character designer wasn't the problem. The issue was that most fights became quite longer and there was a lot of screen time focused on the enemies' backstories which would become pointless considering everybody dies in contrast to the Gold Saints who remained as mysterious yet popular characters with some of them still being prominent in later arcs
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: People who are seeing the series for the first time recently suffer from this. Probably one of the reasons of why it tanked on the USA. Didn't help that one of the series directly inspired by Seiya- Ronin Warriors had aired in the U.S. almost a full decade before Seiya did, originally airing in syndication in 1995 and then airing on Toonami in 1999 and getting high ratings. The fact that Seiya aired on CN four years after Ronin did made people dismiss Seiya as a rip-off. Had it been dubbed during the Power Rangers craze when Henshin Heroes were all the rage on American television, it probably would have stood more of a chance (albeit heavily edited).
First we have het shippers that, i.e, trash either Saori or Shaina due to their common interest in Seiya: Shaina is "a stalker and a bitch", Saori is "pathetic and not feminist enough". And everyone hates Miho.
The discussion of who is better for Aiolia: Marin, Lithos or Lyfia?
Alone x Tenma x Sasha x Sisyphus ship war.
Also in Lost Canvas, ship wars between Dégel with either Kardia, Fluorite or Seraphina. And Kardia with either Dégel or Calvera.
Then we have the heterosexual-pairing-hating camp, which denies any positive and possible romantic influence the girls may have on the guys.
Shunrey may get ignored as Shiryu love interest.
Shun/Hyoga shippers are really bad about it, bashing the filler character Princess Freya despite how much of a Plucky Girl she is and hissing at the mere mentions of Shun's Unlucky Childhood Friend Jun.
And then we go to the Yaoi fangirls. Which guy is the right one for the male they ship around? These can get very, very bloody: i.e. you do NOT go into the path of a Shiryu/Seiya fangirl and tell her Shiryu should go with Mu instead without expecting at least some snark, and at worst some flames.
Ships That Pass in the Night: Many fans started shipping Seiya with Hades of all people, after the former complimented on the latter's sad but beautiful eyes. This becomes especially Hilarious in Hindsight when you read Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas and see that, not only are former Pegasus Saint Tenma and former Hades's vessel Alone best friends, but Alone actually harbors feelings which are way beyond platonic for Tenma.
Many sites are rife with fanarts of Shaina and Milo for some reason. Would it be because their constellations represent poisonous and dangerous animals?
The Silver Saint Lacerta Misty is mostly remembered for taking all his clothes in the middle of his fight against Seiya to take a bath in the sea.
Signature Series Arc: No matter the quality disputed for any of the arcs, the one that fans will recognize almost immediately is Sanctuary, having been done multiple times in many adaptations and coming with the added bonus of introducing everyone's favorite Gold Saints.
So Bad, It's Good: DiC Entertainment's English dub. All of the voices, really, but especially Hyoga (they gave him a surfer accent) and Ikki, whose deep voice is hilariously over-the-top. All the failed attempts to censor the show (blue/purple blood, flashes instead of punches) just make it more awesome, and the appropriately 80s theme song is just icing on the cake. This is in comparison to the ADV dub, which is more accurate to the text but ends up not being as memorable or unintentionally funny.
Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The Poseidon arc was better received than the Asgard due to the former being an adaptation of the manga rather than filler. This was also due to faster-paced fights, Shun being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap by being the only Bronze Saint who takes down two Generals, and Seiya, Shiryu and Hyoga wearing the Gold Cloths together for the first time in one overwhelming finale in which Saori finally stops being a Damsel in Distress.
The Hades Sanctuary OVAs also get this for its improved animation, the return of famous recurring characters, the new scenes exploring the Bronze Saints as well as the well-delivered soundtrack. However, next OVAs did not receive the same praise.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Aioros could have been revived as a specter. The man barely shows up in Saint Seiya anyway besides flashbacks, and this would have been an excellent way to see him in action alongside the boy who eventually inherits his Gold Cloth. Hammering it home is the fact that Shion, Mu's predecessor as the Aries Saint and the previous Sanctuary Pope before the Ares-possessed Saga usurped and murdered him (having therefore died before the story kicks off properly), appears in this exact capacity.
Uncanny Valley: Eurydice suffers from a questionable character design, with her wholly black eyes that have a little white sparkle in them; they're unsettling. Combined with the fact that she's a lump of rock from the shoulders down for most of her screentime, she looks more mystical than human.
Unexpected Character: Hydra Ichi, who is playable in the latest video game, Brave Soldiers. He's even the only other non-main Bronze Saint to be playable aside from Jabu, who was DLC in Sanctuary Battle.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Most of the dudes who look like ladies, most notably Aphrodite, Misty (who even wear lipstick in the anime), Shun (whose pink armor doesn't help) and Sorrento (whose armor has a quite long skirt which doesn't help either). But there is an easy way to decide whether that character is male or female: Are they not wearing a mask? Are they wearing pants and shirt instead of Leotard of Power and Chainmail Bikini? Are they flat-chested instead of well-endowed? Are they speaking in male voice? If all of your answers are "yes", congratulations, the character in question is a guy.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: While the anime adaptation tones down some of the most graphic scenes from the manga, it still manages to display several instances of bloody violence and characters dying. When the show was brought to Europe and Latin America, it was shown on kids' programming blocks without any censorship (And it was very popular among kids, as the Germans Love David Hasselhoff mentions) eventually leading to some controversies due its content.
The Italian dub. The anime was translated into Italian by Enrico Carabelli as "I Cavalieri dello Zodiaco" (Zodiac Knights). Trying to convey for Italian viewers the same sense of mystery and awe that classical mythology, which they are all too familiar with, inspired in the culturally distant Japanese, he cranked up the "epicness" of the dialogues, added quotes from classical Italian poems and Dante's The Divine Comedy, and generally raised the stylistic level of all dialogues. Though he also introduced a number of inaccuracies and misinterpretations of the original plot, the dub had exceedingly good reception; and to this day many Italian fans say that they don't actually like Saint Seiya, they like the Cavalieri.
On a similar note, the (really good, voice-acting wise) Latin American Spanish Mexican dub of Saint Seiya used the Italian opening translated into Spanish, and to this day, any Mexican born between 1985 and 1990 insists that the good opening is the one from Caballeros del Zodiaco.
Brazilian dub's Saga's laugh. Even if you don't speak Portuguese, you'll find it memorable. The redubbing did it as good as the original, and put a professional rock band to adapt the original Japanese openings into a nice Metal-driven Portuguese version, instead of the J-rock in the original version. It's claimed to be one of the best versions in the world, because not only includes the Woolseyisms of the Italian and Mexican versions, but adapt their own as well.
And then, there's Saga's "morra, Seiya" (Die, Seiya), which sounds extremely awesome and hammy as wells.
Even the Di C dub had it's moments, for example originally when Ikki is being trained by Guilty and gets angry at his daughter Esmerelda for interfering, he attempts to goad Ikki into giving into his rage(which Esmerelda was discouraging him from doing much to Guilty's anger)and ends up inadvertently killing her which finally makes Ikki snap and kill Guilty in rage. Whereas in the dub it's said that she survived but was so horrified by Ikki giving into his anger that she ran off in terror, there's something tragically poetic about Ikki alienating someone he cared about through giving into his violent urges.