Saint Seiya (1986)

Okay, so I wanted to write about Saint Seiya for a long time now, and I’m gonna be clear from the start, I’m a fanboy here. I admit it, to me this manga/anime created by Masami Kurumada is the most epic and awesome story ever. Why you ask? Well, let’s start by listening to some of the OST, okay?

Did you listen to that? I mean, when have you heard score in an anime this elaborated, and this piece above isn’t the best one either, is like a normal one from the eight complete soundtracks this anime has. Listening to the music you kinda understand what the story is all about, EPICNESS. The story is deceptively simple, a group of orphans are chosen by the goddess Athena to regain her sanctuary, which has been taken by the Gemini saint, she needs to regains it to be ready for a war predicted in myth, a fight against another god, Hades. Now, “saints” are warriors chosen by Athena herself to defend humanity against other gods. The name of the show, Saint Seiya references our protagonist, Seiya, the Pegasus saint. The “Pegasus saint” is a warrior who appears again and again in history as Athena’s bravest warrior. Over the course of the last Divine war, the Pegasus saint managed to defeat Hades and so this will have an impact later on in the story. For now let’s just keep in mind that Seiya is entrusted with a lot of baggage the day he wins his “Pegasus Cloth”, the armour that is proof he has become an Athena Saint.

About the armours, there are different types obviously, as many as the toys that can be sold about them! Kidding (not really!), thing is, the Pegasus cloth is actually in the weakest tier in regards of armours, being a bronze cloth. Silver and golden cloths follow, so Seiya being an orphan and also winning a bronze cloth puts us in the very bottom of the food chain at the start of the series, right? Isn’t that amazing? I mean I don’t know if Kurumada knew anything about storytelling when he begin the series, but it’s almost like an instinctive thing to place your protagonist in the very bottom to have a larger scope in the story, from there to the end of the series, Seiya really pushes himself to the limit, but this is not like Dragon ball where the characters power up and find new levels of strength, is more like the good guys need to understand some truth about existence to reach for a power that doesn’t belong to them, but is entrusted to them by the universe every time they’re aligned with the core values of the series and of Athena, of course.

So, what are these core values you ask? Surprisingly enough it has to do with love, as cliché as that sounds, yet to get to that idea, which ends up being Athena’s self revelation near the very end of the original saga (tenkai-hen overture) we have to go through some explanation. At it’s core, Saint Seiya is a reflection on the resistance and acceptance of pain in our lives, while finding a way to overcome this pain and move forward in the protection of those things that are dear to us. In the series, the main characters, which they all are bronze saints, have to deal with countless battles in which definitely all the time they’re the weakest ones. Seiya, Shiryu, Hyoga, Ikki and Shun, they’re all bronze saints sworn to protect Athena against any evil doer that stands in their ways, and man… the amount of enemies they face and the caliber of them! I mean let’s make a quick recount, there’s all of the twelve Golden Saints, the most powerful of all the Athena Saints (they can even punch you at the speed of light!). There’s one of the golden guys who can actually speak with Buda and send you to a number of hells, I mean c’mon! There’s also some heroes from Myth like Heracles (Hercules), Siegfried from the Nibelung myth, Icarus, who’s also an angel! not to mention Poseidon and Hades, two of the most powerful Greek gods! And each time the saints face such enemies they get their asses beat to a pulp, they suffer the most horrible wounds, even loosing their senses! Yet every time they manage to find that truth that allows them to tap into the power of the universe and overcome any danger.

There’s one final thing I want to talk about before the end, it’s about Seiya’s own self realization, now, we said before that Athena’s self revelation is that there’s a power beyond that of the gods (which is immortality). This idea comes to her after she questions the reasons why the gods are immortal, she says that the reason they are is because they exist to protect other beings. Then she lands on the idea that this protecting of others comes from love, something she could only learn because of her involvement with humans, specifically with Seiya. Was this her strange way of saying that she loves Seiya? I’m not sure, but anyways, Seiya’s own self revelation comes after this, at the end of the whole story, when he faces Apollo, who’s presumably his strongest enemy yet. Apollo is set to make all of humanity disappear, yet Seiya says that with his fist he will punch Apollo so hard that no god will ever forget about the existence of humans (how cool is that!!), oh, and his self revelation? Humans don’t need the gods.

So there you have it, Saint Seiya, the most epic and amazing manga/anime ever! admit! I want to end by saying that there’s a special thing about the five members of the core group of protagonists, each of them brings something to the table but also, each of them represents a part of Seiya’s own personality. Their fights and interactions are structured in such a way that the path of Seiya is often expressed by their interaction. This is just awesome storytelling which reminds us that the heart of any story is always the characters that live the tale. So fly high Saint Seiya, cause the epicness and emotional rollercoaster found in Seiya’s journey will last forever in memory.

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