Saint Seiya is one of those franchises that just keeps getting better and better with age. The fights are always incredible and the characters are timeless. It is really like the original DBZ from back in the day. When Netflix announced a CG series I would say the two reactions I had was “Not CG!!!!” and “Glad we’re getting Seiya back”. At the end of the day I would have preferred some top level animation for a fun reboot but I’ll still take this so we have more content in the franchise. The show actually changes quite a few things up which is why I would call it an alternate retelling. The names are different, some attacks aren’t translated and the government gets involved this time. I actually think the show should continue to change things rather than being a totally straight adaption. It allows the series to really duck the usual comparisons that it would get right away and helps it to stand on its own as a stand alone show. That said I would have liked it if the names had stayed the same since they take a lot of getting used to.
So the series starts off with a Gold Saint appearing in Seiya’s home and kidnapping his sister after taking down some government workers. Seiya and his sister Patricia have the ability of the cosmos which allows them to perform superhuman feats that should be next to impossible. Unfortunately that was not enough to take down a Gold Saint warrior. Those fighters are way too powerful. Years pass by and Seiya figures his sister is dead as he has been unable to get any leads on her or on the mysterious gold saint. That’s when he is taken in by Sienna and her grand father who explain the lore about powerful Saints which will save the goddess Athena from the evil gods. Seiya doesn’t buy any of this hogwash for a second but they explain that it is the only lead to his sister so he’s in. Basically he first has to earn a bronze armor of his own and then he must compete in a tournament with other Saints. The difficult part here is that there is a guy named Vander who wants the power of the Saints for himself to save the world. Seiya and friends will have to watch out for this guy or be crushed in the process.
The season is pretty quick so we don’t really get to the Gold Saints much as this is mainly pre arc. At times it can feel like the series is going a bit fast to tackle everything but it goes at a good speed for the fights which is the important part. I mentioned that there were some changes here so lets look at the biggest one. It’s the inclusion of Vander who believes he is trying to save the world from utter destruction. He’s one of those villains who has some good ideas but unfortunately the heroes don’t really get to talk to him much initially and the guy goes off the deep end very quickly so he can’t be reasoned with.
I understand why he is skeptical to just let the Saints handle everything because what if they lose? In fact the prophecy claims that the Saints will lose this time and Earth will be destroyed so maybe taking matters into his own hands wouldn’t be such a bad idea. In fact he has done quite well so far in building a whole army of Saints which can even overpower Bronze Knights. He did this by himself with a small group so imagine if he had a bunch of real resources at his disposal? The bio engineered Saints have a great supply of cosmos and incredible defenses. They can draw on more power from the generator as needed too. If only Vander could have played ball and tried to meet the Knights in the middle then Earth would have been in great shape for the fights to come. Instead Earth is more defenseless than ever before now.
I also liked seeing the government show up to get some fights although the show could have done better with the power levels. There is one moment where the government shows up in a helicopter/plane and the Saints start talking about how they’ve got no shot and are going to be obliterated..only to destroy it in one shot as always. I don’t care what guns they have on those planes, one good hit from a Saint will break it every time so there is nothing to be afraid of. The characters always seem to think that a vehicle is safe only for a Saint to break it in the next scene. You’re better off on the ground at that rate.
I’ll never be able to take the government or any other human faction seriously against the Saints because they are so outmatched but at the same time it is nice to see them. I do think with the world going into danger soon it makes sense to show the real life impacts f that and that’s something that the show did pretty well. I hope to see this continue more. Also as a side note, I like how Seiya grows actual wings when he powers up his cosmo like a real Pegasus. It is a fun visual that makes a lot of sense if you ask me.
The soundtrack here is pretty solid. The opening is a lot of fun and works as a great remix. It gets you pumped for what’s about to happen. Within the actual show the osts are good too but my only issue so far is that there isn’t a lot of variety. You’re going to be hearing the same songs playing quite a few times the more you go through the episodes. I think just adding a handful of other themes would have helped prevent it from feeling like they were cycling through the same tunes all the time.
As for the graphics, well I would say the CG here is pretty good. It definitely looks like a video game and what enhances this even further is how each character jumps into a pre set animation cycle whenever they go into their final smash. Remember playing Marvel vs Capcom and activating your final smash only for someone to activate theirs a second later so yours does no damage while they get all the hits in. That’s basically what happens here on a number of occasions. Where the animation struggles a bit is during the actual combat. Often times the projectile attacks will look cool but the show doesn’t have a whole lot of choreography for most of the fights. This results in faster battles than you would expect. Battles are very important in Saint Seiya so I’m hoping we can get this upgraded a bit in the second season. Having animation that looks good is really important but having great fights is equally critical.
As always Seiya is a great main character. He is determined to save his sister and fights off all kinds of odds in order to do so. He’s the kind of guy you want to have on your side because he will never give up and he will continue to fight to the last man. He always surpasses his limits and gets a lot of great character development even over the course of these first episodes. He was always willing to defend those in trouble but by the end he has really begun to understand what it means to be a knight of Athena. Can’t wait to see more of him soon.
Meanwhile Andromeda is a girl in this version which was a pretty big deal back in the day. Ultimately her personality isn’t much different though. Perhaps she is a little bolder but that’s about it. Although by default I actually prefer her to the usual version for that reason since Andromeda was never my favorite Saint. She gets her whole plot with Phoenix here but for the most part isn’t winning many big battles outside of that. I should mention right now that Seiya easily steals the show and gets the most to do here, the rest of the Saints aren’t able to do much of anything. I mean they’re strong and we see them do cool things during their debut appearances but Seiya gets almost all of the fights to himself. He’s the guy you call in to fight all the real enemies and it shows what a gap there is between him and everyone else.
Cygnus is extra confident and mean in this one which is nice. He’s got an edge to his fighting style and even comes close to murdering Athena at one point. He does mellow out super quickly though. I think it would have been more effective if he had lost to Phoenix or something which caused him to really change his ways. Alternately I would have just kept him as being really gruff for the whole season and think that would have worked well. Regardless he’s a quality character and a good addition to the team. Definitely someone you don’t want to mess with and he is supposed to be one of the more powerful Saints with how he could keep up with Dragon and Seiya while the others couldn’t.
Dragon has always been one of the most consistent Saints. He has a lot of power as well as great discipline which allows him to attack and defend at the right times. He has his unbreakable shield and unstoppable fist which makes for a tough combo. He gets his big fight here while blind which was always impressive and gave Seiya a good match. Dragon is probably the most honorable member of the Saints and is always determined to fight for justice. He doesn’t like cheap tricks or winning in any way that isn’t 100% fair so it’s easy to like him.
Then we have Phoenix as one of the big bosses for the show. He had a very intense backstory so you can really see how he cracked. The guy was put through the wringer back during his childhood and really never caught a break. The show doesn’t hold back with the ordeals he had to go through and so now he just isn’t the hero that he once was. Of course in part due to the hellish training he had to go through, Phoenix is considerably more powerful than the other bronze saints. It’s always impressive just how strong he is and he never ceases to amaze during the battles. His fights are always cool and he has the best looking attacks. His fire techniques don’t stop and he’s easy to root for even when he isn’t the most heroic out there. That’s just how he rolls.
Meanwhile Sienna makes for a good Athena. She has the most powerful warriors on the planet trying to murder her and yet she doesn’t live her life in fear. She’s doing her best to hang in there and continue to fight the good fight which is admirable. She even gets to use her magic powers to block opponent attacks at times. I still wish she could fight more since Hades and Poseidon have no problem shattering worlds and firing off big energy blasts. You can’t tell me that Athena doesn’t have that kind of power within her somewhere right? Like it wouldn’t make sense that she couldn’t fight because in theory she has more cosmo than almost every other character in the series.
This is where I have to throw in that as always Aiolos is the best Knight here. He understood that murdering a literal baby was wrong and made sure to save her life even though he paid the ultimate price for it. That’s absolutely what you have to do if you consider yourself to be a true hero. I don’t see any of the other Gold Saints doing that to be honest. The Bronze Saints would but you still would expect the Golds to be better. One change this series did to try and make this not feel as bad is there’s a prophecy
that the pope made up which says that Athena will lose the war. So he tells them that they should just murder her and fight the war on their own. This plan doesn’t make much sense though because you are just making your side even weaker and will lose by a greater amount now. Cmon that’s just easy match but the Gold Saint have about as much integrity as your average pickpocket so they are easily taken in.
It’s good that we have future arcs where they look good because this is why they always make me just shake my head at how villainous and unreasonable they are the whole time. I’ll at least give Aiolia some props because he is able to listen to reason after Seiya messes him up a bit. He also did seem to save Seiya’s sister although he’s intentionally vague about the whole thing. He really should have at least tried to tell him something about her instead of being cryptic. Would have made things easier later on I would expect. The rest of the Gold Saints are total sellouts as you’d expect.
Same with the Silver Saints to be honest. They show up to get absolutely devastated the whole times. The one who can read minds was fun though because that’s always such a good ability. I always like seeing how the heroes can get around that. Do they have to shut their mind off or just move really quickly? To date Yusuke Urameshi had the absolute best way of dealing with that. Man that series has so many good moments and Seiya is on that level which is why this series is so great. Even the weaker villains like Misty are able to see through basic traps and give the heroes trouble. I do like that because even if they aren’t the nicest folks, they had to go through a lot of diligent training to get to silver rank so it makes sense that they could do this much.
Then you have Shaina who really wants to beat Seiya up. Ultimately her character arc feels a bit rushed as the show gets through her scenes quickly but she’s fun as always. I liked her rivalry with Seiya even if it ends up being one sided very quickly. Seiya just improves too fast for anyone to keep up with him. There is also Marin who trains Seiya but I never liked her quite as much. I think she could have been better at assisting Seiya and giving him backup when needed. She is always using trickery and just overthinking everything though. Just team up with him already and the heroes can have another fighter in their group.
Finally we get to two of the other bronze saints who get a role. First up is Cassios who has a lot of raw strength but that’s all that he has going for him. It’s naturally not going to be enough against someone like Seiya whose punches break the speed barrier and will eventually go faster than light. That’s not the kind of power that you can really hope to deal with easily. He just isn’t that kind of fighter. Then there is Unicorn who has his little rivalry with Seiya as always but unfortunately he doesn’t get a ton of screen time. See I would have liked to have seen him absolutely giving Seiya the work or one quick fight between them. I always thought he was a lot of fun at least but he’s more of a comic relief character here and doesn’t get a big role.
The season ends with a massive cliffhanger that gets you hyped up for what will be coming next. That’s always a good way to end things off so I’m pretty psyched for what will be happening soon. At the end of the day this was a very fun show with a lot of action and quality visuals. Perhaps it isn’t the remake that people had been waiting for but if it had to be CG then doing this alternate version was absolutely the way to go. It keeps you on your toes and takes some interesting approaches to modernizing the story. I just think they should keep doing that in the next seasons too as you then have to keep your guard up to see what will really be happening next.
Overall, Whether you call this series Knights of the Zodiac or Saint Seiya, it will always be a really big franchise. The names can be hard to keep track of so just think of them by the names of their cloth/armors since those never end up changing. The show has no real weak points which is the main reason why I rank it so highly. The story is very engaging and I never got bored while watching this. If anything it just ends way too quickly so you wish there were more episodes right off the bat. Still the series did continue and will keep on going so at least there is nothing to worry about there. It’s certainly one of the upsides about starting a series once it has already been going on for a while. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out, it’s pretty nostalgic to see Seiya’s first fights again and the show isn’t lost in the shadow of the original.