Saint Seiya is one of the most iconic action titles of all time and I even had it in my top 20 manga series of all time. It really is like the original Dragon Ball with its nonstop action and flashy attacks. I ended up reading this prequel a while back (About half a year ago at this point) but the review took a while as this is such a big series. The Lost Canvas is extremely impressive because it is able to really match the original series and even go beyond. I tend to waffle between the two of them quite a lot because they’re so close and each have their strengths. I figured I would leave my final decision until I finished this review as it would give me a chance to really reflect on the series and the original now that I finished it in both the manga and anime versions. Ultimately, the Lost Canvas does take the win but I’ll go into more detail later on.
The Lost Canvas has over 200 chapters and yet you could really say that the story only has one big arc. It’s probably more fair to say that it’s one overarching storyline with a lot of arcs in it though. This series covers the Holy War between Hades and Athena that is referenced in the main series. The Holy War occurs every 200 years so it truly feels endless on both sides. This futility is something the characters are fully aware of and yet there isn’t really much of anything that they can do about it. This is just the way that it has always been.
The Pegasus Saint to be born into this era is a kid named Tenma. He grew up with his childhood friends Alone and Sasha. The 3 of them led a normal life for a while but one day Sasha was proclaimed to be the new incarnation of Athena and taken away. Alone went crazy and became Hades as he ruthlessly murdered everyone in his path and Tenma ended up becoming a Bronze Saint. Now Tenma and Sasha feel like it is their specific duty to stop Alone since he ended up becoming the ultimate evil in the land. Can they really pull this off or is he too far gone?
There’s a lot to talk about here and a lot of characters to go through but first lets go through one of the aspects that really helps the series. That is the fact that it gives us a ton of lore that helps enhance the original story while also making this one stronger. For example, we find out that when you fight in Hades’ castle, your power is automatically cut to 1/10 of what it normally is. The original series referenced the characters being weaker but it wasn’t made explicit like how this one is.
We find out how Hypnos and Thanatos were sealed away for the main series and we also get to see Dohko and Shion team up here. We get to really see how the two became such good friends among the Gold Saints. Pandora gets a lot of development and one of the biggest things here is that the Gold Saints actually look really strong. In the main series you’re used to them getting schooled by every possible opponent so the Bronze Saints can save the day.
Well, this one plays out more like how you would expect. The Bronze Saints are effectively helpless for the entirety of the series until the climax and before then the Gold Saints have to pick up the slack. They’re shown to be the best in the business and all give the Specters a strong fight. So the catch is that we don’t meet a lot of notable Bronze Saints and the ones that we do see tend to be weak but it’s only fair since that’s what the Gold Saints had to deal with for a while.
We also see the inherent disadvantage that Athena’s forces have against Hades. For starters, Hades has the 108 Specters, 3 Generals, and 2 gods serving him. Athena has her 12 Gold Saints and that’s the extent of her reliable forces. I guess we can throw in Tenma and a small tribe that brings 2 fighters in but that’s really it. Then since Hades rules the Underworld, his fighters can resurrect infinitely which is another problem. That’s one of the big dilemmas that the heroes had to tackle early on since the war was really running out of control.
Compared to the first series where this was completely nonexistent, Lost Canvas does have a little fanservice once in a while. Nothing crazy but compared to the original series anything can feel notable. It’s rare enough where it’s never an issue though. The art is mainly used for the fight scenes which is great since the art here is quite high tier. You really feel the power behind all of the attacks and the designs are on point. Every battle is treated with a certain grandness to it so you know just how special the Gold Saints are. The amount of detail is also very impressive.
So lets talk about our hero Tenma. He doesn’t tend to win all of his fights the way that Seiya did, but Tenma’s a hard worker and does his best to claim victory at every turn. He is a strong fighter in his own right, there’s no doubt about that. He is also trying to save Alone the whole time without murdering him. It reminds me of the Naruto and Sasuke dynamic a lot. Tenma holds the series well as the lead and I don’t think you’ll have any issues with him. He’s just a very solid character.
As the main villain Alone is also very good. I actually preferred him to Hades here. The series even shows that they aren’t truly the same character even though they share the same body. There are times when Alone is pretending to be Hades but they have their distinct goals and wishes. Alone’s main weapon is an easel and a paint brush which is probably the craziest part of the series. Whatever he draws dies. So if he draws a portrait of you, then you will perish. It’s almost like the Deathnote but even more deadly since he doesn’t have to know your name.
The way his power works doesn’t always seem to be consistent though. For example, sometimes when he draws you, you will die immediately. Other times you do not so I assume he has the power to decide when the effect takes place. It’s a very ominous moment when he draws a picture of the Earth. this does tie into the title of the series very well though. For most of the series, Alone is building himself a giant portrait but the challenge is getting “real” colors which cannot be drawn so easily. You can probably imagine that blood is one of these “real” colors.
Now, while Tenma wants to save him, it’s safe to say that Alone is really insane though. The amount of people that he murders during his journeys is absolutely staggering. The guy just does not stop and takes out several villages and quite a lot of innocent bystanders. So whenever Tenma is trying to talk him down, you feel like it’s just too late for all of that at this point. Alone made his choice.
As for Hades himself, well he really doesn’t get to do much of anything here. The guy’s role is incredibly small so while he is very powerful, there’s not much to say about him. I would also argue that his willpower is not very great since Alone was able to overpower him the whole time. So much for his abilities right? At the end of the day Hades will always return so you should respect his power but I wouldn’t have minded the series going on a little longer so I could have really seen that.
Pandora’s role here is a lot bigger than in the original series and I was definitely a fan of hers. See, Pandora can actually fight and rather well at that. In this version she can fire off energy blasts and was able to take out many enemies on her own. Perhaps she isn’t a match for a Gold Saint but she is able to take out all other challengers. She is really attached to Hades and wants to protect him at all times but doesn’t take a passive role in this. She goes out to find and destroy any threats to him which is really what you should be doing as a bodyguard at all times. You definitely won’t be forgetting her by the end.
She does have a rather twisted first appearance where she takes out an animal though. I thought that was a rough start to the series in general as this happens in chapter 1. Fortunately the manga doesn’t tend to fall into that hole after that but you’d think that you want to start a series on a super high note. Whenever a chapter 1 is this rocky I feel like the editor needed to step in and do something. It’s always risky not to have a 5 star chapter 1 4 sure.
Shion was the Pope who got utterly wrecked in the first series so it’s nice to actually see him looking tough here. He crushes Worm in his first fight and he gets a particularly big moment in the climax against one of the gods. He is around the whole time though so there is no shortage of action for him. You get to even see him teaching Mu how to use his spells here so that bond’s established early on.
Sasha is the new Athena and I can tell you right away that she is a huge improvement over the main one. Sasha can actually fight and does do so as she goes up against Pandora at one point. While Sasha is still on the losing end most of the time, I appreciate the fact that she is actually fighting. I always thought it didn’t make sense how all of the gods are these super powerful fighters while Athena couldn’t do anything. It just didn’t add up and this version fixed that by making her a true fighter right out of the jump. The moment where she puts on the armor is a powerful moment as well. She wants to save Alone too and ends up being a very loyal companion all the way through.
Dohko is the first Gold Saint to show up (He wastes no time since he’s beating up Specters as early as chapter 2 with the war already starting. I guess it’s more of a cold war at that point since Hades and Athena have not directly acted but you can tell where it’s all going) and he ends up really being the first mentor that Tenma gets. He’s always around with some wise words and can fight really well. I like Dohko’s absolute confidence and it’s something that we got to see a bit of in the gold saints spinoff. Here he is in his young form the whole time of course and it’s crazy what a better character he is when he’s not being Shiryu’s mentor.
Yuzuriha is the member of the third party faction that I mentioned earlier. It is always interesting to add another group in and personally I tend to love the idea. Her group isn’t strong enough to be a threat to the villains but they do come in handy when it comes to the supernatural elements like bringing people back to life. She can also fight well on par with a Silver Saint which is handy here. Her role is rather large as a supporting character. Often times she is with Unicorn who also gets a bigger role than usual here. Unfortunately he can’t usually contribute to the fights too well but he always has Tenma’s back and that means a lot on its own. He really takes it hard when Tenma is murdered the first time.
Albafica is the first Gold Saint to have a serious fight with one of the judges and he does well in the role. His poison abilities are really handy even if they are a double edged blade to himself. That means he has to handle himself with great care at all times. To also be protecting a whole town is a testament to his skill as a Gold Saint. He may not have gotten to appear a whole lot but he certainly left an impression.
Asmita was another big hero to show up. I wasn’t crazy about his role considering his power though. I feel like he could have helped out so much more in the fights if he had chosen to just keep on going. His role was still pivotal in terms of sealing the enemy’s resurrections but with his power level I just wanted him to fight more. He helps spur Tenma into action and gets a suitable backstory and all. I guess I have to be satisfied about that.
Aldebaran has the same name as the guy from the first series but it’s definitely a different person. Perhaps it’s part of his Taurus constellation and he just chose not to give his name out. Either way I thought he was a big improvement over the main version. For starters, he does actually appear to be one of the strongest of the Gold Saints which is fitting with his being a power type. I always thought it didn’t make a lot of sense that he is a power type but was treated like fodder the whole time. Here he gets to fight off against the strongest of the 3 judges, at least in my opinion after seeing them all fight. He also does extremely well in the fight and I like his competitive spirit. He ended up being one of the more memorable Gold Saints.
Sisyphus gets a bigger role towards the end of the series. From the start we know that he is one of the stronger Saints as he is able to overcome Hades’ intimidating presence while the other Gold Saints were take out right away. It would seem that the one with the bow and arrow is always quite strong in Saint Seiya. I thought he was a solid character although he was easily manipulated and had some confidence issues. Sisyphus may not stand out as much as some of the other Gold Saints but he is certainly someone that you would want to have watching your back.
Cancer wasn’t my favorite Gold Saint initially, I found him to be a little weak but also super unreasonable. At one point he captures Tenma so the hero can’t escape to go and train. I never like when the heroes lock up their own allies, it feels counterintuitive. Fortunately Hades was locked up by his troops at the same time so that ended up well enough. I gained some respect for Cancer when he went to the villain base to attack Thanatos though. I thought that was a good moment to show that he feared nobody and was a very emotional kind of fighter.
The Pope also got to have his fight around this point. His spells are handy which makes u for his not having a whole lot of super abilities. I don’t think he can hold his own as well as some of the other fighters but in the end he did help out so that’s what counts. He also has his brother from the tribe who helps him train as well and the two make for good partners.
El Cid shows up to get some action but in a way you feel bad for him. He has to deal with villains who really come out of the blue as the “Dream gods” who fight him on different realms. I thought the whole thing just felt like it was thrown together at the last moment. It was also a complete counter to his legendary sword. He gets back up and keeps on fighting but he definitely had a lot to deal with right out of the gate. Ultimately it was a good way to show his determination as he had to fight many battles in a row.
This also meant that poor Tenma had to deal with more ghosts from his past again so in a way we got that arc twice. While the dream gods felt random, they were still decent enough for the most part. Morpheus was the most impressive and did well against Tenma. All 4 were strong though and they even had a fusion mode which was as strong as you’d suspect.
Kardia is the Scorpio Gold Saint of this era and he’s fun. He does have a bad habit of toying with weaker opponents while he looks for strong ones though. You’d think this would be beneath him as a Gold Saint but I suppose he doesn’t have that level of honor. That’s what keeps him from being one of the all time greats here. I like his burning passion though and his fight in the Poseidon arc is good.
Meanwhile Degel does well in his battle. It’s a little harder to get invested in his fight since he’s battling with someone who isn’t super interesting. Degel does do well in the fight though and works well enough as one of the last Gold Saints to show up for action. There’s only so much time for everyone to get involved with so many fighters on the field after all.
Gemini also makes an appearance late into the series and his first fight is later still. He does end up having a very big role though. The whole Gemini angle is always something that means he will be dealing with his own issues during the fight but he is ultimately able to push past them. I wouldn’t say he’s as good as Gemini Saga but he contributes a lot and is as powerful as you would expect.
Then you’ve got Leo. He’s the youngest Gold Saint and has a lot of passion in each of his blows. He ended up being one of my favorites by the end. He did well in guarding the ship and had a lot of responsibility for one so young. The series is quick to show that he’s a true prodigy. That can often be a red flag for a fighter this deep into the war but regardless, I think you’ll be invested in his character right off the bat.
Bennu is easily my favorite villain in the series and I would go as far as to say he was my favorite character in general. The guy reminds me of Garou in One Punch with how he would get stronger after every fight. Bennu starts out as a match for Gold Saints right out of the gate and only goes higher from there. He has a strict honor code which I like to see in a villain. His dark fire abilities are also very impressive. The guy isn’t a yes man and follows his own ambitions to the end. Any scene/fight with him was always guaranteed to be a blast.
Niobe may appear whiny from his design and how you know him in the original series but he actually doesn’t look all that bad here. He almost wins his first fight and has a natural counter to a Gold Saint’s ability. “Almost” may not count for much in a fight but it was still a good look. Then you have Minos who really got to go all out as one of the 3 Judges. His ability to move people against their will like a puppet is certainly incredibly dangerous. It has to be one of the more frustrating skills to go up against as well. Albafica was a really good match-up for the heroes because of his poisons. Otherwise this could have been a really tough fighter to bring down.
Cat Sith was a reasonably strong Specter. While he may not stand out as much as some of the other high ranking fighters, he got his own fight against Tenma which automatically means he got more of a role than most. I would have liked to have seen more out of him but he had a good design and was a solid fighter so in the end I can’t ask for much more than that. He can be rather subservient to Pandora out of fear at times but seeing as how Pandora brutally beats and murders her opponents you can see how that would happen.
Rhadamanthys is another one of the Judges to fight and he does really well. He reminds me of Bennu with his absolute confidence and dark element attacks. I would give the other guy the edge but Rhadamanthys is close and certainly not someone to scoff at. When he enters the arena, the whole dynamic changes. He is that one guy that absolutely nobody wants to face off against. His battle with Scorpio was a lot of fun. I’m not crazy about his whole servitude angle later on though. He allows Pandora to completely humiliate him because he says that doing anything else would be traitorous but there’s limits to this.
I felt bad for his subordinate Valentine who was trying to stand up for his honor. You can’t stand up for someone who refuses to defend themself though. To an extent it will end up being futile and that’s exactly what happens here. He gets credit for not backing down though. Additionally, this was how we got Pandora’s biggest fight in the series so that was a blast.
Then you have Unity but he’s a villain that I don’t like. One of those petty villains with a short sighted goal that won’t make anybody happy. Sure, he is powerful but that’s not enough to make him a really solid villain. At least that was definitely not the case for me. He’s more interesting because of the mini arc he’s in and how this all relates to Poseidon but that’s all I can say for him.
Veronica is one of the more twisted specters from the Underworld and she really doesn’t mind using any underhanded tricks to get the upper hand. As a villain with no honor code, you can bet that I wasn’t much of a fan of hers. I much prefer villains who just get out into the open and start landing attacks. That’s the best way and if you can’t win like that then you just take the loss.
Violate is the first big villain to arrive during the boat arc and she’s a fun specter. She is one of the highest ranking members and can really fight quite savagely. Her battle with Leo was excellent and she remained a loyal ally to Aiacos right through to the end. Aiacos liked to talk about bonds and even he had to recognize hers by the end. The two of them had a good dynamic going. Not enough where you were rooting for them over the heroes or anything like that but it was nice to see. Both of these villains were memorable and helped make the boat arc a complete success.
Sphinx is one of those villains who tries to act fair and just but naturally there is a plot twist about him cheating. A villain like that definitely takes a big hit with me because I tend to like my villains to have a bit more honor. If you’re going to cheat then do it boldly and right in front of the heroes to show that you mean business. Don’t slink around or anything like that.
Gemini Aspros is one of the villains who shows up near the end and he’s definitely an intense fighter to have to go up against. His abilities are impressive. The guy ultimately couldn’t defeat his own inner ambitions which means that his willpower is rather weak but at the end of the day he had a decent character arc. Too bad he just couldn’t be stronger a little sooner. That could have turned the whole war upside down.
Mephistopheles is another boss to show up at the end and he almost feels like he’s from a completely different series. Hie design just doesn’t really feel like a Saint Seiya character, perhaps it is because of the costume he uses. He does not wear a Saint’s armor or anything like that. I remember being really surprised when he showed up. I didn’t like the guy though. I know they’re going for the big troll who’s the mastermind behind everything angle but I just don’t think he needed to be here. I’m also confident that Hades or Tenma would have quickly crushed him if the guy wasn’t always running around.
Partita also shows up as another twisted fighter to face off against Tenma. Sure, she does have a super convoluted plot about why she is acting this way but honestly it didn’t help her case for me. She really put Tenma through a ton of grief and pain both physical and mental. There was no excuse ready for this. While she is still a lot better than Mephistopheles, I was not able to like her by the end. I just see Partita as a full villain all the way.
Thanatos and Hypnos certainly get their time to shine as well. As always those two look quite powerful here. As lesser gods, they still have more power than any of the Judges and even more than a standard Gold Saint. Fighting them always proves to be quite the hassle. It’s impressive that Hades got them on the payroll considering you’d think that they would want to do their own thing. I mean, to an extent they do manipulate him regardless but in their own way they think they’re being really loyal.
So yeah there’s a lot to like here and it’s really a terrific cast of characters. At worst you may just get annoyed seeing Tenma and the Bronze Saints lose so often. It does make sense with how the Bronze Saints are supposed to be the weakest though. In a way the power levels make more sense here as a result. Aside from Tenma who is able to shatter his limits by the end, each rank is accurate. A Silver Saint can never beat a Gold Saint and a Bronze can never beat a Silver. That’s just the way that it is and whoever evaluates the power within Athena’s circles is better at his job here.
In general I do think the power levels are really solid here as well. The Gold Saints are far more powerful than any ordinary Specter (They seem to be the equivalent of a high bronze or low silver) but the 3 Generals are each as strong as a Gold Saint if not a bit stronger. Than the 2 gods are more powerful than any Gold Saint so you need 2-3 to take them on. Naturally at the top, Hades is even more powerful. It’s a very straight forward power level system which allows for a bit of flexibility for some fighters who keep on getting stronger. Tenma of the heroes and Bennu of the villains are strong examples of this. They continue to rise up the ranks as the series progresses until they are near the very top.
So lets talk a bit about Alone’s goal now. It’s a very classic goal you see a lot of villains have nowadays. Basically he thinks this endless cycle of violence and knights destroying each other needs to end. So his goal is to destroy everyone completely to the point where they are taken out of this cycle. It’s the classic “Death is Peace” kind of argument that the villains like to throw around. Now, this is usually one of those pretty insane ramblings that you ignore but in the context of the Saint Seiya world it’s a little interesting. I go more into depth on this later on in the review but basically when you die you get tormented for all of eternity in most cases. If you are a hero then you are absolutely doomed and if you were an evil villain then you might get some peace. This is because the villains own the world after death.
So Alone knows first hand that there is no peace. If he can successfully dismantle this system, then perhaps everyone could finally rest. Since the Underworld is tangible, he could try destroying that but he needs to destroy everything at once. I don’t recall if he gave a specific reason why he couldn’t just destroy the Underworld first. I think this goes back into his being a villain. He wants everyone to be absolutely dead so if he destroys the Underworld first then Athena’s forces could wipe him out. So he has to take out both sides to end the conflict. Still a villainous goal of course but I would have loved to have seen Athena or one of the heroes figure out a way to take out the Underworld for good. If you ensure that death is permanent without destroying anyone, then that seems like a fair compromise. You still get to live your life as well as possible and don’t have to worry about the villains messing with you after death. Because as this series shows repeatedly, they absolutely don’t mind doing so.
Even though the arcs are all related to the big war, I’ll quickly break down some of what I would consider to be the mini arcs. First you have the trip to Italy which does not go well as Tenma is murdered and Alone takes everyone out. It was the first big loss for the Gold Saints and the various fighters all around. It was a good way to establish Alone as a true threat though. It’s so short that even calling it a mini arc may be generous but either way it made for a good time. It’s what really kicks off the war since we have our first casualties.
After that you have the mini arc where Tenma needed to be resurrected. He really got to experience the Underworld very quickly didn’t he? It’s a good adventure here and we meet the next Specter known as Fedor who was reasonably tough. Granted, he was fighting some of the weaker fighters there but it still made for a good entrance fight as the heroes went deeper into the Underworld to complete their quest. While not as over the top exciting as the future arcs, we were still slowly building things up so it made sense.
Now the next event was what really marked the turning point for Lost Canvas as an elite title. Hades sends the first judge over to take down Athena so Minos shows up along with a bunch of minions. The first battle is against Albafica, the first Gold Saint. Technically his temple isn’t the first one but he went down early to prevent them from going any further. The battle is epic and lots of nonstop action. It’s why I can’t state enough how endless the battles are here. It really is a big part of what makes the series so fun. You’re never done with the action and it’s a very dramatic arc as well as the fight comes down to the wire. Really an all star fight.
After that, we get the big fight with Bennu and Aldebaran as the next big battle. This was a sizable encounter which was the next really cool fight. It was the first full showing that Bennu was not just some mindless Specter like most of the others who craved battle above all else. No, he actually had drive and determination which made the fight even better. It was a really good way to also raise the stakes right away.
From there we had the fun meetup where Hades attacked the palace and he has his big meetup with Alone. Lots of cool things happen there and Aldebaran even gets to fight some more challengers later on but the next big event was the forest of illusions. It’s always a classic plot to have the lead have to confront the memories of his dead friends. In this case it’s particularly disturbing for the characters because the villains rule the Underworld. So here’s the dark twist in the Saint Seiya verse. When you die, you go to the underworld. There is no other place, your soul is sent down there for Hades to mess with.
If you’re really lucky, then you go to Elysium which is a fairly nice place, but again it is still under the rule of Hades. So if you were helpful to the heroes or did anything that attracted his attention, then you’re basically doomed. I thought this was a really sad moment even more so than usual because that means the heroes have no hope in this verse. When you die, the villains capture you. There’s no way to live forever so your only hope is for your opponent to have a soul destroying attack so that you are obliterated from reality. I feel like the heroes should have a realm of the dead so that they can save the innocents. Since they don’t, I’d say the responsibility falls on Athena since she should have wiped Hades and the Underworld out long ago. So this arc really gives you a lot to think about. This concept is revisited near the end of the series to really confirm this and how hopeless the whole situation is.
After some more battles the heroes would launch their next big offensive on Hades’ castle. Of course the tough part there is that it weakens all Saints so the pope decided to go on his own to lower those defenses first. A pretty risky move for sure and I feel like they should have just all attacked. I get that they’d be weakened but surely the odds are better than just the Pope going right? At least it was the best display he’s ever had as the guy took on tons of opponents. Now that was super impressive and he lived up to the hype. The siege doesn’t last very long though as the heroes were out of their depth again. This is certainly one war where the heroes don’t win every battle.
We then split to two different plots. In one of them, Tenma gets trained by the Gemini Saint while in the other one the two Gold Saints Degel and Kardia head over to Poseidon’s area to see if they can get some help or at least a weapon with which to fight Hades. I thought this was a good idea, why not try to make an alliance at this point right? Naturally Hades sent his own men there to cause some trouble so it wouldn’t be as easy as all of that. Poseidon’s an interesting wild card so it makes sense that each side is super interested. The way it plays out is also interesting. I would say it doesn’t make Poseidon look great but the whole reincarnation angle makes things tough for everyone in these things.
After that is the big boat arc where the heroes have to construct the boat so that they can reach Hades and the Lost Canvas. Of course that means that the villains want to get over there and stop them by any means necessary. This makes for a really solid arc with lots of battles and of course Hades steps in himself. That guy absolutely does not mind entering battles on the front lines, he seems to rather enjoy doing so if anything. I think that’s part of what gives the villains an edge in this series, having your leader fight alongside you is a big moral boost.
Finally that leads to another invasion of Hades’ castle but this time it’s the final one. The series isn’t afraid to add in a bunch of new elements at the very end of the series though. Were you wondering about Tenma’s parents? No? Well that makes sense since we saw Tenma at the orphanage but it turns out that he did have parents and they were both incredibly powerful fighters back in the day who are now on the side of evil. I thought this was super random personally but hey, it means we get more fight scenes which is always a plus. Naturally the climax is really crazy with a ton of action at all times which is good. That’s how you want to end the series.
The series really has a 7 Samurai kind of feel to it. One by one the Gold Saints continue to be bumped off during the war so you know that even if the heroes win, it will be at a huge cost. These wars certainly go all out every 200 years and you can also see why the characters would be utterly sick of them by this point. Most of the players change and yet they know about the history really well. For characters like Athena and Hades, it must feel repetitive even if they think each time will be the last one.
One thing I also liked about the war here is that it feels more like a war than in the classic version. What I mean by that is you have battles going on at different fronts with Athena and Alone (Acting as Hades) making moves directly. For example, at one point Alone is tired of waiting so he breaks into Athena’s domain on his own to fight against the Gold Saints and take her down. Later on you also have Athena taking the fight to him. Since Athena isn’t just kidnapped for the whole arc this time, it makes the war a little more strategic as they both have to make their moves to take the other out while protecting their domains. Also, seeing Hades actually confront the Gold Saints and bend them to his power helped to establish him as a big threat here.
So finally, why does this one beat the original Saint Seiya. Well, lets look at this area by area. Lost Canvas easily wins in terms of artwork, I don’t think many would debate that. There’s a world of difference between the two series. The OG has better Bronze Saints and I would say Seiya beats Tenma as a main character. This series has better Gold Saints who aren’t constantly betraying Athena and the heroes. The villains are also better in this one although it’s close. As a whole the Lost Canvass wins in the character cast.
I’d also say the plot is more engaging. With a war going on throughout the whole series, there is no time for breaks. While the original also had a lot of nonstop battles, this one took it to the next level. There are a ton of twists and turns around every corner too which keeps you off balance. Now, not every plot twist needs to be here to be honest like Mephistopheles and his whole plan. (His final twist was really good though) Others were a blast though like one that plays out like Aizen’s big plan from Bleach. Lets just say that there was more than one puppet master running around in the shadows. Finally, I’d say that this one was able to take the hype to the next level. It was able to do everything the original did in the Hades arc and then some. The first series had 3 gods fighting it out in the final arc, this one had close to 10. The characters had to keep on surpassing their limits because of how powerful the villains are. We had several factions by the end so it was hard to predict exactly what would happen.
Hades’ army also just looks more impressive. In the original they had the help of many Gold Saints and still couldn’t do much. Here they had many more powerful fighters which helped to make this an even war. I’d also say the massive upgrades to Athena, Pandora, and Alone help to put this ahead too. So, Lost Canvas just wins in more areas than it doesn’t. This is still a pretty close battle, I would say they’re absolutely still in the same league and everything. I would just have to lean towards The Lost Canvas for the win here and with the plot being a lot more dynamic and less formulaic, it also has more replay value as an added bonus.
Overall, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas is a spectacular title. Athena and Alone/Hades were big improvements in this version and I was also glad to see Pandora get a big role. Just look at the picture I put right above this paragraph. Could you have imagined Athena fighting on the front lines with the others before now? It’s really got top tier action at all points and the character roster is very solid. The art is excellent as well. You can’t go wrong with this one and you’ll be blasting through it at high speeds from start to finish. It sets a high bar for the other Saint Seiya spinoffs and I don’t think they will be able to match up but I look forward to seeing the attempt. Whether you read this after the original series or before it, you’ll really have a great time here. It’s no wonder that this Holy War is referenced a lot because it ended up being extremely important and this is really the peak of Saint Seiya.