Saint Seiya Vol. #06 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, May 22, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2004



What They Say
The sinister Ares has overthrown his brother and appointed himself Pope of Sanctuary. Using his evil mind-control powers, Ares has built a legion of vile assassins including several Silver Saints. All with orders ? not only to capture the Golden Cloth, but to kill Seiya and the rest of the Bronze Saints. It's time to take the battle to the bad guys.

The Bronze Saints attack! But not for long. The Silver Saints are strong and overpower our heros, putting both the boys and the safety of the world in grave danger.

The Review!
The Silver Saints just keep coming as they try and fail at proving their superiority over our friends with the Bronze Cloths.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. With it being such an older show, we weren't surprised to get an effectively mono mix through the stereo encoding it received. Just about every feels center channel based and overall it sounds decent. The dialogue suffers from a bit of muffling to it and some of the higher end sounds get a touch scratchy at times, but it's nothing that really screams out badly. It's simply a product of its time.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1986, the transfer for Saint Seiya here comes across quite well. There's a fair bit of grain throughout the episodes but it's mostly noticeable during the darker sequences or when there is a lot of dark blue on the screen. Colors are varied and look good but obviously lack the vividness from more recent shows. The transfer is thankfully free of problems like cross coloration and aliasing, but the tradeoff comes in the form of some nicks and other bits of dirt on the print.

Packaging:
Breaking from the tradition of the first five volumes, this cover goes for an ensemble shot with Hyouga and Algor while also letting the trio known as the Steel Saints get a shot at being in the spotlight. And much like the past volumes, this obviously isn't the best artwork out there as it tends to look even more comical. The show uses the new logo and nicely lists both the episode numbers and the disc volume. The back cover has a few shots from the show itself and some backdrop artwork to fill things out a bit. The summary provides a look at the premise of the show, which is almost useful to read prior to watching the first episode. Episode numbers and titles are listed and the usual array of production information. The box of technical information is squished down a bit here to fit in but is still quite useful. The insert replicates the front cover while lacking the corporate logos and the reverse side has the episode numbers and titles.

Menu:
The menu layout is strikingly similar to the cover, which means we cast shot tightened up a bit and in the corner with some more vibrant colors while the opening song plays along. Selections are lined along the bottom, though there isn't any individual scene selection, just individual episodes. Access times are nice and fast and the menus load quickly.

Extras:
The included extras are minimal though not entirely unexpected again considering the age. There's a textless version of the opening and ending sequences. There's also a nice multi-page segment that goes over the mythology of the ancient Greeks.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After all that occurred in the past volume with the first round of Silver Saints that came to Japan to kill Seiya, the group had spent some time trying to figure everything out. But rest is not on their side as they were quickly attacked once more within their ruined coliseum by yet another Silver Saint.

The battle there continues on in this volume and goes pretty furiously even though it's just Hyouga that's able to take him on since the others don't have their Cloths on them and Saori's there with the remaining Gold Cloth piece that they're protecting. The battle takes an interesting turn though when three other Saint style warriors appear out of nowhere and watch the proceedings, committing to neither side at first. It's only when things start to go badly for Hyouga that the trio, who introduce themselves as the Steel Saints, intervene and take down the fireball shooting Silver Saint who really made only the barest of impressions on the viewer.

As it turns out, the Steel Saints were created by the team working for Saori's grandfather ten years ago as an aid to Saori should she ever need it in the future. They worked off of the plans for the actual Cloths themselves and built mechanical replicas with varying powers. They may not be quite the same thing as the real Cloths, but they're still powerful enough as a trio to help out. Unfortunately, they're gifted with some of the goofiest helmets yet in this show, and that's with Hyouga's helmet having a freakin' swan on the front of it. One looks like cat ears, another toucan's beak and the final one a fishy fin head. We don't get to know the trio all that well other than through some of the combat maneuvers, but we do get some of the history later on in the episodes that fill in some of the blanks.

The biggest change within the main group comes from the fact that they know who their actual enemy is now, and that it's the Pope at Sanctuary who is manipulating things towards their destruction. Seiya decides to take Shiryu and Shun with him to Greece so they can do some scouting work and figure out what's going on while the others remain behind to guard both Saori and the Gold Cloth. The knowledge of Saori really being this generations incarnation of Athena has certainly upped her value. The scouting mission is amusing in its own right since they take a plane aimed directly at Greece from Japan, which means the Sanctuary folks know about it right away.

That bit of knowledge sets up the bulk of this volumes fight sequences as Shina takes two Silver Saints with her to help crash the plane on one of the remote Mediterranean islands and then finally kill Seiya. Her comrades are definitely more interesting than the last one. One of them is a rather ugly looking but very powerful telekinetic who is able to keep his opponents at a distance while mentally pummeling them while the other, Algor, has a very powerful weapon in the form of a shield imbued with the essence of Medusa, giving him the ability to turn the Bronze Saints into stone whenever he's able to. Combined with Shina's personal intent on taking down Seiya, the battles here are very engaging and fun to watch.

In fact, the battles here bring us to a climactic situation that shows just how far the Bronze Saints will go to fight their enemy and simply not give up in the face of adversity. I won't say I was surprised at the move in particular, but I was more impressed by the fact that they haven't tried to correct it within the next episode or two and fixing that character back up to full health quickly. This series definitely doesn't have an issue with screwing over a character in order to move things forward.

In Summary:
Saint Seiya's moving forward at a fast and enjoyable clip now and it's continuing to be pretty enjoyable all told. Some of it does still feel like it's being dragged out and I'd rather see a few less episodes of fighting for a volume or two and see more character growth on a different level and get the larger story moving a bit more, but considering its origins and the kinds of tales told then, this series is holding up quite well. It's certainly doing better than a number of other mid 80's series that have driven me nuts over the years, and that's saying a lot. This volume provides some good twists and turns in both stories and character issues and continues to cement it as a solid boys fantasy show.

Also of interesting note only to people like myself, ADV has moved the Anime Network and NewType ads from the beginning of the volume to playing at the end of the volume after the last episode but before the MOFC credit. I really like this idea better than front loaded trailers and hope that it seeps over into other releases quickly. With as many ADV discs as I see, I really can't stand hearing the ads for either of those media whenever I load up a new disc.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,The Mythology of Saint Seiya,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 19.98
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Saint Seiya