Saint Seiya Vol. #08 (of 12) (

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, August 10, 2004

What They Say
The hunt for the Gold Cloth has grown more complicated ? twelve times more complicated to be exact. There are several sets of Gold Cloth and just as many Gold Saints to don the sacred vestments. But who is loyal to Saori, the Goddess Athena; who is loyal to the sinister Pope Ares and his vicious plans for world domination? It is time to choose sides and choose wisely they must!

The Review!
Revelations are made that changes the nature of the entire battle and more secrets slowly unravel behind the mystery of Ares.

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. For this volume, there is a severe issue with the English language version. Episode 40 is missing all sound effects on the English language track. This is a known problem but as of this writing there is no resolution for it.

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.

Continuing to use multiple characters for the covers instead of giving each of the majors a chance to shine, we get both good and evil with this volume set against the usual mixed starry backdrop. 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.

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. As is the case with most ADV releases, our players language presets were read perfectly.

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)
As the mythology around the series of Saint Seiya continues to grow and change, we learn more and more about how the world is set up with these characters and just what's been going on all this time. This volume brings to light some surprising revelations about the gold cloth itself and its place in the scheme of things as well as revisiting Saori's history a bit, but with something of a twist.

Up until now, we've had mostly encounters of bronze versus bronze in the early stages when it was all still just a competition and then it moved on to the silver versus the bronze as Ares set his minions out to destroy them so he could solidify his power base and eliminate the one potential problem to his rule. But as he realizes here, he's underestimated the power of the bronze warriors and they've managed to far surpass what their power levels should have topped out at. What he ends up realizing, though not making clear to anyone else really, is that he knows it's due to Saori as the reincarnation of Athena that's helping them become more than what they ordinarily would be. But even still, as we learn more of the history of things, the bronze warriors come across as the true personal warriors of Athena and therefore make sense to have a continually growing level of power in order to defend her from when they're first chosen.

In order to deal with this, Ares decides that he's had enough fooling around. Since all of his silver warriors are defeated or in ruins, he's forced to resort to having one of his gold cloth warriors deal with this. That alone is a surprise since up until know we've basically though there was only one gold cloth, but it turns out that there's quite a few of them and Ares has a couple of them in his employ. As we learn, two are missing and the one that Saori's group has is the Sagittarius one. Even with the one cloth he's still fearful of what they could potentially do and we see glimpses of his reasoning why when one of his gold cloth warriors tries to tackle Seiya after he ends up wearing the armor. Seiya's like a babe in the woods with it in some regards, but the real truths come out as Saori takes the field herself and becomes more involved in the actual war that's going on.

There is a lot of character interaction throughout this volume that really beefs up the relationships here. Seiya and Shina end up getting a lot of things covered in between their attempts to fight each other and it exposes some of the stranger history and customs of Sanctuary. With very few women actually becoming saints, it's interesting in how they have to deal with it by wearing the masks and not being able to reveal their faces ? particularly when a number of the men look so completely feminine at that. Much as we learn more of Sanctuary, we learn more of Saori's own escape as a baby from there and what went on then that's actually affecting things now. A number of things continue to come full circle as the series goes on and this volume is no exception.

In Summary:
While English language fans have a problematic volume that we hope gets resolved quickly, the material that's on this release is just fantastic. Saint Seiya has so completely changed from what I originally viewed it as that I'm feeling the need to go back and revisit those early episodes to see what I may have missed since it was so easy to dismiss the entire thing as another tournament show. The series is doing an excellent job at being very entertaining forty episodes into its run and building upon a rich and interesting history that's not used in every other anime series out there. With a good episode count and a very cheap price, this is such an easy recommendation to make since you get so much for so little.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Mythology Information

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B/F
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 19.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Saint Seiya