The second thirty episodes of the classic action series is a nice title for old-school action fans, but nobody else.
What They Say
The cosmos is bound together by an incomprehensible web of strength, power and - some would even say - magic. And only by a select few may these forces be harnessed! Seiya is a mortal from Japan who has been trained and has excelled. The time has now come for him to test his skills in battle and to claim the sacred cloth: cloth that will change the order of the universe; armor that will earn Seiya a place in the cosmos; cloth that will establish his rank among the Saints. Throuhg a series of tournaments and trials, Seiya must not only defeat some of the most powerful fighters ever to set food in the ring, but he must also defeat the demons within himself... Long live the Saints! Long live Saint Seiya!
For this viewing, I listened to the English dub, which is offered in 2.0. A Japanese 2.0 track is also available. Despite having a stereo mix, there was very little directionality with this release. Everything seemed to stay centered, effectively giving it mono sound. It is a shame since there is so much action, but since this title is from 1986, it is not entirely surprising. What we do get sounds nice; the dialogue, music, and effects are all mixed well so there is no blending or fade out anywhere.
Again, being from 1986, this series looks as you might expect, with duller colors and visuals than you would expect for a more modern release. As you might also expect for an 80s action title, there is a lot (excess, glut, overabundance, plethora, whatever) of repeated cells and animations, which really stands out more now than it would have then. But despite these issues, the transfer is pretty impeccable. There were no technical flaws and only the occasional spec or blemish on the originals. So long story short, it looks about as good as it could twenty-plus years later.
This collection comes in one of ADVs newer stack packs, of which I am frankly not a fan. The front cover has head shots of all five Bronze Saints, while the back has a summary and some screen shots. The five discs are all on one spindle (hence—stack pack), which makes for a nice compact package on a shelf. But as with all stack packs, I get irritated at having to remove multiple discs to get at discs at the bottom of the spindle, and I worry at the long term scratch potential there is with the discs just essentially lying on top of one another.
Pretty basic affair with the menus. The main menus each have a picture of a Bronze Saint ready for battle, with the menu selections offered in a fancy font underneath. There is no “Play All” button, but the episodes do loop to the next, making “Play All” not necessary. The selections are easy to read and follow thanks to the golden lettering and dark backgrounds, so I have no real complaints, but the look could have been a little nicer.
Aside from a few trailers, there are no extras on this release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Following on from the first collections with another thirty episodes, this collection of Saint Seiya takes us a little past the halfway point of the entire series. As the first collection ended, Seiya and the Bronze Saints had defeated most of the Silver Saints and finally figured out that the Pope and Sanctuary were the cause of all of their problems and are now setting out to figure out their next course of action.
Ikki leaves on his own to train and heal, but the other four decide to raid Sanctuary and confront the Pope, meaning that they have to fend off the challenge of the Gold Saints. Even with Athena on their side, that is a huge challenge. An encounter with the Leo Gold Saint Aiollia sees Seiya briefly don the Sagittarius Armor to aid in surviving the battle, but the challenge just underscores the troubles they will face; those troubles are compounded when they are attacked just after arriving, and Saori is wounded with a golden arrow that will take her life in twelve hours unless they can pass through the twelve halls of the Gold Saints and face down the Pope in time.
After a bit of a slow start to the first collection, I was fairly invested in the Saint Seiya by the time I sat down to begin this one. The story is a bit disjointed at times—though it makes more sense the farther I get in it—and the action can be repetitive, but when I stopped thinking about it and tried to enjoy the ride, I found that I did. In fact, I have come to enjoy the sort of campy charm that time has lent it. For example, Female Saints are supposed to keep their face hidden at all times, but at a time in the past, Seiya accidentally sees Shaina without her mask, prompting her to forever hold a grudge and chase him for roughly forty episodes. But when she reveals that she is bound by law to either kill Seiya or love him for this transgression, she ultimately chooses love. Part of me groaned at the predictability of all of this, but another part just loved the cheesiness of the whole thing.
But in particular, I have really bought into the character of Phoenix Ikki. I thought he was an interesting antagonist early in the series, and he has developed into an even more interesting partner of Seiya’s. In terms of raw power and talent, Ikki far surpasses any of the other Bronze Saints and even has little trouble with the various Silver Saints that he has to fight. In essence, he is far too good for the Bronze Cloth. As can be expected, being infused with the power of the Phoenix makes Ikki fairly immortal, and no matter how much trouble he gets in, you can expect that he will rise up from his ashes to fight again. And frankly, I love his Demonic Fist and how it attacks the sanity of his opponents rather than doing anything physical. He apparently meets his demise when taking down the Virgo Saint Shaka, and even admits as much as he is disappearing, but I refuse to believe it will be permanent.
But me now getting interested in Saint Seiya brings about my biggest issue, and that’s whether or not we will see any more of Saint Seiya. With this collection, we are now sixty episodes into the series, and are now at the point where ADV stopped in the singles run (and previous collections too) with fifty-four episodes left to go. Earlier this year, ADV admitted that they were monitoring the sales of these two collections and were not against starting up dubbing again and bringing the rest over. With ADV now officially defunct, the question is up in the air as to whether or not we will see any more. Frankly, with a property as old as this, I would be surprised if a new entity decided to continue it, but there is always hope. What bothers me the most is that ADVs run ended thirteen episodes before the Sanctuary storyline is supposed to end and the series shifts to different storylines; had they made it all the way through the Sanctuary story, we could at least have a little bit of closure.
With sixty episodes gone, my thoughts on Saint Seiya remain the same: fans of 80s action titles would probably find a lot to enjoy with this, others not so much. And frankly, with it unknown as to whether the series will ever see its conclusion in this country, who knows whether it would be worth getting into. It is a bit of a catch-22: high sales might convince somebody to localize the rest of the series, but with no guarantees, I do not know if it would be worth getting invested in it, especially as there is no closure of any kind to the current storyline.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System