Saint Seiya Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • 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: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya Vol. #03

By Chris Beveridge     January 18, 2004
Release Date: January 13, 2004

Saint Seiya Vol. #03
© ADV Films

What They Say
The fighting continues as the Bronze Saints struggle to recover the Golden Cloth. The pieces of the armor are scattered about, and each of our heroes will have to prove his mettle in order to return the stolen mystical armament to Saori. Answering a challenge from Phoenix, the Bronze Saints must prepare themselves for their most personal adversaries yet-the Black Saints. Secrets about Phoenix's past are revealed, answering many of the questions surrounding his torturous time living on Death Queen Island. The Black Saints are taking control, the Bronze Saints' are falling apart, and a new foe, enraged from a loss from his past, is threatening the lives of them all.

The Review!
The battles between Ikki and the other Saints continue as he challenges them to one on one battle in Murder Valley.

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.

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.

Going with a similar theme for this volume to past ones, Hyouga gets the cover with his full armor set on and looking striking against the backdrop of the galaxy. 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 get another shot of Hyouga in his Saint armor 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.

The included extras are minimal though not entirely unexpected again considering the age. Since there is no textless version of the opening sequence available, we get the original Japanese version here without any of the English credits. There’s also a nice multi-page segment that goes over the armor of the ancient greeks.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the events of the last volume separating up some of the Saints and causing Saori to change the way she deals with them, this volume moves forward by having Shiryu, Shun and Seiya heading to the Northern Alps where Ikki the Phoenix has challenged them to a fight for the Gold Cloth that each side has. The place, Murder Valley, is unlisted on any map and is feared by even the locals in this area. Though the region is heavy in snow covered mountains, this particular region is more craggy and snow-free but has the problem of having some sulfur emissions throughout it. And some very deep chasms as well.

While the three of them make their way around the valley, Shiryu continues his sacrifice with Mu to try and revive the armor pieces. So with that still an issue, Seiya makes his way through the Valley with only his normal outfit and no armor. And as these situations go, all three of them split up to cover more ground, which allows for them to be picked off one by one by the Black Saints. It doesn’t take long before this happens either, with Ikki coming down hard on Hyouga and the others getting attacked as well. Seiya finds himself in the worst trouble after getting hit by a Black Meteor, a process that changes his skin to a dark brown and drains the life from him.

Hyouga’s going up against Ikki right from the get go doesn’t help much either, as Ikki is either underestimated or just not given the credit he deserves in what he’s trying to pull off. With his ability, an seemingly the ability of every saint, to not be harmed by the same attack twice, Ikki brings Hyouga to a near death state with a variety of attacks, including one that messes with his head and reminds him of his long dead mother and how she met her final resting place. Ikki also starts to make short work of his brother Shun later on as well, continuing to dislike how his brother has still been whiny in his eyes and weak as all can be.

Throughout the five episodes, it’s very heavy on the fight sequences, going from being pummeled initially to gaining an edge to losing the edge and then going against all odds. When Shiryu makes his way back with Seiya’s armor, he at least starts to have a fighting chance and it helps even the sides up a bit as well. But so much of these episodes are focused solely on just the fight sequences that there isn’t too much progress elsewhere. There are some good flashbacks mixed in though, such as getting to see more of Ikki and Shun’s relationship from a few years ago to the eerie watery grave that Hyouga’s mother lived in for some time. And the fight sequences aren’t bad either, though they do suffer from some of the usual things found in 80’s shows like this. It’s not the most engaging thing in the world, but it’s not the tournament style show I was initially fearing from the first volume.

In Summary:
At this stage in the game, Saint Seiya isn’t a show that will change the world of peoples perceptions, but it’s a surprisingly violent and bloody show for young boys that teaches the value of friendship, sticking together and fighting for what you believe in. It’s easy to imagine how much has been cut for the TV friendly version which only makes me appreciate this unedited release even more since it allows the show to be a bit more than the usual painless slugfest you usually see on TV.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,"Armor of the Ancient Greeks",Original opening animation

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.


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