Saint Seiya Vol. #04 -

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: 15 & 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. #04

By Chris Beveridge     February 20, 2004
Release Date: February 24, 2004

Saint Seiya Vol. #04
© ADV Films

What They Say
After the death of Ikki, the rest of the Bronze Saints are left scrambling to pick up the pieces. Docrates has not only come to steal the Golden Cloth, but, blinded by rage, he is also plotting to kill Seiya. Called into action by the evil Pope Arles, Docrates will stop at nothing?even going so far as to attack Saori and the Kido Foundation itself. Meanwhile, the evil Pope has even crueler plans for the Bronze Saints and the entire world. Hijackings, kidnappings, pirates, ghosts, hired henchmen and a slew of vile vendettas? the Saints will have to return to their roots to fully understand the magnitude of the perils that lie ahead. And one of them will even have to face his old master.

The Review!
The gold clothe pieces continue to change hands as Seiya and company chase after them, dealing with the forces that continue to make their lives difficult.

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, Shun gets the cover with his full armor set on, complete with his nebula chains moving around, 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 Shun 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)
While the last volume saw some progress, as well as the defeat of Ikki ? granted, there was some form of salvation for him as well with it, the main problem going into the late teen episodes here continues to be that the gold clothe pieces are continually moving into different hands. While Ikki had things at first, he's lost them now after trying to redeem himself by taking in Docrates powerful attack.

Though initially Seiya and the others believe Docrates is down for the count, it doesn't take long for him to come back and attack at the Grand mansion itself. While he's got most of the clothe material, he needs that one helmet piece or otherwise he can't go back. Little things like this continue to tell Saori that there's a bigger menace behind the scenes orchestrating things. In talking with her departed grandfather, he tells her how his goal was to organize the Saints as whenever something dark in history has come, they've been there to stave it off, from Napoleon to the Roman Empire. This also tells her smartly enough that it's the Saints that really count in the end, everything else is just materials.

Things that go around come around is the central theme of the arc across this volume. As we learn, Docrates is actually the older brother of Cassious, whom Seiya defeated to gain the Pegasus Cloth. So there's some family pride involved there when Docrates tries to stop Seiya from regaining the other old cloths. And as we learn of the power struggle that has been completed in Sanctuary, Seiya's old master has lost her position and isn't quite as close to the new Pope as she was the last one. The new one has instituted a number of changes there and Sanctuary is starting to become less like it once was and now something far more sinister.

But during all of this, we continue to follow Seiya and the others as they get new leads on where the cloths are. While Docrates wasn't too much of a match overall, there's a real challenge that starts to come when Shina, using her connections to the new Pope, sets her student Gyste free from her prison and lets her capture one of the Grand Foundations tankers in the Caribbean. This is pretty much a direct call to the Bronze Saints to come and fight them for the prize, which they of course oblige. Gyste, who has her own grudges and scores to settle after being imprisoned for ten years, takes her own students and launches a weird but very dangerous series of strikes upon the Bronze Saints as they come to answer the challenge.

In Summary:
The tournament mode is pretty long gone by this volume, though there's still that slight feeling about it as Seiya and the others continue to move "up the ladder" of villains to stronger and stronger ones. Unlike the usual tournament material though, the villains continue to get some good stories for their backgrounds, particularly as the Bronze Saints start going up against their former masters and friends who have been subverted by the real menace that's making its presence known. The show has continued to improve a lot since the first volume, though there's still plenty of corny moments and typical 80's repetition shots, but this one has me more entertained than a few other similar series I've seen over the years.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,The Mythology of Saint Seiya,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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