Saint Seiya Vol. #09 -

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: 19.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya Vol. #09

By Chris Beveridge     December 17, 2004
Release Date: December 14, 2004

Saint Seiya Vol. #09
© ADV Films

What They Say
The attack on the Sanctuary begins! With all the Saints finally together, they depart on their journey to stop Pope Ares and his vile plans of world domination. The Bronze Saints must pass through each house of the Zodiac, defeating the Gold Saint who guards it. And they have only twelve hours to complete this task, or Saori dies. Hurry Saints! Race to save Saori!

The Review!
Arriving at Sanctuary and being greeted with revelations abound, the Bronze Saints are set on the long road ahead to reaching the Pope.

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.

While the artwork here still looks more cartoonish than the actual show does, this cover goes for the dramatic approach with several of our Bronze heroes looking angsty while the image of a wounded Saori takes up the bulk of the background. She at least looks fairly decent in this piece. 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)
Saint Seiya manages to amuse me in interesting ways, though it's something that a lot of older series have done as well so it's not a specific thing. In the previous volume things had gotten a bit dire for one of our characters and he's found himself wrapped in chains and just trying to stay alive. It's a critical cliffhanger and you wonder how he'll get through it. Tune in next week for the 2 minute conclusion to the scene before we kick off the next storyline!

The thin continuity between episodes is kept here and the series then moves on to the real meat of the episodes that are going to be in this volume and presumably several more. Now that Saori and the Bronze Saints have come to the conclusion that there's more than one Gold Saint in the world, they realize that they have to take their fight to Sanctuary itself so they can get the answers they need. Since there's still the belief among those there that Athena is being kept secreted away from view by the Pope for whatever reasons he has, Saori and her guys know better and it's easy to see just what kind of strings the Pope is pulling in keeping the sham going. But the belief of their being more than one Gold Saint has brought about an interesting concept.

With their arrival at Sanctuary, they're actually greeted right from the start and it's not done in a threatening way. Instead, it's explained that if they actually wish to have any sort of confrontation, verbal or physical, with the Pope that they need to ascend a particular area to reach his House. To get there, the group must travel through the Twelve Houses that exist there and within each lies a Gold Saint that's representative of that zodiac sign. Once through the twelve, then they're at the Pope's residence and then finally able to go where Athena's chambers lie and where Athena has not been for nearly thirteen years. So, unsurprisingly, we're getting another variant on the tournament aspect as the group has to make their way through the various houses and take on incredibly powerful superior fighters.

At least it doesn't seem like it will take too long as before they even get to the first house, Saori finds herself struck by an arrow that's left her poisoned and on death's door. With the sense of urgency to their fights, the group moves towards doing just that and we get to see the first couple of Gold Saints come into play. The only one worth mentioning in a fighting aspect is Aldebaran of Taurus. This covers a couple of episodes of fighting since he starts off by dealing with just Seiya and then the group at large, but the battles are all meant to strengthen Seiya and the others so that they'll be in a position to be worthy of fighting the Pope when they get there. The real question is, which Pope will they eventually find? With the Gemini house being not quite what they expected and the potential duality of the Pope coming into play, it's all fairly well telegraphed here what the plan is but I still suspect there may be a curve ball or two coming.

Though the show has gone back into tournament mode fairly quickly, I'm enjoying the fact that they're actually at Sanctuary now and that there's some interesting new adversaries to deal with that are significantly more powerful. The fights are also causing Seiya to have flashbacks to his earlier time spent there when he was on his quest to win the Bronze Cloth. We get a good mix of his upbringing and training here that helps flesh him out and of course is always useful for dealing with the battle that he has at hand. It's all pretty pat and in place a lot of times but there's still a certain rawness to the way it runs that's pretty enjoyable.

In Summary:
The next phase of the battle to reclaim Sanctuary from the Pope and to convince the other Saints exactly what's going on is underway with this volume now that they take the battle directly to the enemy and act instead of continually reacting. Most of the Bronze Saints come off fairly well here but the real focus is on Seiya as he barrels through a lot of the fights while the others are unconscious. The location is more important to him since he came from there but the shift to individual fights when the need for a team effort is surprising, especially as the others don't seem to mind getting knocked around so much. The new adversaries in the form of the Gold Saints and the revelations given here all point towards an interesting series of episodes to come as we learn whether they're right or not.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,"The Mythology of Saint Seiya",Clean opening and closing animation

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.


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jnager 3/13/2012 8:06:45 PM

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