Saint Seiya Vol. #11 -

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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: 19.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya Vol. #11

By Chris Beveridge     March 28, 2005
Release Date: April 05, 2005

Saint Seiya Vol. #11
© ADV Films

What They Say
The Battle of the Sanctuary is raging! The Bronze Saints have only twelve hours to enter the Twelve Houses of the Zodiac and save Saori! And, what happened to the Gold Saint that swore his allegiance to Athena? The answer proves to be tangled web of love, hatred, and dirty tricks.

The Review!
With a heavy focus on the House of Leo, Saint Seiya faces a challenge he certainly didn't expect.

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 definitely looks much more cartoonish than the actual show does, it does keep the focus on the main characters that really make up the episodes here but otherwise doesn't look all that good. 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 the image of Gemini's head is used in the upper righter corner with some 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 multi-page segment that goes over the mythology of the ancient Greeks.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The journey of the Bronze Saints up through Sanctuary as they tackle it House by House continues much as we've seen in the past couple of volumes. The series is already very heavy on the fighting sequences and it's little surprise that it makes up the bulk of this volume but what we do get mixed in between is some interesting character background and development that does provide some amount of payoff.

Seiya's arrival in the House of Leo is by himself since the others have urged him on while they deal with some of the previous Gold Saints. Seiya's actually not expecting much of an issue when it comes to the House of Leo since the Gold Saint there is Ailola. We'd encountered him previously when Shina was involved in trying to capture Seiya and Ailola had ended up seeing the true way of things and pledged his loyalty to Athena and would work with the Bronze Saints in trying to get things fixed. His return to Sanctuary with the wounded and unconscious Shina was the last anyone had heard of him up until now. And unfortunately for Seiya, he's not the man he was before as he's now completely focused on not letting anyone get through his House.

The fight between the two is mixed in with plenty of flashbacks to their last fight and the dialogue between them as Seiya tries to convince him not to fight. The actual fight itself is surprisingly brutal and Seiya finds himself dealing with someone he previously knew he couldn't quite win against who is now completely focused on eliminating him. Ailola is pretty determined throughout this and a bit malicious in some ways. It's amusing that they can essentially fling each other through massive columns of stone and not break anything but when Seiya breaks his leg, all his enemy does is stomp up and down on it.

One of the areas that I actually really liked with this set of episodes, more so than the fight, dealt with Shina and what had happened when she and Ailola had arrived back at Sanctuary. While he had gone off to deal with the Pope, Ailola was left with her student so that he could care for her. Surprisingly, it's someone we haven't seen in awhile as it's Cassios, the person that Seiya had to fight initially to earn the Bronze Cloth. Bringing him back into the show wasn't something that I had thought of when they came to Sanctuary but his motivations are rather interesting since he's in love with Shina but knows that she's in love with Seiya and doesn't want to hurt her over that. Their flashbacks to the time she trained him and the way they interact really added nicely to the character as does his near gentle-giant inner monologue when it comes to her.

A couple of the other Bronze Saints get some minor screen time as they try to catch up to Seiya and Saori continues to have her last footage seriously reused as we see the pan of her with the arrow in her chest, but it's Ikki who gets some of the more interesting material that takes place outside of the House of Leo as some of the next Gold Saint's pupils are sent off to deal with him. Ikki's one of the more curious of the Saints since he's surprisingly introspective during his time spent on the island where he's been for some time now. The fighting material for him though is rather fun and the two new fighters he gets to go up against certainly provide for something of a challenge.

In Summary:
While the plot continues to be relatively the same, enter a House, fight the Saint, get their asses handed to them and then discover the secret to getting past them, it does manage to be entertaining and with enough subplot material to allow the show to breathe without focusing strictly on the fights. The emphasis of the relationships between Shina, Cassios and Seiya really work well in this set and getting some new Ikki material was a real bonus. Good stuff though I wish they'd tackle some of the Houses just a bit faster.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Mythology behind Saint Seiya

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 10:44:52 PM

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