So a lot of people who follow my blog always ask me about Saint Seiya. Most of the time it’s a series they have never heard of or they just don’t know where to get started because there are so many versions of the story. I’ve looked for something like this and couldn’t find it, so I hope this helps! Also I’m going to try and keep this as spoiler free as I can! Please let me know if I have omitted anything or if any info is incorrect.
So before we begin here are basics about Saint Seiya!
Saints! Bronze Saints At the bottom you have the bronze Saints, there are 48 total but only 10 appear in the story. Important Bronze Saints (The main characters!) Pegasus Seiya, Dragon Shiryu, Cygnus Hyoga, Andromeda Shun, Pheonix Ikki
Silver Saints! The Silver Saints, there are 24 total but only 16 appear. Important Silver Saints Eagle Marin Ophiucus Shaina
Gold Saints (all important) The strongest are the Gold Saints, there are 12 total and all 12 appear in the story. Aries Mu, Taures Aldebaran, Gemini Saga, Cancer Deathmask, Leo Aioria, Virgo Shaka, Libra Dohko, Scorpio Miro, Sagittarius Aioros, Capricorn Shura, Aquarius Camus, Pisces Aphrodite
Athena! he Goddess of Wisdom, Cunning, War, Strategy, Civilization and Hope. She protects the peace and love of the earth since the mythological times, with the help of her Saints .Unlike other gods who use human bodies as vessels for their spirit, Athena is instead actually born as a mortal girl underneath her statue in Sanctuary every 200 years, to lead the Saints in their next Holy War and to protect the Earth from danger. In the twentieth century, she was reborn as Kido Saori.
Cloth! The Saints wear a ‘cloth’ which is essentially an armor that protects them signifies their rank in Athena’s army of 88 Saints. Each cloth is molded after a constellation.
Cosmo! The main source of power for a saint is their Cosmo. Cosmo is the source of life for all living beings and all humans have cosmo inside themselves, but only a few are aware of it and make it ‘burn’ until is explodes. This gives the Saints their superhuman abilities and the more the Cosmo is increased the more extraordinary the power becomes.
Saint Seiya Manga Published in Shonen Jump from 1986-1991 for 28 volumes The series is written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada it follows the story of five bronze Saints who serve and protect the Goddess Athena. The original manga is broken down into three arcs the first is the Sancuary Arc (Volumes 1-13) where our main bronze Saints are first fighting in a tournament called the Galactic War for a chance to wear a Gold Cloth! The tournament is cut short by Pheonix Ikki who seemly wants to steal the gold cloth. Afterwards the bronze Saints are attacked by Silver Saints for the Gold cloth. The Bronze Saints are then forced to do battle with the 12 gold saints in order to save the life of Athena. The Second Arc is the Poseidon Arc (Volumes 14-18), where the greek god poseidon has been reincarnated and wants to flood the earth! The third and final arc is the Hades Arc (Volumes 19-28) has Athena and the Saints travel to the Underworld to defeat the god Hades after he is freed from his seal.
If you’re a purist go for this version obviously.
Original Anime Aired 1986-1989 for 114 episodes The anime has three arcs as well. The Sanctuary Arc (Episodes 1-73) which follows the same plot as the original manga. The Asgard (74-99) which is an anime only filler. Pollaris Hilda is the representative of Odin on Earth. She is possessed by the Nibelungen Ring, after rejecting its influence she sets her sights on world domination in the name of Odin. The final arc is Poseidon (Episodes 100-114) which also follows the same plot of the original manga. The anime was then cancelled and left unfinished.
Besides adding in an extra arc (giving the manga time to catch up to the anime) There are some differences between the anime and manga. Some major differences would be changing Hyogas master to anime only Crystal Saint instead of Aquarius Camus, the inclusion of Steel Saints which are man made clothes worn by 3 boys, and adding more stories with more Saints that never appeared in the Manga
Even though there are differences in the anime and manga it is still a great way to get into Saint Seiya. Even though it has a totally 80’s vibe the animation is still decent and the music is amazing! Though if you don’t like obvious filler and want to get to the best parts of the story the manga may be your way to go.
OVA (Hades, Hades Sanctuary, Hades Elysion) Aired 2002-2008 for 31 episodes 13 years later Saint Seiya is back and ready to be finished! As with the original anime, this arc follows the same plot as the original manga. However not much is either added or taken away they stick pretty close to the source material. The titles are only different because there were several year breaks in production of this season and it came back with a different title even though it was continuing the same story. Just watch them in the order listed above.
Obviously you should watch this if you watched the original anime. If you liked this arc of the manga defiantly give it a watch too. The animation is definitely upgraded and it still has a great soundtrack like its predecessor.
Films Evil Goddess Eris 1987 The film is independent from the canon and chronology established by Kurumada in his manga. In the movie plot, Seiya already has awakened to the Seven Senses, thus the movie can be situated after the Sanctuary arc in the chronology. A new character called Eri makes a wish, it is stolen by Eris, the Greek goddess of Discord, who uses it to revive herself.
The Heated Battle of Gods 1988 Due to this film’s popularity, Toei Animation created the Asgard saga for the anime, which did not originally appear in the manga and is set between the Sanctuary and Poseidon arcs of the story. it is the task of the Bronze Saints to defeat Dolbar, Loki and the rest of the God Warriors, to save Athena and Hyōga.
Legend of Crimson Youth 1988 Unlike the other Saint Seiya movies made in the 1980s, this one was a full featured film, having a running time of 75 minutes. The events occur sometime after the Poseidon saga. Athena receives the visit of Phoebus Abel, her older brother and God of the Corona. He informs her that he has come to destroy humanity as punishment for their corruption, just as it was done in ancient times. When Athena rebels against Abel’s plan, he attacks her, sending her soul to Elysion, the final resting place from which there is no return. The Bronze Saints immediately rush to the Sanctuary to save her and ultimately overcome Abel.
Warriors of the Final Holy Battle1989 The plot involves the coming of Lucifer to the Sanctuary, where his underlings systematically dispose of the surviving Gold Saints. Athena goes to Lucifer to ask for peace, placing herself in peril. The Bronze Saints must then come to her rescue, destroying Lucifer’s Fallen Angels in the process.
Heaven Chapter Overture 2004 After the success of the OVA series Hades - Chapter Sanctuary, this movie served as a continuation to the Hades saga.The movie focuses mostly on Seiya and Athena, as the other Bronze Saints are not seen as much; they only appear during their respective fights with the other Angels, and briefly towards the end. The Goddess Artemis, Saori’s older sister, comes to Earth to ask why she is not fulfilling her duties as a Goddess and takes control of Sanctuary in her stead.Upon invading the Sanctuary, the Bronze Saints learn that Athena was banished by Artemis and decide to fight the moon goddess in order to rescue their true goddess and free the Earth from Artemis’s ominous control.
Saint Seiya Legend of Sancutary 2014 This is the first Saint Seiya CG animated film. It is the adaptation of the Sanctuary Battle.
These films in my opinion are hit and miss. Some are really great fun and others are just boring or just repeat a plot thread from the series. And while none of them are cannon I would recommend you finish the series in whatever format you are experiencing it and then watch the movies and decide for yourself if they are worth the watch. However you can watch Legend of Sanctuary with no background.
Episode G (24 volumes; 20 in the original 2002-2013 run, a side volume tited Volume 0: Aioros, and a sequel with 3 volumes and ongoing from 2014.) This is a non cannon manga not written by Masami Kurumada but written by Megumu Okada. The story of Saint Seiya Episode G is set seven years before the events of Masami Kurumada’s Saint Seiya. The protagonist is the Leo Gold Saint Aioria. The Titans, ancient gods with a desire for revenge on the Olympian gods, attack Sanctuary to retrieve the “Megas Drepanon”, the weapon into which Zeus had used to seal their King, Kronos away
If you really liked the Gold Saints in the original story, this manga can be a hit or miss. There are a lot of references to the source material and it does retain the spirit of Saint Seiya. And the concept of seeing the Gold Saints do something before we meet them is interesting, but I don’t need to read this to know they are powerful and can do amazing things. Plus we already know their fate since we see them all in Saint Seiya. Also the art is… different. The characters do not look the same and this can be a bad thing. I personally am not a fan of this, and would not reccommend it as an introduction to the Saint Seoya universe but you can’t get enough gold saint action then give this a read!
Next Dimension (9 Volumes 2006- current) This is a cannon prequel and continuation of the original Saint Seiya manga! The story in “Next Dimension” starts shortly before the end of Saint Seiya where the main characters are fighting against the god Hades. The god is reminded of his past incarnations and the events that occurred in the last war between Athena and himself 243 years earlier. In the present time, Pegasus Seiya is under a curse from Hades that will kill him in three days. Athena decides to save Seiya and is accompanied by the Saint, Andromeda Shun. They travel back in time with the aid of Chronos, but are sent further back than intended so that they end up during the previous holy war.
This is a cannon work so if you read the manga or watched the anime this is a definite read after you finish the original Saint Seiya Manga/ anime.
The Lost Canvas (25 volumes 2006-2011, Anecdotes 13 volumes 2011- current) (Anime 26 episodes 2009-2011) It is a spin-off manga written and illustrated by Shiori Teshirogi. Originally envisioned as a comic book whose purpose was to work simultaneously with Kurumada’s Saint Seiya: Next Dimension. The approach was quickly abandoned, as both works greatly diverged, Kurumada’s Next Dimension stayed as the canonical telling of these events, and The Lost Canvas as a separate alternate retelling. The story takes place in the 18th century, and focuses on how an orphan known as Tenma who becomes one of Athena’s 88 saints and finds himself in a war fighting against his best friend Alone who is revealed to be the reincarnation of Athena’s biggest enemy, the God Hades.
Now since we have Next Dimension, this seems almost like glorified fan fiction but the art is nice and it does have an interesting story. I wouldn’t use this as an introduction to Saint Seiya, but you can watch the anime or read the manga without any prior knowledge and still understand what is going on. If you are reading Next Dimension and really enjoy the stuff with Pegasus Tenma, then this is a good read/ watch to hold you over until the next volume of Next Dimension comes out.
Omega ( 97 episodes 2012-2014) (1 manga volume 2013) Omega was created as an alternative to the series’ direct sequel Saint Seiya: Next Dimension due to lack of material to adapt. As a result, rather than refocusing on the returning cast, Toei created a new generation of Saint who would succeed the old cast. The series follows a young teenager known as Koga who becomes one of the 88 Saints of Athena. As the Pegasus Bronze Saint, Koga embarks on a journey to increase his power to save Athena while meeting some other Saints.
Omega is one of those things most people either love or hate. The decision to have our previous heros as side characters really turned some people away. Also the fact that now Cosmo isn’t enough to be a Saint you have an element type as well. However this series is entertaining and does continue the Saint Seiya story. There is a lot of fan service not as in naked chicks but seeing the ‘other’ bronze Saints actually do stuff, or having Kiki be the gold Saint of Aries are just cool things that you always thought happened and now you can actually see it. If you don’t like non-cannon works, stick with Next Dimension. If you are curious enough to see how Toei will treat some of your favorite characters then defiantly give this a watch!
Saintia Sho (3 volumes 2013- current) This is a non-cannon manga, set immediately after Saint Seiya, The main character in the series is a young female Saint named Shō, who protects Athena and her Sanctuary from the attack of Goddess of Discord, Eris. The series introduces a new class of female Saints, which are known as Saintia, Athena’s personal maidens.
If you wanted more chicks in Saint Seiya then give this a read. I don’t think it’s a strong enough premise to warrant a ton of new material, I mean we have female Saints so this doesn’t particularly speak to me. For me, this is more of a ‘I have nothing better to do’ kind of read.
Soul of Gold (13 episodes 2015) This is a non-cannon web series produced by Toei animation, After giving their lives in order to destroy the Wall of Grief and thus help Seiya and his friends reach the Elysian Fields to protect Athena, all twelve Gold Saints reappear in Asgard, after being mysteriously revived. While looking for answers about why they were brought back to life and by whom, the Gold Saints must fight a new enemy that threatens Asgard with their new, enhanced Cloths.
Now this is an interesting concept since it is a spin off based on filler that they are trying to ‘fill in’ a gap for the gold saints between hades, and elision. Just like Episode G this isn’t cannon but at least the characters all look like themselves. If you love the Gold Saints this is a fun watch. If you didn’t like the Asgard arc, then you should skip this.