Very few anime series become precursors of trends. Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, and Naruto are probably the ones mentioned the most. But among them, we also have to count Saint Seiya. Created in 1986 by Masami Kurumada, Saint Seiya told the story of Seiya and his companions, the Bronze Saints of Athena, who defended the reincarnation of the Goddess of Wisdom, Saori Kido, from different threats to her and the whole world. It was adapted to anime in October of the same year and slowly but surely built a huge fandom all over the world.
Because of this popularity, in 2006, two spinoff manga were created; Saint Seiya: Next Dimension, penciled by Kurumada himself, and Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, written and illustrated by Shiori Teshirogi. While they were originally planned to tell the same story of the first war against Hades, the God of the Underworld, soon they both went in different directions. Lost Canvas, despite being now considered non-canon, got the first two parts of the story adapted into an anime in 2009 which is to date, considered by the fans the best-animated spinoff to Saint Seiya.
Here we have some great reasons why you need to watch Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, no matter if you’re a long-time Saint Seiya fan or a newcomer to the franchise.
The Animation is Gorgeous
Saint Seiya has had some up and downs when it comes to animation, from the first series that had two different teams of animators and went between really bulky muscled character designs to the most famous ones made by Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno which are quite different from Masami Kurumada’s style. Saint Seiya: Lost Canvas doesn’t suffer from that, as Yuko Iwasa’s designs are very close to Teshigori’s. As the series was produced as an OVA, they had a better budget and because of this, the animation is more dynamic.
The Plot of the Previous Hades War
In the original Saint Seiya series, we’re told that the reason why the Saints exist is to fight under Athena’s orders to fight the Gods that want to destroy humanity. We know it was a bloody event, that only two of the Gold Saints survived, and that to keep Hades' army from ever coming back, Dohko had to remain the rest of his life watching the door to hell. So actually watching the epic battle and how it came to pass is quite amazing, even if we know that it’s not going to end well for the heroes.
Seeing Old Characters Again
This is mostly for those fans who liked Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter, but seeing both Shion and Dohko in their youth before they had to become the Pope and the Guardian of the Hades’s door is just plain enjoyable, especially as they aren’t as serious as one would expect from the oldest characters in the original saga. For fans of the first anime, seeing them in their peak is worth the whole series.
Tenma and Alone’s Relationship
Although Alone spends most of the anime trying to destroy the universe because he believes it's the best way to stop suffering, there's no denying that he loves his friend Tenma. One can say he's completely obsessed with Tenma to such a worrying degree that it makes one wonder if he's trying to destroy the world just because Tenma seems to have sided against him with his sister Sasha. Tenma, on the other hand, wants to save his friend but is aware that the world comes first. And that complicated conflict makes the whole series advance.
Seeing All the Gold Saints as Heroes
While not all the Gold Saints were villains in the original, they were antagonistic at first and, once the Sanctuary arc was over, the few survivors got relegated to very occasional cameos until the Hades saga. So Lost Canvas is our first chance to see the Sanctuary working as intended, with all the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Saints as a single team and the Pope working directly with Sasha/Athena. Because of this, even with the foregone conclusion that all of the characters will die, it’s still amazing to see the Sanctuary in its glory days.
Thanks to the new Netflix series, Saint Seiya is back in the general public’s eyes, and Lost Canvas is one of the series that we can watch while waiting for the next batch of episodes. So go, enjoy it, and let us know what you thought of the Lost Canvas!