A Shoujo Action Fantasy!
- Episodes : 10
- Genre : Action, Adventure, Seinen
- Airing Date : December 10, 2018 – February 18, 2019
- Producers : Gonzo
Saint Seiya: Saintia Sho Introduction
Taking place parallel to the beginning of the original Saint Seiya series, we have the Saintia’s (an elite group of female Saints) battling against Eris, the Greek goddess of strife and discord. Not only has Eris managed to kidnap Athena, but she has possessed the body of Kyoko, the sister of Shoko, the main character. Shoko then inherits Kyoko’s responsibility as the Equuleus Saint. Along the way, she will make some nakama and gain the help of some familiar faces in her quest to save Athena, her sister, the world, and herself.
What We Liked About Saint Seiya: Saintia Sho Introduction
Though it is a spin-off of the original Saint Seiya, it is by no means a prerequisite to watch Saintia Sho (though it does help in context to Aiolos and Saga). It tells its own distinct story with its own cast. While the upcoming Netflix remake to the original has been met with controversy in regards to Shun becoming female, some fans suggest to watch this show instead in order to see how female empowerment works in the world of Saint Seiya.
Granted a fraction of the cameos are fan service to pre-established fans, some serve a purpose, most especially Milo’s. Milo has a prior relationship with Shoko, and that is given exploration in this series. It also ties up some loose ends from the original series such as Aiolos’ relationship with Saga, who killed his brother, which we never got to see in the old series. You see them do battle one last time and see Aiolos come to terms with his brother’s death. Seiya has a passing cameo, but when he meets Shoko, you do see him being of encouragement to her.
2. Re-defines the Mythos
Saintia Sho also does a great job of re-defining the mythos to make it work in its own way. Usually, female Saints have to wear masks as a symbol of throwing away their femininity. However, this series creates a loophole as to why Shoko and her fellow Saintias don’t have to wear them. As a matter of fact, Masami Kurumada, the original Saint Seiya creator, always wanted Athena to have a personal band of bodyguards and give them a distinguishing role. Due to Saintias having a special ranking as Athena’s personal bodyguards, they are given special exception to not having to wear the masks previously established in the original story.
3. Great Seiyuu Cast and Music
Like the original Saint Seiya series, this installment manages to find the right seiyuu cast. Aina Suzuki (who you may know as the voice of Mez in Akame Ga Kill), the voice of Shoko, does a great job of capturing her resolve in regards to how she cares about her sister and Athena. Though Mii is a minor character, Megumi Nakajima’s (the voice of Ranka in Macross F) bubbly performance makes her stand out. And Mao Ichimichi (or Hikari in Digimon) as Eris captures her seductive and sadistic nature. Not only do these fine actresses voice the characters, they do a great job of contributing to the opening and ending themes.
1. It Follows the Same Formula
If you’ve seen Saint Seiya, in just about every arc, the Saints always have to save Athena from the big baddie of the saga. In Saintia Sho, just right after she gets saved by Saga by the Bronze Saints, the Saintias now have to save her from Eris! We swear! She gets kidnapped more than Princess Peach! If you’re not familiar with Saint Seiya, then get prepared to get a quick crash course as to how the plots function!
2. The Art is Not Faithful to the Manga
This is a petty criticism, but is worth signifying. With the original manga, the art style appropriately adopts a softer and more feminine approach as a Shoujo manga should, since that’s what Saintia Sho is. As for the anime, the characters are designed in a manner to suit the original TV series. So, when you see the Gold or Bronze Saints make a cameo, we can appreciate they are presented in a way they were in the original anime, but changing everyone else just insults the fans and the source material. People love Saintia Sho for its Shojo qualities, and they are entirely removed from this anime.
3. Lack of Development
Much of the development focuses on Shoko (and with Aiolos and Saga), and that’s understandable. The reason why people love Saint Seiya so much is because each character gets their moment in the sun, and how they function as a group. Not only do we get to see them shine individually, but as a team as well. When the Saintia team finally comes together, you don’t really see them develop as a group (considering the chemistry of the seiyuu cast is underutilized). Of course, this can all be blamed on its present episode length and hope we can get more episodes in the future (as the end of episode 10 seems to indicate). If this is the only season, then it’s a disappointment that this is all the anime has to offer when it has so much potential.
The manga is still in publication upon the drafting and uploading of this review, and we know the manga argument is a dead horse, but it doesn’t meant it doesn’t apply. Lots of long-time fans are right to be disappointed with the changes. The anime had a foundation to providing a quality story and the studio blew it! Can a second season redeem it? We are hoping so! In the meantime, can we get more episodes of Lost Canvas instead?