23 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Saint Seiya Omega episode 1

I’m not going to pretend to be the guru when it comes to the history of anime, but I’ve absorbed enough in my life to know which ones are significant. It seems to me that, in the early 80’s, the shounen genre split into two. The first was that of Fist of the North Star, the hyper masculine heads exploded fest. The second went down the Saint Seiya path, homoerotic tension between beautiful angsty men in squeal inducing costumes. Being the newbie that I am (relatively speaking), I haven’t experienced either of these two grandfathers of shounen, but thankfully I don’t need to, and neither do you, because Saint Seiya has gotten the reboot.

Saint Seiya is about a token beautiful lady who acts as a magical mcguffin to drive the plot and provide our faaaabulous pink haired protagonist something tangible to fight for. Apparently this lady is of some significance, because a man composed of galaxies tries to kidnap her, only to be saved by a man dressed in this season’s tackiest shade of shining gold. This man is a Saint, which in the new definition of Saint means he transforms into magical flashy armour and fights bad guys. So they’re essentially Precures except they’re men, and don’t need stupid annoying sidekick pets to help them transform.

As you can probably tell, the plot really doesn’t concern itself with explaining details. The token Power Level Metric of the week is called Cosmo, which could be replaced with elephants or sausages and it would make as much a difference to the plot. To be fair, the story doesn’t really expect you to follow events too closely anyway. Our galaxy composed villain never specifies why he needs the lady, but it’s not particularly important anyway. You just need to know that he is Bad and our pink haired hero need to Save Her and all that jazz.

It’s all a bit dumb…well OK, it’s very dumb, and also appears to be lacking even an ounce of self-awareness or even a sense of humour. In fact, there’s very little here to latch onto. The artwork is gorgeous. Again comparisons to Precure have to be laid out, what with the character designs being penned by the same woman who did Heartcatch. Much like Heartcatch, the scenes really do burst with colour, all vibrant and beautiful and there’s a man made of galaxies. Like seriously, the man is composed of galaxies. It really is a visually thrilling piece. It even has a Bitchin’ Transformation Sequence, as if the Precure comparisons couldn’t stop coming.

Pluses over Precure so far is the lack of annoying magical sidekicks, and the villain seems to be at least somewhat competent this time around (again, he’s made out of fucking galaxies). Problem is, beyond the nice animation, there isn’t anything to latch onto as of yet. The plot is a joke. The characterisation is dumb, particularly when the main characters ideals are driven by this magical lady who is a beacon of hope and goodness and screams “I will die at the end of the first act”. Perhaps its appeal lies in its cheesiness, but the lack of a sense of humour in the vein of Aquarion EVOL rather undercuts that appeal for me. Colourful animation and a man made of galaxies can only keep me going so far.

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  1. Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    >char­ac­ter designs being penned by the same woman who did Heart­catch
    Excuse me, Umakoshi would like his penis back.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      No, it’s mine!

      • Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        Why would Scamp want to steal someone else’s penis?

        I just can’t seem to figure out any good reason for doing such a thing. Scamp, it’s about time that you show us your true colors.

  2. RogerMoore
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t even planning on trying to watch this, but “man made of galaxies” pretty much forces me too. A man made of galaxies. A man made of galaxies.

    -completely ignores the rest of the post-

  3. Maximillian
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    The original Saint Seiya was actually quite bloody and violent too, though I suppose general TV standards were far more liberal in Japan at the time. That’s obviously not going to be the case with Omega in this day and age.

    The first series wasn’t particularly intelligent either, but then again shounen shows are all about fighting, hot blood, friendship/rivalry, mystical gimmicks and special effects. Not truly sophisticated stories with plots that make lots of sense. In that sense, the original Saint Seiya and Fist of the North Star were quite similar (and, yes, it’s a fact that homoerotic tension isn’t absent from FOTNS either).

    This new show…I didn’t like it much, but then again I wasn’t having high hopes either. The animation was good, at times, but the art style does little for me. The standard “rescue Athena” plot is to be expected but also boring, lest they choose to include some twists.

    • Maximillian
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Also, there were never any characters made of galaxies either…and the original characters had a box where they occasionally stored their Cloth/armor instead of using jewels to transform (the box wasn’t always a requirement though). Both of those aspects have, of course, been changed in Omega.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      I’ve noticed a lot of old fans aren’t so pleased with these character designs. I think they’re pretty great. Old school designs re-imagined for a new age. But I’m no fan of the series, so eh

  4. TheVoid
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    The bad guy is the Roman God Mars. Which is kinda weird when these Saints protect the Greek Goddess Athena and he uses Gungnir the weapon of Odin.

    Seriously why do series these days butcher mythology so badly?

    • Scamp
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Welcome to every anime that uses foreign mythology ever

      • TheVoid
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        There are series that do their research when it comes to foreign mythology. I just wish more did.

    • Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Well, since its a franchise from the 80’s, the butchery isn’t actually that recent of a thing.

  5. luffyluffy
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    I remember seeing a few episodes of Saint Seiya back when it was Knights of the Zodiac, and I always thought it had a really cool premise.

    Idk, sign me up I guess.

  6. Kamui
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Hmmmm….is it weird that I like it then?
    It’s still the first episode, so there’s still a lot of time for explanations, character development and the like later on. I mean the first episode of Aquarion EVOL wasn’t so great either, but I’ve come to love it over time. Right now I’m just happy with colorful explosions, hotblooded fighting and the really cheesy voice of Seiya.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      First episode of Aquarion EVOL made me laugh. This didn’t. Granted they’re going for different things, but I just haven’t gotten what that other thing is for Saint Seiya yet

  7. Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    “… the main characters ideals are driven by this magical lady who is a beacon of hope and goodness and screams “I will die at the end of the first act”.”

    This won’t happen. I distinctly remember her surviving all 100-something episodes of the original series (in mortal “danger” most of the time). There’s just no way, man. I am so sure it won’t happen that I will give you all my lunch money if it somehow does.

    Also everyone sounds so old. It’s almost as if Tohru Furuya and Mami Koyama actually ARE old. But that can’t be true, right?

  8. Mr. Anon
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Coincidence that the golden guy looks exactly like Casshern?

    • Lestrade
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      The character designer of this series is also responsible for the character design of Casshern Sins (and Heartcatch Precure for that matter).

    • Adrian
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 2:51 am | Permalink

      For me, it was the other way around.
      First time I saw Casshern, I said: “Man, this dude’s face and hair is just like Seiya’s.” But if you focus on the design, yes, Seiya’s design looks just like Casshern’s.

  9. Adrian
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s not complex, well developed or anything, but I’m watching it because I’m a Nostalgia fan. I still remember watching the original series back in 1998. If it follows the same formula of the original, you should give up watching this, Scamp. There was an arc that was basically four guys climbing an infinite amount of stairs in order to fight against golden armor guys inside greek sanctuaries to save their purple haired godess. Fighting for the sake of fighting. That explainst it all.

    • Adrian
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 3:17 am | Permalink

      Oh, right, forgot to mention. This kind of show was popular some time ago (guys in armor, like Shurato and Samurai Warriors). The main goal was basically to sell action figures, and they were indeed pretty cool.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      euurrgggh, that really doesn’t sound too appealing…

  10. Embok
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Well, there’s Lost Canvas if you want a slightly better story. I do mean ‘slightly’, but hey at least Athena isn’t kidnapped even once in all its 26 episodes.

    • Anca
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      I personally found Canvas rather amazing, and heartily recommend it. Athena isn’t once kidnapped during the course of the series.

      Then again, I haven’t seen the original series.

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