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.