Saint Seiya Omega
Number of Episodes: TBA
Production Company: Toei
Brief Overview: In this new incarnation of the famous shounen series, the God of War, Mars, is reawakening after having been sealed away. Athena is raising a boy named Koga, who hopes to walk in the footsteps of his savior, Seiya, and train to become a Saint to help defend the world against Mars’ return.
Episode 1 Summary: When he was just an infant, Koga was rescued from certain obliteration by the Pegasus Saint, Seiya. Now a teen, he’s made to train day-in and day-out so that he may one day defend Athena from the God Mars’ return in Seiya’s place. Unfortunately, this makes him feel put-upon, made to fight for something he isn’t even sure actually exists.
One day, his ailing caretaker Saori gives a pendant to Kouga, and Mars chooses that as his moment to return to Earth. Saori is revealed to be Athena, and Mars makes moves to claim her as his prisoner. Shaina, Koga’s trainer, is brutally wounded in the effort to rescue Athena. Suddenly Koga is forced to defend what he knows and loves from Mars’ violence, and it’s in this moment that he gains the power of the Pegasus, inherited from Seiya himself.
Thoughts: Having watched and enjoyed Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, I thought that perhaps this new incarnation would hold some sort of appeal for me. I am, after all, a fan of Yoshihiko Umakoshi’s character designs, and I thought that this series might do for the Saint Seiya franchise what Heartcatch Precure did for the Pretty Cure franchise (which is, make me want to watch it). Unfortunately, the protagonist is so thoroughly steeped in his whiny shounen angst that it’s difficult to enjoy the show for what it is.
The longer I remain in the anime fandom, the less I’m able to tolerate certain types of characters and situations. I’m fairly game when it comes to stories about characters much younger than I am, because that’s the bulk of what’s produced nowadays and I’d be nearly out of choices if I made age an automatic issue. I’m definitely of the belief, however, that there are ways to portray the frustrations of youth in a manner that doesn’t alienate those of us who have already been there and done that, and this episode does just about everything wrong in that respect. If I had to put my finger on one thing that really breaks this episode, it’s that the protagonist is, for lack of a better word, useless. It’s one thing for shounen protagonists to be overly-genki, stupidly single-minded, or unbelievably lucky, but quite another for them to be emo and whiny, and Koga falls squarely in the latter category. He spends much of the first episode complaining about having to train his skills, whining that he doesn’t believe Athena is more than a myth, and feeling sorry for himself about the fact that he has a recurring vision of a hero dressed in gold armor. Gosh, how terrible for him! When, in a moment of crisis, he does manage to come into his skills a bit, he comes across as unworthy to wield them. That’s not a very good way to start out a series.
All of this might be more tolerable if the show seemed to have other goodies to offer, but I was left feeling very unimpressed after enduring the first episode’s major battle scene. I hate to focus too much on Umakoshi’s character designs, but I feel like they, as part of their nature, contain dynamic elements that make even still poses seem interesting. Casshern Sins and Heartcatch both strike me as having been visually interesting, even when the characters weren’t directly engaged in battle. The animation in this series is so dumpy that even cool-looking characters can’t put a band-aid on the problem. There are a lot of animation consistency issues, even in this first episode, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the show.
I’m beginning to think that I should have tossed this in with this season’s “dregs.” If things smooth out a bit over the next couple of episodes and the protagonist stops being His Highness the Royal Douchebag, perhaps the show will become more engaging.
Follow-up Episodes: Well, I made through another episode-and-a-half before calling it quits on this anime. It’s funny, I’ve made it much farther into series that I’d describe as being qualitatively worse than this one. I’m guessing that the difference is that those series made me experience some sort of emotion; usually anger, sometimes disgust, but always something strong and easily-defined. This show seems to have a talent for leaving very little aftertaste, its vaguely-palatable nature equal to that of a McDonald’s hamburger.
I’ve noticed a pattern in the way that the characters are introduced in this series. Each new person who shows up has to prove themselves to be a bigger douche than the main character by getting into an unprovoked fight with him. It’s a very obvious plot device, because Koga’s powers don’t become evident until he’s backed into a corner, so there have to be a few manufactured ways for that to happen each episode. Seriously, though; what kind of person leaps out from behind a bush and tries to steal a very expensive-looking pendant from a stranger, without actually being a thief or a pick-pocket?
I admittedly have very little left to say about this show. I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I didn’t gauge its quality well-enough beforehand and managed to waste so much time attempting to give it a shot that it didn’t deserve. Despite how it may seem sometimes, I’m not a fan who’s anti-shounen and I think that there are good examples of shounen action series out there. This, however, seems to be riding on the coattails of nostalgia for the series on which it’s based, and that comes across as fundamentally lazy to me. For a better interpretation of this same theme, I’d recommend the Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas OAD instead.
- Umakoshi’s character designs prove interesting in fits and starts, even if the animation quality doesn’t hold up overall.
- Every character is a douche canoe.
- The animation seems phoned-in, aside from a few specific scenes.
- The show seems to use its nostalgic qualities to coast around without really trying.
Recommended? Perhaps as someone who was never that interested in the original Saint Seiya, I’m missing the point of this series. Or, perhaps it’s just not that good. Either way, the first few episodes feature nary an intriguing hook nor a character with whom one is inspired to form a bond.