woensdag 2 april 2014

Anime Review - Saint Seiya Omega season 2

It is with pain in the heart and a tear to the eye that I put down these words.  Episode 97, the final one of the second season of the most recent Saint Seiya anime has ended, and with it for now the weekly fix we got for two years.



Now, I`m not saying Omega is the best of the franchise out there, but it is for one something that achieved it`s goal.  After a decade, it breathed new life in the series and into the franchise.

The season kicked off with two significant events: the addition of Subaru, a `new generation` Steel saint (kind of uniformly equipped soldiers for Athena, weaker then those of the original series, but with a lingering cosmos) and Seiya failing to kill a baby godess Pallas, the next God to do a bid on defeating Athena, her motives being that she feels neglected by her sister.



Together with her 4 Heavenly Kings, she starts attacking and stealing time of people on the world, and Athena is forced to take the war to Pallas and her army of Pallasites, after numerous skirmishes.  Themost significant of this being the fall of the Libra gold saint Genbu, so with only a few Gold Saints from the previous conflict left (Aries Kiki, Taurus Harbinger, Virgo Fudo and Sagittarius seiya) they march on the city of Pallasvelda.



In the meantime, the original concept of the object modes and Pandora boxes has returned, and when Shun gets featured, as well as original series supporting cast Ban and Nachi, now trainers of the Steel saints and no longer cloth wearers themselves, hints are being send out that the `Fab5` will reunite.



Subaru in the meantime inherits the Equuleus bronze cloth, joining the ranks of Athena's Saints, and when the war gets in full swing and the lower level Pallassites pushed back, it happens.  The original Saints return, with Shiryu taking up the Libra cloth again.



In the meantime, Paradox, the fallen and disappeared Gold Gemini saint returns as a Pallassite as well, but is stopped by her twin sister Integra, the new Gemini Saint.  Tokisada, who forced the Aquarius cloth unto himself in season one has also joined the Pallassite ranks, but Hyoga shows him a proper lesson and cleanses his stain of the gold cloth woth the Aurora Execution.



But more sheer awesomeness is to come in a series that now is losing his focus on the new saints, and spuns more to the older generation, as Ikki singlehandedly takes down one of the Four Kings in a truly gigantic episode.

By then it has been revealed that Pallas is nothing more then a puppet though, and the true enemy is the god of time, Saturn, who is Subaru.  He has taken this form to learn more about humans and what motivates them, deeming them unworthy to govern Earth. 



As the battles grow more and more ecliptic, with an Athena Exclamation by Shiryu, Fudo and Kiki (and causing it to look like they where killed in the blast), and a great episode where Harbinger faces of Titan, followed by a Seiya vs Titan and Pallas vs Athena battle, the true nemesis awakesn.



Saturn steals the time of all people, and the new generation together with Seiya travels to battle him, in the end by combining all their power into "Omega", a cosmo so great and unlimited as it gathers the hopes off all mankind together.



This concept has been explained by a filler episode near the end in which Jabu returns and the original Steel saints, that had appeared in the earlier part of the war as well, and even though scorned by many `action` fans of the franchise, I thought a great episode.  Originally in the franchise, concepts as Cosmo, Seventh Sense and such had whole explanation episodes, that is just what Saint Seiya is about.



In a final stroke of suprise though, the series ends with Harbinger being elected... the new Pope by Athena and the remaining Gold saints.  The street brawler that just wanted to break bones turns out to be the most `pure` of the Gold Saints and most suited for the role.




So far the storyline in a nutshel without trying to spoil *too* much for those still going to see the whole series, now about the pro`s and con`s from my subjective view.

Pro`s

* The clothstones and elements get totally retconned as we return back to object modes and pure Cosmo.




* The fanservice of bringing back all the old characters.  For an old timer that grew up with them, a great thing.



* The special opening of the final episode, with animations that show the path Koga and Subaru had walked together.

Contra`s

* The artwork was at times severly lacking.

* While the fanservice was a huge plus for me, this also had a negative side effect.  Starting about a quarter in the season, the roles of the bronze new generations Ryuhu, Yuna, Haruto and Souma are becomming really small, to even minor supporting characters in the last quarter.

* What happened to the honourable one on one combat of the original series?

* Hyoga STILL isn`t the official Aquarius saint...




All in all, I liked the series, though season 2 much more then season 1.  This has to do that it returned to it`s roots and be about what Saint Seiya is about.  Now, the weekly gap is falling, though we still have the CGI moving at the horizon this summer.

But after that?  Unlikely to happen that the excellent The Lost Canvas will ever be completed (it was gorgeous in art), so we probably have to wait until / if Next Dimension comes out.  Unless Toei suprises us all and comes with something completely different.

Even if we are apart,
our feelings for each other
give us strength.
That is what makes us...
brothers!



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