Saint Seiya Soul of Gold (abbr. SOG) is something that makes the fans go “What the heck, they made another one?!”
Warning: this is a rant post. Warning: Contains spoilers.
When Toei decided that they haven’t milked enough money from the Saint Seiya franchise, they decided to produce another one of those old-schooled 90’s anime with a tweaked opening theme to convince people that it really was produced in 2015. Please, Toei, you’re not convincing anyone that this is the Saint Seiya classics with your rushed art and old-fashioned animation. And the voice acting…maybe I’m just not used to the Japanese voice, but gosh it’s so cringy!!! I don’t know if it’s the script or the over-the-top animation or the tone of the seiyuus, but it makes me shudder.
Some of the cast sound so much older than they actually were, which is probably due to the returning voice actors not being as young as they were anymore. Aiolos, for one, sounds like he’s already in his sixties.
And when I thought that Saint Seiya: the Lost Canvas is a refreshing turn for the series that’s starting to get redundant, they just have to give birth to SOG and regress. The story just involves a bunch of saints fighting a bunch of copy-pasted villains. I swear the main villain of SOG is just Hades who changed his hair color. Watching this right after I finished watching The Lost Canvas was a very bad decision on my part: it made SOG seem so much worse than it actually was.
What I have to praise SOG for is that they show us the aspects of the gold saints not covered in the main story. That makes them more relatable and seem like people with their own goals and lives aside from being stepping stones for the five main dudes. For example, Death Mask gets some character development and I feel I know more about him when I remember nothing of this guy from the main series. Like, SOG was a miracle for Deathmask; he’s actually the only one in this whole series I think is worth the time. Aldebaran and Aphrodite and the others also got their own little thing, which is nice.
This isn’t Aioria’s first time as a main character (first is Episode G), and I feel that more could be done with him with his brother issues and stuff. Although, I did enjoy his interactions with Lyfia and Mu’s comments about it. Speaking of Lyfia, she’s an okay heroine at first. One of those ‘meh’ heroines that’s just there because the story needs a female. However, as time goes on, she gets more likeable and her hair gets prettier. I was not expecting that little twist near the end with Odin, though. Nice stuff.
This is like, what, the fourth time some of the gold saints have been revived? Why even kill them in the first place if they’re getting revived like crazy? Is this Saint Seiya or Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, eh?
Personally, I think the noble death every gold saint received in the Elysion arc is the perfect ending and their release from being just use and throw plot devices, but they just have to bring them back just to sell the upgraded gold cloths. Ugh. I think their sacrifice in Elysion is one of the most powerful scenes (with the others being Shura’s and Shaka’s death, off the top of my head), reviving them just like that ruins the impact of it. Oh, and let’s not talk about Overture. I’m going to pretend Overture doesn’t exist for the rest of this review.
If we compare this to how Lost Canvas’s gold saints were treated, it feels like this generation’s gold saints are so abused by the writers just to milk some cash. Every single LC gold saint moments were powerful and noble and mean a lot to the plot and those others that they left behind, while these guys just kinda go off and die. I mean, it’s okay if this was the 12 Zodiac Houses arc. Many gold saints were the bad guys at some point, and I understand if you can’t have them all be powerful moments like Shura. However, this time around they are the main characters. They’re supposed to be awesome, but they spend most of the story just kidna like, going off and die? And then they return for one big bang and that’s it.
And some of the initial bickering between the saints just don’t make any sense. Okay, I get that some of them don’t want to fight anymore, but their reason for not fighting just don’t…click. I don’t know. They’ve always been the noble warriors protecting the world, and suddenly meanwhile their goddess is shoved into a jar by Hades, they say they don’t want to do anything to aid the problems in the world in her absence? Or are they just tired of being plot devices?
Yes, I know they’re trying to show different sides to the gold saints who are severely underdeveloped, but some of the main ones who survived the Zodiac Temple arc seem so out of character. I admit I have not seen Saint Seiya for a few years, but those guys seem so…off.
However, one very big redeeming point of SOG is that it brought Aiolos back. This means Aiolos had his moments with his little brother (no matter how small), and also with Gemini Saga that ordered his death, allowing Saga a chance at forgiveness that he never got in the main series. I wished Shura got a dialogue with Aiolos, or maybe he did but I just couldn’t remember.
And that scene at the end where Aioria punched Loki? I’d like to think that it’s a nod at Manigoldo punching Thanatos lol.
The last three episodes of SOG were so painfully slow-paced, but at least that gave each of the gold saints their little monologue thing. The animation quality was not that beautiful so I’d like to think that half of the budget for each episode went into getting 12 voice actors to scream at the same time, in harmony. (I was laughing so hard at that point, it ruined the powerful moment for me when everybody was going ‘HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ for 10 seconds and the camera pans on their faces like a bad powerpoint transition and I was like, ‘pfffftttt HAHAHAH’.)
SOG is a good anime to watch for nostalgia’s sake. I got to revisit quotes like “Burn, my cosmo!!!!” and all those cheesy ultimate moves. However, since I watched the latter half of this show after finishing Lost Canvas, I feel that SOG is just nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. It’s a farewell after party for the gold saints that old fans like me will enjoy, but for newcomers to Saint Seiya, it’s not that good of an anime.