Saint Seiya is a franchise, like Fist of the North Star and Go Nagai, that’s globally appreciated everywhere but in the United States. No Fist of the North Star online community is complete without a sizable Saint Seiya fanbase, primarily hailing from Latin America. It’s in that inclusive spirit (and in partial thanks to the Puerto Rican blood running through me) that I decided to check out Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas last weekend.
There’s a lot of background information I could give you–who Masami Kurumada is, what other series he’s responsible for, how Lost Canvas fits into his Saint Seiya universe… but let’s be honest, if you’re truly curious about those things, you’re better off hitting up Wikipedia. My point is that Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas is an exceptional anime you can just pick up and watch, and I highly recommend it.
Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas takes place in a fictionalized 18th century Italy where Greek gods actually exist. A select few humans are able to harness a superpower inside of themselves called Cosmo, and battle on behalf of the gods in very shiny armor. The plot concerns three childhood friends who now find themselves on different sides of a war that risks the total annihilation of mankind. Sounds heavy? It is. The war features many intriguing characters with unique abilities, and it’s a war that plays for keeps. No one’s life is safe.
One of the best things about this OVA series is that it doesn’t waste your time. Even in anime I adore, there’s no denying the presence of padding, either in the storyline itself or the animation practices which underlie it. Lost Canvas is shackled by neither of these frequent annoyances, instead moving at a fast clip without ever sacrificing the basic character development required to make a shonen anime interesting. What I would give that the Fist of the North Star manga could receive such a comprehensive adaptation…
Even if you’re skeptical of the Saint Seiya franchise or the work of Masami Kurumada in general, you should still check out Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas. It’s an ongoing OVA series, but the first “season” of 13 episodes was completed in April 2010. All of it is streaming for free in standard definition on Crunchyroll, but it’s definitely worth the few shekels it costs to stream the 720p version.