Saint Seiya Omega is now on its second season on Japanese TV. With a nagging curiosity to see if the show gets any better, I powered through the second half of the season.
It is revealed that Mars is planning on using the massive structure known as the Tower of Babel, which lies atop the ruins of the old Sanctuary, to bring about the destruction of the old world and usher in a new era for humanity , including new Gods to worship like the new Athena, Aria. In order to gather enough power to create this new world, Mars is amassing energy in the Tower of Babel. The energy is being supplied to the tower by five Ruins that are spread across the land.
Therefore, the Bronze Saints are on a mission to destroy each of these pillars, which are sucking away the energy of the surrounding areas and endangering the lives of the people that live in the vicinity of the Ruins.
And so the meat of the story for this part of the season revolves around the Bronze Saints making their way to each of the Ruins: wind, water, earth, fire and lightning. At each of the Ruins, the Bronze Saints encounter a Silver Saint who is guarding the core of the Ruins.
After defeating the Silver Saint ( or him walking away in one occasion), the Bronze Saint with an affiliiation to the element that corresponds to the Ruins must destroy the core with the help of Aria's Athena powers. The core then produces a gem of that element, and the Saint keeps it for what I sure to be some plot development later in the series.
While these episodes were the main driving force of the story, they are quite boring and predictable. All fights at the Ruins are pretty lame, save for the one at the Thunder Ruins.
The somewhat shining moments of the show for me, as fan of the original series, were the episodes in which the characters from the original series showed up to lend a hand to the next generation of Saints. In this part of the series the Koga and the gang encounter: Kiki from Jamil, Cygnus Hyoga, Unicorn Jabu and Dragon Shiryu.
However some of these original characters are not able to fight since Mars’ Dark Cosmo is consuming their body and the consumption becomes faster if they burn their own Cosmo. This really irritates me because the demeanor of the original Saint is completely changed from the original series. In the original Saint Seiya, the Bronze Saints did not care who they were up against and what the odds were. They would fight till the last ounce of their life essence was depleted... AND then they would continue fighting using only the Cosmo in their bodies. Now all of a sudden they lost their will to fight. That is pretty pathetic for the great Saints of Athena. During one of the episodes a broken Pegasus Koga encounters Cygnus Hyoga, who in an inspiring display of his power, makes his Cosmo makes a freakin’ universe appear.
Hyoga tells Koga that he must learn to burn his Cosmo to a level as high as his own and that he must never stop fighting for that is important to him, so long as that person is alive. For Hyoga, it is too late, since his mother is no longer in the world of the living… If only Hyoga had somebody else to protect…Oh wait, doesn’t Saori still need saving? If only somebody with a Cosmo as powerful as Hyoga, and maybe a couple of his friends, preferably with experience defeating Gods were around to save Saori and the world… Instead the original Saints hang around like bums, imparting inspiring, yet hypocritical wisdom on the fledgling Saints, who quite honestly are kind of pansies.
The main plot development of the season ends with Pegasus Koga squaring off against Orion Eden at the Thunder ruins. Aria, the fake/new Athena, who had been traveling with Koga and the Bronze Saints, is torn between the two sides of the fight. Although Koga has helped Aria experience the real world, she cares for Eden because he would visit her during her time of incarceration in Mars’ tower. As the three characters approach each other, a huge chasm of dark energy appears from under the earth and swallows up the Saints and Aria.
In this abyss it is revealed that there is another Ruin, the Darkness Ruins, where the characters must face their dark past in order to escape. Some of the stories used in these two episodes are a rehash of earlier episodes: Haruto’s guilt over not being able to help his brother, and Soma’s experience as kid seeing his father murdered by Sonia.
The only story that I found compelling was that of Sonia, Mars’ daughter, because you get to witness the murder of Soma’s dad from the other side. It gives a glimpse into the humanity of Sonia and the evil force known as Mars, who would turn his own kids into killers.
The other stories are somewhat interesting, but still end up making these episodes feel like end-of-the-season filler.
Another element of the original series that is missing from Omega was the sense of urgency in the original series. Durign the later episodes of the original Saint Seiya, each episode began with an overview of the Saints progress, which was voiced over by a dramatic male voice and accompanied by a musical piece that screamed “get going young Saints, Athena’s life is in danger!” There is none of that in Omega; the viewer is seldom reminded that Athena and the Saints living in Palaestra are being held captive by Mars in the Tower of Babel, where they are being drained of their energy. Instead, the pace of the series seems much more leisurely. Heck, the Bronze Saints even spent a whole episode working a part time job at a pension (a resort).
On the positive side, the whole elemental affiliation is not as pronounced as I feared it would be. Sure each character has an element and each of the cores can only be destroyed by a Saint who uses that element. However, the show did not turn the Pokémon rip-off it could have become. There was no “PKMN Trainer Mars uses a ground Saint. PKMN Trainer Aria sends out Ryuho…. Ryuho uses Hydro Pump…It was Super Effective.” So it is even more obvious after watching the rest of this season that the whole elemental thing was just tacked on by Bandai/Toei to sell kids on the card game. Bandai and Toei over-commercializing their franchises? No.
After finishing off the first season of Saint Seiya Omega, it is even more apparent that this show is meant for a new generation of viewers, with little regard for the fans of the old series. Sure there are throwbacks to the old series in the form cameos, but they are not the same characters of the original. In Omega, not only has the burning-hot blood of the original Saints run cold, but some of the story elements of the original are completely forgotten. According to the Omega story, Shiryu lost all of his senses to Perseus Algol. On the other hand, Hyoga never lost his eye to Kraken Isaac. These changes to the original story and disreagard for keeping its continuity make this show feels more like an animated fan-fiction than a true successor the original series. While it is kind of interesting watching the unofficial take on what happens after the Hades Arc of the original series, in the end I am still left wanting a proper sequel to the original series.