Consisting of four “original” sagas (Sanctuary, Silver Saints, Poseidon, and Hades), its enduring success led to the development of movies and other series.
To bring order to this vast array of productions, we will rank the titles from worst to best, with the quality of the scripts being the predominant characteristic for assessment.
We have compiled a list of the 8 essential sagas that are certainly worth exploring if you wish to immerse yourself in the fantastic universe of the arcs in Saint Seiya. Check out our recommendations!
This article was posted originally in portuguese here. I changed the rankings a little, but the content is the same.
8. Silver Saints (1987)
For those familiar with the franchise, it’s known that there’s a hierarchy among the Saint Seiya warriors. At the base of the “pyramid” are the Bronze Saints; then come the Silver Saints, who possess higher levels of fighting skills and 24 types of armor; finally, the mighty Gold Saints.
In this third arc of the franchise, the Silver Saints are sent to punish the Bronze Saints for betraying the Sanctuary when they began to prioritize their own interests. Thus, a battle between the Bronze and Silver Saints commences, evoking strong emotions among fans. Check all the silver saints in the show here.
7. Galactic War (1986)
Galactic War is undoubtedly cherished by fans (fun fact: it was the first to be broadcast by the now-defunct Manchete network, which popularized Saint Seiya in Brazil).
In this saga, we learn the story of Seiya and his friends, who are summoned to serve and defend a girl named Saori Kido, who is actually a reincarnation of the goddess Athena.
A grand tournament ensues, where the winner shall claim the Sagittarius Gold Cloth. In this special arc, we also encounter important characters of the plot, such as Seiya of Pegasus, Shiryu of Dragon, and Hyoga of Cygnus. Check all of the bronze saints in the show.
3. The Black Saints (1986 – 1987)
The Black Knights are exact duplicates of the primary Bronze Saints, who, in this arc, compete for the Sagittarius Gold Cloth. Before anyone can claim the prize, the Black Knights steal the armor and escape.
The saga of the Black Knights allows fans their first encounter with the formidable foe Ikki of Phoenix – a character who would later become a hero and a beloved figure in the franchise. Click here to know more about the black saints.
6. Asgard Saga (1988 – 1989)
The Asgard Battle transports the universe of Saint Seiya to a land covered in snow and ice located in northern Europe. There, a girl known as Hilda of Polaris emerges as Odin’s representative, the Norse god. She prays to preserve the land, but a mysterious voice appears, urging her to destroy the Sanctuary.
Even though considered a filler, the Asgard saga holds a special place as a beloved choice among fans.
The problem begins when Poseidon, a Greek god as significant as Athena in mythology, starts controlling Hilda and Odin, declaring war against Seiya. To know what inspired the Asgard Saga, click here.
5. Poseidon Saga (1988 – 1989)
Known for being the shortest phase of this anime (consisting of 15 episodes in total), the Poseidon Saga is entirely based on the second-to-last saga of the manga. It delves into the descent to the realm of the seas, where Poseidon, the god responsible for this territory, is to be battled.
Initial scenes depict tidal waves, storms, and sea whirlpools ravaging Japan, France, the United States, and some other European regions. The result is a global crisis that shakes all continents.
While fans don’t usually consider this season their favorite, the Poseidon Saga deserves attention for its distinct aspects. Unlike most arcs in Saint Seiya, where battles involve only the Saints themselves, here humans also suffer the consequences of the heroes’ conflicts.
In other words, the Saint Seiya Saints must save not just Athena, but the entire world. This makes the saga, at the very least, quite intriguing. Click here and get to know the god characters in Saint Seiya.
4. Inferno & Elysium – Hades Saga (2005 – 2007)
The Inferno and Elysium Hades Saga begins as the intentions of Shaka, left hanging at the end of the first part of the Hades Saga, are finally clarified.
The plot unfolds with Seiya and Shun waking up after their fall, standing before the gates of the underworld. They must then confront Hades, which they do with the assistance of Kanon and Orpheus of Lyra (a Silver Saint who had renounced Athena, Seiya, and Shun).
The animation quality might not be the best among all the sagas. Nevertheless, Inferno – Hades Saga brings forth revelations about issues from previous sagas and provides an interesting continuation to Seiya’s journey in the Saint Seiya universe. Click here to know who kills Hades in the end.
2. Sanctuary Saga (1987 – 1988)
For many, the Battle of the Twelve Houses is the most memorable moment of Saint Seiya. In this saga, heroes Seiya, Shiryu, Hyoga, and Shun must traverse the Twelve Houses of the Gold Saints to save Athena, who has been struck by a poisoned arrow.
Furthermore, this arc features epic battles and emotional scenes, especially those involving the sacrifice of the Bronze Saints. Here, we also meet the powerful Gold Saints who, when corrupted, become the main rivals of Seiya and his friends. Click here to know who are the strongest gold saints.
1. Sanctuary – Hades Saga (2002 – 2003)
Prepare for an exciting beginning in the Hades Saga. In this arc of Saint Seiya, the ruler of the underworld, Hades, resurrects specters to attack Athena and attempt to dominate the world. The Silver and Gold Saints lend their aid by sending an army to invade Athena’s Sanctuary.
Another significant element of the Hades Saga is that we finally get to witness Mu of Aries in action, and we can gauge the power of the Gold Saints when they face each other.
This arc boasts a well-developed plot, high-quality animation, as well as highly inspired openings and closings. It’s no wonder it’s one of the fans’ favorites in the franchise. Click here and read a complete list of Hades Specters.