In the beggining of Saint Seiya, Jabu appeared as a rival for Seiya, but, as time passed by, his role in the series turned into minor appearences. But why?
After losing to Andromeda Shun in the Galaxian Wars, his bronze cloth was seriously damaged. Jabu “retired” for re-training and cloth repair off-screen, and returned to protect Athena in the Sanctuary Arc. Later, he protects Seika in the Hades Arc. He sized with Artemis agaisnt Athena. In the Omega series, he retired but becomes a steel saint with the other bronze saints.
Jabu could have become a powerful ally to the main bronze saints, however, he became less and less important as time passed by.
Today, we’ll remember all of his main appearences in the series, as well as post a theory about his less important role.
Jabu’s Training and Cloth Restoring in the Sanctuary Arc
Following his defeat by Andromeda Shun, Jabu took a temporary retirement, ostensibly for the purpose of refining his skills and mending his cloth.
However, he made a comeback in the Sanctuary to aid Athena’s cause, standing by her side as Pegasus Seiya and the other primary bronze saints, including Dragon Shiryu, Cygnus Hyoga, Andromeda Shun, and Phoenix Ikki, battled the formidable Gold Saints.
His return showcased his unwavering commitment to safeguarding the goddess and contributing to the epic struggles of the saints against formidable adversaries in their quest to protect the world. Check all the main facts about Aquarius Camus!
Jabu in the Asgard Arc
Jabu and fellow Bronze Saints, concerned about Aldebaran’s defeat, advise Saori. They confront Mizar Zeta Syd in a valiant effort to protect her, although lacking their cloths, they face partial defeat.
Fortunately, Seiya arrives in the nick of time, rescuing them from dire straits. This testifies to their unwavering determination to safeguard Saori and their reliance on each other in the face of formidable challenges. However, the Asgard arc is not canon!
Jabu in Hades Arc
In the series’ closing chapters, Jabu took on the vital responsibility of a Sanctuary guardian. As Hades’ sinister power reawakened deceased saints, leading them to assail the protectors, Jabu fearlessly joined the fray against multiple Specters. His valor and determination proved instrumental in fending off the spectral threats.
As the Hades series reached its climax, Jabu remained unwavering in his dedication, coming to the defense of Seika, Seiya’s sister, against the relentless attempts by Thanatos to harm her.
This unwavering commitment showcased Jabu’s resilience and unwavering resolve to protect those close to him in the face of adversity.
Jabu’s Controvery in Haven Chapter Overture
In the Tenkai-Hen feature film, a highly contentious narrative development unfolded when Jabu, historically one of Athena’s most loyal followers since their shared childhood at the Kido mansion, made the surprising choice to abandon Athena in favor of serving Artemis.
This departure from his established allegiance generated considerable controversy among the fanbase, with many critizising the option to portrait Jabu as a traitor. Check here if the Heaven Chapter Overture movie is canon.
Given Jabu’s long-standing devotion to Athena, his shift in allegiance to Artemis raised substantial questions and stirred significant debate within the fandom, leaving viewers intrigued and somewhat perplexed by this unexpected twist.
Jabu in Saint Seiya Omega
In Saint Seiya Omega, the post-Saint Seiya storyline, Jabu becomes a horse-loving farmer, expressing a profound admiration for these creatures.
When Lionet Sōma faces a setback in battle and distances himself from Koga and the others, he collapses after a three-day escape and is saved by a mysterious man, revealed as Jabu, the Unicorn Saint.
Jabu senses Sōma’s inner turmoil and questions his motivation for fighting. Unable to answer, Sōma reciprocates by asking Jabu the same question, to which Jabu responds, “For what I love.”
Jabu becomes Sōma’s mentor, enhancing his combat skills and cosmo. Their training leads to Sōma developing the Lionet Bomber and improving his agility and speed. After their training, Jabu wishes Sōma luck and departs.
He later returns to aid Steel Saints (click here to know more about them), wearing a Steel Cloth resembling his original Unicorn Cloth. Despite the lesser protection, Jabu’s Unicorn Gallop attack shatters Aegir’s armor.
Jabu is credited with eliminating Pallasites worldwide. When informed of Athena’s whereabouts, he chooses not to reunite with her, feeling his role has changed.
Theories on Jabu being benched
In Reddit, an user made a very interesting theory about the Jabu’s minor role in the series. I summarized everything for you, but you can read the complete text here:
Jabu’s sidelining in the series can be traced back to a shift in the story’s tone and character roles, rather than any inherent issues with his design or fighting style.
Initially, Saint Seiya revolved around more localized conflicts, like the Galaxian Wars and the personal vendettas of characters (ex.: Seiya looking for his sister).
However, around episode 25, two significant changes occurred. Ikki highlighted the main bronze saints’ superiority, and Saori revealed her true identity as Athena.
This altered the direction and tone of the story, shifting the focus towards safeguarding Saori. Personal goals took a backseat to the overarching mission of protecting or advancing Saori
There wasn’t room for Jabu’s character to flourish, especially as the Sanctuary Arc unfolded. Five protagonists were already a handful for the story, and adding more became impractical.
Jabu’s role in the story became limited to guard duty or serving as a foil for the A-Team, not because of any flaws in his character or design, but because the narrative simply couldn’t accommodate his presence any longer.