#78c : Saint Seiya: The Heated Battle of the Gods

This is one of four entries that take an in depth look into each of the Saint Seiya movies released during the 1980s. For the original overview entry, click here.

“I’m alone here. With emptiness, eagles and snow. Unfriendliness chilling my body. And whispering pictures of home.” Anyone a Deep Purple fan? Let’s enter the world of Saint Seiya and situate ourselves in the deep polar North. Houyga in his natural environment encounters a fight and meets a fallen figure who whispers the words… Asgard… Valhalla. Alone he heads to this mythical civilization of Odin (no, not Odin: Space Sailor Starlight) to find out what is going on. It may be cold up Asgard’s way, but we are heading towards the super hot with the second Saint Seiya movie, Saint Seiya: The Heated Battle of the Gods.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 100After a widescreen opening of the usual opening accompanied by the awesome song Pegasus Fantasy, mystery will abound as Houyga has gone missing. Three remaining Bronze Saints (Seiya, Shun and Shiryu… Ikki where are you?) along with Miss Saori go to Asgard to inquire about Houyga. He apparently has not shown up according to the local authorities who seem too in some way of having something to hide. A strange presence is felt when a red clothed warrior with a full mask and helmet passes. Something feels oddly familiar about him? This man is Midgard, one of Asgard’s elite along with Ullr, Rung and Loki who to no surprise are going to be the main opposition to the Bronze Saints. Is Asgard looking to conquer Sanctuary, home of the Saints, or are they just wanting their guests to simply leave?

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 100As an alternate to the filler Asgard arc from the television series, The Heated Battle of the Gods would premier in March of 1988, one month prior to the first TV episode depicting the Norse inspired mythology. Was this a trial run for that section of the show? Or maybe, the television crew thought they could expand on the idea put forth in Heated Battle of the Gods? That is an unknown on my end, but would be an interesting followup if the proper information can be found.

The Saint Seiya movies are very predictable, but each of the four films do have their own individual take on that usual formula. Case in point, Ikki often comes in to save the day for younger brother Shun, no surprise there. This of course happens as well in The Heated Battle of the Gods, but in the end Shun ends up saving Ikki. Not a bad twist in that relationship! For The Heated Battle of the Gods, be prepared for several twists, turns and surprises!

Saint Seiya 80s film index:

    1. Evil Goddess Eris
    2. The Heated Battle of the Gods
    3. Legend of Crimson Youth
    4. Warriors of the Final Holy Battle

#78b : Saint Seiya: Evil Goddess Eris

This is one of four entries that take an in depth look into each of the Saint Seiya movies released during the 1980s. For the original overview entry, click here.

Beware the sacred forbidden fruit! The golden apple of Eris is famous in Ancient Greek myth storytelling. As a powerful symbol of her reputation as the goddess of discord, Eris’ golden apple also has existence outside the world of antiquity. The Shonen Jump fighting series Saint Seiya, which borrowed heavily from Greek myth, would borrow the tale of Eris in a unique fashion. Saint Seiya was popular on TV, but the time had come to bring it to the big screen with the first cinematic outing for our heroic Bronze Saints, Saint Seiya: Evil Goddess Eris.

SSEris_1Behold a widescreen version of the TV opening to start this film. Pegasus Fantasy at the cinema? YEAH! … Seiya, Houyga, Shun and Shiryu return to the orphanage of their youth to visit the current group of children who in turn idolize them. A new teacher, Eri, is a favorite of the children and in the beginning of the film is involved in a near fatal car accident trying to save one of the children. In to save the day is Houyga and when his eyes met Eri’s… well… they seem to be very compatible. On a date at night they both spot an odd shooting star. Later Eri like a possessed zombie finds the fallen item which turns out to be a golden apple. And yes it is Eris’ apple which takes over the body of Eri. Now the real battle begins.

SSEris_2Saori is eventually captured by Eris for the sole reason to possess the body of the Earthly incarnation of Athena. Apparently Eris does not have much interest in being a blonde with the body of Eri. Go figure? The Bronze Saints eventually catch wind of this situation and in typical fashion run to attempt a rescue. Eris of course is ready for this situation and has five of her own Saints ready to battle our heroic Bronze Saints. Meet Maya, Orpheus, Khristos, Jan and Jager (not Mick Jagger) who together are a lean, mean, well oiled butt kicking machine.

In the span of only 45 minutes, a whole story arc was played out in a very cut and dry fashion, which is seen later in the remaining Saint Seiya films. Short shonen fighting arcs, can there be such a thing? Now then let’s wrap this up. How does one close a movie of the caliber? Introduce another myth, or folk legend… enter a reinterpretation of William Tell?

Saint Seiya 80s film index:

    1. Evil Goddess Eris
    2. The Heated Battle of the Gods
    3. Legend of Crimson Youth
    4. Warriors of the Final Holy Battle

#196 : Cybernetics Guardian

A dystopian future, rapid scientific advancements, hidden secret societies, high intense action and the coming of a savior of darkness to cleanse the world… yeah that sounds fun, but what else have you got to offer? Well how about massive lion’s mane hair? Oh yes, now we are talking. A possessed beast with massive hair that defies gravity, yeah I don’t care how bad the plot is, or is not, I think we have here a hit for an OVA. But then a familiar name appears, Koichi Ohata. Oh no, not M.D. Geist… again! Never fear, this time we have something different. This time we’ll dive into Cybernetics Guardian.

CG_1Meet now our protagonist. This John Stocker fellow has a bright future ahead of him. His job is to test out a mech suit made of astenite, a metal that draws in transformative psychic energy and has been used variously in many medical applications to great success. All goes well until a test accident awakens hidden powers inside Mr. Stalker. A demonic presence named Saldo begins to emerge which heightens even more so after John Stalker’s body is kidnapped by a masked and robed figure. He is taken back to his childhood home, the slums of the city known as Cancer. There evil priests revive in process this beastly creature that was once John Stalker to lay ravage onto the city of Cyber-wood.

CG_2Simple and basic, this story is a generic tale seen in many comic book scenarios… “Unleash the beast within”, or “OMG, what has happened to me, I’m possessed!” Except this time our protagonist gets the ultimate coif… it has to be a weave! Cybernetics Guardian is definitely anime and has the feel we expect from Japanese hands, yet I can’t help but witness a more Western influence. The characters look more Caucasian than usual, which of course is subjective to my eye, but even the setting feels like Los Angeles from Blade Runner, which of course borrowed many Eastern elements. So perhaps we have a draw of sorts with no real side taken between East or West? Visually in terms of color and mood there just is something different in the palette that draws more into the more indie or underground American style. Maybe it’s just me?

CG_3For being a short one off production and a product of Koichi Ohata, Cybernetics Guardian is actually decent to watch. Nothing against Ohata, but many of his productions have a schlock feel too them with a touch of the ultra violent. Cyberbetics Guardian has a little of this as well, but there is also some substance under the showing off of hyper active macho gore. M.D. Geist I liked, though it is a bit on the ridiculous (so bad it’s entertaining), and Genocyber I could never get through a whole watching (just not my thing). Yet Cybernetics Guardian is a happy medium and can function well as there is humanity in the John Stocker character, unlike say Geist. By no means a top of the line OVA release Cyberbetics Guardian is well executed in terms of paint and pen and has enough of of an okay story to watch through, just not very often. It might be the crown jewel of Ohata’s early work?