Saint Seiya and the Myth of Ganymede: One’s Destiny Can Be a Lonely Road

The myth of Ganymede has been very much on my mind as of late. Most likely because I love astrology and in particular traditional approaches of the craft that go back to the the late Hellenic world. This was a time where the craft became solidified into the usual practice we know today and also this was the twilight of the culture that brought us the familiar mythologies we have some exposure to, including the story of the youth of Ganymede.

Ganymede is often attributed to Aquarius, the fixed air sign ruled by Saturn (not Uranus!), the water bearer, or the cup holder. Aquarius holds a special place for 2020 because of the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn happening on the Winter Solstice in the first degree of this sign. My placements of the Sun, Mercury and Mars are in this sign in case any of you are interested; strong Aquarius tendencies. Perhaps you can see why Ganymede’s tale has been of such interest to me, but it also made me consider that his story has much to do with a favorite anime of mine as a couple of the themes cross paths. That anime is no stranger to Greek mythological references, it is Saint Seiya.

Searching online I found a few callouts to Ganymede and Saint Seiya, such as the mythology of the Aquarius cloth, a fanfic of the legend and a host of fan art of Ganymede if he was in the series, but these are not what I am presenting here. Let us first go over the tale of Ganymede. Considered the most fair of all humans, too beautiful to behold, Zeus would set his prize onto the Trojan youth. Yes this sounds like homoerotic attraction, but this is a myth, an image, and to only look at the exoteric without the underlying esoteric is only looking at the bottle, but not the internal contents. Still, Zeus, king of all the gods, bi? I can only imagine the expression on his wife Hera? She was furious by the way, but she put up with it. Transforming into an eagle, Zeus would take Ganymede away from the human world to serve him and the other gods as his cup bearer. Later Ganymede was hoisted to the heavens and christened as Aquarius.

Much like the odd kid at the popular kid’s party, or the tag along amongst celebrities, or the wealthy, Ganymede is an outsider that is beloved as something different. A trophy, or showpiece perhaps? Amongst this crowd one feels that they are special, unique and belong and yet one is still very much the outsider and alone. Even originally when at home in familiar surroundings, perhaps one still has the same odd one out feeling? So true for Aquarius as well. An archetype for the odd one out, a force for change, or even an upholder to rigidity, Aquarius can be friendly, but aloof and sometimes too theoretical, or intellectual for many. I am very guilty of this. Lovers of humanity, but not always the best with individual people who are the status quo. Four paragraphs have been written, so where and when do we get to discussing Saint Seiya?

Primarily I will look to the heroes of Saint Seiya, the Bronze Saints, for this outing. Seiya, Houyga, Shiryu, Shun and Ikki were all orphaned and eventually taken into an orphanage. There was something special about these five in particular that they were sent away to be trained to become Saints, or Knights of the Zodiac. All five are youths, have ties to a constellation in the sky and are in exile from their homes in the service of an aristocrat, Saori Kido, or Athena. Very similar to Ganymede from a certain point of view these five will eventually serve as the guardians of Athena. Outsiders who are now inside, but does anyone know the pain and struggles these boys go through when they fight for the bigger picture instead of just living the mundane life many of us get caught up in. I am not sure if original manga creator Masami Kurumada had Ganymede in mind when creating Saint Seiya? I can only say this is either my own theory, or happy accident of finding a particular Greek myth that can have an affinity with an anime.

Being out of this world can be a very rewarding thing and yet also a very lonely path. As long as you have someone to share the experience with it is then you know you are not alone or completely strange. Those who are the most conformed are perhaps the most out of touch with, or far out from the truth of life. It is when you walk the rocky path, live the alternate lifestyle and feel a little pain is when and where you know you are truly alive. For the Bronze Saints they at least have each other and are like a brotherhood that can’t be replaced. Destiny and life can sometimes be so ironic.

… and for you astronomers out there, guess the name of the planet Jupiter’s largest moon? Ganymede!; how fitting.

#78e : Saint Seiya: Warriors of the Final Holy Battle

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.

Something is happening in Sanctuary. One by one the surviving Gold Saints are taken down in the most brutal of fashion. Aries Mu, Taurus Aldebaran, Leo Aiorla, Virgo Shaka and Scorpio Milo, all murdered in cold blood. Who could be so cruel to kill the likes of Athena’s elite guard? Who could cause so much havoc and hatred in Sanctuary destroying much of the beautiful art and architecture as well; the giant statue of Athena being beheaded as an example? Only one name can be this vicious… ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between let me introduce Lucifer and the final Saint Seiya film from the 1980s tetralogy, Warriors of the Final Holy Battle.

SSWarriorsFinal_1Lucifer! Like from The Bible? The angel who was most high and exalted, beloved by God, and then fell from grace? Yeah that guy. Oh no, the devil… eh, I don’t see it that way. I follow a more esoteric study of the myth but my apologies I digressed. Back to Saint Seiya… Distraught and in tears over the death and destruction, Saori along with the Bronze Saints are soon visited by Lucifer himself. Before us is not a dark, shadowy, or menacing figure, but instead a very androgynous, bishonen type that has a touch of the gothic. Maybe he’s the original goth kid? Hmm. His return has been initiated from the anger of many fallen adversaries: Eris (Evil Goddess Eris), Abel (Legend of the Crimson Youth) and Poseidon (Poseidon Arc from TV series). Even if one is defeated and presumably dead, revenge in the heart can still be strong.

SSWarriorsFinal_2Now then, the title says this was the final battle and depending on interpretation could be the be all end all with Saint Seiya as a franchise. In some ways yes, but… well… I have to say this is more like a maybe, if not a no. I can find four possibilities: this film, the final episode of the TV series (which really was not much of an end if you know the manga), the ending of the later released Hades Chapter OVAs (which finish the manga’s story line, the most ‘canon’), or even the later released film that is supposed to take place after the Hades Chapter OVAs, The Heaven Chapter: Overture. A quartet of endings and yet with side stories and prequels, Saint Seiya even if it did once, twice, three, or four times finish, or finalize, is far from over. Let us then return to the beginning instead and the introduction for Warriors of the Final Holy Battle, a widescreen version of the TV opening featuring the rockin’ song Soldier Dream. Ending, beginnings, does it really matter, Saint Seiya is forever immortal, eternal.

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

#78d : Saint Seiya: Legend of Crimson Youth

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.

We’re fired!? The look on Seiya’s face alone is enough to understand the shock that the Bronze Saints must have felt when hearing the news at the beginning of the film Legend of Crimson Youth. These boys who have dedicated their lives up to that point protecting and upholding the stewardship of Athena’s guardianship of humanity are now suddenly out of a job? And for what, some guy who strolls into town proclaiming to be her brother of all things. Is this a platonic relationship? This young man claims to be Abel Phobus, son of Zeus, king of the gods. All I see is an arrogant punk whose soul mission is to eradicate the human race as they are supposedly inferior to the gods. Saori, besides being bewildered with his nice hair, can’t you see this guy is up to no good?

SSCrimsonYouth_2Armed with a potent army consisting of new faces including: Atlas, Jao and Bernices, Abel seems ready and even recruits some ghosts from the past literally. Gemini Saga, Cancer Deathmask, Capricorn Shura, Aquarius Camus, Pisces Aphrodite!… aren’t you guys supposed to be dead? All five of you fell during the Sanctuary Arc? Apparently Abel has a bit of a skill in the arts of necromancy. The Bronze Saints don’t take too kindly to their forced resignation and in time Saori realizes the true ambitions of Abel, which displeases him. Now the fight begins and from here the usual Saint Seiya plot formula starts.

The reintroduction of the fallen Gold Saints is a nice addition for this movie as they get another shot to redeem themselves. Nice to see you guys again! Early on a few realize Abel’s plans and rebel, but the remaining group continue to fight on for Abel and eventually come around during their respective fights with the Bronze Saints. Even with the loss of these valuable allies, will Abel still have the potential to destroy the world and rid the Earth of humanity?

SSCrimsonYouth_1Part of the Shonen Jump’s 20th Anniversary celebration (it says so in the opening credits), Legend of Crimson Youth is perhaps the piece de resistance of the Saint Seiya 1980s film tetralogy. Of the collected four this one is the longest clocking in at 70 plus minutes and offers a plot that has a little more depth. That being said the over the top battles are still the center piece of anything shonen fighter related. With this being Saint Seiya related, the melodramatic seriousness is usually on fire and with Legend of Crimson Youth, that drama is burning red hot.

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