Saint Seiya Episode.G
|Saint Seiya Episode.G|
The inside cover of volume 7, displaying the protagonist, Leo Aiolia, along with most of the Titans
(Seinto Seiya Episōdo Jī)
|Genre||Mythic fiction, Martial arts, Drama, Adventure|
|Written by||Megumu Okada|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Imprint||Champion Red Comics|
|Original run||December 19, 2002 – June 19, 2013|
|Volume 0: Aiolos|
|Written by||Megumu Okada|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Imprint||Champion Red Comics|
|Original run||October 19, 2007 – January 19, 2008|
|Saint Seiya Episode.G: Assassin|
|Written by||Megumu Okada|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Imprint||Champion Red Comics|
|Magazine||Champion Red Ichigo|
|Original run||April 5, 2014 – ongoing|
Saint Seiya Episode.G (Japanese: 聖闘士星矢EPISODE.G Hepburn: Seinto Seiya Episōdo Jī?) is a seinen manga written and illustrated by Megumu Okada. A side-story and a derivative work of Masami Kurumada's Saint Seiya, it first started being serialized in the January 2003 issue of the monthly magazine Champion Red and was later compiled into volumes by Akita Shoten, with the first being published on June 19, 2003.
The story is set seven years before the events of the original Saint Seiya manga and six years after the death of the Sagittarius Gold Saint Aiolos, the brother of Episode.G's main character. It takes place in a fictional universe where the Greek gods cyclically reincarnate on Earth, often waging war on each other for dominance, and depicts the battle of the Gold Saints, warriors with superhuman powers who fight for Peace and Justice in the name of the Goddess Athena, to protect the Earth from the recently awakened Titan gods.
Although no English version of Saint Seiya Episode.G exists, it has been translated into various other languages by publishers from around the world, where it was well received, but not without controversy regarding its differences to Saint Seiya. In Brazil, it was published by Conrad Editora; by Panini Comics in Italy, Germany and France; Glénat in Spain; Editorial Ivrea in Argentina; Editorial Kamite in Mexico; and by Chuang Yi in Singapore.
In December 2013, Megumu Okada announced via Twitter that he was working on a sequel manga titled Saint Seiya Episode.G: Assassin (Japanese: 聖闘士星矢EPISODE.G～アサシン～ Hepburn: Seinto Seiya Episōdo Jī Asashin?). Serialization began on April 5, 2014, in the bimonthly Champion Red Ichigo magazine.
The story of Saint Seiya Episode.G is set seven years before the events of Masami Kurumada's Saint Seiya, in the same fictional world in which the Greek gods cyclically reincarnate to dispute dominion of Earth. The story revolves around Athena's Saints, humans with superhuman powers who are devoted to the Goddess of War Athena, and whose duty is to protect the world from evil. The protagonist is the Leo Gold Saint Aiolia, who is mistrusted by the rest of the Saints because of the seemingly traitorous actions of his brother Aiolos in the past. In turn, he holds a grudge against the Saints as a whole, and against the elite order of the Gold Saints in particular.
While the Pope, the leader of the Saints, sends Aiolia on mission after mission to prove his loyalty, evil forces manifest that threaten to destroy Sanctuary, the home of the Saints. A modern-day Titanomachy begins as the Titans, ancient gods with a desire for revenge on the Olympian gods, attack Sanctuary to retrieve the "Megas Drepanon", the weapon into which Zeus had sealed their King, Kronos, in the age of mythology. Their first assault is thwarted by Aiolia, who subsequently gains the attention of the Titans as the "man of the evil omen" who is destined to free their King.
With the Titans once again roaming the Earth, ancient monsters are also resurrected worldwide and the Saints have to deal with them. Meanwhile, the Titans gather their forces to strike at Sanctuary a second time. In the course of their next assault, Kronos is inadvertently released from Zeus's lightning seal by Aiolia's own lightning-based technique, but the god appears to be amnesiac. The Titans determine that it was Aiolia's attack that was responsible for this condition and that the Leo Saint might hold the means to fix it as well. They retreat to their base at the Time Labyrinth and kidnap Aiolia's servant Lithos to lure him there. Aiolia does not hesitate to go to Lithos's aid and, together with five other Gold Saints, initiates a series of battles in which the Titans fall one by one. Throughout these battles, the primordial god Pontos, who first released the Titans from their imprisonment in Tartarus and initially claimed that he wished to help Kronos, reveals his true intentions, stating that he only revived the Titans as part of a larger plan and has been playing them in order to awaken his true mistress, Gaia. He means to help her take control of the Earth, destroying gods and humans alike in the process.
In the author commentary page published with the first volume, Megumu Okada explained that he had concerns about taking on the project because he had never written anything that was related to a pre-existing original work and because Saint Seiya was such a renowned piece. Original author Masami Kurumada left him free to write the story that would act as a prequel to the original manga. This resulted in a manga that is, visually, substantially different from its predecessor: character designs are slim and androgynous and details are enhanced to an extreme. In terms of the story, Okada expands on points that had remained unclear in the old series.
Classical mythology also plays a visible role in the story. Many scenes take place among the ruins of ancient Greek temples and many character names have their origins in ancient Greek. Okada draws inspiration from mythology, having the protagonists fight heroes of old and legendary supernatural creatures like hydras, hecatonchires, giants and gorgons. The gods' influence is not limited to the battles against the Saints and it affects the lives of regular people. There are also parts of the story and characters inspired by Egyptian mythology.
The first images of the manga appeared in the Champion Red magazine issue of January 2003, published on November 19, 2002, along with posters by and an interview with Masami Kurumada. The first chapter was then released on the following February issue of this monthly magazine, published on December 19, 2002, and the first volume (tankōbon) published on June 19, 2003, under Akita Shoten's Champion Red Comics imprint. Releases arrested in 2009, as author Megumu Okada put the manga on hiatus to dedicate himself to other projects following an unspecified dispute with the publisher, and resumed in Champion Red's April 2011 issue, with the release of a new chapter, as well as a compilation of past chapters that had not been grouped in volume format yet (chapters 74–76) called "Volume 17.5". The manga entered a second hiatus after chapter 83 was published in the October 2011 issue of Champion Red and, after the publisher announced that the manga would end at volume 20, resumed in the May 2013 issue. The final chapter was released on June 19, 2013; the final volume was published on August 8, 2013.
Saint Seiya Episode.G has yet to be licensed in English, but it has been published in several countries outside of Japan: in Brazil, by Conrad Editora; by Panini Comics in Italy, Germany and France; Glénat in Spain; Editorial Ivrea in Argentina; Editorial Kamite in Mexico; and by Chuang Yi in Singapore.
The volumes usually contain short special chapters (gaiden), most of which in color, that tell little side-stories or highlight moments from previous chapters. Some have little relevance to the overall plot of Episode.G, with characters that play little part in the main story but who are well-known to readers of Saint Seiya, while others explore the personality or the past of important characters and detail minor events pertaining to the plot.
Champion Red serialized a short side-story along with the regular chapters between October 2007 and January 2008. It takes place a few years before the main plot and details the exploits of Sagittarius Aiolos in Egypt, revealing some plot points that influence the main story. A younger Aiolia and Galan also appear. This side-story appears compiled in a special volume called "Volume 0: Aiolos" (アイオロス編 Aiorosu hen?), released on May 20, 2008, which also contains an encyclopedia with information on all the Episode.G manga published up to that date.
In Japan, there are two versions of the Saint Seiya Episode.G volumes. One is the normal version and the other is a limited edition. The limited edition features different covers and includes various goodies packaged with the comic books. These goodies include postcards, pins, a coin key holder, a day planner, tarot cards, a t-shirt, puzzles, calendars, a pass case and a key chain. A bust figure of the protagonist, Leo Aiolia, has also been released.
Two drama CDs were recorded for Episode.G. One was released with the Champion Red issue of April 2007 and the other along with the limited edition of volume 11. These CDs reproduce the events of several chapters with only slight modifications that reduce the cast: Aiolia's battle against the Giant in volume 1, Pontos's test of Aiolia through Galan from volume 1, and Camus's and Aiolia's fight against Okeanos from volumes 9 and 10. Voice actors include: Hiro Shimono as Leo Aiolia, Hikaru Midorikawa as Aquarius Camus, Kōji Yusa as Galan, Chiwa Saitō as Lithos, Kōsuke Okano as Okeanos and Hiroki Yasumoto as Pontos.
In December 2013, Megumu Okada announced via Twitter that he was working on a sequel manga titled Saint Seiya Episode.G: Assassin. The first chapter was published on April 5, 2014, in the 43rd issue of the bimonthly magazine Champion Red Ichigo, after a short prologue was released in the Champion Red issue of February 2014 commemorating the 40 year anniversary of Masami Kurumada's career.
The manga was well received in France, where volumes 7, 8 and 9 sold thirty-one thousand copies each in 2006. Sales in Italy were equally successful, having been featured on multiple occasions in Planet Manga's Top 10 sales charts between June 2005 and February 2010.
French critic Thomas Berthelon, writing for Actua BD, makes a note on the unoriginality of the plot. While the manga is full of references to Saint Seiya, the story is based on the same known schemes and the characters are too similar to the protagonists of the original series. The critic writing for Manga-News also notes that the exchanges between Saints and Titans can become repetitive. Meanwhile, for Brazilian critic Pedro Hunter of Omelete, Episode.G sets itself apart from the usual shōnen manga by not featuring only endless battles and undeveloped storylines. He finds the way Okada depicts his characters as an integrating part of the real world particularly interesting and highlights the inclusion of real life events like the Three Mile Island accident into the plot.
The critic writing for Manga-News regrets that the manga focuses on the youth of the known Gold Saints from Kurumada's work. This reviewer says that it takes away all suspense from the story, since the fates of the main characters are known from the start to any who have read Saint Seiya beforehand, and that the magnitude of the accomplishments of these characters in Episode.G is inconsistent with what was seen in the original series. In a later review, however, it is also noted that Episode.G retains the spirit of the original series, successfully portraying the emotions present in battles between warriors who can respect their opponents and admire their willingness to give their lives for what they believe is right.
Generally praised as "impressive" is Okada's graphical skill, his use of composition and textures which enhance the divine aspects of the characters, although critics also note that the heavy amount of details in a black and white manga often interferes with readability. Berthelon considers such difficulty reminiscent of passages from Kaori Yuki's manga Angel Sanctuary and recommends the manga for its "astonishing" artwork.
- Okada, Megumu (2003). "Chapter 1". Saint Seiya Episode.G 1. Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23111-4.
- Okada, Megumu (2003). "Chapter 2". Saint Seiya Episode.G 1. Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23111-4.
- Okada, Megumu (2003). "Chapter 5". Saint Seiya Episode.G 1. Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23111-4.
- Okada, Megumu (2003). "Chapter 6". Saint Seiya Episode.G 2. Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23112-1.
- Okada, Megumu (2004). "Chapter 17". Saint Seiya Episode.G 4. Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23114-5.
- Okada, Megumu (2006). "Chapter 38". Saint Seiya Episode.G 10. Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23120-6.
- Okada, Megumu (2003). Saint Seiya Episode.G 1. Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23111-4.
- "Interview with Masami Kurumada". AnimeLand (in French) (Anime Manga Presse). 2003.
- "Critique MN Saint Seiya Episode G Vol.1" (in French). Manga-News.com. Retrieved April 27, 2012. "Mais ce n’est plus Kurumada qui se charge de Saint Seiya G (série portant très mal son nom puisque Seiya n’y apparaît pas), et ça se voit…c’est la 1er chose qui choque : le style graphique est très particulier, non pas qu’il soit vilain, au contraire, mais très particulier on accroche ou pas ! Si on aime voir de puissants guerriers anorexique et androgyne pourquoi pas."
- "Saint Seiya Episode G - T10 - par Masami Kurumada & Megumu Okada - Panini Comics" (in French). Thomas Berthelon, Actua BD: l'actualité de la bande dessinée. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
- "Saint Seiya Episode G - Band 1" (in German). Onlinewelten.com. Retrieved January 8, 2013. "Wir erfahren also einiges über die Jungendjahre unserer bekannten 12 Goldsaints, und einige Unklarheiten bzw. Geheimnisse des alten Mangas werden aufgedeckt."
- "Saint Seiya Episode G (manga) AnimePro.de" (in German). AnimePro.de. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
- "Critique MN Saint Seiya Episode G Vol.5" (in French). Manga-News.com. Retrieved April 27, 2012. "Un peu de sang frais dans ce tome, ce coup ci ce ne sont pas les titans qui attaquent le sanctuaire, mais des créatures mythologiques qui s’en prennent aux humains, ainsi on voit nos célèbres chevaliers affronter le Minotaure, une gorgone…"
- "Critique MN Saint Seiya Episode G Vol.6" (in French). Manga-News.com. Retrieved January 8, 2013. "c’est Milo du Scorpion qui est mis à l’honneur dans un combat l’opposant à Hector, héros de la guerre de Troie..."
- Pedro Hunter. "HQ: Cavaleiros do Zodíaco - Episódio G" (in Portuguese). Omelete. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- "Critique MN Saint Seiya episode G Vol.0" (in French). Manga-News.com. Retrieved April 27, 2012. "l’histoire ... évoque une bataille contre des Dieux Egyptiens..."
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- "チャンピオンRED 2003年2月号" [February 2003 issue of Champion Red] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G 1" (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- "Saint Seiya Episode G interrotto: svelato il mistero" [Saint Seiya Episode G interrupted: unveiled the mystery] (in Italian). Comicsblog.it. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
- "チャンピオンRED 2011年4月号" [April 2011 issue of Champion Red] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "Manga verso la conclusione!" [Manga headed towards the end!] (in Italian). Paninicomics.it. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
- "チャンピオンRED 2013年5月号" [May 2013 issue of Champion Red] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "チャンピオンRED 2013年8月号" [August 2013 issue of Champion Red] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G 20" (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G" (in Portuguese). Conrad Editora. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G" (in Italian). Panini Comics. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G" (in German). Amazon.com. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G" (in French). Panini Comics (France). Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G" (in Spanish). Glénat. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G" (in Spanish). Editorial Ivrea. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G" (in Spanish). Editorial Kamite. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G" (in Chinese). Chuang Yi. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "チャンピオンRED 2007年12月号" [December 2007 issue of Champion Red] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "チャンピオンRED 2008年3月号" [March 2008 issue of Champion Red] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G 0" (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- "JBOOK：商品検索" [JBOOK: Product Search] (in Japanese). Jbook.co.jp. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- "Saint Seiya - Leo Aiolia - Bust episode G (Akita)". MyFigureCollection.net (Tsuki-board.net). Retrieved March 3, 2011.
- "チャンピオンRED 2007年4月号" [April 2007 issue of Champion Red] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "Shadow Skill's Okada to Begin New Saint Seiya Episode.G Manga in April". Anime News Network. December 18, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- "De Olho no Japão: Anunciado Novo Mangá de CDZ Episódio G" (in Portuguese). JBox.com.br. December 18, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- "チャンピオンREDいちご 2014年Vol.43" [Volume 43 of Champion Red Ichigo 2014] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- "チャンピオンRED 2014年2月号" [February 2014 issue of Champion Red] (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
- "2006 Manga Sale in France". ComiPress. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- "Saint Seiya Episode.G in Planet Manga's Top 10" (in Italian). Panini Comics. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- "Saint Seiya Episode G - Tome 8 - Masami Kurumada & Megumu Okada - Panini Comics" (in French). Thomas Berthelon, Actua BD: l'actualité de la bande dessinée. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- "Critique MN Saint Seiya Episode G Vol.11" (in French). Manga-News.com. Retrieved April 27, 2012. "Je vous épargne les désormais classiques échanges de grandes phrases...un volume entier pour s'entendre répéter la même chose (qui se répète déjà depuis 11 volumes)"
- "Critique MN Saint Seiya Episode G Vol.1" (in French). Manga-News.com. Retrieved April 27, 2012. "mais non, il choisit de parler de la jeunesse des chevaliers d’or que l’on connaît… du coup il n’y a aucun suspens car on sait très bien qu’aucun d’entre eux ne va mourir vu qu’ils sont encore là des années plus tard ; la moitié d’entre eux n’ont qu’une petite dizaine d’année… et ça, c’est très limite; et surtout, rajouter cette bataille contre les titans traduit une incohérence incroyable : les chevaliers d’or vont repousser des titans, des dieux à 10 ans (on sait qu’il vont y arriver car comme je l’ai déjà dit, tous survivront) et une fois adulte se feront rosser, certains tués par de simples chevaliers de bronze… minable !"
- "Critique MN Saint Seiya Episode G Vol.14" (in French). Manga-News.com. Retrieved April 27, 2012. "...pour la première fois depuis le début de la série on retrouve véritablement l'esprit de la série d'origine ! Les combattants se faisant face sont animés d'un profond respect, voir même d'une admiration, un sentiment d'amour pour celui prêt à donner sa vie pour ce qu'il juge juste..."
- Akita Shoten official website (Japanese)