|Saint Seiya character|
Ikki in a panel from volume 6 of the manga.
vol. 1, chapter 4 (shadowed)
vol. 3, chapter 9 (fully)
|Created by||Masami Kurumada|
Hideyuki Hori (anime)
Noriko Uemura (anime, as young Ikki)
Katsuyuki Konishi (OVA)
Machiko Toyoshima (OVA, as young Ikki)
K. C. Jones (as young Ikki)
Phoenix Ikki (鳳凰星座（フェニックス）の一輝 Fenikkusu no Ikki?) is a character from Saint Seiya, a manga written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada which was later adapted to anime. Ikki is the Phoenix Bronze Saint and older brother of Andromeda Shun. Although he initially appears as the first antagonist that the main characters must defeat, he later becomes a powerful ally.
Creation and conception
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In terms of personality, Ikki is almost the opposite of his younger brother, Shun, and his fellow Saints. Ikki is a loner, cold and harsh. When he first appears in the manga, fellow Saint Wolf Nachi points out that it is hard to believe Ikki and Shun are related due to the differences in their personalities. After the "Black Saints" arc, however, it is revealed that underneath his rough exterior lies a compassionate and kind soul. Kanon, in the "Poseidon" arc, and Pandora, in the "Hades" arc, note that Ikki is still guided by his deep love and loyalty for his younger brother, for his friends and for Athena. Although he dislikes teamwork, he comes to battle whenever Athena's Saints need his help and often arrives at critical moments to save his younger brother and friends from certain death. He has a noble, complex and mature character, who never hesitates to sacrifice himself for his friends.
The Phoenix Cloth represents the constellation of Phoenix, which is associated to the immortal bird that is reborn from its ashes found in the folklore and mythologies of diverse cultures. Reflecting this association, the Cloth has the ability to reform itself if pulverized and possibly change into a new form as it does so – other Cloths require a great amount of a Saint's blood to repair. Ikki himself is extraordinarily resilient and hard to kill. On several occasions throughout the story, he returns from death and it is implied that every time he does so, he receives a boost in strength. Having been born under the sign of Leo, Ikki also dons the Leo Gold Cloth on one occasion, during the fight against Thanatos, the god of death, in Elysion.
While Ikki is ranked as a Bronze Saint, his potential places him above most Silver Saints. His strength is common knowledge among his peers and fellow Bronze Saints. As a child, Ikki was known as the toughest of the one hundred orphans recruited by the Graude Foundation and would often defend his younger brother Shun. During his battle against Virgo Shaka, Ikki awakens his seventh sense, which places him at the same level as a Gold Saint in terms of power. In the "Hades" arc, he also awakens the eighth sense, which allows him to descend to the world of the dead without being subject to its laws.
In Saint Seiya
In order to take revenge on Mitsumasa Kido, the head of the Graude Foundation who had Ikki endure a living hell of rigorous training to become a Saint since an early age, Ikki interrupts the Galaxian Wars tournament to steal the Sagittarius Gold Cloth from the Graude Foundation and challenges the other Bronze Saints to fight him and the Black Saints. After a long series of struggles, Pegasus Seiya, Andromeda Shun, Cygnus Hyōga and Dragon Shiryū eventually defeat them. Overcoming his grudge, Ikki begins to assist the Bronze Saints in their fights to protect Athena and retake Sanctuary from Gemini Saga. His intervention is crucial in defeating the Gold Saint Virgo Shaka and Saga himself.
In the "Poseidon" arc, Ikki aids the Bronze Saints by defeating Lyumnades Caça and battling Sea Dragon Kanon. Although he is unable to beat Kanon, Ikki succeeds in extracting valuable information from the Marine General about Poseidon that led to Athena's victory over the god of the Sea.
Ikki does not appear in the "Hades" arc until the Saints are already in the Underworld. He defeats Garuda Aiacos and then confronts Hades himself, who had gained possession of his younger brother's body. Ikki attempts to rip the god out of Shun's body, and was punished for it with death. Not even the god of the Underworld could keep the Phoenix down, however, and Ikki eventually travels to Elysion where he participates with the other Bronze Saints in the battles against Thanatos, Hypnos and Hades.
In other media
Ikki reappears in Saint Seiya: Next Dimension, the ongoing sequel to Saint Seiya authored by Kurumada that deals with the aftermath of the war against Hades. After Athena visits Mount Olympus to meet her sister Artemis and ask for her help to cure Seiya from the curse Hades inflicted on him, Andromeda Shun is attacked by Artemis's soldiers, the Satellites, and their commander Lascomoune. Shun manages to defeat the Satellites, but not Lascomoune, who nearly takes his life. Ikki then intervenes to protect his brother and defeats the commander of the Satellites. Afterwards, he follows Athena and Shun into the past, to the war against Hades that took place in the eighteenth century.
He also appears briefly in the spin-off manga Saint Seiya Episode.G authored by Megumu Okada, as Leo Aiolia and Scorpio Milo think of the next generation of Saints who will write future history.
Several minor changes were made to Ikki's design in the anime adaptation of the series. The Phoenix Cloth, which is orange in the manga, appears as multicolored in the anime adaptation. Ikki's black hair also changed colors, as it is common practice for characters with black hair in the original manga to receive dark blue hair in the anime adaptation to avoid palette problems with the character's head outline and confusion with the backgrounds.
In the Saint Seiya movies, Ikki always appears helping Andromeda Shun and using the same methods to defeat his opponents. In the Heaven Chapter: Overture movie, however, Ikki is unable to defeat the Angel of Artemis until he fights alongside his younger brother and the two combine techniques to kill him. Later, he is seen with Shun going towards to the place where Seiya is fighting Apollo.
In the section Right Turn Only! from Anime News Network, writer Liann Cooper noted that the fight between Ikki and Shun was a plot twist "skirmish". Mania Entertainment's Mark Thomas found Ikki to be one of the most interesting characters from the series, having liked his early role as an antagonist and his subsequent appearances as a partner for the Bronze Saints. His powers were also praised by Thomas, who noted he was "far too good for the Bronze Cloth", but was saddened with how he disappeared during his fight against Virgo Shaka.