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Anime/Manga Masterpieces


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#1 Levy

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 04:42 PM

What anime or manga do you guys consider 10/10 or as close as possible?For me I have 3:

Area 88:A pretty old manga adapted into an ova and overall a good tale of how war destroys men and countries.Also one of earliest mangas to be released in the U.S..

Vampire princess Miyu(ova):A very tightly written ova from 1988 due to atmosphere and perfect pacing.

Shiki:Nearly perfect in many respects but overall is hampered by slow start.Stands as one of the best vampire/horror anime.



#2 Fire Blazer

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 05:44 AM

For me, nothing is perfect. Not even perfect for "me", like based on my expectations and wishes and stuff. So a masterpiece can't be perfect, or there would be no masterpieces, which would sort of defeat the purpose of the word/this topic.

 

Instead, I'm going to say a masterpiece is not only excellent, but has stood the test of time. It's been excellent throughout. It's got to be near legendary status. There are quite a few anime I liked a lot. I thought about putting Code Geass, Attack on Titan, and Oregairu as masterpieces, but I couldn't. Code Geass was amazing for me but it did have a couple downfalls that just made it slightly out of reach. Attack on Titan and Oregairu have yet to be finished and leave a lasting mark for me. (Well, CG was pretty popular, but in a way it didn't leave enough of a lasting mark for me either, one way or another.)

 

So... here's my short list:

 

One Piece: manga is a masterpiece. Well over 700 chapters.Several arcs. Huge world, tons of characters. Millions of fans. So much influence, and super well known. And it's still excellent to this day, even though it's not finished. Few manga have anywhere near the reputation that One Piece has.

 

Samurai Champloo: Though not nearly as well known or prominent, this to me is very much a classic that a lot of people know and I feel like it's style and dynamic were very unique and the animation was excellent. I can't really explain it but it's simple yet so... elegantly done. It's not perfect either, nothing is, but I think if you try to make an anime as thrilling as Samurai Champloo (coming from a guy who doesn't even like most elements of Japanese culture) and are doing ok at it, you've got some potential there.

 

Dragon Ball... is tough for me. GT was meh. And I really felt it should have ended at the Cell saga. But Dragon Ball really was great. It's freaking legendary. There are lots of people who know pretty much nothing about anime but are still familiar with like, going super saiyan or the kamehameha. But what do I give the credit to? the original Dragon Ball manga? DBZ? the anime? I don't know. In a way, it was simple and in retrospect, it had a lot of unimpressive moments. But at the time, it was freaking marvelous, inspired so many people, and it's just... legendary.

 

So somehow, give the masterpiece award to Dragon Ball. Just because it kind of freaking deserves it. Like where in my life would I be without DBZ, I don't even know. I'd probably have a PRETTY boring life. I could still go for an occasional screaming session where I pretend to go super saiyan, and I'm freaking 20. clearly that either says something great about DBZ or terrible about me and my sanity. I'll let you decide. :P


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#3 Thezalor

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 03:29 AM

Area 88:A pretty old manga adapted into an ova and overall a good tale of how war destroys men and countries.Also one of earliest mangas to be released in the U.S..

Vampire princess Miyu(ova):A very tightly written ova from 1988 due to atmosphere and perfect pacing.

Shiki:Nearly perfect in many respects but overall is hampered by slow start.Stands as one of the best vampire/horror anime.

I've been meaning to watch Area 88 for at least 2 years now. I've also heard great things about Shiki. I must confess I haven't heard of Vampire princess Miyu, but upon looking it up I am intrigued. I have a sweet spot for late 80's - late 90's Shoujo art work.

 

The 3 anime I've seen that I would give call masterpieces are Revolutionary Girl Utena, Kaiji (first season), and Monster.

 

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Because it masterly uses it's animation in surrealist ways that only adds to the already surreal story. Utena is one of the few anime that I can rewatch loads of times and still discover new things. And I've rewatched Utena 2 - 3 times this year alone. 

 

Kaiji: Not only a fantastic thriller that will entertain you, but it's quite philosophical as well. Kaiji really gets you to see the real world for how it is, and you can't help but root for him in his struggle to get out of debt.

 

Monster: Extraordinarily well written. Every character from minor ones to main characters get well developed and fully fleshed out.

 

Honorable Mention: Legend of the Galactic Heroes. This is one of the very few titles that even Elitists praise. I think it's handling of political philosophy is very well done. That said, while it's well written and presents interesting themes and questions. I found it kind of boring. Objectively it is good, but it was not something I was very exited by most of the time.    


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#4 kirant

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:03 AM

Shiki is currently #2 on my "must watch" list after Madoka.

 

The only anime I'd even consider for the "10/10" status, and this is more from a personal opinion, is Serial Experiments Lain.  It's almost a piece of art in my opinion and I'd call it a masterpiece (whereas a 10/10 is a near impossibility if any media since that's declaring it flawless).  It's a case of always getting more out if you put more in.  You watch it once and it's...well...okay.  Watch it a second time and it's terrific.  A third time and you probably have a good chunk of the symbolism down.  But you'll always find something new and interesting about Lain whenever you sit and put together a viewing.  It shares this distinct pleasure with Shutter Island as one of the few pieces of media to ever give me this sort of unique interest.

 

It's artistically stunning; ABe (sic) often features his incredibly unique artistic style and Lain is no exception.  Eyes and shadows are incredible .  I'd even argue it's almost impossible to remember the work's era as well due to the non-standard production. The level of detail in some of the little things is stunning and it's almost a must watch if you love esoteric topics and some of the background data. 

 

The story is absolutely fascinating and requires two or more views to fully understand (though you really should have it down after the second viewing).  It's a very rare circumstance of intentional mind screw that seems to work out since it is crystal clear on the second approach. 

 

Sound effects and background music...well, it's either this or Boogiepop Phantom for my favourite. 

 

 

 

I've always wondered if I should add Texhnolyze...but I should probably view it again before deciding.  It's dark and gloomy...and uses a tonne of the Lain staff.  Maybe that's why I like it so much :P


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#5 JuneoftheMearkat

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 07:57 AM

For me, nothing is perfect. Not even perfect for "me", like based on my expectations and wishes and stuff. So a masterpiece can't be perfect, or there would be no masterpieces, which would sort of defeat the purpose of the word/this topic.

 

Took the words right out of my mouth. I'm not so good at designating the labels "perfect" or "flawless" to things, even if they come so close its painful. The flaws of works are what give them character and in and of themselves kind of define it along with the amazing aspects for me.

 

So I thought about it and the anime I can list in good conscious as amazing in so many ways:

 

Baccano!: Baccano is pure mind-stimulating crack of the absolute best kind. The classy yet crude 1930s setting and atmosphere, the crisp animation that can go from soft to crazy in a second, the piecemeal plot the jumps around every which way and gives just enough info to keep you at the edge of your seat at the key moments, but what really solidifies it as an all time favorite is that cast. Every character is not just insanely memorable, but contributes to the plot in some tangible way that brands itself into your brain. Just, my god, this writer knows what the hell he's doing (this series was originally a light novel). This anime only has 13 episodes covering the main plot (16 counting the afterstory epilogue that covers some loose threads) and in the span of that time he manages to flesh out, personalize and integrate the 17 named main characters in the opening, which doesn't even include the many others that show up and become a big deal as the episodes go on.

 

There's so much going on at once; action, ganster intrigue, unexpected romance, past conspiracies and supernatural occurances, yet it never felt like too much to handle, and I think this is due to the pervasive tone of morbid mockery of seriousness throughout. Mind you, there are tons of serious moments, but the series always has time to snap back and explore the more odd aspects of humanity through the unhinged characters. There's so many times where you feel like you shouldn't be laughing (I've never laughed so hard at a deranged psycho in a white suit dancing in a giant puddle of blood), but just can't help yourself with how ridiculous a scenario is portrayed.

 

This show is kind of infamous for having one of the best dubs of all time (silly accents, silly accents everywhere), so if you'd check it out, I'd recommend that track over subs any day (I mean, what could fit 1930's gangster america better?). Also, I really like its successor Durarara! too, but for me Durarara! doesn't stand up to the sheer force of Baccano!.

 

Princess Tutu: Probably one of the worst possible names for a title that could grace this page XD, but don't be fooled; beneath the frilly exterior lies a bastion of classical themes being ripped to shreds and rebuilt into something new. The show stars a young girl at a ballet school academy... wait a minute she's actually nothing but a duck... but wait she's actually a ballet princess in a book? The main character has two different alter-ego's, and the story kicks off when she meets and falls in love with and emotionless prince and vows to protect him. While this thread of the tale begins, the story behind the town she lives in is actually a lot more complex and sinister than what is initially let on. Princess Tutu is a series built on the themes of fairy tales; the main characters are actually proxies themselves of an in story author, who is attempting to control their every action and lead them to his desired tragic ending. Thus, in a struggle to find identity and purpose in their fate, they fight amongst each other, discover unexpected common ground, work together, find ways to step out of their given roles, and subvert the expectations of their creator (and sometimes even the viewer, depending on who you are).

 

The use of classical music in this series is brilliant (especially if you research the history of each track); every placement of a song in tandem with a ballet dance is a reference to some tale that ties to the events of the current plot. As for the characters, the group is fairly concise, with four mains (no spoilers) and a handful of recurring side characters. I will say that the mains (a set of them in particular) are some of my favorite characters from any anime ever, and the chemistry between the cast feels very natural (you can tell Ikuko Itoh, who also worked on the Sailor Moon anime, spent 8 years designing the main characters of Princess Tutu). The dub for this one is also excellent and I think it fits better, just because of the european background of the setting, stories, and soundtrack.

 

Oh speaking of Utena Thelazor, I've heard in many places Princess Tutu referred to as "Utena-lite", which makes sense since it shares some of the same themes, but is designed to be suitable for a younger audience (sort of...there's still lots of dark shit in there). Unfortunately I have no opinion on whether I would put Utena on this list or not because I haven't seen it yet (and need to, its been on my radar for a while)...

 

(Note: There was a manga adaptation of Princess Tutu but it sucks and completely misses every single point of the anime, don't read it)

 

Honorable Mentions: Time to cheat :D! I probably shouldn't bother putting these here, since I don't consider them as quite measuring up to the level of the above and by virtue of me sticking them here, I'm kind of extending my boundaries just so I can ramble XD, but whatever. I mainly put them here because I had a few things to say about each in terms of anime genre's and conventions as a whole.

 

Cardcaptor Sakura: Fun fact; I'm not a huge fan of long runners. Most of the anime I've watched (and still gravitate to) are usually no more than 26 episodes, sometimes up to maybe 35 or 50 if I was feeling daring at the time (or the series is known for being that good). Cardcaptor Sakura is 76 episodes long (with two movies), but here's the thing; for the most part every episode counted. There was always something meaningful happening in an episode, whether it was getting another Clow Card power that could be used in a later fight, development between the characters (this series was great about character continuity, no bullshit resetting between episodes for the most part) or foreshadowing for a new plot development in the future. It still has one of the best slow build romances I've ever seen (between two 10 year olds no less), and really shows a thorough tale of coming of age from a young girl's point of view without being overly cheesy (like some other magical girl shows can fall into). Despite the mountains of titles CLAMP has created over the years, I think Cardcaptor Sakura remains their best.

 

Madoka Magica: Urrrrg, I love this anime, I really do, its great in so many ways. The eldritch world of the witches mixed with the exaggerated moe of the girls creates a fabulous contrast. The themes and relations to magical girl tropes are subtle yet potent at the same time, creating a tradegy you can't help but want to avoid. But it falls short because of one thing; the characters. Now, I really like the characters of Madoka Magica. They all have believable motivations, personalities, standout designs. It's really not about that. It's just that sometimes I feel like they end up being tragic constructs rather than fleshed-out individuals who formed their own motivations through shown experience. This is fine as a narrative tool. Using a character to make a statement is a legitimate method for storytelling. But for me, I like my characters to be the forefront of a story, and they have to be outstanding for me to rate it above and beyond.

 

Eyeshield 21: What HERESY I SAY. A freaking shonen sports manga has been spoken of in this sacred place XD? Well my boyfriend introduced me to this manga last year, and after about an hour of reading it, I was hooked hard. Much like Cardcaptor Sakura, every chapter of Eyeshield 21 has something in it that progresses whats happening; no staple shonen filler here. The cast is extremely fun (with several standouts that you'll be sure to remember) and bounce off of each other in so many ways (you know exactly what would happen if you put two characters in a room together). There is a protagonist (who has an excellent coming of age story of his own), but he doesn't suck up the spotlight at all. In fact, tons of other characters get equal amounts of screentime and their own arcs of improvement. There are no useless team members (everyone gets a moment to shine and make the reader see why they belong in the group) the games all play out like over-the-top shows of flashy special moves and play and are tons of excitement, but they almost always put them in the tactical context (with a few exceptions of character-driven level-ups) that makes sense and get somehow gets you super interested in the mechanics of football (or course a japanese manga would make me actually care about american football XD).

 

You know whats cool too? Because its a sport manga (and there's no actual threat of death), the main team actually loses sometimes and has to learn the hard way from it. It runs just long enough to not overstay its welcome and has a very satisfying ending (quite the achievement, considering how many great characters there were to speculate about). Overall, its a very well-written romp that still has that shonen charm. Highly recommend even if you don't like sports manga (which I didn't really before I read it).

 

(Do not watch the Eyeshield 21 anime if you can stomach any semblance of reading. It's a tragic insult to Murata's awesome art, with cheap ass animation that goes off model constantly. Despicable.)



#6 Mercurius

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 03:33 PM

this thread bothers me to hell

 

like all the time I'm feeling like I want to put SOMETHING on here but there's really nothing that I can consider a masterpiece even if I use the most biased and as personal reasons as possible

 

I've watched a lot of the shows mentioned that made no significant impact on me too (Madoka Magica actually sticks to my memory though)


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#7 Fire Blazer

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 08:00 PM

 

I'm not so good at designating the labels "perfect" or "flawless" to things, even if they come so close its painful. The flaws of works are what give them character and in and of themselves kind of define it along with the amazing aspects for me.

 

So I thought about it and the anime I can list in good conscious as amazing in so many ways:

 

 

The only anime I'd even consider for the "10/10" status, and this is more from a personal opinion, is Serial Experiments Lain.  It's almost a piece of art in my opinion and I'd call it a masterpiece (whereas a 10/10 is a near impossibility if any media since that's declaring it flawless).

 

 

this thread bothers me to hell

 

like all the time I'm feeling like I want to put SOMETHING on here but there's really nothing that I can consider a masterpiece even if I use the most biased and as personal reasons as possible

 

I think June has the right idea

 

a masterpiece isn't flawless, it's just something that tried to do something and excelled in that. It is highly-revered not just by you but by others as well. It may have plenty of flaws, but it has no major downfalls. In other words, I think if you put too much weight on the concept of masterpiece/a 10/10, it's just going to make things difficult. To me, a 10/10 isn't perfect, it just means it really doesn't get much better. I used to think similarly before--I mean, 10/10 = a 100% score = a perfect on a test or exam, but I think with reviewing, it's different... a 10/10 just mean it's superb and was amazing and impressive in various ways. And of course, it's just an opinion, and while it's good to try to see things through a critical lens and objectively, you can only go so far with that—after all, standards for what are good/bad are in many ways also just opinions... that are widely accepted to be "correct" lol

 

In other words, I suggest just lightening up and listing anything you thought was excellent and really enjoyable.

 

Don't feel like it has to be perfect or even near-perfect to be a masterpiece. Even One Piece, my favorite manga ever, has plenty of "problems" or things that are like "wut" or that I'm not fond of. There are a lot of things I wasn't really fond of in the Dragon Ball series either. Samurai Champloo had some meh parts that were either uninteresting or otherwise just not my thing to me, and the ending felt so empty too (though I can't say it wasn't well-done as a whole, I guess the sadness of parting was just too much for me at the time, even though it was the given outcome, lol)..

 

So yeah, that's just my suggestion/take on it. I certainly hope no one sees anything I give an arbitrary score of 10/10 to and puts much weight on it or takes it to mean I think it's perfect. Ha, please, it's just a number. It's just a really lazy way to try to sum a ton of observations, feelings, and experiences with something such that people can get a very vague sense as to how much I enjoyed something, lol.


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#8 Mercurius

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 06:26 AM

It may have plenty of flaws, but it has no major downfalls

That's the main issue, really. I mean if this thread was just "Favorite anime of all time" I could probably answer pretty easily (even mentioning the bad parts) but otherwise there's usually something that either feels lacking or makes me too uncomfortable for me to consider it a masterpiece. This is particularly the case for when it looks like something could be left out fairly easily without really changing how the plot or characterization has to work or something. Improvement is hard, removing dregs is just a matter of cleaning up.

 

Part of why I have a problem with giving a "masterpiece" is possibly because of how I approach media; I don't really appreciate how well-crafted a work is for the most part. How well it's built as a story based on "objective quality" conventions only needs to reach an acceptable level to deliver what it wants, and shows considered to be of high quality don't really have something I particularly want out of them. In other words, what I do want will have unwanted baggage that comes with it by default.

 

Madoka probably sticks out in my memory because it does do something that I really appreciate about it, even if I don't really care that much for the rest of it, and that's in expression shown via the world of the witch. Fine art that deals in expressionism usually has extremely little effect on me, you have to do too much guesswork and interpretation and stuff and when you get too far into that it feels more like the artist is trolling you than anything. But the barriers of the witch are different, they're animated and based on a characters' perceptions, feelings, and experiences, with incredibly high amounts of symbolism to represent who they were. It is visual characterization taken to a large-scale extreme. This is exactly what expressionism is supposed to be, but usually fails to communicate an actual meaning(besides really shallow, uninteresting ones) through it because it's always shown in an out-of-context and static, limited space. But this is just a really interesting feature. It doesn't do that much for the work as a whole. The characters never really infer anything about someone via these worlds and what they have become. They only know that it sucks to have become "one of the monsters."


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#9 Thezalor

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 05:14 PM

Reading this conversation has changed my perspective a bit, and here is my 2 cents. 

 

Masterpiece≠10/10. 

 

What I mean is that 10/10 is quantifying something as whole, and thus as perfect. You can't really quantify something as subjective as art. I use the term masterpiece by splitting up the two words "master" and "piece". A piece of art that required a master at his field to accomplish. Something that only somebody (or a team of people) who know what they are doing very well can accomplish. When you use the term masterpiece, typically (in my view) you would also want to praise the person who created it as a "genius". Likewise, I know the names of all the directors/creators of the anime I listed. And I only bothered to learn their names because I did think of them as geniuses for being able to create something like they did. 

 

Anyway, after having this slight change of view; I'm going to have to edit my first post a bit. As I made the mistake before of equating "masterpiece" with "10/10". 


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#10 Fire Blazer

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 07:27 PM

>Merc quotes me

>notices a mistake in his post

 

DERP

 

*fixes both original post and the quote because he can*

 

anyway, I guess that's fair, Merc... there's not much more I can say on it, haha. I guess if you don't have any masterpieces, you just don't. XP

 

@Thezalor that's an interesting take on the word. I do feel a bit similarly in that I think a masterpiece is someone trying to do something and really succeeding in that, like mastering a certain genre/type of story-telling/something, I dunno exactly—and I do think of Oda (the One Piece creator) as a genius for what that's worth, so yeah


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#11 JuneoftheMearkat

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 02:59 AM

The idea of a "masterpiece" has the tough dichotomy of possibly referring to the creators own "masterpiece" out of their own works, a general "masterpiece" of the genre, or a "masterpiece" within the media medium of anime itself. These rising levels of classification aren't necessarily linear in scope either; there are series who may be considered masterpieces of anime, but can't compete with more obscure powerhouses within their own genre. Something like Sailor Moon, which invented many magical girl conventions that have since been refined and twisted innumerable times just can't compete with newer series that have perfected the best parts of its formula. In reverse, if a series is insanely popular and influential through decades, regardless of its subjective quality or future cited flaws (Evangelion would be the definitive example I can think of), does that make it a "masterpiece"? Who knows, I suppose it depends on your opinion *shrug*.

 

For instance, I consider Cardcaptor Sakura to be creator CLAMP's masterpiece out of all their works (if you didn't know, CLAMP is actually a group of 5 ladies who are well known for a handful of popular manga/anime such as Magic Knight Rayearth, XxxHolic, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle(which even reuses Cardcaptor Sakura's leads), Kobato, and many more). It's also very popular and has been iconic for many years now, so plenty would say it's a masterpiece within the anime realm as well (I do as well to a degree, just to clarify, but not more than my top picks). However, within the magical girl genre, while it does do certain conventions at a top tier level (the main romance, character growth, solid magical lore, the unique peaceful yet mysterious atmosphere) it has tons of hot contenders that are critical and fanbase darlings (we pretty much listed all the ones I know on this forum; Revolutionary Girl Utena, Madoka Magica, Princess Tutu...). Up against them, do its best executed traits fall short, or can they coexist because they're too different (or even if they're similar)?

 

In the case of the first classification, I may consider Baccano! to be superior to Durarara!, but there are other people who may feel its the other way around within that creator's works. Does that mean only one of them can be a "masterpiece"? Can a creator only have one magnum opus in their lifetime, with everything else being relegated to second place no matter how good it is?

 

Of course, not even getting into the issue of an anime that has too many genre's to really be classified (or whether we should be categorizing things like that at all).

 

I think this is a debate born of comparing things in the first place; its hard to put intrinsic value on something without comparing it to something else, that's just the way it goes sometimes.

 

 

@Thezalor that's an interesting take on the word. I do feel a bit similarly in that I think a masterpiece is someone trying to do something and really succeeding in that, like mastering a certain genre/type of story-telling/something, I dunno exactly—and I do think of Oda (the One Piece creator) as a genius for what that's worth, so yeah

 

This sounds like a good take on the word. Taking it further by defining exactly what aspects the work does best, or whether you think its just completely unique in some way compared to everything else helps to shape your view when you have to explain it to everyone.



#12 Queenie

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 08:23 PM

Nothing is a masterpiece in my opinion, but if I Should choose a manga who can be near to, it will be Saint Seiya, the old manga from the 80's

Yes the style is a bit old (except for the animals/constelations/other things pictures), but how nostalgic. (I want to re-read it now x) )

 

I don't see the anime but I should just only for Asgard arc which is an anime exclusive.

 

in this series, each character have their own relation with another one, and you can have some very good moment (Hyoga vs Camus, the most sad battle :( or Hyoga vs Isaak)

The idea with the 88 constelations is pretty good and the scenario is pretty good too, the Sanctuary part in the Hades arc is by far the best one for me.

 

And this series is like Dragon Ball... Legendary so this one has a lot of spinoffs (Saint Seiya Omega, Saint Seiya G, Saint Seiya G - Assassin -I MUST READ IT BECAUSE SHURA!-, Saint Seiya Soul of Gold, Lost Canvas, Lots canvas Chronicles, etc...) but no one can surpass the original one 8D






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