SSBS – Saint Seiya Episode 4: Dragon! The Invincible Fist and Shield Review

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Plot: Seiya’s next match is against the owner of the Dragon Cloth – Shiryu. With the power of the strongest shield and fist, he’s certainly a fierce opponent, but no matter how badly he gets beaten, Seiya keeps getting back up. Shiryu gets news in the middle of his fight that his beloved master is terribly ill. Shiryu wants to see him as soon as possible, but he can’t forfeit the match and face his master in shame. Neither will Seiya give in and give up his only chance to find his sister. But how can one beat a warrior who boasts having both the strongest attack and the strongest shield?

Breakdown: This episode was very intense from start to finish. Before we’re even five minutes in, Seiya is laid out flat on the canvas and is bleeding heavily from his mouth. It really looks as if he’s been defeated, but Seiya just won’t stay down, which really makes me question how long exactly a fighter is allowed to stay down without being counted out. There are about three times in this episode where Seiya is laid out motionless on the floor of the ring for extended periods of time, and yet no one calls the match. One instance even really seemed like Seiya was dead. He was completely unconscious in a pool of his own blood, but no one was calling it. Is there some main character clause in the tournament rules?

Shiryu’s backstory is short but sweet. He loves his smurf/elf fusion-esque master as a father. His master taught him everything he knows and gave him the courage and strength to reverse the flow of a waterfall with his power to prove himself worthy of the Dragon Cloth. He’s currently very ill, however, and Shiryu is desperate to go see him. However, Seiya won’t stay down, and no one will call the damn match, so he can’t leave.

Shiryu really proves to be an impressive powerhouse. He was always one of my favorite characters in the show. He has an extremely strong defense in his, admittedly small, shield, and an extremely powerful offense in his fist. His punch is so strong, in fact, that it manages to shatter the armor on Seiya’s left arm in just one hit, badly wounding his forearm and getting him in the face at the same time.

I will say, if there’s one thing I was disappointed in, it was how Seiya managed to break the shield and stop Seiryu’s fist. His strategy was based on the Spear-Shield Paradox – a Chinese story of a man who tried to sell the world’s strongest shield, that could stop any spear, and the world’s strongest spear, that could pierce any shield. When a customer asked what would happen should the shield and spear collide, the seller gave no answer. Instead of this being a paradox, however, the solution given in the show is that they destroy each other. That is one of the theories, but they act like that’s the definitive answer when it’s not. Hence why it’s a very famous paradox. Seiya basically risked his life on a complete gamble.

And when I say he risked his life, I mean this crazy bastard literally went at Shiryu face first. His plan was to go at him face first so Shiryu would guard with his shield, punch with his fist and wind up missing Seiya and hitting the shield, which would destroy both. His plan relied on 1) The shield and fist both breaking instead of just canceling each other out or something. 2) Shiryu not preparing for such an attack, which he did, delivering what would have been a fatal blow to Seiya’s head with his shield if not for Seiya’s helmet, 3) Shiryu trying to also punch him after delivering this terrible blow, which, honestly, would be overkill in that moment (It really looked like’s Seiya’s head was crushed after that. It was very bad). And 4) Shiryu missing Seiya’s head and hitting his shield/Shiryu not putting his shield down after hitting Seiya.

So many dominoes had to be fall in such a precise manner that it’s insane the events actually unfolded as they did.

What’s even more frustrating is that Seiya was horrifically injured after this. Like I said, he was lying in a pool of his own blood unconscious on the ground, clearly suffering from a terrible head injury, and yet they were almost acting as if the match might end in a stalemate because Shiryu’s shield was broken and his fist was injured. But he was standing and was completely uninjured besides that. Count out the half-dead horse.

But of course they don’t. He somehow manages to get back up, both of them shed their armor and they prepare to take each other on bare-fisted. Seiya’s resilience is one thing, but he really doesn’t seem all that wounded when they restart their fight in the end. He had a bad stomach/chest wound that nearly knocked him out at the start. He had an arm injury, hit in the head a couple times and then that skull-shattering blow he just took. And yet he looks relatively fine.

I get it, it’s willpower, that’s great, and I’m not rooting for Seiya to lose or die, but I’m just saying that my suspension of disbelief is being spread awful thin here, to the point where I really feel like he’s just milking his main character status. If he didn’t absolutely need to win this tournament and wasn’t the main character, he’d totally be out by now, if not by knockout surely by just dying.

I worry that, should Shiryu lose in the next episode, it might be by more BS. I don’t doubt the match will be great, but I figure Seiya has to win, and I can’t see how he’d win without pulling something out of his ass.

All in all, this was a fantastic episode just with one glaring point of BS with him breaking the shield and fist, and a little less glaring with him not being counted out. He had to have spent well over an accumulative five minutes on the floor, most of them unconscious, and yet no one called it.

Next time, Seiya’s match with Shiryu concludes. Can the pegasus find a way to beat the dragon?

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