SSBS – Saint Seiya/Knights of the Zodiac Episode 2: Burn! Meteor Punch of Pegasus

SSBS - Saint Seiya Episode 2

Plot: Seiya has arrived in Japan right as the Galactic Tournament is starting up. The Galactic Tournament is a series of matches between those who have earned Bronze cloths for the sake of winning one of the 12 Golden Cloths. Seiya has absolutely no interest in joining, however. His one goal in coming to Japan and the tournament arena was to deliver the Pegasus cloth to a man named Mitsumasa Kido, who ran the tournament.

Six years ago, Kido separated Seiya from his sister after their parents died. He shipped him off to Greece and told him he could only return and be reunited with his sister once he acquired the Pegasus cloth. Now that he has done so, he wants to see his sister.

Saori Kido, Mitsumasa’s granddaughter and current runner of the tournament, gives him terrible news. Not only is her grandfather dead, but Seiya’s sister went missing from the orphanage almost immediately after Seiya was shipped off to Greece. Saori was never told where she was, if her grandfather had anything to do with her disappearance.

However, she is very keen on getting Seiya to participate in the tournament, so she offers to lend her resources and money to him to find his sister should he win the tournament. He’s still not interested, even after also being pressured by the owner of the Unicorn cloth, Jabu, who used to know him in the orphanage.

He goes to the orphanage, known as The Foundation, for clues and meets with his old friend, Miho, who is currently helping care for the children there. She tells him that she also doesn’t know where his sister might be, but suggests that he try to get her to find him by fighting in the tournament. It’s a massively publicized event, and he has a good chance of having his sister find him if he participates.

Seiya agrees, thanks Miho and goes to join the tournament.

His first match is against the owner of the Bear cloth, Geki. The Bear Saint has massive power in his arms, and he boasts about killing hundreds of bears with his bare hands, no pun intended. He tries to strangle Seiya to death, and it seems he has him down for the count until Seiya remembers what Marin once told him when he was a child.

When fighting someone more powerful than you, find the main source of their strength and attack it. Since Geki’s strength is in his arms, he starts crushing the armor on his arms with his hands. He breaks free and uses a flurry of kicks too fast for the human eye to catch to destroy Geki’s cloth and knock him out of the fight.

Seiya’s next match is against Jabu. Who will win a battle of the horses?

Breakdown: We’re getting slightly rushed with this episode because not only do we get thrown into the tournament and see our first match, but we also have to acquaint ourselves with backstory and several new characters.

I love tournament fighters, so I’m not really complaining about the latter, though I will mark something down on that in a minute, I’m moreso complaining about the former.

Seiya’s backstory is pretty good, but I won’t deny that it feels very rushed here. I feel like we needed a full episode to develop this firmly instead of having it crammed into the first part of this episode. The inclusion of Miho felt particularly rushed, especially considering she’s obviously being set up as Seiya’s love interest.

The tournament half was good, and it was nice to see Seiya struggle during his first match instead of flippantly blow his first opponent away just to show what a badass he is, which he did a few times in the start of the episode, but the manner in which he would achieve victory was a little too obvious from the beginning.

What imbecile tells his opponent where his true power lies in the middle of a fight? That’s almost as bad as telling someone where your weakness is. The instant he said ‘My true power lies in these arms’ I facepalmed and said to myself ‘well, now he knows what to attack, you idiot.’ If you manage to take away someone’s source of power, they’re helpless. Hubris, Geki. Hubris.

Then we get an almost insulting scene where Seiya flashes back to his studies under Marin, where she shares the aforementioned lesson. Since Seiya’s a child in this flashback, I wasn’t bothered that it was included, but I could feel my blood pressure increasing when they flashed back to Geki saying his true power lied in his arms, then again when they repeat Marin’s lesson, then again when Geki repeats what he said, then they do it again, and again, and again – we get it! Most people would’ve figured it out on their own without a single flashback, but apparently the writers and editor think we’re so dense that we can’t piece together such a simple strategy.

I also found it stupid that Geki has such massive strength in his arms, but instead of ripping Seiya apart or incapacitating him and beating or crushing him to death in a few blows, Geki gives Seiya ample time to come up with a strategy as he slowly strangles him. He’s not even really aiming to strangle him – he wants to build up enough strength, incredibly slowly, to snap Seiya’s neck, which is something people without bear strength can do in a matter of seconds but Geki wants to savor it I guess.

Seiya breaks Geki’s cloth, so…does that mean the Bear cloth no longer exists?

It was an entertaining match for a little bit, but then the rest of the match is a prolonged strangling session until Seiya is able to break free and give his badass finale move – this time in kick flavor.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode, but it has a bunch of logic issues and the pacing needs work.

Rating: 7/10

Next episode, we meet the Swan Saint and the tournament continues.

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 2: Koenma Appears

SSBS YYH EP2

Plot: Yusuke’s quest to return to life is now underway, and Botan ferries him to the spirit world to get him started. While the spirit world seems vast and intimidating, Yusuke finds that the inside of the massive castle is a giant bureaucracy of ogres. Botan claims he’s going to meet King Yama to discuss his ordeal, but instead he meets the infantile-looking Koenma, son of King Yama.

Koenma explains to Yusuke that his ordeal is a test of his character. He presents Yusuke with a golden spirit egg and tells him that it will eventually hatch into a spirit beast after it has slowly consumed enough of Yusuke’s spirit energy.

If he is truly of poor character, the beast that emerges will be a horrific creature that will eat Yusuke’s soul, causing him to be lost forever. If he is truly a good person, the beast will reflect this and will protect him and guide him back to his body.

Yusuke accepts the task, but there’s a hitch. While Koenma has put a pulse back in Yusuke’s body, the funeral and cremation are soon. If Yusuke’s body is destroyed before his ordeal is over, he will never be able to return to life.

He has to find some way to communicate with his loved ones in order to stop the cremation, so Botan tells him that he can communicate with people in their dreams since people are more strongly connected to the spirit world when they’re sleeping.

Yusuke’s mother has been staying awake in a drunken stupor doing nothing but ranting to Yusuke’s body, so he decides to visit Keiko. While she fully believes he’s there and he conveys his message well enough, Keiko can’t bring herself to tell Yusuke’s mom about the dream due to her own odd dreams about him.

Botan offers another option – possession. He can take control of another person’s body for one hour and tell Keiko outright about what’s happening, but the hitch is that it needs to be someone he knew in life and someone who is particularly attuned to the spirit world. Yusuke claims he has no options, but Botan reveals that Kuwabara actually has a strange connection to the supernatural.

He agrees to the possession, but finds his time is quickly dwindling as he keeps bumping into people who have a bone to pick with Kuwabara.

He manages to find Keiko just before time runs out, and she instantly believes he is who he says he is. He manages to relay his message and embrace Keiko before leaving Kuwabara’s body. Keiko runs to Yusuke’s house and finds Atsuko in awe as she finds his body is regaining its color and warmth. With Keiko and Atsuko ensuring Yusuke’s body’s safety and the little spirit egg glowing in his hand, Yusuke has to wait to find out his true fate.

Breakdown: Another good episode, this one establishes a bunch of important things such as the spirit world, Koenma, Yusuke’s revival trials and Kuwabara’s spiritual powers. It’s also a touching episode for Yusuke and Keiko as you can really see how much they both care for each other. Keiko’s line about knowing Yusuke because she knows how he moves and speaks so well is especially beautiful.

I don’t have much else to say about it except maybe one note. I remember watching this series so many times on both regular Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. The Cartoon Network/Toonami version had a bunch of obvious censorship, but I always thought that the Adult Swim version was uncut for the most part.

In both versions, I only remember Yusuke walking up to Keiko saying ‘Nice uniform!’ while the shot held on Keiko’s expression. However, the scene goes on to show Kuwabarsuke grabbing Keiko’s boobs and saying ‘they’re so squishy!’ If I’m remembering incorrectly, please tell me. Otherwise, Adult Swim thought adults couldn’t handle watching a girl get her boobs touched.

Yes, handle all that violence, gore and swearing, but we’ll shield your eyes from five seconds of clothed groping. Unless you’re groping a butt, in which case it’s okay. Right, Miroku?

Rating: 8/10

Next Episode, Kuwabara is cinnamon roll and he deserves the world.

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