Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas // Shiori Teshigori (2006)
Let’s talk a little about this series. The Lost Canvas was conceived by Shiori Teshigori as a pitch for Masami Kurumada for a part of the Saint Seiya mythos refereed to in the Hades Chapter of the original manga: The last holy war which took place in Europe almost 250 years ago. In the story Tenma, the kid who would become the Pegasus Saint of that era befriends a couple of brothers called Alone and Sasha, who would turn out to be the incarnations of Hades and Athena. The three of them had a rough childhood made easy only by their friendship. The time comes when the kids have to go their separate ways, with Sasha leaving first with Sisiphus to Sanctuary. Some time later Tenma would follow her leaving with Libra Dokho to train in Sanctuary to become a Saint. Alone would remain behind in the orphanage until becoming a young man and finding out about his powers by killing every living thing he paints.
The story was published by editorial house Akita Shote and a new chapter was printed weekly in the Weekly Shonen Champion Magazine from 2006 to 2011. Shiori Teshigori did not expect the tittle to become such a hit, mainly because of the huge departure from the original manga in style. But the manga was successful enough to warrant 223 chapters and 23 tankobon (what you know here as trade paperback) and an Anime series (currently awaiting season 3). Teshigori has taken worldwide praise for rejuvenating the property, something that Kurumada has failed to do with the continuation of the original saga in “Next Dimension” (which supposedly takes place at the same time of Lost Canvas, but features completely different characters, save for Alone and Tenma).
The focus in the manga is of course the development of the war of the forces of Sanctuary led by Athena (Sasha) versus the Underworld army led by Hades (Alone), but what makes this take so successful is the time taken by Teshigori to make every character shine. In this series every gold saint has a more defined personality and a back-story that’s usually very rich (as detailed in the current Lost Canvas Gaiden, focusing on the Gold Saints). Not only the good guys get this treatment, the Specter army also get their time of the day as the story moves forward. Pandora and Wyvern Rhadamantys are specially good to read. The multiple nods to the original saga are a incredible treat too, nothing is touched by chance and everything is explained at the end. If you haven’t checked this one out, you should go for it. It’s very good!.