Saori Kido (城戸沙織 Kido Saori) is the reincarnation of the goddess Athena, one of the main characters of the series Saint Seiya, from Masami Kurumada. Athena is of love, strategy, and hope. According to Myth, she's the goddess who inherits the control over the Earth from Zeus (her real father)
Origin of name
"Saori" (沙織) is a common name in Japan, meaning "nicely woven cloth" or "beautiful fabric", a country where the character grew up. The name is rather fitting for the reincarnation of Athena, as she was a goddess of crafts and weaving as well as war and wisdom.
Athena reincarnates once every 200 years, to prevent evil that dominates the world and is the symbol of justice for all saints. She is born appearing at the foot of her statue in her temple. During this night, as a baby she was almost killed by the gold knight Gemini Saga who disguised himself as the Grand Pope of the Sanctuary, which was Aries Shion.
Athena was saved at the crucial moment by Sagittarius Aiolos who after fleeing fighting against Capricorn Shura, he delivered to Kido Mitsumasa, a Japanese businessman on vacation in Greece,. Mitsumasa later raised the infant Athena as his granddaughter and gave her the name Saori Kido.
With her grandfather's death, Saori goes to take care of all affairs of Mitsumasa Kido, including Graude Foundation. One of the main activities of the foundation (still under the command of Mitsumasa), was sent for training in various places of the world Japanese orphans and the survivors of these trainings became knights and return to an alleged tournament.
Her cosmos is able to cure the riders on the brink of death and her blood can reveal the hidden power of the armor because it holds great power, which often becomes the target of her enemies, but she never loses her sense of pity in her heart. She is in love with Seiya, but both know they can not be together.
As Saori, she is the head of the Graude Foundation and has been ever since Mitsumasa Kido's death. Before coming to know she was Athena, she was regarded as a successful businesswoman by the media of the world, with an interest in horseback-riding and playing the piano. As a deity, Athena has capabilities that surpass those of humans. She is a simple young woman, untrained for battle, but her Cosmo is immense. She is a being of compassion and love, and she will endure pain and show unfailing courage and persistence to protect Earth and its living creatures.
Athena's attributes include Nike, the goddess of victory, represented as a golden staff she holds in her right hand and which can be used as a weapon (Athena uses it to kill Hades), and the Ægis shield, which is impervious to any kind of attack and can eliminate all evil. She also owns a powerful Divine Cloth, which is superior to all categories of Cloths worn by Saints (Bronze, Silver and Gold). When it is not worn by Athena, her Cloth transforms into the giant statue in her image that lies beyond Athena's Chamber, at the Sanctuary. To revive it, it is necessary to spill Athena's blood on it, as shown by Kurumada in the Hades arc.
Athena has exhibited great mastery of her Cosmo. In both the manga and anime adaptations, several techniques have been revealed: healing auras, defensive shields, teleportation (in the conclusion of the Poseidon arc and Hades arc), the Seal of Athena (used on both Hades and Poseidon to seal them away) and Misopethamenos, a divine gift bestowed upon Libra Dohko that slows his heartbeat and grants him great longevity. Athena's Cosmo is also awakened to the Eight Sense; thus she is able to descend to the underworld without being subject to its laws.
Personality and relationships
Growing up as Mitsumasa Kido's spoiled granddaughter, young Saori Kido at first did not get along well with the children who would eventually become her protectors. Although they were her grandfather's children (this blood relation to Mitsumasa was omitted in the anime, in which they were orphans he picked up from different institutions), both in the manga and anime adaptations, she treated them like slaves. Seiya was among the few who resisted such treatment.
In the Manga, when she was 9, having learned the truth about her origins from her dying grandfather, Saori had already matured, renouncing her spoiled lifestyle and facing both her duty as the Kido heiress and the crisis in Sanctuary with the support of the children who by then had become Saints. They helped her reluctantly at first – for example, she had to lure a distrustful Seiya in by promising to help him find his sister Seika – but the chain of events that followed convinced them that she was the incarnation of Athena and that the change in her was genuine. They slowly found their devotion and dedication to her, and forgot the grudges they had against her for her past abuses.
In Saint seiya :Heaven Chapter: Overture the only one out of the five Saint Seiya films that follows Masami Kurumada's plot, it was revealed that Athena has two siblings: the deities Apollo and Artemis.
A very important figure in the life of the twentieth century Athena was Mitsumasa Kido, in whom she saw a father and guide. His memory burns brightly in her life, and she wanted the Bronze Saints to know that he was indeed an honorable and good man who did not abandon his children out of selfishness or ambition as they all believed, but because he devoted himself to the destiny imposed on him by the stars, to protect Athena. Saori has a loyal follower in her butler, Tatsumi Tokumaru, Kido's former right hand and the only person who knew of her heritage along with his master.
Galaxian Wars arcIn the first arc of Kurumada's manga, Saori Kido completes her grandfather's dream of hosting a tournament of Saints to find a warrior worthy of donning the Sagittarius Gold Cloth, in 1986, thirteen years after incarnating in Sanctuary. To that effect, one hundred orphans, in fact Mitsumasa's sons, are sent to the far corners of the globe to be trained as Saints and bring back the Cloths as proof of their Sainthood. After ten of the orphans successfully return, the tournament begins.
The tournament is never completed, first due to the vengeful attack and theft of the Gold Cloth by Phoenix Ikki and the Black Saints, and then due to an unexpected chain of events that end in the kidnapping of Saori by servants of the Pope, also out to steal the Sagittarius Cloth. Fearing that his scheme to rule the world in Athena's name would never come to fruition, the Pope, Saga, tricks the Silver Saints and the Gold Saints into thinking that Saori Kido is an impostor and usurper of Athena's name and, as such, had to be killed. Most are fooled and target Saori, but she is rescued by five of the Bronze Saints recruited by Mitsumasa Kido: Pegasus Seiya, Cygnus Hyōga, Dragon Shiryū, Phoenix Ikki and Andromeda Shun.
Athena then travels to Greece, accompanied by the Bronze Saints, to solve the crisis in the Sanctuary and challenge Saga.
Twelve temples arc
Upon arriving at Sanctuary, Saori is greeted by the Silver Saint Sagitta Ptolemy, who strikes her in the chest with a golden arrow. Defeated by Seiya and dying, Ptolemy reveals that no one but the Pope has the power to extract the arrow. The Bronze Saints would have twelve hours to bring him to Athena before the arrow pierced her heart and killed her. The Bronze Saints are forced to cross the twelve Temples of the Zodiac in Sanctuary, each guarded by a Gold Saint. Some of the Gold Saints, like Aries Mu and Libra Dohko, already knew of the evil intentions of the Pope and help the Bronze Saints. Others oppose them, since they consider Saori an impostor and the Bronze Saints traitors. Finally, there are those, like Cancer Deathmask and Pisces Aphrodite, who know the truth about the Pope and Athena, but side with him anyway.
Even wounded, Athena encourages the Bronze Saints and helps them to defeat the seemingly invincible opponents they face, sending them her Cosmo and reminding them of their mission to give them the strength to pull through. Meanwhile, she is guarded by Aries Mu and his pupil Kiki, and later by Tatsumi and the other Bronze Saints (Unicorn Jabu, Wolf Nachi, Hydra Ichi, Lionet Ban and Bear Geki).
Only Seiya and Ikki reach the Pope, who reveals himself to be the Gold Saint Gemini Saga. After a fierce battle, Seiya also discovers that it was not Saga who would be able to save Saori, but her shield which rests with Athena's statue. As he wields the shield and asks for it to save Athena, it vanquishes Saga's evil personality and removes the arrow from Athena's heart with its divine radiance. The goddess is saved and the Saints of Sanctuary recognize her as Athena and pledge their loyalty to her. Upon reaching the statue, she finds Saga bowing before her, claiming that there is no way he can make up for the evil he has done. He commits suicide by stabbing himself in the heart.
In the following arc of Kurumada's manga, Saori is invited by millionaire heir Julian Solo to attend his birthday party at cape Sounion, Greece, less than a month after the battles at the twelve temples. There, Julian proposes to marry her, but she politely turns him down, saying she is too young and too busy. Julian is then approached by Mermaid Thetis, who reveals to him that he is the vessel the god Poseidon, Emperor of the Seas, has chosen to reincarnate in. After 2000 years of sleep, Poseidon was determined to take revenge on Athena for his defeat in their last battle and to cleanse the Earth of mankind, which he considered unworthy of the blessing of the gods. Poseidon sets his plans in motion by unleashing floods and heavy rains on Earth. One of Poseidon's soldiers also attempts to kidnap Saori, but he is thwarted by Gold Saint Leo Aiolia.
Athena returns to Japan and visits the Bronze Saints at the Graude Foundation Hospital, where they are recovering from the battles of the twelve temples. There, the Marina General Siren Sorrento attempts to kill her, but the Gold Saint Taurus Aldebaran protects her. Such events convince her to meet with Poseidon to resolve the crisis.
At Poseidon's Undersea Temple, the Emperor of the Seas proposes to marry her and to cleanse the Earth of humans, who have caused it so much harm. Athena refuses the proposals and instead offers herself as a sacrifice to delay the punishment on Earth, by receiving it herself. Poseidon accepts and locks Athena in the slowly flooding Main Breadwinner, the main support column of the Seven Seas, where she will eventually drown.
Sensing Athena's ordeal, the Bronze Saints wake up and go to her rescue. Poseidon sends Mermaid Thetis to inform them of his challenge: to stop him, they will have to defeat his Mariner Generals and demolish the seven Mammoth Pillars they guard. The Bronze Saints succeed, after terrible and bloody battles. As in the previous conflicts, Athena encouraged them and gave them strength to win their battles.
When only the Main Breadwinner remains, the Saints are confronted by Poseidon himself. Gravely hurt and no match to a god, the Saints face certain death, until the Mariner Sea Dragon Kanon, Saga's twin brother who was responsible for Poseidon's return, reveals to them that the only way to defeat Poseidon is to seal him within Athena's Amphora, an urn that she used 2000 years ago to hold his spirit and force him into an eternal slumber. Strengthened by the collective Cosmos of his friends, Seiya was finally able to throw himself at the Main Breadwinner and shatter it, freeing Athena. She then opens the Amphora and imprisons Poseidon. With the god gone, the floods and rains on Earth stop and the Undersea Temple collapses. Peace and order are restored.
Chronology (OAVs Hades)
In the final arc of Saint Seiya, Athena is recovering from her recent battle with Poseidon at Sanctuary, when Hades returns to Earth and launches an assault, aided not only by his personal army, the 108 Demon Stars known as Specters, who had broken the seal, but also by former servants of Athena, deceased Silver and Gold Knights that had pledged their loyalty to Hades in exchange for resurrection. The mission of the Specters and revived Knights was to take Athena's head to Hades.
Wanting to protect her Bronze Knights from yet another battle, Athena forbids them from taking part in the war against Hades, but, paying no attention to such restriction, the Bronze Knights gather on Sanctuary when they feel the ominous Cosmo of Hades's forces. They take part in the battle against Athena's will and help defeat the Specters along with their fellow Gold Knights.The true intentions of the revived Saints are then revealed: they mean to reach Athena's giant statue and revive it with Athena's blood so it can transform into Athena's Divine Cloth. Realizing the sacrifice they have made and having received Virgo Shaka's message that only by reaching the eighth sense could a being travel to Hades's realm without being subject to its laws, Athena uses the dagger Saga had once tried to murder her with and takes her own life. Using the spilled blood of the goddess, former Pope Shion revives Athena's Cloth and sends the Bronze Saints on a mission to deliver it to their goddess and assist her in the defeat of Hades, who had caused a Great Eclipse to darken the Earth and extinguish all life on Earth.
Athena travels the Underworld with Shaka, searching for Hades to make him stop the Eclipse. They find him at the palace of Giudecca, inhabiting the body of Andromeda Shun. Athena uses her blood to free Shun from Hades's influence, but the god's soul flees to Elysion, where his true body has rested since the age of myth, to avoid harm. Retaking control of his body, Hades is able to defeat Athena and trap her in a large urn, where she will bleed to death.
The Bronze Saints follow her into Elysion to deliver her Cloth, counting on the help of the Gold Saints to cross the Wailing Wall. Upon reaching it, they are forced to overcome the god of Slumber, Hypnos, and the god of Death, Thanatos. The Saints then proceed to release Athena from Hades's Urn and deliver her Divine Cloth. A terrible battle ensues, until, imbuing her staff of Nike with their collective Cosmos, Athena manages to pierce through Hades's Surplice and body. With the defeat of Hades, the Greatest Eclipse is undone. Having saved all life on Earth.
Chronology (Next Dimension)It's been a while since Saori returned to Earth along with Seiya, who now lies in a wheelchair and in a vegetative state. Shun appears in the Sanctuary to visit them and ask Saori about the fate of Seiya, to which she responds that he has only three days of life. Shun asks Saori help and wearing his armor, both go to Star Hill in order to go to Mount Olympus.
Once on Olympus, heading to Artemis, but they get lost on the way they encounter Hecate, who tells them that if Saori gives part of his hair (which according to the witch has regenerative powers) she will show the right path to follow. Saori accessed and cuts her hair and finally manages to advance, reaching the Temple of Artemis where they are greeted by Callisto and the warriors of the Moon.
When they are brought to Artemis, Artemis reproaches Athena of her actions having defeated Poseidon and killing Hades, to which she responds that it was done just for the sake of humanity and love. Saori also asks her sister to give her permission to travel through time as their plans are destroying the sword of Hades in the past so that it will never come to harming Seiya. Artemis surprised, only comments the only one able to aloow time travel is the primal God Chronos. At the insistence of Saori, Artemis distorts the size and sends them to the entrance of Olympus with Shun, where they find Héctate again, and this time with jovial appearance who tells them that Chronos will lead them. They come to a clear lake, on the far side of Olympus, which reveals thousands of galaxies and a lot of Cosmos, manifesting the spirit of Chronos. Athena asks him to send them to the past. Chronos, saying they have only three days, or if no time is lost in that for the rest of his days. Finally, she and Shun are sent to the time of ancient holy war 200 years ago.Once through the passage time and space opened by Chronos, Saori finds herself in the past in the eighteenth century, but has returned as a baby because of Chronos, who used his divine powers to turn her bacj because he thought is would be amusing. She appeared at the top of Sanctuary under the statue of Athena, is collected by the Pope who tries to assassinate her with a sacred dagger (the Pope is a traitor who has sold his soul to Hades, the god of the underworld), but is saved by the Virgo Gold Saint, Shijima. Badly wounded by the Pope, he flees wounded with little goddess. Although newly formed, Saori talks telepathically to Shun who was in Yomotsu Hirasaka. Shijima meanwhile with the small Athena takes refuge in the Pope's Chambers which, however, turns into a maze of illusions called "Labyrinth of the Gods" created by the Pope hat prevents the gold saint to get out of it. Using her divine cosmos the little goddess saves Suikyo (who was in the 6th house) from the deadly power of Shijima, leading him in the garden next to the house of the Virgin.
In the Heaven Chapter
In the short introductory manga authored by Masami Kurumada, published to coincide with the release of the Saint Seiya Tenkai-hen Josō Overture movie, Athena is shown by Kurumada taking care of Seiya. After the battle with Hades, he was left cursed by the god of the underworld with his Cosmo depleted and using a wheelchair.
This short manga is the only part revealed by Kurumada of the long overdue Heaven Chapter of his popular manga as he has yet to write and draw the entire Heaven Chapter, which will serve as a bridge to the future final arc in his manga, in which the Saints will face Chrono and Rhea, as the conclusion to one of his most popular works.
In early interviews about the eventual Heaven Chapter of Saint Seiya, the author Masami Kurumada said that he had envisioned it to start with Seiya sitting in a wheelchair, being pushed by his sister Seika over a field. This was apparently changed by Toei Animation, the producers of the anime adaptation and the movies, to include Athena instead of Seika, because Seika's true relationship as Seiya's sister had been revealed by Kurumada only in his manga, and the anime adaptation had yet to reach that point by the time the movie premiered. This important point of the plot was finally reached in the last episodes of the Hades arc adaptation in the anime, released in March 2008, 3 years after Tenkai-hen Overture premiered, and 16 years after Kurumada revealed it in his manga.
"No man reaches the end of his life without having crushed an insect, or picking at least a single flower. Men are not gods. That's why even the best of them has sinned at least once during their life. That is the meaning of 'to live', it can not be helped... But, in death, are those sins redeemed? Are not humans good or evil, equal in death?"
Difference between the manga and the anime
- In his manga, Kurumada gave her light brown hair; in the anime adaptation, her hair color is purple.
- In Kurumada's manga, the truth about her origins and destiny was revealed to her by her foster-grandfather Mitsumasa Kido, when she was 9 years old. In the anime adaptation, fulfilling Mitsumasa's will, it was Tatsumi Tokumaru who revealed it to her, years after Mitsumasa's death and in front of the Saints.
- In the anime, Saori also assisted Silver Saint Centaur Babel's death, moments after she discovered her divine origins. In the manga, and in the anime as well, Babel is killed by Cygnus Hyōga, but it is only in the anime where Babel is helped by Athena to die in peace. Babel recognized her as the true Athena and died regretting having served evil unknowingly, but he found consolation in the arms of his goddess, and died peacefully.
- In the anime adaptation, all the Bronze Saints are conscious at the end of the Sanctuary arc and Saga kills himself using Athena's Nike staff after Seiya vanquishes his evil side.
Appearances in other media
Athena has appeared in all five Saint Seiya theatrical releases: Evil Goddess Eris, The Heated Battle of the Gods, Legend of Crimson Youth, Warriors of the Final Holy Battle and Saint Seiya Heaven Chapter: Overture.
- ^ a b c d e Kurumada, Masami (1986). "Chapter 1". Saint Seiya, Volume 1. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851754-7.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (1989). "Chapter 68". Saint Seiya, Volume 19. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851534-X.
- ^ Kurumada Masami. Saint Seiya Volume 1. Viz Media.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (1987). "Chapter 26". Saint Seiya, Volume 7. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851760-1.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (2006). "Chapter 1". Saint Seiya Next Dimension. Shueisha.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (1988). "Chapter 44". Saint Seiya, Volume 13. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851766-0.
- ^ a b Kurumada, Masami (1987). "Chapter 24". Saint Seiya, Volume 6. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851759-8.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (1990). "Chapter 80". Saint Seiya, Volume 22. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851539-0.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (1990). "Chapter 83". Saint Seiya, Volume 22. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851537-4.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (1987). "Chapter 27". Saint Seiya. Volume 7. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851760-1.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (1988). "Chapter 29". Saint Seiya, Volume 8. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851761-X.
- ^ Kurumada, Masami (1989). "Chapter 47". Saint Seiya, Volume 14. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-851767-9.