Movie: One of the most popular genres of anime in the olden days was the fighting show. This also was popular in the videogames of the time and companies capitalized on this fact by releasing a host of shows and games that really didn't offer anything special outside of characters getting the snot beat out of them by other characters. Some of the shows gained notoriety by having blood come out when the fighters beat each other, which is something edited out of domestic cartoons. I don't see the big deal about showing blood but then I'm not 10 years old, hiding some secret from mom either. If you like this style of show, especially an older one, you might like Saint Seiya 1 more than I did.
The DVD provided a whopping five episodes of the long-running series from Japan, something I wish they'd provide with their newer releases, and I can't fault them for skimping this time. The show focused on a series of gladiator fights in an arena where the prize for winning was armor. After winning in the first battle, Seiya goes home to Japan to see his family but finds his sister is missing. Between going into a bigger version of the arena, acting as a champion for the goddess Athena, he fights a series of battles, using his martial arts prowess. Wars are fought in the arena rather than on a battlefield and Seiya hopes a man's promise to find his sister (as long as Seiya fights) proves enough motivation for him to continue fighting.
If this sounds like your nuts & bolts version of Dragonball Z, that's because it is. There was a bit more to the show than what I've described but not much and if you really want to see the official release of the show (which was worlds better than the bootleg I saw awhile back), this is as good as it gets. If you're hoping for a thoughtful discussion of themes relating to various mythology or writing that shows creativity, you'll be out of luck with this one but as a guilty pleasure, I'm sure enough people will buy it to continue its release.
I'm rating this one as a Skip It since the age of the material and shallow nature of the show is not enough to warrant paying the high price this one goes for in stores. For the most part, it left me cold and the dub wasn't all that good (with the original Japanese track worse). For the most part, it was far too limited to enjoy after seeing so much of the newer stuff on the market so give it a peek if you're interested before buying it. If you like stereotyped characters going through the motions, check it out right away.
Picture: The picture was presented in its original 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The series being from the mid 1980's, you wouldn't expect too much from it and you'll find it actually looked more like something out of the 70's. There were a fair amount of source related problems but the number of print scratches wasn't so bad as some of the bootlegs you'll find available on Ebay and the internet. The anime style itself had very little detail, using camera tricks to simulate motion all too often. There were also some artifacts from compression that are especially noticeable in the darker scenes with mosquito noise being the worst visual flaw.
Sound: The sound was also presented in it's originally recorded monaural track. Some parts seemed hollow but it was what I'd expect of such old material and sounded like an older syndication show. The dub was kind of weak but better than the hollow original track.
Extras: There was a text-only feature that had some of the original mythology behind a few of the Greek myths behind the characters which was interesting but kind of limited. There was also a clean opening from Japan, some trailers and a paper insert with chapters listed.
Final Thoughts: ADV Films has put out a lot of great anime of late and they can be forgiven for shows like this one. I know there are a lot of legacy fans out there that want to see what a company like ADV can do to older material but this is one case where the limitations of the source material preclude any restoration efforts and only dedicated fans need apply.