I’ve mentioned before that I have a certain fondness for the Saint Seiya franchise because the anime was the first non-Robotech anime I really got into, back in the day when the only way you could watch anime was to sneak into your local University’s anime club for viewings of hazy-looking third generation subtitled VHS tapes. Viz deserves a medal for putting the manga out. I can’t imagine that it is a huge seller, because the art does have a very vintage feel to it. But Saint Seiya is shonen manga distilled into its very goofy essence. I wouldn’t want to sit down and read 5 volumes at once, but I like picking up a volume here and there because the goofy fighting serves as a palate cleanser when I’ve been reading too much shoujo.
The fourth volume continues the battle for the gold cloth as Seiya and his fellow Knights face off against dark versions of themselves in the secret caverns underneath Mt. Fuji. Seiya fights Black Pegasus, Hyoga fights Black Swan, etc. I always thought before that Shiryu the Dragon Knight was my favorite simply due to his habit of coming back from near death experiences so often. However, I found myself being very entertained by Hyoga. He’s mocked for his devotion to his dead mother (he likes to visit her shipwreck in the icy ocean) and yells all his battle cries in Russian. Everyone faces off with their evil twin, and Shiryu comes back (in a coffin!) from sacrificing half his blood to repair his comrades’ battle armor to fight back yet again.
My favorite moment in this volume was when Black Swan records Hyoga’s ultimate move with his eye, and right before he dies he plucks out his eye and teleports it to Phoenix. The Phoenix uses the recording on the eyeball to learn the secrets of Hyoga’s fighting technique when he fights Hyoga later. How awesome is that?! If you are in the mood for plenty of punching, blood spurting, gouged out eyes, and battle cries like “Black Meteor Punch!” Knights of the Zodiac delivers all of that shonen goodness.