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Athena (Saint Seiya)

The Greek goddess Athena (spelled in Greek as Ἀθηνᾶ and Ἀσάνα, in the manga and the anime adaptation respectively, and occasionally as Ἀθάνα in both) is one of the main characters in the Manga Saint Seiya, authored by Masami Kurumada, and later adapted to Anime. A character with a substantial importance in the universe of Saint Seiya, she was created by Kurumada based on the mythologic persona of the same name.

As in Greek mythology, she is the goddess of wisdom and heroic endeavor, and daughter of Zeus. In Kurumada's mythos, she is sent to Earth by the Olympian gods every 250 years, when evil takes over Earth. Her mission during every one of her incarnations is to restore peace and bring hope, destroy the agent of evil and protect Earth; to do so, she has been assisted since the ages of myth by an army of 88 youths of great strength and courage, whose fists rend the skies and whose kicks split the earth, don radiant holy armor called Cloths, and are known as the Saints of Athena.

Athena is said to be by birthright the goddess of battle, but she didn't believe in conquest and only fought defensive wars. She hates weapons, and thus only allows her Saints to battle using their bodies and armors. The only Saint allowed by her to wield weapons is the Libra Gold Saint, and it is only with her permission that the Saints are allowed to brandish the weapons kept by the Libra Saint.

She has opposed the ambitions of antagonist deities since the ages of myth in Greece, earning herself the rejection of the other Olympian gods. She has had specially a long-standing conflict with the god of the Underworld, Hades.

During her 20th century incarnation she uses the name as her civilian identity. In the English-language version of the manga and the edited anime she is known as Princess Sienna.

Athena was introduced by Masami Kurumada in chapter 1 of his manga Saint Seiya, contained in vol. 1, as the mythical Greek goddess, and in chapter 3 of vol.1 as Saori Kido; and she first appeared in the anime adaptation in episode 1. She is an extremely beautiful, short young woman with a perfectly proportionated body, who radiates elegance, wisdom and serenity, and is followed and protected very dedicatedly by her Saints, who would never hesitate to do anything for her sake, even sacrificing their lives gladly. In his manga, Kurumada gave her light brown hair; in the anime adaptation, her hair color is purple.

Incarnation

In Saint Seiya, Athena reincarnates on Earth when it is consumed by evil. Unlike other Greek deities that Masami Kurumada used as antagonists, like Hades or Poseidon, she returns to Earth as herself, without the need of possessing the body of a human. However, it has never been explained why Athena returns as herself, whereas her fellow Gods like Hades and Poseidon need to possess a human in order to return. She comes to Earth with her own soul and body, but she usually has no real knowledge of her divine origins or mission, until a certain event triggers those memories and reveals her mission and destiny to her.

Every time Athena returns to Earth, the souls of her 88 Saints also reincarnate with her, to assist and protect her in the fulfilling of her mission when the time is ripe, as Masami Kurumada revealed in his current side story prequel Saint Seiya Next Dimension, that tells the events occurred in the Holy War against Hades in the 18th century. One of the previous incarnations of the Saints that has been featured by Kurumada in such side story is Pegasus Seiya's, who in the 18th century was known as Pegasus Tenma.

Previous incarnations

So far, Masami Kurumada revealed in vol.1 of his manga that Athena battled in the age of myth against the Gigas, Ares, and Poseidon, each in incarnations centuries apart. Then he revealed later in his manga that she also battled Hades in the age of myth, again in 15th century, in 18th century, and 20th century. She battled against Poseidon again in 20th century, 2000 years after their battle in the region of Attica.

In the 18th century, she reincarnated in Italy as an orphan young woman called Sasha, as shown in the side story Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas. But since it is a work only supervised by Masami Kurumada and not authored by him, its status as canon is still unknown, as she has yet to appear in the current Saint Seiya work that is authored by Kurumada, Saint Seiya Next Dimension.

Her incarnation during the 20th century is the one Kurumada has provided more information and background about, since it is the one he presented in the original 28 volumes of his manga Saint Seiya.

Relationships

In her incarnation in the 20th century, growing up as Mitsumasa Kido's spoiled granddaughter, young Athena at first didn't get along well with the children that would eventually become her protectors. Though they were her grandfather's children (this blood relation to Mitsumasa was omitted in the anime, where they were ophans he picked up from different institutions), both in manga and in the anime adaptation, she treated them as orphans who had to be her slaves. Seiya was among the few who resisted such a treatment. In the anime, Mitsumasa found out about this, he lectured her yet didn't say anything about her true origins.

When she turned thirteen, having learned the truth about her origins from her dying grandfather, Saori had already matured, renouncing to her spoiled lifestyle and facing both her duty as Kido's heiress and the crisis in Sanctuary with the support by the children who by then had become Saints. They helped her reluctantly at first (in example, she had to lure a distrustful Seiya in by promising to help him find his sister Seika), but the chain of events 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 abuses in the past; now Saori's Saints are very loyal and faithful, and she is very protective and caring.

As it was revealed in the still non-canon Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, Athena had a special bond with the Pegasus Saint incarnation of the 18th century, Tenma, as they both lived in the same orphanage, and with Hades' previous vessel, Alone. Still in this non-canon, it was said that Pegasus Saint is always on Athena's side, on every reincarnation.

In the only one out of the five Saint Seiya movies that follows Masami Kurumada's true chronology and manga plot, Saint Seiya: TenKaiHen Josou Overture, it was revealed that Athena has two siblings: Deities Apollon and Artemis.

A very important figure in the actual Athena's life was Mitsumasa Kido, whom she considered as an admired father figure, and as a 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 didn't abandon his children/protegées out of selfishness or ambition as they all believed, but because he devoted himself to the destiny imposed on him by the stars, and to protect Athena, justice and peace on Earth. Saori has also a loyal follower in her butler and agent of affairs, Tatsumi Tokumaru, Kido's former right hand and the only person who knrew of her heritage along with his master.

Abilities

Since she is a deity, Athena has capabilities that surpass humans by far. She is a frail young woman untrained for battle, mostly unable to fight physically, but her Cosmo is immense, and surpasses human Cosmo infinitely. She is a being of total compassion and love, and she will stop at nothing to protect Earth, the world she cares about so much, and its living creatures.

Athena has great endurance to pain, unfailing courage and persistence and unbreakable willpower, greatly augmented by her full trust on her Saints. As Saori, she possesses a brilliant intelect, she's also a capable money handler and strategist, as she is the head of the Graad Foundation and has been ever since Mitsumasa Kido's death. In fact, before Saori came to know she was Athena, she had become a very successful and admired businesswoman in her own right.

Athena's attributes include Nike, the goddess of victory, represented as a golden staff she always holds in her right arm, and the Ægis shield, impervious to any kind of attack. Also, as a goddess, she is capable of donning her powerful Divine Cloth, which rests in the form of a giant statue in her image at Sanctuary until it is revived with her blood.

Athena has also exhibited great mastery of her Cosmo, as she is able to use it to generate abilities with various effects. She channels her Cosmo mostly through her body or through her Niké Staff. Both in manga and the anime adaptation, several techniques have been revealed: Healing auras (she's said to be the most powerful healer in the Saint Seiya universe, able to heal even lethal injuries if summoned just in time), 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. Her Niké Staff can be used as a weapon when Cosmo is channeled through it, becoming a piercing weapon, in the same way she used it to kill Hades.

Athena also managed to awaken her Cosmo to the Eight Sense, thus being able to descend to the underworld without being subject to its laws.

Saori Kido

In her incarnation during the 20th century, the current Athena was found as a newborn baby in Sanctuary in 1973. Her return to Earth was an omen to great battles that lied ahead, and was received with joy and preoccupation. Grand Pope Shion, survivor of the Holy War of the 18th century, took good care of her, until he was murdered by Gemini Saga. After usurping Shion's title, Saga, afflicted by his evil split personality, schemed to kill Athena and steal her attributes Nike and Ægis shield, to overthrow Zeus, Hades and Poseidon and rule over Earth with an iron fist, as an absolute ruler.

Such schemes came to a halt temporarily the night Saga attempted to murder Athena, who by then was just around one year old. Disguised as the Pontiff, he came to Athena's chambers, and tried to stab her with a golden dagger but was stopped by heroic and devoted Gold Saint Sagittarius Aioros, who was the guard in charge that night. In disbelief, Aioros tried to persuade the Pontiff to come back to his senses, but failed. Evading Saga's renewed attack Aioros was able to unmask him, and discovered the fact that the Grand Pope was not Shion, but an imposter. Realizing his plans had been thwarted, Saga attacked Aioros and Athena with murderous rage, making the infortunate Aioros break through a wall after receiving the full force of Saga's attack to protect Athena. To avoid being discovered by the rest of Sanctuary, Saga used Aioros as a scapegoat to cover his deeds; he told everyone informed that the Sagittarius Saint had tried to murder Athena, and that he had to be captured and immediately executed for grand treason.

Aioros fled Sanctuary, swearing to protect his goddess Athena, even if that meant his death. Facing overwhelming opposition, Aioros fought valiantly against hordes of Sanctuary soldiers, being gravely wounded. Being misunderstood, Aioros wasn't given a chance to explain what was really going on. Finally, he found a terrible opponent in mighty Gold Saint Capricorn Shura, his former best friend, who had been informed that Aioros was a traitor. Believing every word of Saga, Shura attacked Aioros without mercy, mortally wounding him.

Aioros was able to escape Shura's unrelenting attack, and abandoned Sanctuary, managing to protect Athena and keep her safe and unharmed. The next day, he was wandering in the nearby ruins of Athens, and found an old man who was visiting Greece as a tourist. That man was Japanese philanthropist and billionaire Mitsumasa Kido, owner of Asia's largest foundation, the Graad (or Grande) Foundation.

With his last ounces of strength, Aioros revealed to Mitsumasa the origins and destiny of the baby he was carrying, and entrusted her to him. Aioros not only gave her to the old man, he also entrusted him with the mighty Sagittarius Gold Cloth, that someday would protect her again during the fierce battles she would have to fight in the future. Realizing that he had accomplished his mission, to protect Athena and justice, and smiling at Mitsumasa's promise to take care of her and raise her until she can fulfill her destiny, Aioros died in peace.

Mitsumasa took the baby Athena and the Gold Cloth with him back to Japan, and adopted her as his granddaughter. Giving her the name Saori Kido, he was able to hide her from Sanctuary during thirteen years, until it was the time for her to fulfill her destiny and overthrow the agent of evil that threatened Earth's peace.

Cloth

In the same way her Saints don radiant Cloths that represent their guardian constellations, Athena also possesses her own Cloth. Athena's Cloth is far superior to all categories of Cloths, Bronze, Silver and Gold, as it is one of the Divine Cloths that only the gods are allowed to wear. When it is not worn by Athena, her Cloth transforms into the giant statue on her image that lies beyond Athena's Chamber, in Sanctuary, Greece. To revive it, it's necessary to spill Athena's blood on it, as shown by Kurumada in the Hades arc. In the meantime, it remains in statue form, looking pretty much like the famous Athena Parthenos statue.

Galaxian Wars arc

In the first arc of Kurumada's manga, the unsuspecting Saori Kido completes her grandfather's dream of hosting a tournament of Saints to find a warrior worthy of donning the legendary Sagittarius Gold Cloth, in 1986, 13 years after incarnating in Sanctuary.

100 orphans were sent to the far corners of the globe to be trained as Saints and bring back the Cloths as proof of their Sainthood. After 10 of the orphans successfully became Saints and returned, the tournament was set to begin. As it was later revealed, the true purpose of the tournament was to lure out the evil regent of Sanctuary, the Grand Pope, and announce the existence of Athena to him as well and her intentions to overthrow him to restore peace and order to Sanctuary.

The Galaxian Wars tournament wasn't completed due to an unexpected chain of events that ended in the kidnapping of Saori by servants of the Grand Pope, also out to steal the Sagittarius Golden Cloth. Fearing that his scheme would never come to fruition, the Grand Pope Saga also tricked the Silver Saints and the Gold Saints into thinking that Saori Kido was an imposter and usurper of Athena's name, and as such, had to be kidnapped and killed. Most of the Silver Saints and Gold Saints were fooled by Saga, and mistakenly made of Saori their prey. She was rescued from her kidnappers by five of the Bronze Saints: Pegasus Seiya, Cygnus Hyouga, Dragon Shiryu, Phoenix Ikki and Andromeda Shun.

After several adventures, Athena traveled to Greece accompanied by the Bronze Saints to solve the crisis in Sanctuary and issue a formal challenge to the Grand Pope.

Twelve temples arc

Upon arriving to Greece, Saori was greeted in Sanctuary by a servant of the Grand Pope, who stated he wanted to meet with her. In a moment of carelessness, the servant revealed to be Silver Saint Sagitta Ptolemy, and attacked her and the Bronze Saints with the Phantom Arrow, a series of illusions that resembled arrows. But, the one real arrow was directed at Saori, and hits her fully in her chest.

Attacked by Seiya, Ptolemy was defeated and revealed before dying, that no one but the Pope had the power to extract the arrow. They would have 12 hours to bring the Pope and have him extract it, or the arrow would bury itself deeper and deeper with each passing hour, and would then pierce Athena's heart, ending her life. Laying on the floor, Athena accepted this and urged the Saints to go find the Pope, since it was her turn to endure pain for them.

The Bronze Saints were forced to go through each of the 12 Temples of the Zodiac in Sanctuary, each guarded by one of the powerful Gold Saints. Some of the Gold Saints (like Aries Mu and Libra Dokho) already knew of the evil intentions of the Pope, and helped the Bronze Saints in their endeavour to save Athena. Others, such as Scorpio Milo, opposed them since they considered the Bronze Saints traitors to Athena, and Saori an imposter; however, as soon as they were defeated, they akmnowledged their losses and let the Bronzes go ahead. In once case, Leo Aiolia, did know about Athena's origins and accepted her as the Goddess, but was brainwashed into attacking the Bronzes anyway. Finally, there were those, like Cancer Deathmask and Pisces Aphrodite, who knew the truth about the Pope and Athena as Mu did, but sided with the Pope anyway.

Even though she laid wounded, Athena encouraged the Bronze Saints and helped them to defeat the seemingly invincible opponents they faced. Several times, she sent part of her cosmo to her Saints when they were in tight pinches, remiding them of their missions and giving them strength to pull through. Meanwhile, she was guarded by the loyal Aries Mu and his pupil Kiki, and later by Tatsumi and other Bronze Saints (Unicorn Jabu, Wolf Nachi, Hydra Ichi, Lionet Ban and Bear Geki), who had trained hard to regain their places as Saints.

After the fierce and bloody battle through the 12 temples, only Seiya and Ikki were finally able to reach the Pope, who was actually the Gemini Gold Saint Saga. The battle that ensued was a fierce one, and none of the Bronze Saints was able to defeat Saga, until Seiya discovered that it was not Saga who would be able to save Saori, but it was her Ægis shield that had such power (in fact, a temporarily sane and remorseful Saga pointed that out, but then he reverted to his evil personality and attacked Seiya before he could take the shield). Reaching for the shield, Seiya took advantage of a moment in which Saga's two personalities were clashing in his mind, making him hesitate and struggle; as Seiya wielded the shield and pledging for it to save Athena, it vanquished the evil in the approaching Saga plus removing the arrow from Athena's heart with the shield's divine radiance. The Goddess was saved, and the Saints in the Sanctuary recognized her as Athena and confirmed their loyalty to her by bowing. She immediately headed for the Statue of Athena, worrying about the Bronze Saints.

Upon reaching the statue she finds Saga bowing before her, claiming that there was no way he could make up for the evil deeds he had done and therefore commits suicide by piercing his heart. In his final moment Athena admitted that she believed he was a good man and let him die in peace. It was then she finally accepted that her regular life was over and that her fight as a goddess had just started.

In the anime adaptation, this same event occurs, but all the Bronze Saints are conscious and Saga actually commits suicide using Athena's Nike staff after his evil side remained and tried to attack Athena, then dying in Saori's embrace peacefully.

Aries Mu revealed that the whole crisis in Sanctuary was a test imposed on Athena by destiny. The crisis would be overcome only if she was the true goddess. In the end, with Saga's defeat, order came back to Sanctuary and Saori proved that indeed, she was the true incarnation of the goddess of wisdom and protector of Earth.

Poseidon arc

In the following arc in Kurumada's manga, less than a month after the events of the battle of the twelve temples, Athena would become aware of a new crisis in the horizon. Invited by millionaire heir Julian Solo, Saori attended his birthday party at Cape Sounion, Greece, on March 21. There, she was proposed by Julian to marry him, but she politely turned him down, saying she was too young to marry and was too busy for it anyway. Minutes later, Julian was approached by a mysterious woman, who called herself Mermaid Thetis, and revealed to him that she was his servant, as he was the vessel Poseidon, Emperor of the Seas, had chosen to incarnate on Earth in modern times. Poseidon had used a male member of the Solo family as a vessel for his soul, during centuries, every time he wished to return to Earth.

After 2000 years of sleep, Poseidon was ready to return. He was determined to take revenge on Athena for having defeated him in their last battle, and wanted to cleanse the Earth of humankind, which he considered evil and unworthy of the blessing of the gods. Taking possession of Julian's body, Poseidon started his scheme by sending heavy flooding and rains on Earth. Non-stop rains were causing havoc worldwide, and Saori's concerns grew.

She then suffers a kidnap attempt, which is thwarted by her loyal follower, Gold Saint Leo Aiolia. It is later revealed that her would-be kidnapper was a soldier of Poseidon's army, who had the mission to take her to the Sea Emperor's Underwater Sanctuary.

Athena then returns to Japan, and visits the Bronze Saints in the Graad Foundation Hospital, where they lie in a deep coma as a result of the battle of the 12 temples. There she suffers a murder attempt by Poseidon's servant, Marina General Siren Sorrento, but she is protected by Gold Saint Taurus Aldebaran. Such events lead her to assume that to solve the newly risen crisis, she will have to attend Poseidon's summonings, and so she does.

At Poseidon's Undersea Temple, she meets with the Emperor of the Seas. He then proposes her to marry him, and then to cleanse the Earth of humans, who have caused so much harm to it. Athena refuses Poseidon's proposals and instead issues a challenge: she offers herself as a sacrifice to delay the punishment on Earth, by receiving it herself. Poseidon accepts and then locks Athena away in the MainBread Winner, which was the main supporting column of the Seven Seas, telling her that she would be able to delay the eradication of humans, but she would ultimately lose her life in the process. She remains confident that she'll be able to stop Poseidon's ambition, and that her loyal Saints will assist her in protecting Earth, and bringing hope and justice.

Sensing Athena's ordeal, the Bronze Saints find the strength in their Cosmo to wake up, and promptly get to work on solving the new crisis. Mermaid Thetis is sent by Poseidon to tell them of his challenge and Athena's sacrifice: if they wanted to rescue her, they would have to come to Poseidon's Temple. With the help of Aries Mu's apprentice, Kiki, the Bronze Saints track down Thetis and enter Poseidon's Undersea Temple through Rozan GoRouHou's waterfall. There, Thetis explains them that to be able to stop Poseidon, they would have to drain Earth's flooding water by demolishing each one of the Seven Mammoth Pillars, the columns that supported each one of Earth's oceans. To do so, they would have to defeat first each one of the Guardians of the Mammoth Pillars, the deadly and mighty Marina Generals, who have assisted and protected Poseidon since the age of myth, and whose power was equal to that of a Gold Saint.

Accepting the challenge, the Bronze Saints were able to defeat each one of the Marina after terrible and bloody battles, and were helped by Ophiuchus Shaina and Kiki, who brought them the mighty Libra Gold Cloth that they used to be able to demolish each one of the seven Mammoth Pillars.

The Gold Saints were forced to remain at Sanctuary, since they knew that the resurrection of the true enemy of Athena, Hades, was soon to occur. So they had to keep themselves from dying to be able to overcome Hades threat, and could help only by encouraging the Bronze Saints and observing the events. As in the previous conflicts, Athena encouraged the Bronze Saints and gave them strength to continue their battle.

After demolishing the seven Pillars, the MainBread Winner still remained; Athena was being held there as prisoner. The Saints would have to demolish it to bring her to safety, and end Poseidon's flooding of the Earth. They were unable to demolish it, and were confronted by Poseidon himself, who attacked them mercilessly, and after being fully awaken was bent on killing the Saints without contemplation.

Gravely hurt and being no match to the power of a god, the Saints faced certain death. Until it was revealed by former Gold Saint and SeaDragon Marina, Gemini Kanon, who was responsible for Poseidon's return, that the only way to defeat Poseidon was to seal his soul again within Athena's Amphora, an urn that she had used 2000 years ago to hold his spirit and force him into an eternal slumber.

In their despair, drawing strength from their undying devotion to Athena, the Bronze Saints were able to stop momentarily Poseidon with the help of the sacred legendary Gold Cloths of Sagittarius, Aquarius and Libra. Gathering their collective Cosmo, Shiryuu, Hyouga, Ikki, Shun, Shaina and Kiki, imbued Seiya with its maximum strength, making Seiya's Cosmo ablaze. This granted him incomparable power, that, after being propelled toward the MainBread Winner, was more than enough to shatter it as if it were glass.

Athena was pulled out of the MainBread Winner by Seiya, bringing the Amphora. Wounded, tired and utterly overpowered, yet facing Poseidon with admirable determination, Athena opened the Amphora and after a fierce battle with the mighty god of the seas, was able to imprison his soul again in the Amphora. Poseidon's ambition was stopped, and without his Cosmo, his Undersea Temple began to crumble. Julian Solo was taken back to land by the faithful Thetis, no longer being possessed by Poseidon's soul and free to return to his former life.

Athena took her Saints with her back to Japan and with Poseidon's soul resting once again within the Amphora, the flooding and rains on Earth stopped. Peace and order had been restored once again by the goddess and her Saints, the messengers of love, hope and justice.

Hades arc

In the third act of Kurumada's manga, Athena was staying at Sanctuary to recover from her recent battle with Poseidon, which had occurred no more than a month ago. She was feeling uneasy since she knew that the resurrection of her true enemy, was near. That enemy was Hades, whom she had fought since the age of myth, and she had barely defeated in the last battle they fought during their previous incarnation, 243 years before, in 1743. (The year seems ambiguous, as Kurumada moved the date of Hades defeat in the 20th century from 1986 to 1990, as he is currently working in Saint Seiya Next Dimension. The year then for the Holy War of the 18th century would be 1747, according to his new setting of dates.)

As feared, Hades had returned to Earth, and this time he was being helped not only by his personal army, the 108 Demon Stars known as Specters, but by former servants of Athena, deceased Silver and Gold Saints that had pledged their loyalty to Hades in exchange of resurrection.

The mission of the Specters and revived Saints was to bring Athena's head to Hades. They would walk through Athena's Sanctuary until they reached her chambers and kill her. Such task wouldn't be easy since her Gold Saints would spell death to all those who wanted to harm the goddess.

As she thought they wouldn't be of any help, Athena had forbidden all the Bronze Saints and Silver Saints from taking part in the new Holy War against Hades. Paying no attention to such restriction, the Bronze Saints arrived to Sanctuary from Japan when they felt an ominous evil Cosmo. They took part in the battle against Athena's will, and helped defeat the Specters. Along with fellow Gold Saints, they were shocked to discover that former Gold Saints Deathmask, Aphrodite, Shura, Saga and Kamus, with 18th century Grand Pope, Aries Shion, had joined Hades army.

Later, it was revealed that their true intentions wasn't killing Athena, as they had Hades believe, but to help her. Posing as Specters, their secret mission was to reach Athena's giant statue, that lied beyond the Pope's quarters. Their purpose was to revive the statue with Athena's blood so it could transform into Athena's mighty Divine Cloth, to help her in her battle against Hades. The former Saints forsook their honor and by joining Hades army, accepted to be labeled as traitors, for the sake of their goddess.

Realizing their true intentions, Athena tried to relieve the former Saints of this burden. Asking Milo, Mu and Aiolia to return to the Pope's chamber and bring her and object hidden under the Pope's throne, Athena knew the time for her to face Hades had come. The object was the same golden dagger Saga had used when he attempted to murder Athena, 13 years ago. Having received from Virgo Gold Saint Shaka the message that only by reaching the 8th sense, a being could travel to Hades realm, the Underworld, without being subject to its laws, Athena wielded the dagger and seeking to relieve the former Saints from their suffering, took her own life. She fell before the horrified Saints, who didn't understand her actions.

Minutes later, it was revealed by former Pope Shion, that she had reached the 8th sense so she could travel to the Underworld and kill Hades. Using the spilled blood of the goddess, Shion revived Athena's Cloth and imbued the Bronze Saints Cloths with great power and endurance. Before returning to his eternal slumber, along with Saga, Shura and Kamus, Shion entrusted the Bronze Saints the mission of delivering Athena's Cloth to their goddess and assist her in the defeat of Hades.

Hades had caused a Great Eclipse to darken the Earth, and when the eclipse was complete, all life on Earth would perish.

Athena traveled the Underworld with Shaka trying to find Hades, to make him stop the Eclipse, even reaching Elysion, the dwelling place of the Greek gods, beyond the Wailing Wall. Unable to find him there, they returned, and found him at the palace of Giudecca. Hades, who needed the purest human being as a vessel for his soul each time he reincarnated, had surprisingly chosen shy Andromeda Saint Shun as his vessel in the 20th century.

Athena had to free Shun from Hades influence in order to kill him, and was able to do so by using her blood. Hades soul was expelled from Shun's body and fled to the Elysion, where his true body, the offspring of the union between gods Chrono and Rea, lied since the age of myth, to avoid harm.

When Hades soul took control of his body, he was able to defeat Athena and trapped her within a huge urn, where she would bleed to death. In despair the Saints of Athena tried to find a way to destroy the huge Wailing Wall that separated the Underworld from the Elysion. The only way was to open it with sunlight, and the only way to make sunlight shine in the Underworld was with the Gold Cloths, since they represent the constellations in the eliptic of the sun. Burning their Cosmo to the extreme, the Gold Saints released the sunlight that the Gold Cloths had stored within themselves since the age of myth, sacrificing their life in the process, but being able to demolish a part of the Wailing Wall. The Bronze Saints now had a way to reach Athena and help her in the battle against Hades, by delivering her Cloth.

Upon reaching the Elysion, the Saints faced the opposition of the god of slumber Hypnos, and the god of death Thanatos. Barely defeating them by making their Cloths reach their divine states, in the same way Saints of the ages of myth that fought them had done, the Saints proceeded to find Athena. After releasing her from Hades Urn, they delivered her Divine Cloth. By donning it, Athena was ready to face in battle Hades, her fiercest enemy since the age of myth.

A terrible battle ensued, with the Saints being unable to defeat the dreadful god of the Underworld. Barely breathing, the Saints joined Athena in a last explosive effort, by imbuing her Nike staff with their collective Cosmo combined with Athena's, and powered by a tremendous force Hades never thought possible, the greatest strength possessed by humans: Love. Charging at Hades, the Nike staff, symbol of victory, was granted enough power to pierce through Hades's Surplice and body. Hades, himself the god of death, stood in disbelief that he had been defeated once and for all, by his mortal enemy, and her Saints, who were simply humans.

With the defeat of Hades, Athena stopped the Greatest Eclipse. Having saved all life on Earth, and finally bringing her millennia-old struggle against Hades to an end, Athena left the collapsing Underworld with her Saints, returning to a world filled with light.





TenKai Hen Josou prologue manga

In the short introductory manga authored by Masami Kurumada, published to coincide with the release of the Saint Seiya TenKai Hen Josou Overture movie, Athena is shown by Kurumada taking care of Seiya, who after the battle with Hades, was left cursed by the god of the underworld, confined to a wheelchair and with his Cosmo depleted.

This short manga is the only part revealed by Kurumada of his long overdue Heaven Chapter oh his popular manga, and the only part of the chapter considered canon, 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 Rea, as the conclusion to one of his most popular works.

Note: 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. To be pushed by his sister Seika over a field. This was apparently changed by Toei Animation, producers of the anime adaptation and the movies, to include Athena instead of Seika, because Seika's true relationship as sister of Seiya 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 is going to be finally reached in the last episodes of the Hades arc adaptation in the anime, that will be released in March 2008, 3 years after TenKaiHen Overture premiered, and 16 years after Kurumada revealed it in his manga.

Non-canonical appearances

Athena has also appeared in works that don't follow Masami Kurumada's true manga plotline and chronology. These works are the four Saint Seiya theatrical releases: Saint Seiya GekiJouBan, Saint Seiya: Kamigami no Atsuki Tatakai, Saint Seiya : Shinku no Shounen Densetsu and Saint Seiya : SaiShuu SeiSen no Senshitachi. Excluded from these is Saint Seiya : TenKaiHen Josou Overture.

She also appears in non-canon manga works not authored by Masami Kurumada, but authorized and supervised by him. These works are:

Saint Seiya Episode G, that takes place in 1979, 7 years before the events in Kurumada's manga. In it, Athena appears briefly after her incarnation in Sanctuary in 1973. Written and drawn by Megumu Okada, under the commission of Masami Kurumada.

Saint Seiya Lost Canvas, tells the events of the holy war against Hades in the 18th century, from the perspective of the Pegasus Saint of that era, Tenma. In it, Athena appears in her previous incarnation as an orphan called Sasha. Written and drawn by Shiori Teshirogi, under the commission of Masami Kurumada.

Since these movies and manga works are not authored by Masami Kurumada, and lack adherence to the chronology and plotline he created in his original manga, they aren't canonical and the events contained in them don't affect the Saint Seiya universe established by Kurumada in any way.

Notes

  • In his manga, Masami Kurumada spelled Athena's name with the kanji 女神 (Megami : Goddess), with this furigana (or forced reading) over them : アテナ (Atena), to tell his readers the way he intended the kanji to be read.
  • In his manga, Kurumada spelled her name in Greek using the Attic spelling of the name: Ἀθηνᾶ, Athḗnâ. In the anime adaptation, it appeared in the Doric spelling : Ἀσάνα, Asána, albeit sometimes appearing as Ἀθάνα, Athánâ, both in the manga and the anime. Both were correct as they were simply calligraphic variations of the name used in the times of Ancient Greece.
  • She is often addressed to as "Ojou-sama" (Miss, young lady). Seiya refers to her as "Saori-san" (Miss Saori).
  • Kurumada's Athena inspired the creation and design of one of the most well known characters in SNK's famous videogame series The King of Fighters, Athena Asamiya.
  • Some of Athena's interests, both in manga and the anime adaptation, were horse-riding and playing the piano.
  • Masami Kurumada once stated that when he was in the process of creating his manga Saint Seiya, Athena wasn't going to exist as a character, but she was going to be experienced individually by each of the protagonists in different spiritual ways. Later, he thought this concept would be somewhat confusing to readers and difficult to use, so he decided to integrate her in his manga as a character, with her own traits and personality.
  • 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 assisted Silver Saint Kentaur Babel's death, moments after she discovered her divine origins. In the manga, and in the anime as well, Babel is killed by Cygnus Hyouga, but it is in the anime where he 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 peacefully passed away.

  • One of the few Saints that didn't nurse a grudge against her and that was very loyal since childhood despite her abuses in the past was Unicorn Jabu.
  • Masami Kurumada's based his design of Athena's statue on one of the most famous works of the renowned Greek sculptor Pheidias: the Athena Parthenos statue that was inside the Parthenon, in Ancient Greece. Kurumada used this statue in his manga very often, and he used not only as Athena's image, but also as her Cloth. Pheidias's statue holds Niké and the Ægis shield. Kurumada always drew the statue faithfully to the original, in the anime adaptation, Kurumada's design was translated without changes, there were only small modifications to make animation easier : the pillar on which Niké rests was removed, and since her head is missing both in the real statue and in Kurumada's design, it was also added. In the later volumes of his manga, Kurumada removed the pillar from his design as well.





References

  • Saint Seiya manga vols.1 to 12, 14 to 18, 19 to 28, by Masami Kurumada.
  • Saint Seiya manga vol. 13 Character data sheet, by Masami Kurumada.
  • Saint Seiya : TenKaiHen Josou Overture manga appendix, by Masami Kurumada.



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