Given how popular Saint Seiya has been worldwide, it’s no surprise that there’s been plenty of merchandise, including toys. The Saint Seiya fan can get their fill of boys in gorgeous armor in varying grades of action figures, gashapon (trading figures) and static PVC statues. Most of these have come from Bandai, but other companies like Mega House and Medicos have gotten in on the action as well. Naturally, with the number of other countries with large Saint Seiya fan followings and the amount of money to be made, in addition to Japanese merchandise you’ll often come across releases from other countries (especially Spanish editions) and plenty of bootlegs. Since these things have been coming out for 20 years there’s far too much for collectors like myself to have it all, but here’s an overview of a few things you can start looking for, spread over a few different price points.
The initial big-name toys were Bandai’s Saint Cloth kits. These are injection-molded kits that require assembly; each consists of a character figure, which requires cement and painting to complete, and a skeleton to mount the armor in its resting state (in which it resembles its namesake constellation). The images here are of a recent re-release Bandai did of these old style kits, which can usually be picked up for less than $10. If you’re a big collector and willing to spend more you can still find many of the original 1980s editions on resale sites like eBay – just try to keep an eye out for whether they’re originals or the new reprints.
Around 2003, Mega House released a set of Saint Seiya chess pieces. For the size, they’re not bad little figures. They actually managed to get a surprising amount of detail onto such tiny people! If you’re into Saint Seiya and like chess, they’re cool to have. Unfortunately they’re out of print, making them a bit difficult to find–especially in complete vendor boxes–and sometimes priced fairly steep depending on the seller, so probably not something a casual fan should bother with.
In addition to their more elaborate figures, Bandai has released multiple series of gashapon of varying size and quality. One of the smaller sets, at a bit under 3 inches each including the base–meaning a fairly low sculpt and paint quality–is their Hades Saga series, launched around 2006 to promote the new Hades Saga OAVs. They’re at a low price point, about $30 for vendor boxes (12 pieces included) and they’re rather small, making them a cheap and simple intro. They do have the benefit of having some of the Hades Saga characters that might not be in other sets, but they’re not all that impressive and you’re probably better off going for one of the nicer gashapon sets or just saving up and taking the plunge into Myth Cloth figures.
The Cloth Up Saint gashapon are interesting, as they’re sort of like gashapon versions of the Saint Cloth Myth or original Saint Seiya figures. The sculpts are decent but not as good as the HGIF or Agalma lines. These stand out, though, because they’re semi-articulated with 8 points of articulation (neck, waist, shoulders, elbows and wrists), allowing you to configure their pose a bit. Their armor is still plastic but with a more metallic finish than the other gashapon and it can be removed, though this seems to have no purpose as the underlying bodysuits look rather boring and expose the holes used to mount the armor pieces.