Casshern Sins, Heartcatch Precure, and Yumekui Merry all come to mind when I look at Saint Seiya Omega, and not in a good way. I like Casshern and Heartcatch, but the things I like about them aren’t present here; instead, what I hate about Casshern and Merry are what I see.
Two names are important to analyzing these shows: Umakoshi Yoshihiko, who did character designs and animation directing for Casshern Sins, Heartcatch Precure, and Saint Seiya Omega; and Yamauchi Shigeyasu, who directed Casshern and Yumekui Merry. Another person of mention is Hatano Morio, the director of Saint Seiya Omega, who also directed a few episodes of Heartcatch Precure.
Casshern Sins and Yumekui Merry share an incredibly disorienting visual style, wherein super-close-ups are used frequently, and fights often make no sense whatsoever. Both are visually interesting and more than a little stylish, but that style is only as cool as it is irritating. Both shows do feature occasional brilliant fights, which can be attributed to the star animators brought onto the show to handle them.
A cool fight from Yumekui Merry [ep 6?] (skip to 0:50):
The disorienting nonsense it usually features [ep 11 or 12?]:
Yumekui Merry doesn’t feature Umakoshi designs, whereas Casshern and Heartcatch do. Heartcatch doesn’t suffer the problems of the other shows, which would lead me to believe that those problems were the results of Yamauchi’s directing. However, now we have Saint Seiya Omega, which has the worst case of disorienting, ridiculous directing of the bunch.
Heartcatch Precure fights/sakuga [early eps]:
This is perplexing. I don’t think the disorientation is the fault of Umakoshi’s animation direction. Not only is his work on Heartcatch outstanding, but he also did the same job on other good shows. Instead, I think this may be the fault of the (apparent) newbie director, Hatano Morio.
Penultimate fight of Saint Seiya Omega ep 1 (start around 1:11):
Hatano may be trying to imitate Yamauchi’s directing style. After all, while I haven’t seen them and can’t speak for their visual style, Yamauchi did direct a number of Saint Seiya movies and an OVA, after having been a major staff on the original show. If Hatano/the staff is just imitating Yamauchi’s style, it may explain why Saint Seiya Omega is more disorienting and less stylish than Casshern and Merry.
A cool fight from Casshern Sins [ep 4]:
By the way, if you’re wondering how the studios factor into this: Heartcatch and Saint Seiya Omega are both done by Toei, Casshern Sins by Madhouse, and Merry by J. C. Staff. So that’s no help at all.
Saint Seiya Omega will probably have some pretty cool guest-animated fights somewhere along the line, but I don’t care to stick around. I found this episode almost unwatchable between the bad directing and boring dialog. The only reasons I’d have to stick around are Umakoshi’s designs and that awesome Pegasus Fantasy duet OP.