Dragon Shiryu (龍星座の紫龍) is one of five protagonists in the manga/anime series, Saint Seiya. He is considered the most matured of the five heroes, and thus the wisest. As the Bronze Saint of the Dragon constellation, Shiryu dons the emerald Dragon cloth with its legendary defense properties.
Enter The Dragon
"Shiryu" (紫龍) translates to "Lavender/Purple Dragon". The name, of course, connotes to the idea that Shiryu's identity as a person and as a saint is related to the mythical creature.
The Saint of Dragon
Out of all five main characters, Shiryu is known as the calm and collected among the rest. His physical strength is the strongest of the bronze saints, with perhaps the exception of Phoenix Ikki. Shiryu trained at the Five Old Peaks in China to obtain the bronze cloth of the Dragon constellation, and his mentor was none other than senior gold saint, Libra Dohko.
Shiryu sports a large tattoo of an green and white dragon on his back. Whenever his life is in danger, the tattoo begins to fade away -- once it completely vanishes, it is a sign that Shiryu's cosmos is nearing zero -- as in death.
Unlike the rest of his bronze peers, many of Shiryu's techniques are all passed down from his mentor, the old and wise Dohko.
"Rozan Shou Ryuu Ha"
As is the case with most saints, Shiryu has a favorite technique that he uses often in battles: "Rozan Sho Ryu Ha." It is a moderately basic uppercut that, if connects, knocks the opponent soaring into the air as an image of a dragon devours him. The power of the "Shou Ryuu Ha" can vary from capable to quite powerful, depending on Shiryu's cosmos level at the time of execution. Unlike the favorite techniques of the other bronze saints, however, Shiryu's "Shou Ryuu Ha" does have one weakness -- while performing the move, his heart will be left open for a millisecond. Only three people in the series have noted this: his master, Libra Dohko, bronze saint Pegasus Seiya, and gold saint Capricorn Shura.
"Rozan Ryuu Hi Shou"
"Rozan Ryuu Hi Shou" is a straight-to-the-point attack where Shiryu charges through his opponents with a single fist. The Dragon Saint used it to plow through an army of dead saints when he attempted to reach Mu early in the series, and utilizes it against the Sea General Chrysaor Krishna. Near the end of the Hades arc, the Dragon revives the technique against Basilisk Sylphid when he takes on the three final spectre of the Underworld. In the anime, Shiryu also attempts the attack on Gryphon Minos.
"Rozan Kou Ryuu Ha"
The final move that Shiryu uses when all else fails -- it is a kamikaze technique similar to Seiya's "Pegasus Rolling Crush," except while Seiya normally intends to send both himself and his opponent back to the ground, Shiryu will continue to soar into the air and eventually into space -- killing both himself and his enemy. The "Kou Ryuu Ha" is something that Dohko had strongly discouraged Shiryu from using, even going as far as putting a ban on its use.
After defeating Capricorn Shura, Shiryu is entrusted with the gold saint's legendary technique, the "Excalibur." It is not a physical sword, but a deadly cosmos precision focused on Shiryu's right arm. During the Poseidon arc, Shura's spirit discloses that he had left the sword in Shiryu's right hand, but the bronze saint would eventually master the technique enough to wield it with his left arm.
"Rozan Hyaku Ryu Ha"
In the Hades saga, Shiryu learned the "Rozan Hyaku Ryuu Ha" directly from watching his master's battle. It is a technique that appears to be a combination of "Rozan Sho Ryu Ha" and "Rozan Ryuu Hi Sho" -- Shiryu's cosmos erupts at its max, and he plows through the enemy with both arms and palms extended. 100 dragons march in the sky as the enemies are destroyed by this energy-based offensive attack.
The Shield of the Dragon
The Bronze Cloth of Dragon is legendary for its large shield on the left arm guard. Its reputation is unmatched by any other cloth among Athena's saints, and only very few have ever shattered it. The Dragon Cloth itself is noted for its ultimate durability, as it had spent the last 200 years bathed under the mineral-rich waterfall of the Rozan mountains.
The Gold Cloth of Libra
During times of extreme stress, the main five bronze saints will be allowed to wear gold cloths for a temporary amount of time. In the Sanctuary arc, Shiryu showcased the 12 weapons of the Libra gold cloth when he, Seiya, and Shun needed help in freeing Hyoga from the Aquarius Saint's ice coffin. This was the first time Shiryu tasted the Libra Cloth, but certainly not the last. In the respective battles against Poseidon, Lord of the Seas, and Thanatos, God of Death, Shiryu was given the Libra Cloth to aid his friends.
Notable People & Events
The Bronze Saints
Shiryu was the oldest of the 100 orphans that the Graude Foundation sent throughout the world to train as saints. Even as a child, he was shown to be a remarkable prodigy. When the bronze saints are reunited later, Shiryu battled Seiya in the Galaxian Wars, a tournament set up by Saori Kido and the Graude Foundation to lure out the villain of Sanctuary. In the match, Seiya proved to be no match for Shiryu's physical prowess, but ultimately was able to defeat the Dragon through the use of his head -- figuratively and literally. Soon after, Seiya discovered that Shiryu's "Rozan Sho Ryu Ha" had one glaring weakness, and took advantage of it. Shiryu was promptly defeated, but as a result, Seiya's punch to his heart had unintentionally sent him into a near-dead state. Only another punch from Seiya could jump-start the Dragon's heart again -- provided that he did not fail to aim incorrectly and really kill Shiryu in the process. With Andromeda Shun holding Shiryu steady, and Cygnus Hyoga focusing Seiya's fist at the correct point of contact, a heavily fatigued Seiya managed to hit Shiryu's chest with exact precision. The Dragon Saint's heart began to beat once more, and the dying Dragon was revived. Even though Shiryu had lost his match, he was grateful for Seiya's display for friendship.
From this point on, the Dragon Saint and the Pegasus Saint became good friends and formed a strong bond together. This is most evident when Shiryu did not hesitate to volunteer half of the blood in his body to revive the Pegasus and Dragon Cloths -- a choice that would've meant certain death for the saint. Inspired and indebt to the fact that Seiya saved his life, Shiryu promptly slit his wrists and poured his fresh blood onto the cloths.
While Shiryu's bonds with Hyoga, Shun, and Ikki aren't as strong as it is with Seiya, he still considers them "brothers" and will gladly die in battle with them. In the 3rd Saint Seiya feature film, Shiryu saves Shun from nearly falling off a cliff. In the Hades arc, Shiryu is teamed up with Hyoga as they travel through the various prison camps of the Underworld.
Shunrei is a young lady Shiryu met when he first arrived at the Rozan Peaks. Shunrei and Shiryu have a romantic relationship that is mostly unspoken. Shunrei clearly worries about Shiryu while he is performing his Saintly duties, and looks after him perfectly when he is at home on the mountain. Shiryu is often shown to worry about Shunrei first whenever there is trouble that might threaten her.
The Gold Saint of Libra, the most senior of all Athena's saints (with the exception of Pope Shion, who was Dohko's war buddy), was the man who taught Shiryu the basics needed to become a saint, and the man who bestowed Shiryu with his Dragon Cloth. Training with the old master was not easy for Shiryu, however, as he had to endure and complete many difficult tasks. When the time came for Shiryu to finally earn his cloth, Dohko had one simple but tough test for him to pass -- he must reverse the downward flow of the Rozan waterfall in order to reveal the Dragon Cloth hidden beneath. Shiryu smiled confidently at first, but after several failed attempts, he realized that this was going to be much harder than he had anticipated. In the end, the would-be Dragon Saint burned his cosmos at the max and, with a thunderous flying kick, not only splashed and reversed the flow of the waterfall, but also created an image of a soaring dragon with the splashing water from the impact.
In the Hades saga, Dohko at last removed himself from the Rozan Peaks and returned to Sanctuary, where he battled his old friend Shion. It is here that Dohko taught Shiryu the "Rozan Hyaku Ryu Ha" first-hand. Shiryu was amazed by the sheer power of the attack, and later on used it against three spectres in his journey through the Underworld.
Just as Shiryu symbolizes the dragon, Ouko is a symbol for the tiger. In Chinese mythologies, the dragon and the tiger are ferocious rivals, and Saint Seiya portrays this as such. Ouko was a fellow student of Dohko's, and aspired to obtain the Dragon Cloth for himself. As such, he and Shiryu were rivals, although unlike Ouko, Shiryu did not have any hostility towards his mate. Soon enough, Ouko found himself kicked out of Dohko's teachings for his rowdy behavior, and the yong rogue vowed that he would one day return and have his revenge against the old master and Shiryu.
That day arrived in the Sanctuary arc, when Shiryu -- blinded from his battle with Silver Saint Perseus Algol -- was resting and no longer considered himself a true saint due to his loss of sight. Ouko challenged Shiryu to a duel, and defeated the unwilling and handicapped Dragon easily. Unsatisfied, Ouko berated the Dragon and set up a rematch by kidnapping Shunrei. Shiryu, forced to revive the abilities he had decidedly abandoned, finally chose to truly participate in the fight. Considering Shiryu's blindness as an unfair advantage for him, Ouko wrapped his own eyes with a piece of cloth and the two former mates battled. Shiryu emerged victorious, and while Ouko lost, he felt satisfied. With his last dying breath, Ouko made Shiryu realize that his blindness was a non-factor when it came to his using his abilities as a saint.
Ouko exists in the anime version of Saint Seiya only.
Shiryu and Deathmask first met in the Rozan Peaks when the Gold Saint of Cancer, under the order of Pope Ares, arrived to assassinate Dohko and reclaim the Gold Cloth of Libra for Sanctuary. Shiryu attempted to stop the gold saint when he revealed his intentions, and Deathmask waved him off. Shiryu donned the Dragon Cloth after a long hiatus and challenged Deathmask to a match. Deathmask complied, but the fight did not happen -- the arrival of Aries Mu caused the Cancer Saint to retreat for the time being.
When Shiryu joined the other bronze saints in their war against the gold saints of Sanctuary, Shiryu and Deathmask once again met and the two decided to resume where they had left off. Shiryu proved to be no match for Deathmask's "Seki Shiki Meikai Ha" -- a technique that sends the soul of the opponent into the gateway to the Underworld. Deathmask began to torture Shiryu's soul physically and mentally, and the Dragon almost fell to the gold saint's power -- Shiryu was only saved each time from certain death because of Shunrei's constant prayers for his well-being. Soon, Deathmask became irritated by Shunrei's voice, and openly attacked her with telekinesis -- knocking her from a section of the Rozan waterfalls into the deep waters below. Shiryu became enraged by this and burned his cosmos to the max -- reaching the 7th sense. At the same time, Deathmask's Cancer Cloth opted to abandoned him from having grown tired of its owner's various evil deeds. Without the protection of the powerful gold cloth, Deathmask suffered heavy damaged from Shiryu's hard blows, and the gold saint was knocked down to the pit of the Underworld -- directly to Hell.
After this battle, Shiryu miraculously regained his eye sight. It seems that spending an hour in the Underworld with only his soul (which do not require physical eyes to see) had a special effect on his body.
In the 3rd Saint Seiya movie, Deathmask returned from death to duel with Shiryu once more. By this point, Shiryu had matured in power and, having fought Deathmask once before, knew how to defeat the gold saint.
Shiryu's second opponent in the 12 temples was Shura of the Capricorn constellation. In the Sanctuary, Shura was known as "The Most Loyal of All 88 Saints of Athena," and as such, Athena had granted him the excalibur -- the ability to unleash an ultra sharp cosmos precision from any point of his body. As is the norm for a gold saint, Shura was also insanely fast and agile -- this match proved to be one of Shiryu's toughest fights, if not the toughest.
Not even the legendary shield of the Dragon Cloth could withstand the Excalibur, as Shura sliced the shield into two almost effortlessly. Shiryu's "Rozan Sho Ryu Ha" had no affect on the gold saint either -- Shura even noticed the technique's fatal flow after seeing it once. Desperate and out of usable moves, Shiryu chose to defy his master's ban on the "Rozan Kou Ryu Ha." The bronze saint lured the Capricorn into getting close by unleashing the "Sho Ryu Ha" once more -- baiting the gold saint to dig his Excalibur into the Dragon's heart. When Shura did so, Shiryu immediately grabbed onto the gold saint's wrist and, using the most of his 7th sense, sliced off Shura's lower arm and quickly latched himself behind him. The Dragon Saint then unleashed the forbidden "Rozan Kou Ryu Ha" technique, and the two men flew into the air.
When Shura questioned why Shiryu would sacrifice himself for Saori Kido -- someone who, according to Pope Ares, was a blatant impersonator --, Shiryu replied that he believed Saori to truly be the real Athena, and the proof is in the five bronze saints' utter devotion in saving her. Shura finally realized that he had made a huge error in opposing them, and declared that a loyal man like Shiryu cannot afford to die. Using the last bit of his own cosmos, Shura transferred the Capricorn Gold Cloth onto Shiryu for protection, then kicked the Dragon Saint back onto the Earth. As Shura's body began to grind into dust from the pressures of outer space, he told Shiryu to watch over Athena in his stead.
Little did Shiryu know, Shura had also given the bronze saint a final gift -- the Excalibur, sword of the most loyal saint of Athena. In his battle against the Sea General Chrysaor Krishna in the Poseidon chapter, Shura appeared to Shiryu as a spiritual entity and revealed this to the Dragon. Encouraged by the gold saint, Shiryu sharpened his cosmos to the max, and the Excalibur in his right arm proved itself useful in penetrating Krishna's powerful defenses.
Shiryu and Shura met once again when the Capricorn Saint returned with six other formerly-dead gold saints in the Hades arc. Shura and the others appeared to have defected to the side of Hades, and Shiryu was forced to remind him that his Excalibur and a part of his soul reside within the Dragon's right arm. Later on, as Shura was on the verge of death once more, the gold saint cited that, indeed, the Excalibur and a part of his soul lives on in Shiryu's arm.
As is the case with Shun, Hyoga, and Ikki, Shiryu initially did not want anything to do with Saori Kido until she revealed herself to be the goddess Athena, the deity that all Saints must serve. He eventually grows to respect her as a friend.
Evolution of the Dragon Cloth
Shiryu's cloth has suffered various damages thoughout the series, and, of course, required repairing. With each revision its shape gained a new form. In the manga:
- When he wears it after having Mu repaired it from near death as a result of his match with Seiya in the Galaxian Wars.
- When it is revived with the blood of his master, gold saint Libra Dohko.
- When Mu's master and the former Pope of Sanctuary, Shion, rejuvenated it from damages with Athena's blood.
- When Shiryu's cosmos exploded at its max and the cloth naturally evolved into the Bronze God Cloth of Dragon.
In the anime, the cloth went through three different designs:
- When Libra Dohko used his blood to repair the cloth in time for Shiryu to use it in the battle against Asgard's God Warriors.
- When Pope Shion revived the otherwise unrepairable cloth using Athena's blood.
- When his cosmos reached the height of its power and transformed into the divine Bronze God Cloth.
Due to having reformed from using a gold saint's blood, the third version of the Dragon cloth (second in the anime) can suddenly become golden with power whenever Shiryu uses his cosmos to the max. At that point, Shiryu has awoken his 7th sense, and is as powerful as a gold saint.
Notes & Trivia
- Dragon Shiryu has an image song dedicated to him, entitled "Dragon Blood."
- Dragon Shiryu has a huge fanbase, and this was reflected during an official Shounen Jump! magazine poll, where he was determined to be the most popular saint of the five.
- Because of the large amount of blood that Shiryu usually bleeds in his fights, he is known throughout fandom as the one saint who will always bleed by the buckets. This has created many humorous comments by fans of the series.
- In almost every fight that Shiryu has participated in, his opponent will often comment on his legendary shield.
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Episode G Bronze Saints: Retsu
Gigantomachia Bronze Saints: Yurij