|Others||Cloths of Athena|
|Romanization||Atena no kurosu|
|Average weight||Unknown (very heavy)|
|Place of origin||Mu|
|Behind the Scenes|
|Created by||車田 正美 - Kurumada Masami|
|Designed by||車田 正美 - Kurumada Masami|
Cloths - collectively called the Cloths of Athena and translated as Armors in the US versions - are living suits of armour wore by the Saints, Athena's legendary warriors in the Saint Seiya series.
Based on the sky's constellations, they were created in ancient times following the orders of Athena (the goddess of war and love) after the massacre of her troops by the hands of Ares. In order to use a cloth, one must synchronize his or her cosmo (a ki-like energy created in the Big Bang) with that of the suit, gaining the title of saint, a warrior that protects Earth. Based on a few evidences, there is a theory that states the cloths are made by sacrificing human lives, but the exact creation process was never explained in the series.
It is well understood that the official number of cloths is 88 (same number as that of modern constellations), 12 gold cloths, 24 silver cloths, 48 bronze cloths, and 4 unknown cloths. This number is, however, only symbolical, as there are cloths based in extinct constellations and nebulae. A lot of cloths were lost in the destruction of the continent of Mu, but the number of extant cloths is believed to surpass a hundred.
More than once, cloths have been shown to possess their own moral basis, as well as feelings. Such examples are the gold cloths of Cancer and Gemini, which abandoned their saints in the middle of the combat, showing disapproval for their actions. Most cloths will fight for their saints' concepts of "justice", only leaving their bodies if they betray their principles, or if their justice becomes too contrary to that of Athena.
A good example of the last is the Cancer cloth, which had so far put up with the many casualties of Deathmask - its saint in the 20th century - 's missions (uncountable men, women and children), didn't contained itself when he betrayed Athena, abandoning his body (which lead to his death at the hands of Dragon Shiryu). Another gold cloth, Gemini, approved and helped Saga - its saint in the 20th century - in his plan to usurp Athena as Earth's protector, as his intentions could be considered noble (he didn't trust the goddess' power and wanted to fight the other gods himself), only leaving his body so his "good" and "evil" (only in lack of better names, morally, they are not that simple) personalities could fight each other for the control of the saint's body. The psychological confusion that the cloth went through was caused by Saga's unfortunate decision of attacking Athena directly.
Cloths can shed tears when extremely discontent, although the composition of said tears is unknown. In Lost Canvas, it was revealed that cloths may develop an attachment for people other than their own saints, demonstrated when several injured cloths gave out their last forces to keep a dying Aries Shion alive until his master Altar Hakurei arrived and saved him.
Created by alchemists (paranormal forgers from the lost continent of Mu), the first group of cloths helped the saints against the deadly warriors of the god of war, Ares, starting the tradition of hierarchy among the saints, while the second group (the vast majority of cloths) were created specifically to protect the saints in their first holy war (a conflict of gods) against Poseidon.
Mu was sunk during the Gigantomachy, a conflict against the mighty gigas, and the abilities of forging barely survived in the descendants of lemurians (people of Mu, which is also referred as Lemuria).
The classification of the cloths corresponds to the metal that gives its form and color, gold (high tier), silver (average tier) and bronze (low tier), since the four "special cloths" contain unknown metals, they are an exception to the tier system. Even with the metals giving the tier to the cloths, its main composition is an alloy of gamanium (which gives resistance, tenacity and strength) and orichalcum (which gives energy and, possibly, life and cosmo).
To forge a cloth, the creation and manipulation of an alloy of gamanium, orichalcum and a specific metal, then a complicated alchemy process is used to give the suit its form and life. According to the renegade alchemists of Death Queen (an island in the south pacific, known as a remain of Mu), the bronze cloths are relatively easy to reproduce compared to those of higher tiers, indicating the difference between the suits. Even so, black silver cloths have been made throughout history.
As explained by Aries Mu, cloths possess an astonishing regeneration capacity, even causing damaged parts to become stronger after a little recovery time, having the capacity to withstand constant combats for a long period before suffering a real damage. Even so, this regeneration has a limit, and the cloths retain internal cracks (an equivalent to sequelae), which damage the structure of the suit, that then needs to be repaired. To repair a cloth, an alchemist needs three ingredients (gamanium, orichalcum and stardust) and the tools of either of the silver cloths of the forging (Sculptor and Caelum). A good alchemist can finish up to five bronze cloths within an hour.
A certain clan of lemurian descendants passes down its generations the technique needed to repair a cloth since remote times, this technique eliminates the internal cracks completely, usually changing the aspect and shape of the cloth's most damaged parts.
In Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, the repairer has the ability to watch the lives of former saints through their cloths as if it were a movie, although this is considered unethical by some alchemists. Still in Lost Canvas, the alchemist must use small quantities of blood (generally one's own) in order to repair cloths (in the original series, the process was not shown).
In Saint Seiya Ω (omega), the stardust needed in repairs has been replaced by starsand, a type of "magical" sand encountered in a certain desert cave, which decreased the repairing time to that of a few seconds.
When a cloth dies, about a fourth or third of a saint's blood (or the blood of anyone who can burn their cosmo) must be added to the ingredients of the repair. During history, several bronze and silver cloths were considered dead and needed this special repair, causing quite a few blood loss-related deaths among saints who would donate their blood to more than one cloth at a time. In the 20th century, the gold cloths of Leo, Virgo, Sagittarius, Libra and Aquarius were easily destroyed by Thanatos (the god of death) in the Elysium, although only one gold cloth had ever been killed before that occasion. Said cloth was that of the saint Leo Aiolia, who fought the titan Ebony Hyperion, after the fight, the Leo cloth entered an hibernation status and, upon fighting a second titan (Dimension Iapetus), it finally died, giving its last forces to protect Aiolia.
The quality of the repair depends on the blood's source, for example, when the gold saints donated their blood to the bronze cloths, they became much more resistant and acquired a golden coloration as their saints reached the seventh sense. When the sacred ikhor (godly blood) of Athena was cast upon the same cloths, they were instantly repaired and changed their shapes, as well as gaining wings and acquiring the capability of "evolving" to divine cloths.
The cloths are transported by the saints inside great metal boxes known as pandora boxes. There are as many pandora boxes as there are cloths, and each is colored according to its tier and illustrated according to its cloth. The se boxes are around since the creation of the cloths and have the power to distinguish the "right" from "wrong", as well as having their own rules. All boxes possess chains, which must only be pulled if the cloth is absolutely needed, otherwise the box unleashes demons that will drive its bearer insane. The twelve gold tier cloths don't have chains, forcing their saints to synchronize their cosmo with the cloth's in order to call it out.
In the Omega spin-off, a meteor caused the cloths to mutate and receive the power of generating "elements" (earth, water, fire, wind and thunder), since then, they are stored in "cloth stones", magical jewelry (necklaces, bracers, rings etc.) wore by saints in a casual manner.