|Saint Seiya character|
Virgo Shaka by Masami Kurumada
|First appearance||manga: chapter 18, vol.5
|Created by||Masami Kurumada|
|Voiced by||Yūji Mitsuya
Ryan Worthington (English)
|Date of birth||September 19|
|Class||Virgo Gold Saint|
Although Gemini Saga and Leo Aiolia were the first Gold Saints introduced by Masami Kurumada in his manga, Virgo Shaka was the first one he showed fully revealing his status as Gold Saint and wearing his Gold Cloth, in the chapter 18, contained in vol. 5.
Shaka is one of the Twelve Gold Saints. As the guardian of the Temple of Virgo along the path of Sanctuary, Shaka has played a pivotal role chiefly in the battle between Athena and the Pope in the Sanctuary arc, and also in the Hades arc. He is referred to many times on the story as the "the man who is almost a god" due to his immense power and is also considered the only Gold Saint that has full control over the Araya Shiki (8th sense). He is supposed to be Buddha's reincarnation.
Shaka alone of all saints occupies the rarefied spot between God and man, but living between two worlds has its blessings as well as curses. As a Bodhisattva, and endowed with the most powerful cosmos of all the saints, Shaka well deserves his reputation as the man closest to God. Even as a child in India, Shaka was precocious and communed with God himself—a scene recounted in the flashbacks moments before Shaka's death in the Twin Sala's Garden. For someone whose life has just begun, he had been unusually sensitive to sufferings and mortality of human life. Seeing pain and death as reflected in the Ganges gives the boy Shaka enough despair, if not a crisis of faith. With esoteric learning and training, Shaka eventually became powerful enough to don the Gold Cloth of Virgo, which he wore even as a boy in the manga, and wise enough to rise above human passions and attachments. For most of his life, he would look on human feelings with a mix of pity and compassion without being bound to them, with charity but not always with love. Detachment seems to be Shaka's answer to the poignant questions raised by human life, and he is seeing humanity from the point of God rather than living the experience. He would be disabused of this attitude in his encounter with Ikki. In the end, Shaka would have to remember that he is a man, as well, and return to whence he came.
Shaka's most striking characteristic is the ease and grace with which he defeats his enemies. Shaka fights in consummate form—with just a flick of wrist and the barest hint of athletecism. The economy of movements stands in stark contrast with the blood, sweat and toil of other warriors. The Buddhist-inspired mudras (poses) struck by Shaka is probably intended to display an inhuman discipline, intensity and nerve all under a gesture of grace. When he strikes, the enemy sees his glittering form against a breathtaking view of fantastic worlds and places within the Buddhist tradition; such illusions are a part of his technique in confusing and defeating opponents using something akin to psychological warfare.
Shaka's approach usually aims at paralysis, not just physical, but mental as well. His moves seem immaterial partly because he plays mind games by conjuring illusions, as dueling with Shaka is much more a battle of will than mere fist-swinging. He targets the five human senses —sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing— to cripple the adversary's body in combat. Yet, he ultimately aims to disintegrate the adversary's consciousness and the mind's control over the body.
The Tenbu Hōrin (The Treasures of Heavens) (天舞寶輪) is the epitome of this approach and Shaka's ultimate strike against an opponent. It traps the opponent into a matrix of illusions (normally Buddhist in nature), and destroys him through five stages. Each stage obliterates one of the opponent's five human senses cumulatively. And if that's not enough, as it was the case for Ikki, Shaka can remove the opponent's sixth sense, effectively shutting down the brain.
Shaka also has the rare ability to attack the enemy and defend himself at the same time. This two-sided fighting style often turns the weapons and techniques of an adversary against himself. When the Bronze saints invaded the House of Virgo, Shaka rebounded the attacks on him—and also their damages—to their originators. This aspect of Shaka's combat, doing unto others what they have done to him, is almost divine, as within minutes the three standing Bronze Saints —Shun, Seiya and Shiryu— are thrown on all fours and remain so for the rest of the confrontation with Shaka.
During the Hades chapter, when Saga, Shura, and Camus, who had previously died in a civil war within the ranks of the Saints, returned from the dead. Saga, Shura and Camus had sworn their allegiance to Hades, the God of the Underworld, promising to help Hades defeat Athena and invade the Sanctuary in exchange for a chance to return to the land of the living. Since many of the Saints had died during that civil war, Shaka was one of the few remaining defenders of the Sanctuary when Saga, Shura and Camus attacked. Shaka alone urged his dead comrades to drop their allegiance to Hades and return to the Underworld where they belonged, as fallen soldiers of Athena rather than betrayers of their cause. When the true spectres invaded the 12 temples of Sanctuary, it was Shaka who ultimately rid the Sanctuary of their presence with his Demon Pacifier technique.
Now that there weren't anymore Spectres to follow Saga, Camus and Shura - he asked them their true intentions. Saga only replies that they came back to life by pledging loyalty to Hades and to obtain the head of Athena (Saori). Saddened by this reply, Shaka conducts them to the garden at the side of his temple. The four engage each other in direct battle. However, as the battle continues, Shaka realizes that he can't last forever against three gold saints - as powerful as he is, eventually, not even he would be able to survive against three Gold Saints in direct combat. He then uses his The Treasures of Heavens to disable their senses, and urges them to use the forbidden technique that was sealed by Athena many centuries ago, Athena Exclamation, with a power similar to that of the Big Bang itself. Shura and Camus hesitate - for they will be branded lower than beasts. Saga encourages his fellow Gold Saints to remember their purpose and goal. When Shaka is about to take their last senses, the trio decide to use the Athena Exclamation.
The Gold Saint of Virgo is consumed by the immense destructive force of the "Athena Exclamation" attack. With his physical body completely obliterated by the banned attack, Shaka's spirit returns to Earth one last time to write a final message to the goddess Athena herself (Arayashiki). Overwhelmed by tears - the 3 fallen Gold Saints weep over the loss of their comrade. Shura decides to help Shaka achieve Nirvana and finally put an end to his suffering by assisting him in his suicide. Shura screams his apologies to Shaka, but he sees that Shaka has already died and his body begins to fade away into dust.
Later on on the Hades arc, it is revealed that Shaka and Athena are still, indeed, alive - they are shown making their way towards Hades' realm. Shaka eventually located Hades and confronted the Greek God alone, threatening to kill Hades by himself. Just when Shaka is about to attack Hades he is stopped by Athena. Athena forbids him to attack Hades, since he was inside Andromeda Shun's body. After both the gods disappeared, Shaka tried to sacrifice himself to open the way to the Elysium, but since he didn't have enough power alone Libra Dohko stops him, this was only granted after all the Twelve Gold Saints reunited and used their own lives.
As one of the most powerful Gold Saint, Shaka's eyes are normally shut in order to hold back his massive cosmos. Shaka is also said to be the only one of the Gold Saints that not only masters the 7th sense, but also the 8th sense.
Shaka has shown enough telekinetic power to even control his enemies' weapons and to reform his body after it was obliterated by Phoenix Ikki. His mental power is also formidable, since Ikki's mental attacks were completely ineffective but were returned to the original caster. He often casts illusions to deceive his enemies. A probably illusionary technique is Transmigration to the Six Path or Six Saṃsāra (六道輪廻 Rikudō Rinne ) in which Shaka sends his opponent to one of the six Dharma's rebirth realms. These realms are, as described by Kurumada: Gakikai (the realm of the preta), Jinkai (the realm of humans), Jigokukai (the realm of hell), Chikushōkai (the realm of beasts), Shurakai (the realm of the warring Asura) and finally Tenkai (the realm of heaven). Interestingly enough, Kurumada presents the Buddhist realms of reincarnation as separate planes of existence from those found in the Hades arc of his manga, which he derived from Dante Alighieri's conception of the underworld. The Tenkai is considered the worst realm to be sent as mentioned by Shaka.
Shaka strengthens his Cosmos energy by depriving himself of his eyesight. When he opens his eyes, the stored strength is then released. Due to his enormous power, Shaka is called the "man who is closest to god". He can also use Hāṃ (カーン Kān ), a defensive technique that creates a barrier that encircles Shaka's body.
Between his offensive techniques he can use Demon Pacifier (天魔降伏 Tenma Kōfuku ) to expand his cosmos at multiple targets or at a single one as a blast, that it was strong enough to destroy a large part of the Cancer Temple and Heaven Supremacy on evil spirits of rivers and mountains (天空覇邪魑魅魍魎 Tenkūhaja Chimimōryō ) in which Shaka summons minor spirits and sends them against his enemies.
Shaka's most powerful move, The Treasures of Heavens (天舞宝輪 Tenbu Hōrin ), is an offensive and defensive combined technique. Not only traps and defangs Shaka's victims, it also wipes out their five senses named as "Remove of the 1st/2nd/3rd/4th/5th sense" (Dai Ikkan/Nikan/Sankan/Yonkan/Gokan Hakudatsu). Essentially reduces Shaka's victims to living corpses by stopping the main functions of the brain that allows the body to think, also called the 6th sense. The offensive power of this attack is so destructive that it can easily destroy the cloth of the opponent.
Apart from those fighting techniques, Shaka also uses two concentration ones that belong to the Hinduism and buddhism like Om (ॐ) to maximize his Cosmo energy, allowing him to use the full extent of his power and Dharmacakra Mudra (転法輪印 Tenpōrin'in ) to erase any doubts in his mind that could refrain him during the fight.
After the fight against Saga, Shura and Camus the Cloth was totally destroyed. However, he could attain the Eight Sense and reach the Underworld as a living being, along with his Cloth.
The temple he guarded was known both in manga and the anime adaptation as ShōjoKyū, "The Temple of the Maiden".
The Virgo Saint of the 18th century was known as Virgo Asmita. Since they look the same, he's speculated being Shaka's previous incarnation. He appears only in the sidestory Saint Seiya Lost Canvas, which status as canon is unknown.
In Masami Kurumada's current Saint Seiya work, Saint Seiya Next Dimension, the Virgo Saint in the 18th century was known as Virgo Shijima (乙女座のシジマ Barugo no Shijima ). The Virgo Saint is slated to appear in February 2009, and like his Shaka, he is called "the man who is almost a god", and also "the silent man".