Concept and creation
As Masami Kurumada uses the revered Osamu Tezuka’s Star System, (A stable cast of characters which play a different or similar role in the author’s various works, sometimes with the same personality and sometimes with an entirely new one), he designed Aiolia’s appearance very similar to Zaji, the main character in Raimei no Zaji, a manga that Kurumada wrote and drew years before Saint Seiya.
In his manga, Kurumada gave Aiolia blonde hair. In the anime adaptation, due to a relative excess of yellow tones in Kurumada’s design, Aiolia’s hair color was modified to light brown to achieve a better color balance and contrast.
Personality and background
Aiolia is the first Gold Saint introduced by Masami Kurumada in his manga, along with Saga disguised as the Pope, in vol.1, although their rank wasn’t revealed until later volumes. In his first appearance, Aiolia was present during the moment Pegasus Seiya was granted the Pegasus Bronze Cloth, and the status of Athena‘s Saint.
Aiolia is shown as a reference in the Sanctuary due to his righteousness and strength. He is the young brother of Sagittarius Aiolos, considered a traitor that attempted to kill Athena when she was still a baby. Due to this, Aiolia works hard to prove his loyalty to the goddess and erase the shame his brother’s actions bestowed upon them. Even during the time Aiolia thought Aiolos was a traitor, he showed immense respect toward his memory.
In some interview, Masami Kurumada stated that he intended to use Aiolia as the main character of his series, hence his early introduction in the manga, but later he decided to use Pegasus Seiya. Even so, years later, the manga Saint Seiya Episode G was released, authored under Kurumada’s commission by Okada Megumu, centered on the Gold Saints and having Aiolia as the main character. This manga is placed seven years before the main story, showing Aiolia when he was still a young saint and was victim of the fake stories that tainted his brother image.
Aiolia is impetuous and has a hot spirit that incites him to action. More than once, this creates some conflicts between him and the calm Aries Mu. Through the story, it is hinted that he and Virgo Shaka are close friends. Aiolia is named after the mythical island Aiolia or Aeolia, residence of Aiolos, the god of winds.
Also, due to his talent and power, he is referred to as the reincarnation of Achilles.
Despite being a natural blond, Aiolia dyes his hair red to distance himself from his brother, whom most of Sanctuary believes to be a traitor. However, it is made evident that even though he resents his brother and suffers immensely because of him, he still loves him very much. This conflict is behind the grudge he holds against the rest of the Gold Saints and it often drives him to fight them and challenge the Pope’s commands. Aiolia holds his loved ones close to his heart, particularly his servants Lithos Crysallis and Galan, whom he considers to be family. As taught by John Black, he proudly fights, not for himself, but to protect everyone and everything he holds dear. His fierce personality, Cosmo and battle skills attract the attention of Pontos, who acknowledges him as a potential menace to his plans, and Hyperion, whom he encounters during the Titan’s first invasion of Sanctuary. They refer to the Leo Saint as the “man of the Evil Omen” and Kronos prophesies that he will be the one to release him from Zeus’s seal.
At one point, Aiolia is assigned to protect Virgo Shaka while the Virgo Saint enters a deep meditation to banish the evil monsters that the Titans’ presence on Earth had called forth. He then faces Koios for the first time. Overwhelmed by the Titan’s power, the memory of his brother offers Aiolia the encouragement and strength he needed to unleash the “Photon Burst”, an attack Aiolos had once advised him to never use. With it, he defeats Koios and would have destroyed him if not for Hyperion’s intervention. Aiolia dedicates the technique to his brother, saying that he created it to protect him.
Aiolia shows his mettle again while fighting Kronos, the Titan King, the second time the Titans invade Sanctuary. He professes his belief that humanity is not worthless and that the Titans have no right to interfere with their lives. Severely wounded, he strikes Kronos with his “Photon Burst”. The Titanesses, however, keep the attack from annihilating their King and Kronos is freed. Kronos comes out of the fight with no idea of who he is and the other Titans, believing this is due to Aiolia’s attack, lay down a plan to lure the Saint into the Time Labyrinth to restore their King’s memory. After Dimension Lapetos kidnaps Lithos, Aiolia does not hesitate to follow him into the Titans’ domain, where he battles not just Iapetos and Themis a second time, but also Pontos, Koios (who entrusts him the god-slaying power “Keraunos”), Hyperion and a restored Kronos.
Saint Seiya (1986), chapter I: the Sanctuary
- Introduction of the Gold Saints
One day, the Pope summoned Aiolia and the Scorpio Gold Saint, Milo, to his hall, and explained to them the current situation at hand. The Gold Cloths of Aries, Libra and Sagittarius are not in the Sanctuary. He orders Aiolia to go to Japan to find the Gold Cloth of Sagittarius and kill Saori Kido and her renegade Bronze Saints who are currently in possession of this Cloth. Aiolia is supposed to do so in order to prove his worth as a Gold Saint. When Aiolia appears in Japan, Seiya and Ophiuchus Shaina were fighting inside a hospital. However, Aiolia lifts both of them outside with telekinesis, and knocks Shaina out in one move.
He then tells Seiya that he would spare him so long as Seiya tells him the location of the remaining Bronze Saints and the Gold Cloth. Seiya tells Aiolia that he would not betray his friends, and fights back. During the fight, Aiolia directs an attack on Seiya, but Shaina jumped in the way to save Seiya, critically injuring her. In his guilt, Aiolia decides to leave both alive. Before he leaves, three Silver Saints, Musca Dio, Canis Major Sirius, and Heracles Algethi appear, and mock Aiolia for his cowardice, stating that they would finish off Seiya if he is afraid to do so. Seiya, unable to fend off the three Silver Saints, was quickly defeated. However, the Gold Cloth of Sagittarius awakens, and assembles itself over Seiya.
Seiya, wearing the Gold Cloth for the first time, managed to defeat all three Silver Saints. Seeing the Gold Cloth of his brother, Aiolia tries to defeat Seiya and take the Cloth from him, but as he fought Seiya, he suddenly saw a vision of his deceased brother over Seiya, telling him that Seiya is the true protector of Athena.
Aiolia was shocked by this, and he was knocked down by Seiya’s attack. Saori Kido arrives before the two could continue fighting, and explains to Aiolia that she is the true reincarnation of Athena, and that the Pope has been lying about her death 13 years ago. Aiolia swears loyalty to Athena, but is still confused by the actions of the Pope. He decides to return to Sanctuary to question the Pope himself. As he leaves, he tells Seiya that he was only knocked down by his attack because he saw the spirit of his brother Aiolos in the Cloth.
- Sanctuary Arc
After returning to the Sanctuary, Aiolia left Shaina in the care of Cassios, and went to the hall of the Pope to question him on the true nature of his brother’s actions. However, the Pope ordered the Gold Saint Virgo Shaka to attack Aiolia. While the two were focused in mental combat, the Pope performed a sneak attack on Aiolia with his Illusion Emperor’s Fist, allowing him to manipulate Aiolia’s mind. He then gives Aiolia one more chance: to kill the Bronze Saints that entered Sanctuary as they pass through the Leo Temple which he guards.
When Seiya arrives at the Leo Temple, he sees that Aiolia is the guardian. When controlled by Saga’s attack, Aiolia showed a very sadistic face. His behavior was compared to a cat playing with its victim, since he didn’t kill Seiya at once, instead he was weakening his body slowly with many attacks.
Cassios arrives at the Leo Temple, and states that he would like to be the one to kill Seiya, for winning the Pegasus Cloth off him and severing his ear in the past. But he instead turns to attack Aiolia, telling Seiya that Aiolia is under manipulation from the Pope, and it is only dispelled if someone dies in front of him. Cassios then commits suicide by protecting Seiya from Aiolia’s Lightning Plasma. Realizing that Aiolia is still under the power of the Pope, Seiya draws up the maximum power from his Cosmo, and manages to evade Aiolia’s Lightning Plasma and knock him down with a Pegasus Meteor Punch, releasing him from the Demon Emperor Fist.
At the end of the Sanctuary arc, Aiolia properly shows his respects to Saori, and states that his brother’s spirit can rest in peace and his name is cleared. In this saga, it is believed that Eagle Marin, Seiya’s mentor, has a love relationship with Aiolia since his uncountable rescues for Marin.
In the official sequel Saint Seiya Next Dimension, Aiolia appears (together with the other Gold Saints) in the form of spirit to help of Athena.
Non-canon anime episodes
In the anime, when the Pope had summoned Scorpio Milo, Aiolia appeared, saying that he’ll kill the Bronze Saints and bring the Sagittarius Cloth back (and that if the Pope chose Milo instead, he’ll kill Milo). Also, he appears in front of Shaina and Seiya when they’re already outside the hospital.