The Saint Beasts (四聖獣, Shiseijū in the original Japanese) are the main antagonists during the Spirit Detective Saga's Maze Castle arc. As their name implies, each member is named and modeled after one of the four animals of the Chinese-Japanese cardinal points. They ruled over Demon City and were confined within Maze Castle.
The Saint Beasts are the rulers of Demon City (or the "City of Ghosts and Apparitions", in the English dub) which is inhabited by low level apparitions between E and C Classes. These four legendary creatures were notable for being forced into living inside the large "Maze Castle" in order to loosen their power outside of the city. However, the beasts possessed complete dominion over the inhabitants of the city, using them freely as messengers to the Spirit World and for maintenance work. Numerous spies, led by Suzaku, scouted any intruders to the castle. In their hierarchy, Suzaku was the leader because of his superior fighting skills, battle strategies, greater resistance towards outside damage, and because he was the one responsible for controlling the swarms of Makai Insects by means of the Makai Whistle. Seiryu's role was unknown; however, it has been speculated that he was the second-in-command and Suzaku's enforcer. Byakko ruled over a room with a lava pit for a floor, and Genbu was noted to have been the only saint beast who could leave the Maze Castle via his ability to fuse with any type of rock.
The demons are ranked in power according to their demon abilities, level of demon energy, resistance towards attacks and their obvious resemblance to human beings in both physical and mental aspects. As such, Genbu and Byakko being the weakest and least resembling humanoids figures in their group, while both Suzaku and Seiryu were the strongest and most human-like in appearance. Genbu was a high D-class, while Byakko, Seiryu, and Suzaku were all C-class, being lower, middle, and high in the order of their defeats.
Spirit Detective Saga
Soon after arriving home from Genkai's training, Yusuke was given a new case. Four demons, called the Four Saint Beasts who ruled over an area in the demon world known as "Demon City", begin sending demands to Spirit World in order to allow them access to the human world, which they hope to take over. Spirit World refuses their demands and in response to this, they begin releasing Makai Insects that feed on the evil in people's hearts, turning them into violent, docile slaves. Yusuke then travels to "Demon City" alongside Kuwabara with the intention of defeating them, and is soon followed by Kurama and Hiei.
While entering the castle, Yusuke's group are forced to save themselves against the Gateway of Betrayal, a large, stone corridor that crushed intruders under the weight of its lowering ceiling. As all four teammates hold the ceiling above there heads, Yusuke tells Hiei to make a swift escape inside the castle and deactivate the ceiling. Although he originally planned on leaving Yusuke, Kurama and Kuwabara to die, crushed under the ceiling, Hiei stops the Gateway of Betrayal, allowing them to pass. Hiei tells them that he allowed them to live because he was uncertain of his victory against the Beasts. As they venture towards the highest tower of the castle, in search of the flute that controlled the Makai Insects, Yusuke's team ends up inside a large stone room. There they are obligated to defeat the rooms's resident Saint Beast Genbu, in order to progress further. As such, Kurama decides to go against him. Genbu proves to be rather difficult to fight while surrounded by stone walls, due to his exceptional powers of fusing with rocks. He could also detach his body into smaller, flying fragments that pummeled Kurama, leaving him with a rather small but noticeable scar. As Genbu prepares a final attack, Kurama accurately removes and destroys the hypothalamus stone of the stone beast's brain.
With Genbu dead, the team continue their journey up a tower, and end up outside the castle and in front of Byakko's fighting ring, suspended high above the rest of the castle. Kuwabara steps in to fight Byakko as his adversary, but proves to be powerless against the White Tiger's ability to devour spiritual energy. Noticing that the spiritual energy was making his opponent heavier, Kuwabara continues filling Byakko up until:
- In the anime, Byakko explodes, falling onto the castle ceiling below.
- In the manga, Byakko is strangely propelled into a nearby wall.
Surviving his encounter against Kuwabara, Byakko confronts him again, inside a room with large platforms jutting from a massive lava pit. Kuwabara manages to jump from one platform to the next and knocks the white tiger directly into the hot lava, apparently killing the creature.
After defeating two of the Saint Beasts Yusuke's group continue further on into the castle. They find themselves inside a large room with fifteen doors, fourteen of which would lead to a corridor filled with elaborate, deadly traps.
- Genbu: The weakest of the four Saint Beasts, he has the ability to melt into any kind of rock. His lair is entirely composed of stone and it is through this that he launches surprise attacks by merging with the rock and shooting his tail from different angles at his opponent. At first he seems unbeatable, and he seems to be gaining the upper hand on Kurama, but Kurama ultimately defeats him when he pinpoints Genbu's control core (equivalent to the hypothalamus in the human brain) during one of his attacks before catching it and then splitting it in half with his Rose Whip.
- Byakko: Arguably the most-enduring member of the four Saint Beasts, Byakko's ability revolves around the absorbing and redirecting of lesser spirit energy. His lair is comprised mostly of large platforms jutting from a lava pit. He is defeated by Kuwabara, who knocks him down into a lava pit in his own lair. He is only killed when Seiryu uses his Ice Dragon technique on him and decapitates him with a kick.
- Seiryū: The most-proud member of the four Saint Beasts, Seiryu's ability revolves around manipulating the temperatures of his surroundings. His lair is a simple room covered in ice and of particularly low temperatures. He is killed by Hiei after being sliced sixteen times in the blink of an eye.
- Suzaku: The leader of the four Saint Beasts, Suzaku's ability revolves around manipulating and amplifying the ambient static electricity of his surroundings. The constant lightning strikes of Demon World actually help to fortify the power behind his attacks. He is defeated when Yusuke burns through his life energy in order to fire one last Shotgun that overwhelms him.
- The four Saint Beasts are named after the mythological figures representing the four cardinal directions in Sino-Japanese myth. Despite this, it appears the Spirit World has no relating information on the Saint Beasts to the myth, if not in general.
- On an interesting note, each of the mythological creatures the Four Saint Beasts are based on (Turtle, Tiger, Dragon, Phoenix) interestingly symbolize the personalities of each of the Saint Beasts opponents. Kurama being wise and intelligent like the Turtle, Kuwabara being brave and determined like the Tiger, Hiei being calm but deadly like the Dragon and Yusuke being passionate and having a habit of coming back stronger every time he dies like the Phoenix. Even more interesting is that Yusuke's energy took the form of a Phoenix, Kuwabara occasionally wears an all white-outfit and Hiei's best attack is in the shape of a dragon.
- The beasts share their names with the four symbols of Chinese astrology.
|e v||Four Saint Beasts|
|Members:||Genbu | Byakko | Seiryu | Suzaku|