Review: The Seven Deadly Sins

AKA Nanatsu no Taizai

“This is a tale of ancient times, an era before the human and non-human worlds were forever divided. When the Holy Knights defended the realm wielding there magical powers they were feared and highly respected. But among them a group emerged that betrayed the kingdom and became mortal enemies to all Holy Knight. They were known throughout the land as The Seven Deadly Sins”

I'm really not an anime guy. Sure, I watched Pokémon as a kid (and started doing that again with Journeys) but while many of my friends are avid anime watchers, I'm definetely not. With me, it never goes farther than seeing what's on Netflix and maybe check out a pilot or two. However, there are a few anime's that intrigued me enough that I started watching them and end up falling in love with. A.I.C.O. -Incarnation-, BNA: Brand New Animal but first and foremost: The Seven Deadly Sins. With its 3rd season now streaming internationally on Netflix (and as it has been a while since I watched the series) I started a re-watch of the entire series and its movie. Now that I've finished season one I feel like talking about it before jumping back in for the rest. And what better way to share my love for the anime by telling you why exactly why you should start watching? 

Without further ado, let's dive right into this review of The Seven Deadly Sins: Season 1 simply titled 'The Seven Deadly Sins'.

In the Kingdom of Liones, a young soldier in training accompanies an old soldier patrolling the streets in the capital. The man is horrified to find dozens and dozens of Holy Knights, the elite magic-wielding soldiers of the kingdom, lying dead near the castle. These men were all killed by a group of Holy Knights that betrayed the kingdom. They assassinated the leader of the Holy Knights, Grandmaster Zaratras, and they are titular Seven Deadly Sins. Over a decade later, the seemingly youthful owner of the Boar Hat tavern and his talking pig Hawk encounter a rust-covered knight that drives away their customers. The knight isn't one of The Sins, however, but rather princess Elizabeth, Liones's third princess. The Holy Knights have staged a coup and taken control of Lioness and Elizabeth now seeks The Sins, hoping that they will help her free the Kingdom.

After all, if they are the enemies of the Holy Knights who themselves turn out to have evil intentions, maybe The Sins aren't the bad guys after all?

Where to start, where to start? I think its best to begin with what first caught my eye about the series. The reason why I started watching it. I was drawn to the series not only by its title, which brought back memories of a movie I watched as a kid but also because of its focus on knights and fantasy. A show about knights in a world full of magic, inspired by Arthurian legend and lore? That sounds like a fantasy world that positively sucks you in! It did just that.

The world of The Seven Deadly Sins is one of wonder and awe and, in my humble opinion, the shows VIP. The series is just amazing at world-building, at exploring, introducing and unravelling each of one of its secrets. Not only that, but the anime's overall design and set pieces help make this world feel very alive and gives it its own identity. The music definitely helps to set the show's atmosphere. It's hard for me to describe, I'm not very well versed when it comes to (this sort of) music but I think that 'medieval music orchestrated by a modern orchestra' is the best way to do so. It fits the show perfectly and is very nice to listen to in and of its self. I highly recommend that you give it a listen, even if you're not interested in the anime itself. It's that good.

The characters, just like its world, are a joy to watch. They feel like real people. They all have their own little journey they go on and are ALL very well thought out. They grow throughout the season, even the bad guys, and it's the strength of these characters that really binds the show together. Not all of them get the same amount of attention, but they're at the very least distinctive and fun to watch.

The anime's animation is excellent. The more animation I watch, the easier it has become for me to spot those moments were they take shortcuts. Just spot the difference between cheap and expensive animation overall. The Seven Deadly Sins belongs in the lather category. I'm impressed with how good they managed to make the animation, how fluid it all is. The fight sequences, in particular, are a treat to watch. Not only because they are so fluid, but because they're creative, well-choreographed and suspenseful. The voice acting, something else anime fans put a lot of expectations on, is very good as well. I watched the English dub and while there are one or two performances that are less than stellar to actively bad, the rest of it is up to snuff. Above all else, these bad performances stand out more because the rest of it is so good.

Wanted to show a still from the series to show the style of animation and what better then giving a look at Meliodas and Elizabeth themselves?

What I'm also a big fan of with this series is its story structure. This is something that people who watch a lot more anime are much more familiar with but for me, this was the first time I experienced it so I'm going to talk about it. As a result of the series being an adaptation of a manga, Nanatsu No Taizai, the anime adheres closely to a manga's typical story structure.

The story is divided up into different 'Arcs' which lasts a handful of episodes. These story arcs are much clearer and more focused fashion then you might see in Western shows. I'm a fan of this structure. It separates the different parts of the season in a way that makes it understandable, gives each of them enough time to play out and makes the show easy to watch in both a single or multiple sittings. I do think that the arcs of the second half of the season aren't as strong as those in the first half, pacing wise. I feel that the final, epic arc is too long and starts rather abruptly. A minor nit-pick, but one I wanted to address either way.

I've been gushing a lot on the show up until this point, with only a minor issue here and there, but there's one big issue I have with the show that I want to address before wrapping up. The show is pretty lewd. Meliodas, one of if not the central characters, has the 'quirk' of touching Elizabeth inappropriately and without her consent. From groping her boobs to lifting up her skirt. Meliodas is called out on this behaviour throughout, but it's still there and played for laughs. I find it both tasteless and uncomfortable. You also have characters that, for one reason or another, look significantly younger than they actually are which makes romantic pairings rather awkward at times as well.

Lastly there are rather revealing outfits in the show. To be fair though, there are not many of them here and it's not just the women but also the men. It's equal-opportunity when it comes to revealing outfits here, so that's something I suppose. Still, I could have gone without any of it.

Conclusion

The Seven Deadly Sins first season is amazing. It's an epic tale about friendship, love and betrayal against the backdrop of mediaeval Britain and the legend of King Arthur. The animation is fluid and creative, the voice acting is (for the vast majority) very good and the character work and world-building are true stand-outs. While it has its problems, I personally could go without all of the lewdness, these are easy to oversee with all of the other things it does so well. I can highly recommend you check it out, even if you're not an anime fan.   

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