Nakaba Suzuki has had several shonen manga (comics aimed at young boys) hits over the years. Having worked in the industry since the 90s, he’s proven himself to be a great storyteller and The Seven Deadly Sins is his latest and most popular work. One of Netflix’s ‘original’ series, the 24-part anime follows Princess Elizabeth and Melodias, the Dragon Sin of Wrath, as they bring together the other member of the Seven Deadly Sins to stop the Holy Knights’ reign of terror.
Set in the kingdom of Brittania, the series begins as your average adventure story, with its lead characters scouring the region to find the remaining six elite fighters. Elizabeth and Melodias can’t do everything on their own, so they spend a lot of their time searching from one place to the next and helping those in peril along the way. The Holy Knights may have originally staged a coup to better the kingdom, but now it’s clear that they’ve lost their way to – ironically – greed, wrath, and other sins. They patrol the regions with an iron fist, and it seems that Elizabeth and Melodias may help more people on their quest than they realise.
Tensai Okamura of A1 Pictures is in the director’s chair for the series. With his work on Blue Exorcist and Darker than Black, he’s proven he can create intense action sequences and The Seven Deadly Sins is no exception. It’s the action that’s the driving force behind the show; each sequence features some great animation and gives the characters the chance to shine.
Diane, the giant Serpent Sin of Jealousy, is the perfect example; she’s boisterous and quick to anger, but she has a good heart and nothing will stop her protecting Melodias from coming to harm. Another great character to join the fray is Ban, the Fox sin of Greed: he has some fun moments with Melodias as the pair’s brotherly bond sees them go head to head just so they can test their skills and see who’s the better fighter.
One thing that is frustrating, though, is the fan service, and Melodias’ contribution to it in particular. He doesn’t shy away from the fact that he’s a pervert, he spends most of his time finding some way to grope Elizabeth, and, on one occasion, even manages to remove her underwear without her realising. While the fan service isn’t graphic, it still makes it hard to take the show seriously, when the lead character can’t even keep his hands to himself. Elizabeth may not complain about Melodias’ behaviour, or even acknowledge it, but it’s still annoying to see him do this sort of thing. Yes, fan service isn’t anything new in anime, but, like Melodias’ pig sidekick Hawk, we’d like to shout at him whenever he decides to grab Elizabeth’s behind.
The Seven Deadly Sins gets off to a slow start, but once it hits its stride, it’s a fun adventure to watch. Okamura’s great direction and Suzuki’s interesting characters helps to keep the show interesting, even when the fan service gets very frustrating. This may be an average shonen anime, but it’s not so bad, if you give it a chance.
The Seven Deadly Sins Season 1 and 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of £7.49 monthly subscription.