Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Netflix, A-1 Pictures and Aniplex
When it comes to determining the overall quality of an anime, Shonen shows typically face an uphill battle. Hearing the term Shonen quickly brings up images of the many long-running series such as Naruto and One Piece. These series are absolute behemoths in size, with episode counts in the hundreds. Huge episode lists typically possess a significant number of drawbacks, namely in the pacing and animation quality. Pacing could be slowed down by filler arcs, while the struggle to produce episodes typically results in sloppy animation. This can cast a negative light on any series that considers itself strictly Shonen. The show I am reviewing today is a Shonen show, but one that manages to overcome the obstacles this. The Seven Deadly Sins is a rare Shonen show with excellent pacing and animation quality. In terms of production it reminds me of Magi, where the manga is currently ongoing, but the anime perfectly adapts the source material. Considering The Seven Deadly Sins is getting a second season, this comparison is even more appropriate. Why is this show so great? I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth Anime review.
The series tells the story of the titular band of knights known as the Seven Deadly Sins. They were once an elite group of Holy Knights in the kingdom of Britannia, who disbanded after allegedly attempting to overthrow the kingdom. Ten years after this event, the Holy Knights carried out a coup d’état, becoming the new rulers of Britannia. The princess, Elizabeth, manages to escape and goes on a journey in search of the Seven Deadly Sins in order to save her kingdom.
That is the basic setup of The Seven Deadly Sins, but the 24 episode story arc is so much more than this simple synopsis. Elizabeth’s journey to find these supposed criminals is filled with everything from crazy action, heartfelt moments, and even a large amount of comedy. She first comes across, Meliodas, the leader of the Seven Deadly Sins. What follows from this first meeting is an absolute roller coaster of an anime. The plot delves into miniature arcs that still maintain the focus of the overarching story. These smaller arcs allow an in depth exploration into the wide variety of characters (more on that later). Compared to most Shonen shows, the protagonists actually manage to make a significant amount of progress in a very short amount of time. The overarching story is not ignored in any way, and this enables the show to be excellently paced. There is absolutely no wasted time here and combined with the exploration of the characters, results in a story that is nearly perfect.
The wide variety of characters makes it difficult to adequately cover them all in a short video review. I will mainly be focused on Elizabeth and some of the Seven Deadly Sins. (Side note, Elizabeth and the Sins sounds like a band that could play Coachella). However, that does not mean that the rest of the cast is uninteresting, quite the opposite in fact. Every reoccurring character manages to get developed in some way. Each character’s motivations are explored. That is what makes talking about characters fairly difficult in this anime; there are just too many good characters.
Elizabeth initially starts off as a typical damsel in distress, but is significantly altered as the series progresses. She cares deeply about her people, so much so that she willingly puts herself in situations where there is a real chance that she will be seriously injured. Opposite of her is Meliodas, the captain of the Sins. Meliodas is surprisingly perverted, mostly used as comic relief. However, Meliodas is actually equally as kind as Elizabeth and his willingness to fight for his friends mirrors Elizabeth’s actions as well. Meliodas also harbors a lifetime of regret and a very secretive past. At times, he wavers from his normal confident self which shows that he has yet to completely deal with his past. Being around Elizabeth allows Meliodas to largely overcome these issues. The interaction between these characters is one of the highlights of the show. They have a great chemistry and manage to strengthen each other so well.
Rounding out the character discussion are the fellow Sins, Diane and Ban. Diane is a giantess who is infatuated with Meliodas. Her love for Meliodas comes from the larger population’s typical reaction to her. Unlike the bulk of people, Meliodas saw her as a normal person from the second that they met. Diane is also a bit hot-headed, but carries a larger desire to protect people, at one point ignoring a Holy Knight’s attack to simply save one person. As for Ban, he is a rather complex character. At first glance, he appears to be a violent drunk, but that is just a façade. He is probably one of the most caring characters of the show, with a rather tragic past. He has a deep fear of losing those that he considers dear and this fear drives all of his actions. Overall, the characters are one of the best facets of The Seven Deadly Sins. These characters combined with the plot from one of the best Shonen stories to date.
Typical Shonen anime have very obvious attempts at saving a budget, usually a noticeable dip in animation quality. The Seven Deadly Sins does not possess any of these issues. The Seven Deadly Sins is a bright and beautiful show. There is an almost storybook aesthetic to the animation, which fits in tremendously well with the fantasy setting. There is not one lull in the animation over the 24 episode run. Every single episode maintains a solid animation quality. Much like any anime fan, my favorite bits of animation are the fight scenes. The fights are animated in a way that lends itself to a unique experience. The blows of the characters carry a significant amount of weight. The more powerful characters exhibit choreography that is sure to impress. My favorite scene of the first half of the season involves Meliodas catching a supercharged spear. The way he moves, along with the absolute destruction of the buildings in the area, provide an absolutely breathtaking and cool scene. The Seven Deadly Sins is filled with moments like these and the animation is absolutely top notch.
The sound in The Seven Deadly Sins is exactly as one would expect. The overall music of the series is perfect for the action, but there are no tracks that manage to stand out. This seems to be a common statement from me, but for the most part remains rather true. I haven’t had the pleasure of listening to a stand out track since my review of Toradora. In terms of sound effects, the foley is handled relatively well. Again it’s not something that is inherently noticeable when done right, but when it is not done well, it really alters the quality of the show. Luckily, the sound design of The Seven Deadly Sins does its job very well.
I enjoyed The Seven Deadly Sins immensely. It’s not a flawless series, but it does everything very well. The story is interesting, along with the amazing cast of characters, creates a plot that is highly enjoyable. The animation is top notch and very stylized in a fantasy motif. The fight scenes are very impressive as well. The sound design does its job, nothing more than that. The Seven Deadly Sins earns my Bananaowns’ stamp of approval. In my crazy binge of anime watching, it managed to stand out as one of my favorites. Thanks for watching and come back next week for another Otaku Youth Anime Review.