The Seven Deadly Sins Season One
七つの大罪 １ｓｔ Ｓｅａｓｏｎ
Shounen – Action, adventure, comedy, fantasy
24 Episodes (complete)
Ten years ago, the most powerful group of knights, the Seven Deadly Sins, tried to overthrow the kingdom. Their coup failed, and the seven members disappeared. Rumors have been swirling of a Rust Knight crying out for the Seven Deadly Sins. The rumors prove true when a suit of armor appears at a tavern run by its youthful-looking owner.
The Seven Deadly Sins is a vibrant, engaging fantasy tale that grabs both anime and non-anime fans alike.
Note: if you want more of a review about the actual story, please read my manga review of this series.
I remember looking forward to the anime adaptation of The Seven Deadly Sins, one of my favorite ongoing shounen manga. I, like many others, assumed someone would license the series to stream simultaneously with the Japanese TV airing. I waited… and waited… and waited. Well, a year later, Netflix announced it had acquired The Seven Deadly Sins and produced dubs in English and other languages. So, while Netflix is hardly an anime fan’s first choice for content, is this series worth a subscription?
Even if you don’t have the option of a one month free trial, at once episode a day, you can easily view the entire season within a month for $7.99 ($9.99 for HD). That’s cheaper than a movie ticket at many theaters, and The Seven Deadly Sins is worth the price of admission.
The Seven Deadly Sins, at its heart, is an old, familiar tale: a princess tries to gather allies to reclaim her kingdom from those who are staging a coup. You’ve lived a very sheltered life if you’ve haven’t experienced this story in one form or another. Fortunately, two things help set The Seven Deadly Sins apart from the normal fare: the fast pace and the characters themselves.
The manga is already on the fast side, but that’s hardly a negative. Many action manga last for dozens upon dozens upon dozens of volumes before reaching an ending, and anime adaptations have to insert a large amount of fillers to drag the story out even more. Most of these anime-original stories end up being rather lackluster. Well, the anime of The Seven Deadly Sins covers about 13 volumes in 24 episodes. As a comparison, at this point in the Inuyasha anime, one of his main allies is just being introduced. (This covers events of the tenth volume I believe.)
So is The Seven Deadly Sins rushed? Not really. In the original manga, the main group don’t really go to random villages or take detours. The anime takes its cue from the source material, light on the adventure and exploring aspects, and then goes a step further. The show staff members do an excellent job of adapting the source material. Side stories are blended right into episodes. The minimal “fat” (non-essential scenes) is trimmed. Small changes are made to connect manga chapters into one episode. This ensures a battle in almost every episode instead of just exposition and setup.
Only two parts of the manga’s story are significantly altered. First is the reunion with Gowther, a section which I felt really dragged in the original story. I thought the anime’s version was much better. The second is the final battles, changes which I am not so keen on. Gowther’s battle is eliminated, one character is mostly missed, and the anime is given more of a finale than the manga’s shift into the second arc. I wish The Seven Deadly Sins had been given another episode or two to fully show the before and after the Boss fight. It’s not that the differences make for a worse experience, but there may be a few details that will need to be changed or explained through dialogue and/or flashbacks in order to match back up with the manga.
The ending still mostly aligns with the manga. The staff could have easily decided to do their own thing, as we don’t even meet all the Sins at this point in the manga. The anime ends with hints of a continuation, and a second season has now been confirmed. Considering the plot, you can pretty much guess what happens in Episode 24. So why should you bother to watch something when you know how it ends?
Two words: the characters.
The Seven Deadly Sins‘ greatest strength is in its cast. To begin, everyone is overpowered. Ridiculously overpowered. No scrappy almost-dropout here. Meliodas and the rest of the Deadly Sins we meet are incredibly strong, and their opponents are no slouches either. Buildings are regularly destroyed due to the powerful attacks. Weapons can be thrown for miles. Take the “it’s over 9000” meme and apply it almost everyone here. Unlike most other series, the heroes only face the brink of despair a handful of times. When they are, it’s more because they’re exhausted from fighting so much rather than being overpowered.
With such a physically strong cast, it would be easy to create arrogant characters. Why should we care about those whom we know will win? Meliodas acts like a perverted goofball, but a) he only hits on Elizabeth and b) he knows more than he shares. Ban is a thief who is fiercely loyal. Diane is the Sin of Envy, but she ends up forming a deep friendship with the other main female character, Elizabeth. Even the series’ mascot character, the pig named Hawk, actually does stuff besides looking cute or being annoying. He’s one of my favorite characters along with Gowther, the analytical and mysterious one. It is pretty much impossible not to laugh at his out-of-place actions at least once. His scenes are often funny, but Meliodas’ repeated groping of Elizabeth can be downright annoying. Elizabeth seems like the weak link of the group, but I thought she came across as stronger (emotionally) here than in Nakaba’s manga. Meliodas’ crew also gets along well since they’ve worked together before, so there’s less infighting versus most “recruit party members” in RPGs or anime/manga stories.
A key part of any anime is the voice cast. I watched various parts of The Seven Deadly Sins in both Japanese and English. While I tend to prefer subs, the dub here isn’t just something that was thrown together. In fact, both versions have their good points and bad. Let’s start with the hero. Let’s face it, Meliodas’ Japanese voice actor is in everything. Fortunately, Kaji’s voice actually fits Meliodas. He wouldn’t have been my first choice, but Kaji’s usual timbre fits both the playful and serious sides of the character. Bryce Papenbrook has dubbed Kaji characters before (most notably in Attack on Titan), so I wasn’t terribly surprised he was chosen for Meliodas. If someone complains about either man as Meliodas, then it’s probably more about people feeling like both Kaji and Pepenbrook are typecast or overused rather than than their performances being weak or inferior to the other actor’s. Anyways, Hawk sounds nearly identical in both versions. Elizabeth’s English voice I felt was a little weak, like she was trying too hard to sound soft-spoken and demure. However, Helbram’s (big form) English voice is an improvement over his Japanese one. I really liked hearing both his lackadaisical and commanding sides. Richard Epcar really excels at these types of characters. I found myself switching to English whenever Helbram appeared. Meanwhile, when I first started reading the manga, I had already heard Ban being voiced by Suzuki Tatsuhisa (of Final Fantasy XV and My Little Monster); he has that natural gruffness yet melodiousness in his voice. His English actor does a good job, but Ban’s sing-songy way of speaking is harder to get across in English. Really, though, if you have a problem with the dub, you must also have a problem with the original Japanese. Both versions are enjoyable to listen to.
The fight scenes are even better than in the manga. The animation flows smoothly and doesn’t sacrifice quality. It really is amazing to see high-quality battles right from the start. The nature of the story means we can see the directors and animators flex their talents right from the start. We get to see forests being destroyed in the first episode, and plenty of special abilities like earth pillars and poisonous bugs show up soon after. Some of the action sequences reminded me of the Flowmotion abilities of the Kingdom Hearts series with their Aerial Recoveries and pushing off buildings. I know these are hardly unique, but it has that distinctive Japanese flair. Even the eyecatches are lifted directly from the manga. However, when the characters go off-model, it certainly catches your eye — and not in a good way. Ban seems to get the short end of the stick most often, probably due to his large scar, eyes with a heavy black border, and spiky hair. (His leathery jacket surely doesn’t help either.) Hawk-mama is in CG, but fortunately she doesn’t look bad. I’m not a huge CG fan, but it’s far from cringe-worthy. I did enjoy the bright, vivid colors of the anime, making everything pop out. The Seven Deadly Sins really feels like an HD anime.
No honorifics are used. “Sir” and “Lady” are generally used in place of “sama”.
While the romanizations of the foreign (English-based) names and cities are the same, the Japanese terms are translated differently than in Kodansha Comics USA’s version. Most notably, the head of the Holy Knights is called the “grand master” here but “captain” in the manga. Twigo’s “kettei” is “verdict” in the manga, “conclusion” in the anime. The subs use “mana”, the dub and manga “magic”. The manga’s term of “Capital of the Dead” is “Necropolis” here. One of the Weird Fangs’ name is written as “Freesia” in the subs but “Friesia” in the episode summary.
At times, the subtitle track reads more like a dubtitle track than a subtitle track. One line in the second episode is something like, “Let’s find our ally.” The subtitles read, “Let’s find my fellow Sin.” Ban’s key line where he says, “Someday, I will steal you away” is subtitled as the less-direct “I will take what’s mine.” The adaptation tries to keep the puns like the ippai/oppai joke (“lots of boobs” rhyme) to “bevy of boobs” or “shoc-King” for “odoro-king”. Strangely though, one episode has Ban say, in English, “give and take”. The subtitles changes this to “quid pro quo time”. Yet the English dub also uses “time for give and take”. Huh? Why spice up the subtitles?
A few attack names were also changed. These include:
“Hellblaze Wave” –> “Hellblaze Scream”
“Mother Catastrophe” –> “Mother Earth Catastrophe”
There are also errors. The subtitles has Gowther saying he’s drunk and his thoughts are incoherent. The dub implies Gowther is the one drunk. The manga has Gowther saying King is the one drunk. As you may know, Japanese sentences don’t always have a subject, so sometimes it can be hard for English speakers to know what people are talking about or referring to. However, considering Gowther’s and King’s personalities, it makes much more logical sense for King to be the one drunk. Plus considering what King has learned recently, King is likely to have his thoughts in a jumble.
If you don’t have or want a Netflix account, you should be praying for a home video release of The Seven Deadly Sins. However, with Aniplex USA’s Japanese-like pricing, you might be better off subscribing to Netflix for a month or two. It’s not too often you can get a solid save-the-
world kingdom story done well in a two-cour show.
Crunchyroll is releasing the manga as a simulpub, and Kodansha Comics USA publishes the compiled volumes.