It’s time to look at a manga that at this point finished quite a while ago. It’s a very long series though so the review would be pretty long too so I held off on it for a bit. This is one of those titles like Fairy Tail that is quite tragic. It has a terrific climax and a lot of hype moments. Unfortunately it is held back by fanservice issues which prevented it from being the next big thing. It’s a manga I will have fond memories of though even if it could live up to its full potential.
The series starts off with Elizabeth searching for help. The knights have become corrupt and the only ones she can turn to are the Seven Deadly Sins. Despite the name they used to be Britain’s finest warriors. Unfortunately the group has been split apart and they are all wanted for capital crimes. She runs into Meliodas who now runs a tavern. He agrees to help her and while the guy is incredibly sketchy, Elizabeth figures she will need his help. The first arc is mainly about gathering all 7 of the members to stop the Knights and bring Britain to peace once more. This won’t be an easy task, but if anyone can pull it off, it is Meliodas and his merry crew.
The second main arc involves the return of the Ten Commandments. These guys are some of the deadliest villains to ever walk the planet. They also seem to have ties to Meliodas. The Sins may be strong, but all of them are weaker than the weakest Commandment. It adds a nice sense of danger to the whole mix since the heroes all have to get massively stronger. It’s cool because the series started on the premise that the heroes were the strongest people around and now you’re throwing in villains who are way more powerful than them. Needless to say, the series’ power levels start to get pretty insane the more the series goes on.
Finally we get involved with the holy war. The Angels have returned to slay the Demons. The only problem is that they appear to be just as evil and corrupt as the monsters they fight. This forces Meliodas and the others to wonder who to ally with. Meliodas also has to come to terms with his demonic past as everyone is trying to control him. The Demon King also shows up for a pretty intense final battle that also became a bit of a running gag among fans. Let me tell you, reading this weekly was a blast because of that. The comments are just so much fun and they just never miss a beat.
So lets rewind a bit and talk about the series as a whole. For starters, the art is excellent. It’s one of the clearest manga I’ve read and I would consider it to be top tier in that respect. You can really follow along with the fight scenes and the character designs are on point as well. This makes for a pretty great mix at all times. Solid artwork is half the battle after all and it helps you get across the epic scenes a lot better than it possibly could if the art wasn’t all that good. The series is also quite long with a good amount of replay value and plots to keep you interested.
The character cast is quite strong with a lot of solid villains in this case. I’ll talk about the characters more in depth later on. The fight scenes are particularly intense and the series is known for them. My favorite fight in the series was Meliodas vs the 10 Commandments. There’s one fight early on where he takes the whole group for a spin which was pretty neat. He also came so close to winning that it cemented him as being the fiercest fighter in the group. Unlike many titles where they try to keep the main characters balanced at first, Meliodas was always head and shoulders above the other members of the team. He consistently shows why he is the leader and it all makes sense.
Now where the series goes wrong is the fanservice. It’s unfortunate because it mainly stops after Arc 1. It’s something that would occur less and less frequently as the series went on. Depending on the scale of it the score wouldn’t have been totally crippled but as with violence, fanservice has tiers to it. Quick camera angles and unfortunate tripping is one thing, but Meliodas tends to get pretty physical with Elizabeth which is the real problem here. It’s played off as a comedy plot which I could never believe the series would even attempt to do. She never gives him any kind of consent and always gets embarrassed by his advances. He pays absolutely no mind to this. It would be a far darker plot if taken seriously and we learn some twists that are supposed to make this better. Basically they are destined to be together and Meliodas has been together with many different versions of her. So he’s skipping the formalities since he considers them to be a couple already.
That’s just not how it works though and those scenes are really tough to get past. Eventually they do get together but by then the damage to the series is done. Ban’s romance with Elaine is also pretty bad. The series tries to make it more wholesome by the end but it just doesn’t work. I’ll take that over the Meliodas stuff though. So regardless, that’s what holds the series back. The series is long and the plot doesn’t occur all that often but I still cannot overlook it. It’s something that the series chose to do and now it must live with the score.
The series does a good job of fleshing out the world and the characters within it though. We learn a lot about Britain and it’s fun how the series uses actual characters from the legends like King Arthur and such. It sets up a sequel series pretty well since we should be getting pretty close to the knights of the roundtable now. The series also had a pretty good job messing with the readers during the ending. It pretended to be ending and then threw in a few extra fights for good measure. Part of why it worked so well is because now there was no way to know when it would end. If anything I was expecting the Light god to show up but sadly she never did. Now there’s a character who has been getting a lot of hype but has yet to really do anything yet. I expect her to get a big role in the sequel to make up for this.
Seven Deadly Sins also keeps up the intensity with each volume. There’s never really a dull moment. I’d say it rivals Fairy Tail with how enjoyable each volume can be. It’s certainly at a higher level than Toriko for example although that series may still have the best climax. It’s tough because most SJ titles like to end with a huge climax. It makes sense because that’s a good way to ensure that the journey was worth it. You didn’t read all those volumes for nothing. A series should always have a very climactic finale and that’s exactly what this series did.
Ok, so lets look at the characters. First up is Meliodas who is the leader of the group. He’s one of those guys who is so powerful that he has a hard time taking anything seriously. At times this can end up being pretty risky for him because he can lose before he has a chance to go all out. As a hero he’s only okay. His whole plot with Elizabeth holds him back and he can be pretty meant to Hawks the whole time. I actually liked him best when he was in his dark mode. Not the part where he was being mind controlled, but dark of his own control. The scene of him walking into the base and taking down both Estarossa and Zeldris was masterful. Again, Seven Deadly Sins really knows how to pile on the hype and really take everything to the next level. You’re guaranteed to see some big stuff in each adventure.
Then you have Diane who is unfortunately known as the weakest member of the Sins. Technically Gowther would be far weaker physically but she has a number of hax at the ready. Diane is a pure physical fighter. She can manipulate the Earth which helps her evade attacks as well as amp up her abilities. She’s a bit of a tragic character as she likes Meliodas but doesn’t stand a chance from the start. She’s a fun fighter to have on the group though. I feel like she should have gotten another powerup though. I think it would have helped to balance things out quite a bit.
Next up is Ban who serves the role as the rival in this one. He isn’t nearly as solid as most rivals though. What holds him back is that he can be a little too crazy the whole time. He’s always trying to murder Meliodas and doesn’t even seem heroic the way the others are. His whole regeneration thing is pretty cool though and I’ll miss that one. If anything he feels a little weaker when he doesn’t use that ability towards the end of the series even though he is technically more powerful. Sometimes you really just need to try and stick with your classic abilities to really stay at your best.
King isn’t much better and now you can see why I consider the villains to be the main strength of the cast. King’s true form is pretty bad so he usually uses a made up one. I like his fighting style though as he zips around at super speed and his projectiles definitely mean business. It’s hard to get past his defenses at all. He gets a lot of development but for the most part I couldn’t take his character too seriously. His final form is pretty neat though and was definitely a solid upgrade for the character.
Then there is Gowther who has a complicated backstory. There are a lot of twists and turns related to her character. You can also throw some betrayal in there as well. She is okay but half the time she ends up making things a lot tougher for the heroes. She rarely seems to contribute quite as much in a battle sense and I ended up growing tired of her pretty quick. If you want a solid character who’s unpredictable, that’s Merlin’s job. Now she is a great member of the team. Her abilities are basically absolute and she has a plan for everything. Next to Meliodas she probably is the strongest member of the group. Her barriers are incredibly durable and she appears to have a spell for every possible contingency. As a result you just can’t catch her off guard. The ending to her arc feels a bit forced but overall she was a fun character. I dare say that she ended out as one of the best heroes.
Finally there is Escanor who is the final Deadly Sin. His character is a bit like Hulk and Bruce Banner. By night he is a very meek guy who can’t fight for beans. He’s as scrawny as they come and will run from a fight. During the day he becomes more of a Superman type persona with absolute confidence. The brighter the sun, the stronger he gets. At his best he was even able to give Meliodas a good fight. Escanor is definitely a very fun character. His character’s end was also pretty forced considering that the heroes were absolutely wrecking the villain before he decided to use a forbidden move. Still, he does like to show off so this was his chance to outshine everyone once more. He always brought the hype with him and his fight with Estarossa was definitely a blast.
Elizabeth is the main heroine of the series and definitely gets to appear quite a lot. She doesn’t really tend to fight for most of the series although towards the end she got a new title that was meant to evoke fear into everyone. For the most part nobody took it very seriously since even after all of that she didn’t do much but it was still a cool thought. I do like her angel mode as she does get a big power boost from that. It’s also good to see her being more assertive since prior to getting her memories back I always found her to be way too passive. She also shouldn’t have put up with Meliodas’ antics.
Hawks is the main comic relief character of the series and I’d say that he does pretty good in that role. He knows how to help run a tavern quite well and does help out on occasion. He never really gets any respect but deep down they’re all friends. That said, Hawks is only good in those short doses. As a main character he just can’t hold his own. Not the way that Arthur could. King Arthur is one of those characters who you would expect to look amazing here but surprisingly he doesn’t do a great deal. He finally starts to unlock more of his power at the very end of the series but it’s more of a tease than anything. That said, he quickly became one of my favorite characters in the series. He’s certainly my favorite hero. The guy tries really hard and is always earnest in his attempts to learn more. I fully expect he will continue to improve.
Dreyfus is one of the original villains and I remember him being pretty fun. It can be easy to mix him and Hendrickson up a bit though. Ultimately I preferred Dreyfus as he seemed to have more willpower to me and was also more powerful. Hendrickson tended to get in the way and was a virtual hostage at times. That really doesn’t help his case much at all. Gilthunder was another early villain and part of why I remember him so well is the famous lightning throw scene. Meliodas was able to catch a throw that went across whole towns. So even though Gilthunder was taken to school there it was a pretty hype scene for sure. Guila was also a fun villain. I feel like she ultimately didn’t really live up to her own hype, but it was nice that she got some closure to her story and even had a bit of a redemption arc going for her.
Chandler and Cusack were pretty powerful demons which makes sense since they were the mentors of Zelris and Meliodas. I remember being surprised when they showed up since it was pretty last second but right away they showed why they were to be feared. They aren’t really meant to be very well liked villains but I liked their designs and they were pretty loyal to their masters. Chandler could be a bit shady since he wanted to murder Elizabeth but at least he was rooting on Meliodas to take down Zeldris. It’s also a bit funny there since their power levels apparently even surpassed that of those two.
The Demon King is the big villain of the series as you would expect. He steals a whole lot of bodies and fights the heroes in a variety of different ways. Never have I seen a main villain get quite so mocked chapter after chapter. It is definitely a very different approach much like the series as a whole. Typically you would expect the big boss to be cleaning shop and the heroes just barely manage to defeat him after a lot of friendship speeches and stuff like that. Not so with this fight as the heroes were completely wrecking him from the very beginning. If anything they weren’t even taking him seriously as they chatted while beating him up. The Demon King begged for his life on multiple occasions and people just lost respect for the guy. I still like him though. He may not have been supremely powerful, but at least he talked tough and was pretty manipulative. You can’t get much better than that.
Derieri has a pretty cool power. Every hit increases the gravity against you and it stacks as well. That makes for a pretty dangerous combo. She reminded me a bit of Caulifla. She certainly enjoys a good battle. Derieri may not be the strongest member of the 7, but I found her to be one of the most enjoyable ones. Typically she would teem up with Monspeet who had some pretty good abilities involving changing places. Honestly he was doing very well in his fight. Derieri ended up holding him back to an extent there but it was a worthy effort. He also seemed to not be quite as evil as the rest and was willing to live a quiet life away from all the violence. He didn’t quite manage to get that wish though.
Drole is another villain who was in a partnership. He tended to work pretty well with Gloxina. They didn’t really get as much character development as the other members although they got to be in the flashback arc which helped. They weren’t bad. In general I wouldn’t say that any member of the 10 Commandments were bad, but these two were less memorable. Galand was one of the best members though. For starters, he had a great design. He was also the first member to attack the heroes so we really got to see what he could do. He reminded me a bit of Berserker from Fate Zero only this guy talked a lot more. Unfortunately this did mean he would end up being the weakest member of the group but you can’t forget his entrance.
Estarossa gets a massive role. It’s hard to forget him taking down Meliodas in one hit. That’s definitely an intense way to make a debut in a title like this. He’s easily one of the most powerful villains and he gets several super forms. He has some twists involving Mael of the Archangels as well which was pretty interesting. I liked Estarossa for a while but once he became obsessed with Elizabeth he did drop down quite a bit. Meanwhile Mael was reasonably fun although he definitely didn’t seem very heroic. Not very surprising considering the Arch Angels were so extreme though.
Then we’ve got Zeldris who is one of my favorite characters in the series. his wind abilities are quite impressive as they were able to keep the whole cast at bay. While he isn’t as strong as Meliodas, he does keep their battles close and does keep improving on his own terms. He is on the side of the villains, but at least he has a good reason for doing so. He wants to bring Gelda back to life and since the heroes won’t help with this he was forced to turn back to the villains. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring her back even if it means stopping the heroes. I always like a character motivation like that and Zeldris was just a lot of fun.
Finally we have Ludociel who is the leader of the Angel unit. He’s a pretty powerful guy but also a very corrupt one who isn’t above sacrificing a bunch of humans to get his way. He’s really not the kind of guy that you want to have on your squad. He may get you the win but it’ll come at a tremendous cost. After a while, the cost for victory is too high and it’s simply not worth it. I did like having another faction though. I’m always a fan of having more than 2 groups because it makes for some pretty exciting battles.
Overall, Seven Deadly Sins definitely had a lot of adventures in it which is why this review was so long. It’s a series that you will definitely get quite invested in as you read through it. Without the whole Meliodas stuff this would be an easy 8. Unfortunately it is present. If you think you can get past that whole plot then I’d definitely recommend this series. It’s got a lot of action and hype scenes so there’s definitely no reason to skip out on it. Each arc really starts off with a bang and the art is just so high quality. It’ll also help you be prepared for the sequel which should come out at some point. Once it does I’m definitely expecting big things. If you aren’t able to get past the iffy stuff, then I’d recommend checking out Black Clover instead as a really solid action series with a lot of moving pieces.