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Shows you should be watching: 'Seven Deadly Sins'




So many of fall 2015's TV shows claim to offer adventure, action and romance, but too few deliver on that promise in a satisfying way.

Fear not, Netflix subscribers. Open minded fans can get their adventure fix this holiday season in a very unexpected place - The Seven Deadly Sins, the second Japanese cartoon licensed for exclusive international distribution by the streaming service.

Unlike the predecessor Knights of Sidonia, The Seven Deadly Sins is a 24-episode romp with all the usual anime suspects: the pervy leader, the lone wolf, the insanely cute near deity and even the talking animal sidekick. Nothing about this story is fresh or original, and yet it's the most fun you can have without actually suiting up for your own quest.

Manga writer Nakaba Suzuki created a world where the handsome rogues are the heroes to the people and also the story's villains. The Sins, the rag tag band of heroes, are feared and reviled because of a false accusation and the prejudices that come from people not understanding those who don't look like them or share their beliefs. Rather poignant, all things considered.

Everything was great for the Holy Knights until 10 years ago when a band of knights in the order murdered the leader and then slaughtered their way out of town. The king named the band of warriors blamed for the massacre the Seven Deadly Sins because of their unmatched magical abilities.

Meliodas, the leader and the sin of wrath, travels the countryside 10 years after the Sins became fugitives trying to get the band back together. While tending bar outside a village, he saves the life of Princess Elizabeth Liones, who is also searching for the Sins to help liberate the royal family from the control of the Holy Knights, the supposed protectors of the land. Liz informs the hero that the Knights intend to start a holy war and are abusing their authority.

Not particularly righteous, Meliodas lets Liz join his quest because she's pretty and he's a little creep. The rest of the season is fights and various perilous situations while the squad of revengers assembles to clear their names and take on the knights who oppress the people.

Granted, the Sins aren't particularly fond of people. Each carries a sad backstory about relationships with humans that has forced them into solitary states.

None of the Sins are impressive in achievement or stature - save for Diane, the sin of envy who is also an actual giant. Meliodas, could easily pass for a pre-teen though he is well into his 30s. Ban, the sin of greed, cuts a dashing figure, but his penchant for clothing a size too small renders him always slightly hobo-ish. And the rest of the crew vacillates between childlike innocence and amazing magical power depending on whether they feel like fighting that day.

The will to fight is as important to this story as the reason to do so. The protagonists are compelled to fight by their personal "sins" - instances where they couldn't protect loved ones that drove them from their quiet lives and into Holy Knighthood.

Even with that heavy emotional center the show manages to keep it light and fast paced. Hawk, a talking pig (a surprising ability even in this universe), serves as the group's moral center and comic relief. This pig is no male chauvinist and quickly points out each time Meliodas commits a crime or does something untoward to a female character for the sake of laughs. That's one of the show's weaknesses, another being the character drawings of Elizabeth and Diane. Their female adversaries in the Holy Knights all get full armor because they are warriors. The leading ladies, however, are left to fight their battles in as little fabric as possible. Their nudity doesn't diminish their accomplishments, but it doesn't highlight them either.

The Seven Deadly Sins quests to right a wrong and free the people offers a lot of fun moments and only a few head scratchers along the way. There's enough adventure, action and romance to get you through the chilly holiday break and then some.

[Last modified: Friday, December 11, 2015 2:27pm]


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