The Seven Deadly Sins is a fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Nakaba Suzuki. For the first time it was published in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine in October 2012. Now it comprises 23 volumes and yet promises “to be continued”. I should say that Suzuki handles the theme of knighthood in a masterly manner. Thus, if you used to binge on stories surrounding King Arthur, Camelot, and brave knights saving princesses, this manga will afford you great pleasure.

Nevertheless, the series has advantages and disadvantages and I’m going to dwell upon them a little later. Now let’s get onto the plot summary.

The illustration from The Seven Deadly Sins

The illustration from The Seven Deadly Sins

The synopsis of The Seven Deadly Sins

The plot is rather simple. The Seven Deadly Sins once were the strongest order of knights in the region of Britannia. Ten years before, a great unhappiness had fallen on the capital of the Liones Kingdom: the Great Holy Knight was killed, and the Sins were framed for murdering him. Everybody believed that the Sins were traitors and villains. After having been charged with attempted coup, they were disbanded, and the Holy Knights took their place. A few days before the present story starts, the Holy Knights stage a coup and put the royal family in the dungeon. Elizabeth, the third princess of the Liones Kingdom, escapes from the Holy Knights in the hope that she will find the Sins and they will help to take back the kingdom. This is just the beginning of the manga series about princesses, demons, and holy knights, without fear and beyond reproach.

As for drawings, they remind me of the illustrations from the old-school works such as The Vision of Escaflowne, as I see it. At the same time, the artwork is stylized in the way the younger generation will like. Overall, it delights the otaku’s heart to see this:

The Seven Deadly Sins main characters

The pluses of The Seven Deadly Sins

Well, I’ll start with the positive sides. I’ve counted seven pluses which is certainly good news. Let’s see.

1. Style

I should say that a blend of western and eastern cultures is something that makes magic here. Just look at this: knights wearing armor, majestic castles, huge swords… And who made all of this stuff? A Japanese author! It seems like he has replaced massive exosuits and “furs” with heavy armor and we see those big (favorite in Japanese drawings) eyes behind a visor.

I find it amusing when all those clumsy knights are striking each other at full tilt. Sitting astride horses, they are beating each other with their hands and feet incredibly fast, using their best super-power skills, and screaming something like “You’re too slow!” Of course, we’ve already seen all of it in, for example, Naruto and Bleach. However, the author wants us to take a new look at something we are familiar with.

Knights are in the heat of the battle

Knights are in the heat of the battle

2. Characters

Similarly, we have nothing new here but still I like it how the author delineates the personages and develops them in the story. The protagonist is a cute little girl who doesn’t know anybody and tries to understand what is happening around. So, we experience the story through the eyes of the girl reminding us of Hellsing and Fairy Tail where the main characters are presented likewise.

Another advantage of the manga will catch the fancy of those who are sick of generic heroes getting stronger and stronger in order to beat the toughest opponents. You won’t hear such phrases as “I will be stronger for my nakamas’ sake!” Quite the contrary, all the heroes are the most powerful in the world. They have already been through a lot and now they are a bit lazy and look down on everything. Nonetheless, they have their reasons not to make mincemeat out of their opponents straight away. Of course, I’m not going to tell you. I just don’t want to make any spoilers.

In addition, another important point is a great variety of characters’ personalities and appearances. The series is packed with whomever you like: overage musclemen, bishonens, kawaii loli girls, and many others. In my opinion, the author had conceived it from the start so that every reader could find a personage to suit their taste. And he did an excellent job.

A great variety of characters in The Seven Deadly Sins

A great variety of characters in The Seven Deadly Sins

3. Abilities and powers

In The Seven Deadly Sins, we’ll find not only typical basic “power/speed/natural elements/teleports” but also some unique techniques and abilities that I haven’t seen in other manga. The author has an ace in the hole, so you certainly won’t be disappointed.

4. Humor

Personally, I find the manga really amusing. Surprisingly, the author manages to combine serious moments with hilarious jokes avoiding satire and slapstick humor. On the whole, we get a great deal of brilliant timely jokes.

5. Logic and balance

As for the development of the action, I don’t have any complaints or criticism. Everything is quite logical. However, the series isn’t finished yet and the plot can change either for the better or worse. For instance, everything was OK with Naruto and Bleach in the beginning. We’ll have to wait and see.

6. Battles

The battles here are very impressive. The author gives us a detailed and spectacular depiction of every fight. As for me, I enjoy massive fighting scenes, so it’s definitely a plus as I see it.

An epic fighting scene in The Seven Deadly Sins
An epic fighting scene in The Seven Deadly Sins

An epic fighting scene in The Seven Deadly Sins

7. Flashbacks

Perhaps, this plus isn’t as big as the previous ones but still I’d like to say a couple of words about the flashbacks. In manga, there are extra chapters narrating the events and adventures from the characters’ lives in the past. They help us understand their motives in particular situations. And you’re enthralled with the story even more.

The minuses of The Seven Deadly Sins

Nothing is perfect. I’ve found some drawbacks as well. Take a look.

1. Good and evil

Yeah, I know it’s a shonen and you can say it’s supposed to be like that. But it doesn’t mean that every time when I start reading a new piece, I don’t expect something less trite than “OK, this is our enemy, we’ll fight him till the end of the story”. Here we have the same old conspiracy, treacherous intrigues, and sinister aims from the most kind-hearted man when everybody suspects nothing… Another cliché.

2. Childish appearance

Why do the strongest characters always look like kids? It’s so hackneyed! I can’t stand it anymore.

Zeldris

Zeldris

3. Tedious relationships

It seems like the author sometimes forgets that the manga is meant for teenage boys and starts dragging out the relationships between the characters for several chapters. Usually, the relationships are rather simple and it could have taken ten minutes to clear the air. I think it would be better to draw spectacular fighting scenes or at least develop the storyline instead of all these relationships. Actually, I’m fine with the relationships between the characters but I believe they should be depicted concisely. But here they’re a little annoying.

4. Medieval Europe for window dressing

At first, it’s cool to feel the spirit of the Middle Ages but eventually it turns out to be just a fake set.

So, I’ve reviewed The Seven Deadly Sins manga series, its pluses and minuses, and I hope it will help you to get a clear view on this work.

Estarossa

Estarossa

Conclusion and Scores

Overall, it’s too soon to rate the manga as we’re waiting for the continuation of the story and we need to know what is going to be in the ending. However, the fact that the manga is gaining popularity at a quick pace and has been adapted into an anime version means a lot.

Сriteria Scores
Story 6/10. In general, nothing special. A typical “pack of quests”. But it has something unique in it.
Artwork 9/10. Spectacular, expressive, and quite detailed.
Atmosphere 2/10. I thought it would be about the European Middle Ages. Where is all of it? Compare it with, for instance, Berserk or Claymore.
Characters 10/10. Suit any taste. Everybody can find their favorite and yet more than one.
Drama 5/10. It’s not so dramatic.
Logic and balance 10/10. Everything is quite clear and logical. Good job!
Action 6/10. In comparison with other works, it doesn’t boast a great variety of astounding action scenes but still not bad.
Originality 5/10. Let have it straight, this kind of manga isn't a novelty. Only the “variables” are different.
Narrative organization 4/10. Sometimes there is little action and you can get bored. You may forget that you’re reading a shonen.
Humor 8/10. The series is savored with humor, indeed.
Final score 7/10. It’s really gripping!

Do you like fantasy manga? What do you think of The Seven Deadly Sins? Share your opinions in the comments section below.