Southeast Missouri State University student publication

A Review of The Seven Deadly Sins (Netflix Anime)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Honestly, this Netflix original anime angered me after I watched the first episode, but I also could not find the nerve to stop watching.

“The Seven Deadly Sins” is a Shonen-style anime, which targets a young male audience. The series encompasses all the major points of a Shonen anime: constant fighting, non-stop action and a focus on adventure. Obviously, since the show is called “The Seven Deadly Sins” and it revolves around the idea that seven characters, with a darkly stained past, are the reflection of the biblical seven deadly sins.

In the realm which the anime exists, there are numerous groups of guilds that are made up of holy knights with magical abilities that find purpose in protecting the king, and the overall kingdom. The most infamous guild of all is, ironically, are protagonists. A group coined as The Seven Deadly Sins, are blamed and feared by the knights and people of the kingdom because they are thought to be the reason for a gory murder of the king’s right-hand knight. So after they are blamed, they disappear and separate for 10 years, which is where the series’ storyline begins.

The king’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth, starts to put together the pieces that the holy knights running the kingdom may not be all they are cracked up to be— and runs away when the a group of head-holy knights take her father captive in his own castle. Elizabeth then has an epiphany when she realizes that the past 10 years have been a lie and someone else blamed The Seven Deadly Sins’ guild for their own evil crime. This leads her to believe this outcasted group of individuals is the kingdom’s only way back to the peace they once knew, before holy knights ran the kingdom and abused its citizens.

After her escape, the first person Elizabeth runs into is Melodious (ex-leader of The Seven Deadly Sins, and Sin of Wrath) in his tavern. He then agrees to help her in her quest, find the other members of his guild, and save the kingdom.

Sounds like an interesting story, right? Yes and no. I watched the entire single season of this series, and although I was intrigued by the plot and characters, I was also disappointed in the normalized sexual harassment actions of Melodious and betrayal of most of the women in this series.

In the very first episode, Melodious gropes Elizabeth while she is unconscious and she wakes up to him doing so. And she doesn’t care. Melodious continuously sexually harasses Elizabeth, whether that be groping her, lifting up her skirt, or even stealing her underwear throughout the series. This was so disturbing to me that I almost stopped watching after the first episode. It infuriated me that the creators of this anime made the sexually harassing actions of Melodious to seem almost “expected” or “normal,” especially since their target demographic is young boys. Literally, every single episode included some sexual harassment undertone from Melodious toward Elizabeth.

This also leads into the other reason I was upset with the series: all the women were damsels in distress. First, Elizabeth could almost be considered a useless character (except for the fact she was eye-candy for Melodious) because the show slaughtered any inch of depth for her character besides overused anime stereotypes for women. Long story short, the show portrays her as dumb, naive, and always getting the group into some mess. Then, the second most important woman in the show was Diane (Sin of Envy). They literally made this woman jealous of the fact that Melodious sexually harasses Elizabeth constantly, and they also made her whiny and annoying. Although she was very powerful, unlike Elizabeth, they still did not do her character justice. She never once won a battle of her own, and the guys would almost always have to help her out, even though she was literally 30 feet tall and could probably crush anyone if she needed.

But, as I said previously, I watched the entire series. Why? Honestly, because the storyline is super intriguing, and there is almost no filler episodes in the series (which is great for an anime of any kind). Each episode is crucial toward unraveling the plot and uncovering the mystery of the past. Also, fights did not last for more than two episodes; this also made it more plot-heavy and filled with background information that made me feel more immersed in the storyline. Besides Melodious groping Elizabeth and female leads being lackluster, the series was unpredictable and had a great plot twist and ending.

Overall, I would definitely suggest “The Seven Deadly Sins” to anyone interested in more plot-immersive anime storylines rather than constant fighting scenes. It is hard to overlook Melodious’ actions and the lack of depth and power in female characters, but this is also a common stereotype in animes (if you are looking for more strong female leads, I would suggest watching “Fairy Tail” and becoming Erza’s biggest fan).

Personally, I am hoping that the reason the second season has taken so long to be released is because the writers have worked diligently in deepening the female leads as the plot continues. But, I also don’t think that I have that much faith in their writing abilities for these characters.