The Seven Deadly Sins – Revival of the Commandments – Anime Review
Synopsis: Victorious in their battle against the Great Holy Knights, the Seven Deadly Sins bring peace to the kingdom, but a new threat looms on the horizon. (Official Netflix Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Seven Deadly Sins – Revival of the Commandments is a strong continuation off Season 1, reproducing much of the 1st season’s charm and flare, but with a few unfortunate flaws along the way. Some flaws are just innate to the series, others crop up in this season specifically as unfortunate sores.
The season opens with a sort of Retcon for the end of Season 1, attempting to put the story back on track for following the manga. This makes the first episode feel a tad sloppy, as we’re treated to flashbacks, and dream sequences, etc. all to try and reset the flow and tease the upcoming villains.
Moving past that we’re introduced to a literal power level system, mostly used over the season to try and establish just how incredibly strong our new villains, the Commandments, are. It’s also used to highlight the significant growth our heroes undergo in order to save the kingdom. While it works as an establishing factor to help clarify just how deadly the demonic commandments truly are, it largely only works to highlight just how ineffective and borderline worthless much of our cast is against this new threat, even after a training arc. While Dragon Ball generally nailed its usage of power levels, before eventually abandoning them, Seven Deadly Sins stumbles. Characters quickly and suddenly outmatch each other far too often and instead of helping to cement drama, it starts to feel predictably cheap.
Once the sloppy beginning is out of the way, we find the Sins chopped up into multiple ongoing plot threads: King and Ban’s journey together, Diane having trouble with Gowther, and more. Things really start to pick up here, and much as the first season moved fast, Revival of the Commandments does as well. Lots of developments occur through near every episode, keeping the story moving at a brisk pace that few other battle manga adaptations match. This pace largely keeps the season a joy to watch, but at times becomes a detriment. Based off the manga of the same name, Seven Deadly Sins tends to adapt its material in a different way. While many manga adaptations, particularly battle manga and shonen, aim to be extremely faithful, Seven Deadly Sins is less concerned with that. Instead it focuses on cramming episodes full of content, sometimes adapting four to five chapters at a time. Sometimes it does so by cutting things, reorganizing elements, or simply speeding events up. Yet there’s a handful of places where perhaps too many cuts were made from the manga’s material, actually leaving sections of the story confusing. There’s a handful of places in the season where you could end up potentially confused, wondering if you accidentally skipped over an episode. That’s because certain establishing scenes/sequences from the manga were left out. It’s not a huge deal, but it is an annoyance.
Still, there’s a lot to love here. Escanor, the final sin, is a real treat of a character, and while he mostly exists both for comedic relief, and to kick ass, his presence is a boon to the story, crafting some of the best comedy and hyped action scenes. Most of the series is peppered with awesome fight scenes, filled with twists and turns that keep the battle moving along, always filled with surprises. It’s hard to get bored when its always developing and changing, never allowing things to stagnate.
That said, the show does slow down, heavily, during two mid run flashbacks that expand on both Ban and Diane’s pasts. Here Seven Deadly Sins can sometimes slow to a crawl, perhaps lingering too long on these glimpses into the past. It doesn’t help that both contained very contrived elements, like Ban and Diane both stumbling upon figures from their pasts that just happen to be around when they’re looking for something else entirely. It’s here that Seven Deadly Sins is at its most plodding, and great love for the characters is needed to offset the generally slow nature of these flashbacks.
Also we have to have a conversation about Meliodas. The King of Sexual Misconduct in Modern Anime hasn’t aged well. A lot has happened culturally over the last few years, and if you’ve grown more uncomfortable with Sexual Harassment as comedy thanks to it, Meliodas is that much harder to stand than he had been back in 2015. Never truly a funny gag even back then, it was at least more tolerable/accepted. Here not much has changed, though that’s understandable as Japan hasn’t had the same cultural shifts as America, and the content adapted is several years old by this point. While the gag of Meliodas gropping Elizabeth only appears sparingly, not even every other episode, Seven Deadly Sins attempts to justify Meliodas’ behavior with a mid season reveal that– well, doesn’t really address the problem at all. Meliodas’ groping remains a real sore point for anyone tired of that brand of sexual comedy. It doesn’t help that unlike characters like say, Master Roshi, Meliodas never really gets his comeuppance.
Still, Revival of the Ten Commandments is near as strong as Season 1. Action, twists, reveals, it has everything Season 1 offered and perhaps more. The villains are particularly menacing here. At least until they’re not. Revival of the Ten Commandments suffers from a few late game twists that pop up without any set up. This makes them feel like sudden and cheap victories in favor of our heroes, meant to simply allow the goodies to eek out an unexpected win. A surprise power up isn’t so bad one time, but Revival doubles down on them at the end, and ultimately concludes on a whimper, in part due to a non-ending. Don’t go into the season expecting a solid conclusion, as Revival doesn’t manage to conclude this arc at all, but rather find an acceptable stopping point. It’s best fans be prepared for that.
Despite the flaws, and periodic missteps, Revival of the Ten Commandments should please any Seven Deadly Sins fan. We learn tons about our characters thanks to flashbacks. There’s twist after twist, keeping the story moving, the battles fresh, and making it an excellent binge watch on Netflix’s service. Ban gets plenty of development, as does King, Meliodas and most of the gang, although Diane honestly gets shafted thanks to her story. Revival of the Ten Commandments isn’t going to gain any new fans for the franchise, but it definitely will please its existing base. And that’s all it really has to do. inherent flaws or not.
The Seven Deadly Sins – Revival of the Commandments is available for streaming via Netflix.