Originally aimed primarily at the young male demographic, shounen manga today is consumed around the globe by old and young, male and female alike. However, shounen has been bombarded with numerous series trying to breakout throughout the years, causing saturation. Few are able to be prominent amongst their contemporaries. Regardless, "The Seven Deadly Sins" (七つの大罪) written by Suzuki, Nakaba, is able to unify many clichés creating a unique narrative that can only be experienced firsthand.
The tale begins within a rowdy bar ran by a short-statured man, Melodias, and his talking pet swine. Wasting no time, Suzuki takes advantage of the bar's chatter and introduces "The Seven Deadly Sins," through bar gossip, as a group of rebels who previously tried to overthrow the current kingdom. After a chance encounter with Elizabeth, a young girl roaming the lands, the readers, as well as Melodias, learn of her intent of locating the notorious seven in hopes of opposing the unjust Holy Knights who are oppressing the commonfolk. Melodias quickly reveals himself to the wandering girl as one of the rebels after her honesty and kindness shines in the face of death. And thus, the two embark on a journey to reunite the remaining outlawed revolutionaries in order to "save" the kingdom from its own knights.
A cliché to say the least. In all honesty, this introduction can easily give the wrong impression of the work as "lazy" or "boring." The plot is expanded as the chapters progress through the mangaka's use of literary technique. Suzuki incorporates multiple point-of-views to give a voice to each character and is not afraid to utilize shounen staples such as flashbacks and information dumps. However, it is not done carelessly, but rather organically. The story flows in such a way that using this formulaic approach does not degrade from a reader's satisfaction. Plot is kept lively and ever-so entertaining despite common literary tropes and pitfalls. "The Seven Deadly Sins," is not a narrative masterpiece by any means, but manages to stay refreshing and consistently enjoyable throughout its many chapters.
The characters, for the most part, are varied and distinguishable amongst themselves. It is not uncommon to relate personalities of this series with those of another shounen only to conclude similarities between, however, to suggest these similarities act as a detriment is not reasonable. Within the context of the series, each character Suzuki introduces is overflowing with canonical back-story and personal voice. Personally, I found myself disliking certain characters early on only for them to go under gradual development and progress to roles I also grew to enjoy (or even dislike more intensely). The parallel happens as well, where strong, likable characters change for the worse as the story advances. From the manga's main cast to the vast supporting personae, the conflicts derived between individuals create memorable scenes for the readers to enjoy.
As for the artwork, "The Seven Deadly Sins" does not disappoint. The manga is only in its infancy, however in just a short period of time it became evident that Suzuki is constantly growing his illustrations. Each page is filled to the brim with minute features, from the landscape to the characters themselves, the mangaka utilizes all frames to his best ability. Action sequences are fluid and incredibly comprehensive, characters are animated to suit their nature, and each grandiose set piece is given life vibrantly. For example, you'll know the scale of an army as it approaches its destination in such detail that it invokes the scene's direness and hostility to the reader. Not only is that amazing in itself, but Suzuki continually manages to use that technique in his art to further develop the plot and characters. It is great to say the least.
Overall, "The Seven Deadly Sins" provides yet another enjoyable journey filled with resolve and determination. Suzuki may have utilized ideas and techniques prevalent in other works, but does so in such a way that remains fresh and exciting chapter to chapter. If you are a fan of shounen, this manga surely will give you some sort of amusement. If you aren't a fan, giving it a chance is up to you. Ultimately, "The Seven Deadly Sins" set out to create an enjoyable tale for those willing to listen, and I feel it has accomplished that goal while humbly continuing to achieve it.
If you're looking for a decent shounen, this is a good pick. It's fun, enjoyable, and appeals to those who desire it.