Mod Edit: Review may contain spoilers.
Edit: I have finally dropped this manga after 100 chapters of drudging through it. At least I can say that I gave the series a chance. Some people have since tried to tell me that it gets good beyond this point, but I think it goes without saying that it shouldn't take hundreds of chapters just for a story to finally take off. If I don't enjoy something, why on Earth should I feel obligated to continue it?
If you take damsels in distress, Deus ex Machina plot writing, overpowered protagonists and bad guys doing bad guy things for the sake
of being bad, and you wrap that up in some blatant fan-service to top it all off, what do you get? Traditional, mainstream shounen material. If you enjoy Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Fairy Tail and the like, then you might enjoy this manga series, as well. Nanatsu no Taizai offers a narrative not that far off from your average action/adventure shounen series, the likes of which only children and newbies to anime/manga would fall in love with. I've been hearing that some people suspect that Nanatsu no Taizai will be the "next big thing" in the shounen universe, and honestly, I wouldn't be surprised. It's so similar to all those other popular shounen out there that it hurts. I don't really understand why so many people still eat this kind of crap up.
Story - 4/10
Nanatsu no Taizai (or "The Seven Deadly Sins") is about a band of legendary knights called the Seven Deadly Sins who have been framed with the crime of allegedly assassinating the Great Holy Knight of the kingdom of Liones. And thus, the rest of the Holy Knight army branded them traitors. History says they were eradicated by the Holy Knights, but rumor has it they still live. Ten years later, princess Elizabeth, the adopted daughter of the king of Liones, goes on a search for the rumored Seven Deadly Sins because she has discovered that the Holy Knights are trying to overthrow the kingdom. She soon stumbles upon a guy named Meliodas, and finds out that he is (or was) the leader of the legendary Seven Deadly Sins; known as the Dragon's Sin of Wrath. Ultimately, both she and Meliodas begin on a journey to collect the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins and try to stop the Holy Knights' tyranny.
Frankly, I think Nanatsu no Taizai, while relatively decent, is a very stale, banal, and overall generic action/adventure shounen series, with various tropes often seen in its genre. Its premise is utterly trite and unoriginal by itself, where an overpowered protagonist meets a princess who, more often than not, is depicted as a defenseless damsel in distress and oftentimes needs to be protected and/or rescued. This trope is demonstrably overused and obsolete, and it really is a wonder why many writers still use this degrading plot device, in this day and age.
And lest we forget about the obnoxious amount of Deus ex Machina plot writing within this series. The kind of plot writing that essentially ensures that the protagonists never fail and that the antagonists never prevail, even when the protagonist is on the brink of death, surely bound for defeat. For example, just about every time Meliodas is about to die, some unexplained demon power (or something) revives him, or when the Sins are about to lose to one of the antagonists of the series, Elizabeth is suddenly revealed to have healing powers out of nowhere. With that said, this series, like just about any other mainstream shounen, is laid bare as evidently contrived. Nanatsu no Taizai conforms heavily to conventional shounen ideas and provides nothing short of typicality.
However, that's not to say that the series isn't at least somewhat interesting. To the contrary, Nanatsu no Taizai does contain various concepts that can perpetuate the attention of some. Notions such as loss, deception, revenge, teamwork, difficult decisions, etc. While much of the series is very clichéd, we are still presented with a half-decent narrative, as well as a fair amount of action, to boot. But even so, this series, to me, mostly feels like just another shounen trying to be like all the others, and it isn't interesting enough to make me want more, personally. Although I may not have finished the series, I have in fact gotten far enough into it to surmise that it probably won't be much different from this point on.
Character - 6/10
Nanatsu no Taizai's main cast of characters are pretty much your average cardboard cutouts. You've got your quasi-tsundere (Diane), your trap (Gowther), your overpowered half-demon protagonist/pervert (Meliodas), your damsel in distress princess (Elizabeth), a child character who's actually hundreds of years old (King), and a sadomasochistic immortal (Ban -- Okay, this one's pretty original actually). While all this may be true, the characters are still rather charming and likable, in spite of their general banality.
The antagonists in the series seem like generic, one-dimensional bad guys who are merely evil just because the writer made them that way instead of providing good reasons for their inimical behavior, with ideals on par with wanting to be super powerful or wanting to rule the world. They feel very uninspired and vapid. I should also note that the antagonists sometimes seem to obtain random, obnoxiously overpowered abilities from abrupt plot devices that were never once mentioned in the entirety of the series until that very moment, such as Hendrickson's overpowered demon abilities obtained from a Gray Demon; a being whose existence was never even remotely hinted at until that exact point in the story, probably just to give the antagonist the advantage for the time being. This kind of plot writing is rather ludicrous.
Let's not forget about the ever-overused talking animal trope. You know, like Happy from Fairy Tail, Kon from Bleach, Chopper from One Piece, etc. This time around, it's a talking pig named Hawk. What is this, the magical girl genre (considering the trope is also quite common there)? It pretty much makes these shounen series seem even more childish than they already are.
One bit I'd like to touch on is the backstory of some of the characters. So far, we've been introduced to Ban's past, as well as a dual backstory of King and Diane, among other relatively small, vague tidbits of flashbacks from other characters. I actually really enjoyed King and Diane's backstory quite a bit. I think the idea of the perception of time isn't used enough in story writing. This segment in the series shows us a bond between a young giant and the king of the fairies who takes care of her as they live together for hundreds of years. In Nanatsu no Taizai's lore, giants and fairies have a very long lifespan, so when they meet humans, it depicts for the reader just how short and precious human life truly is. I personally think that the backstory segments are the best part of this series.
Art - 7.5/10
I actually enjoy the art style quite a fair amount. It has a simple yet detailed look to it. I also like the environmental designs, such as the kingdom, and how they indubitably accentuate the Britannia-esque world. On the other hand, I've noticed that some of the character designs look reused. Many of the characters have the same facial design as other characters and the only real distinguishable details are hair and clothing. You can also kind of tell that the mangaka might have been somewhat inspired by Akira Toriyama, to some degree. If that is the case, then that's pretty cool but ultimately unoriginal. All in all, Suzuki Nakaba is a pretty good artist. As a story writer, however? Not so much.
Enjoyment - 5/10
Of course, my enjoyment isn't very high with this manga. I feel that Suzuki-san borrows far too many ideas from orthodox shounen material and hardly does anything different with them. I don't necessarily dislike the series, per se, but I don't like it very much either. If I had to describe Nanatsu no Taizai in a single word, it'd be mediocre. I found this series through a video from a Youtube channel that I frequent. The Youtuber was quite ecstatic at this manga getting an anime adaptation, so I decided to check out the series for myself. I found it to be quite the disappointment after how hackneyed it turned out being. All things considered, Nanatsu no Taizai certainly isn't anything new or fresh, and it really is a wonder why anime/manga like this are still going strong.
Overall Score - 5/10