A time to take stock of things before the next major plot arc kicks into high gear. All is not well in the Kingdom which has turned against itself as well. Perhaps that opens the door to someone from outside?
Story/Art: Nakaba Suzuki
Translation: Christine Dashiell
Lettering: James Dashiell
What They Say:
The seal is broken, and Gowther, the Sin of Lust, is revealed! The ruthless, elite Holy Knights known as the Roars of Dawn have tracked down the mysterious Armor Giant. They seem to have it cornered, but it hides a hair-raising secret! When they learn the truth, the Sins are befuddled, and the princess doubles her resolve! What decision has Meliodas made about the memories entrusted to him? When the countdown to the destruction of their world begins, the Sins rush back to the kingdom. The fuse is lit on the decisive battle!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the reveal of Gowther, the Goat Sin of Lust, we now can count 5 of the Seven Deadly Sins being present. But first, they have to deal with the Roars of Dawn and the gigantic monster in armor…who is not Gowther. As the Roars of Dawn were tasked with killing the Armor Giant, Gowther, who calculates everything rationally and emotionlessly (are human emotions what he truly lusts after? That’s what it appears…), wishing to prevent the nearby town of Ordan from being destroyed, swiftly and effortlessly cuts the head off from the armored suit and hands it over to the leader of the Roars of Dawn. As his mission was only to deal with the Armor Giant, he accepts it and goes on his way.
But the monster is not dead. It turns out to be a mixture of Holy Knight and Demon, but unlike the New Generation Knights, this beast is out of control. As it comes back to life and fights, the Sins are unsure what to do, with Ban and King ready to kill it while Meliodas, having pity upon the human Holy Knight whose remains are still somehow bound up inside this beast, wants to spare it somehow. It turns out to be more complicated when the Holy Knight contained within is one known to them all from the old days: Dale, the father of Guila whom we’ve met before. As the scene cuts to Sir Helbram getting the helmeted head from the Roars of Dawn, we learn that before the New Generation, there were experiments with Demon blood and full rank Holy Knights, not the Apprentices who are being used for the New Generation. It would appear the earlier experiments resulted in creatures that were too powerful and unable to be controlled. Dale post-Demon blood, was one of those early experiments run amok. It eventually falls to the Sins to put down what is left of the creature, with what humanity that remained of Dale thanking Ban in the end, though it was Meliodas who delivered the finishing blow.
There is still a lot more exposition going on in this volume, but again, at the more reasonable pace of the previous one. We learn from old man Cain that Elizabeth is very much the spitting image of Meliodas’s old lover, who was also named Elizabeth, back when the Kingdom of Danafall still existed. We find out from Gowther that the member of their troop who betrayed Meliodas on the day the Holy Knights accused the Seven Deadly Sins of treason and the murder of the Chief Holy Knight Zaratras, the one who erased Meliodas’s memories was Merlin, who has only been mentioned in passing so far.
All of this is just lead up to the big confrontation to come, with Hendrickson planning on reviving the Demon race in order to bring back the state of war that existed in Britannia. He has almost all the pieces necessary to break the seal the Goddesses placed to protect the land from the Demons. That final piece turns out to be Princess Elizabeth and a Holy Knight with teleportation powers suddenly kidnaps Elizabeth so that the ritual can be completed and the seal removed.
There are gears working within gears and Hendrickson does not have the field entirely to himself. For not only does Meliodas spring into action to rescue Elizabeth, with help from Ban and Gowther, but the Holy Knights are not all on the same page. Hendrickson controls the largest faction of them, especially with his growing numbers of New Generation Knights, but the other group, led by Dreyfus, are suspicious of Hendrickson’s actions and when Dreyfus learns of Hendrickson’s plan, he moves to confront him…but this is exactly when Meliodas, Ban, and Gowther appear, so the internal feud is suspended while the Sins are present. As if things could not get any more complicated, a new player, who should come as absolutely no surprise, appears at the very end: our friendly neighbor from Camelot, King Arthur, with a sizable army at the gates of the capital of Liones. What could they want? We’ll have to wait until the next volume to find out.
This set of chapters is a mixture of the various elements of the work so far, as we have quite a bit of comic relief and further character delineation as Gowther is back in the fold and further defines some of the ties that bind—and separate—the Sins. The revelation of Elizabeth’s physical similarity to Meliodas’s old lover Liz points to his previous comment about a war that constantly repeats: it would seem Meliodas may be trapped in some kind of repeating scenario involving the Demons. The internal bickering between the two Chief Holy Knights opens the door for at least some of them, like Howzer and who knows, perhaps even Gilthunder, to be redeemed at some point, as not all are part of Hendrickson’s nefarious plot to revive the Demons. Even some of the New Generation may recoil at the actions of their bosses, as Guila and Jericho appear to have stumbled upon the truth of the earlier experiments, with Guila learning of her father’s death…and what he had been turned into before it came.
Comedy, plot revelations and the seeds of a great war all fit together relatively well. While the comedy is not sophisticated, it was to a certain extent a relief from all of the deep and dark exposition we’ve been inundated with since volume 6. There are elements that just don’t feel entirely right, such as how easily Hendrickson’s faction could dispatch a Holy Knight with teleportation powers to snatch Elizabeth away. Had they been able to do this the entire time…why didn’t they? While I’m sure some kind of plausible case might be put forward (she was a decoy to distract both the Sins and Dreyfus or something of that sort), it feels like the author had just backed himself into a corner so he pulled a cheap trick out of his rear and moved Elizabeth the pawn to exactly where he needed her at the moment. In some ways, this could probably have been handled better. Hopefully there are fewer of these incidents of lazy or poorly thought out writing in the future.
Gowther, the Sin of Lust, is now part of the company, but first the Sins have to deal with the monster that Gowther was allowing to live within his armor, a creature that is part Demon and part Holy Knight. It turns out to be one of the early failed experiments that attempted to create enhanced Knights, but the power balance often did not work out correctly and they were largely failures. After the creature is put down, things move in a more serious direction as Elizabeth is kidnapped. It turns out she is also a part of the key to unlock the Demons who have been sealed away all these years. Meliodas, Ban, and Gowther now race to rescue Elizabeth, but a new player appears on the scene to make things even more complicated.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B
Package Rating: B+
Age Rating: Teen (13+)
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: May 26th, 2015