What They Say:
When Holy Knights arrest her family, Princess Elizabeth seeks out a group of legendary warriors known as the Seven Deadly Sins. Finding them is no easy task and her journey takes her to a small tavern run by an unassuming, albeit perverted, barkeep and his talking pig. But this man reveals himself to be Meliodas-the Dragon Sin of Wrath! Agreeing to help her, the two seek out the remaining sins.
The audio presentation for this release is pretty great as we get the original Japanese language, the English language dub, and the Spanish language dub that was produced for the Netflix run. They’re all encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec and are in stereo. The show is a fairly straightforward action/journey piece with some areas in each episode that works the action side well so that there’s some good placement and directionality to be had whether it’s flying people, buildings, or the attacks themselves. There may not be a lot of depth with how the show is set up but everything has a good flow about it and it serves the material well. Dialogue is straightforward with some bigger moments here and there with reactions but otherwise it’s familiar and well handled. Everything is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs with eight on the first and four on the second to accommodate the third lossless audio track. Animated by A-1 Pictures, the series has a really great look about it when it comes to character details and the backgrounds but also just in the fluidity of the higher motion sequences. This gives it a richer feeling overall that the encoding brings out well, especially on larger screens, where it’s more visible and the action shines. The color design for the show is pretty good as well as it works a more earthy palette for a lot of it but there are some vibrant pieces throughout with some of the characters and their designs that gives it a bit more punch and impact.
The packaging for this release comes in a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case with an o-card that replicates the case artwork. The cover is one that plays well with some nice illustration style architectural elements as the background through which the colorful artwork of the cast comes out, especially since it focuses on the characters that have a good bit of color to them and the whole thing has a big party atmosphere to it. The logo is solid and I like the denoting of the season and set within it as well and I’m amused with the Netflix logo along it. The back cover is heavy on the text with the summary of the premise done over parchment but it covers it pretty well. The extras are clearly listed and we get some nice shots from the show itself. The remainder is given over to the usual technical grid that breaks down all the formats clearly and in easy to read form. We do get artwork on the reverse side that gives us a look at Meliodas, Elizabeth, and Hawk together against a maroon colored background over the two panels while the right side also gives us a little time with the breakdown of episodes by number and title.
The extras for this release are pretty straightforward in that we get the clean opening and closing sequences related to this set and the next episode previews in one handy place. With the dub being produced for Netflix there are no in-house commentaries that could be made for it as an English language extra.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of the Seven Deadly Sins series was one that did something that a lot of shows struggle with in that it handled the shonen format well. This is one of those areas that has some longstanding structural design pieces to it that can be frustrating, especially when brought into anime form because it feels so cliched and you can tick off all the events being hit even before watching the show and see how they fall right into place. What this show did was largely the same but it had such a solid execution to it combined with some great looking animation from A-1 Pictures that even the fairly straightforward material clicked better than it should. The only real issue I had with the first half, which sadly continues in the second half, is the lack of a strong antagonist to really focus on. We get the main plot and focal points but there’s no top notch villain to rally behind as it really gets underway.
Not surprisingly, a lot of what we get early on here is more of the overall buildup of the recent events and coming together of the group. Meliodas has served well in being a focal point and it’s worked well that everyone is drawn to Elizabeth in a non-creepy and supportive way to help, particularly since they all have enough ties to Liones as well. Some of what we get early on are standard fight pieces that shows off more of what the team is capable of as individuals but also some of the frictions that exist, notably between Meliodas and Ban that plays a factor later. In fact, I wish we had some better exploration of this as a subplot for a longer run of material because Ban makes it clear he will go the distance to deal with Meliodas and has solid enough reason to but there are so many other things going on that it doesn’t get to land quite as strongly as it should when you get down to it.
One piece that feels kind of similar is the use of Gowther, the Sin of Lust. Gowther’s a later addition to the team though obviously a longtime member but they’re also a character that just has that whole “beat of a different drummer” design about their personality. There are quirky moments and some real strangeness due to the power set but as intrigued as I was by Gowther it never felt like they really fit in or were explored properly. That said, Gowther also provides for some very fun bits along the way with some deadpan humor, some useful moments of power, and just an easy bond with everyone that has a bigger impact as the larger fight occurs during the final couple of episodes. But it’s things like this that left me a little frustrated because it felt like it should be more and I wonder if it gets a better exploration in the manga and was given a lighter touch here in order to keep the pacing of the show strong.
And that’s really the best thing about it here when you get down to it. This half of the season brings us to a concluding storyline just at the start of the final episode and we get a whole episode of epilogue material. But there’s a conclusion! Yes, it’s an open-ended world because the manga is ongoing and there are other adventures ahead to be had, but this particular story has a real and solid ending that deals with it all and allows the characters to have some downtime. To see how the actions of the Sins shapes Liones and its people and how some like Elizabeth are handled after the fact, in returning to the life that she had and feeling the weight of her time with the Sins on her journey. There is that kind of standard scatter that happens as well but it’s more of a configuration change of who is involved with our primary characters and that leaves the show feeling like it has a world of possibilities ahead of it.
The main thrust of the final arc that takes us into Liones is solid enough since it brings the team together, albeit with some issues thanks to the aforementioned Ban subplot, but with Elizabeth kidnapped and Meliodas ready to rumble to settle things, the first layer of their relationship is a solid backdrop to the events unfolding. With it dealing with the Holy Knights that have usurped power, notably with Hendrickson as the main foil to be dealt with, it has some strong action pieces to it and hits the desired shonen elements without going so far over the top that everyone is overpowered. Well, we know there are overpowered characters here but they’re not in that space where they’ll cut loose with it – though we did have a fun bit with Meliodas going a bit in the zone previously. Hendrickson isn’t terribly compelling because the Holy Knights weren’t given a solid enough storyline and characterization to work with here but he does make for a decent opponent at the end here and it ties well to some of the supporting characters, like Gilthunder and how he and Meliodas have a strong bond that subverts some of Hendrickson’s plans.
The Seven Deadly Sins as a whole here with both parts of this season kind of surprised me. I didn’t go in with high hopes because it is a standard shonen series in some ways and very few of them can stand out in the long term. There’s some inherent weaknesses to be found here but the combination of great designs, well done pacing, and some fantastic animation and action sequences helps to raise it up a fair bit. I do feel like I’m kind of hedging my bets a bit in talking about it because it is an ongoing manga and there’s a short second season still to be dealt with as well. But what helps to make this one succeed for me is that it actually tells a freakin’ complete story by the end of it that you feel like there’s some true closure to it while still having it open to go anywhere. That alone makes it worth a recommendation.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, Spanish Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Textless Opening & Closing Songs, Next Episode Previews
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: June 20th, 2017
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.