七つの大罪 第1話 「七つの大罪」
Nanatsu no Taizai #01. 「The Seven Deadly Sins」
Source Material: Manga series by Suzuki Nakaba (鈴木 央)
Studio(s): A-1 Pictures
Director(s): Okamura Tensai (岡村 天斎)
Script: Suga Shoutarou (菅 正太郎)
Music: Sawano Hiroyuki (澤野 弘之)
Nanatsu no Taizai was originally a one-shot pilot chapter written and illustrated by Suzuki Nakaba published in Kodansha‘s Weekly Shōnen Magazine in November 2011. The Japanese manga series began serialization in the same magazine in October 2012 and is currently ongoing.
The bar master of the Boar Hat is a small-statured but hard-working owner who serves up great alcohol to his customers, though makes horrible-tasting food. Alongside him is his animal companion Hawk, a talking pig who cleans up the slops of food that frequently end up on the floor after customers taste the bar’s food. Recently, the local townsfolk have persisted a rumor and forced themselves to become fearful of “the Wandering Rust Knight”, an alleged member of The Seven Deadly Sins, a group of former Holy Knights of the Liones Kingdom who betrayed their knighthood and slayed many of their fellow Holy Knights in an infamous incident ten years ago. When a person garbed in rusted armor and a ragged cape appears at the front door of the Boar Hat, all of the customers flee in terror, leaving just the bar master and Hawk to confront the mysterious figure. However, the armored infiltrator suddenly collapses to the floor; she is revealed to be a girl after being stripped of her armor and laid to rest on a bed. When she awakes to the bar master casually squeezing her right breast, she proceeds to jump in joy towards Hawk, excited to see a talking pig,a pet that she has always wanted for herself and asked her father for. Downstairs and back in the bar area, the girl graciously accepts the meal that the bar master prepared for her, acknowledging that it tastes bad yet calling it delicious and crying tears of happiness becase of the bar master and Hawk’s hospitality. The sincere moment is interrupted by arriving knights, who were stationed at the base of the mountain and were tipped by the bar customers that a member of The Seven Deadly Sins was nearby. The bar master and Hawk try to cover for the girl by dressing Hawk up in the raggedy armor, but the knights eventually notice the girl trying to escape and give chase. At the edge of the mountain cliff, the bar master, the girl and Hawk face a particularly formidable foe, Twigo, a Holy Knight in training who recognizes the girl as Elizabeth Liones, the third princess of Britannia, and ruthlessly tries to kill the three of them. The bar master saves Elizabeth once more from death, but she submits into surrendering herself to Twigo so that the bar master and Hawk, who were the only ones to treat her so amiably since her long journey to find The Seven Deadly Sins began, will not be harmed in her stead. The bar master saves Elizabeth one last time, and his sleeve torn from the evaded attack reveals a tattoo on his shoulder, which is none other than the mark of The Seven Deadly Sins’s Dragon’s Wrath, Meliodas. Meliodas defeats Twigo in one stroke of his blade-less sword hilt; in the aftermath of the battle, he tells Elizabeth that he too is searching for the rest of The Seven Deadly Sins members, having used the guise of a bar owner to collect information regarding their whereabouts. He asks Elizabeth if she is to accompany him and Hawk on their quest, to which she happily and tearfully confirms. A giant green pig who Meliodas calls “Mama Hawk” appears from the sky and carries the trio as well as the Boar Hat bar off into the distance as the defeated knights watch speechless. Later that night, Twigo reports to his superior the incident, and a hunt to exact revenge on The Seven Deadly Sins by the current reigning Holy Knights is put into motion .
I’ll admit that I came into this season with moderately high, perhaps unfair, expectations for Nanatsu no Taizai. With the large-scale promotion and hype surrounding the anime series prior to its premiere, it wasn’t hard for me to foresee it as the first good medieval-fantasy series in a long, long while. If I were to dispel those expectations, then I can wholeheartedly say that I perfectly enjoyed the premiere all throughout; but the rest of this review will be authored with that lens applied, just because it’s where the bulk of my reactions belong. The exposition of Nanatsu no Taizai determinately sets the story into motion, fluidly setting our three (so far) protagonists onto a journey of adventurous allure …on a transport in the form of a giant pig. Indeed, it screams medieval-fantasy; even the words of Elizabeth herself, “Was this meeting coincidence or fate? Is what awaits us despair or hope? And thus, my adventure with Meliodas in search of the remaining Seven Deadly Sins began,” is an inner monologue that rings perfectly well to the tune of “an unexpected journey“. And of course, if Nanatsu could be interpreted as being split between two genres, it definitely has its cherish-able roots in shounen-style story-telling. Truth be told, I actually haven’t been this reminiscent of the Dragon Ball series, what many, myself included, consider a fundamental groundwork for tons of now vested shounen tropes, since reading Toriko (if you plan to follow-up on this indirect series recommendation of mine, make sure you opt for the manga series and not the horrendous anime adaptation). It’s not just Meliodas’s completely buoyant boob-gropes, or the lack of eyebrows, the robust cheek and chin bone structure, and the buff body build on this week’s fodder antagonist, Twigo, but also A-1 Pictures’s swell adaptation of Suzuki Nakaba’s art-style. When shots don’t have the backdrop of medieval-style architecture and clothing that are too divergent from Dragon Ball‘s more modern setting and themes, it’s pretty easy to parallel the presentation of Nanatsu with Toei Animation‘s handling of the Dragon Ball anime, in color palette, line-work, and the like. To that degree, Nanatsu no Taizai delivers a fairly well-desired package. It’s got a genuine touch of adventuresome story-telling with a likable cast of characters, a compelling motif, and a promising mythos, that, of course, interconnects with conflicts solved by combative confrontations to come. Nanatsu no Taizai isn’t the only Middle-Ages themed fantasy series featured this season, and it’s perhaps in the other selections that my bias of the genre lies – I’m definitely more romantically-inclined to the grand narratives that interweaves themselves into their premises of war than the stories that use the climate of war as a pure basis to its story-telling, just to focus on a more compressed, potentially less interesting account of a select few characters (although to be fair, the sheer title of The Seven Deadly Sins is a pretty good indication of where it presses down on that measuring scale) – but it’s premiere has offered material of impressive and wide appeal. As with many shows of this nature, the expositional premiere sets the groundwork for a story that can become indefinitely more entertaining.
*Given Meliodas’s similar character design and the similar medieval setting, I was kind of hoping for a theater-performance/kidnapping plot for the first episode, a la Zidane and the Tantalus Theater Troupe of Final Fantasy IX.
*Mama Hawk’s greenly hue traces me back to Meliodas’s jesting offers to serve Hawk up as a delicious pork roast. Did someone say green eggs and ham?