The Spring 2017 Anime Preview Guide
Seven Mortal Sins
How would you rate episode 1 of
Seven Mortal Sins ?
What is this?
How was the first episode?
So the season's most dedicated fan service series has now arrived (albeit in censored form on Crunchyroll) to fill in the “extensive nudity” gap that the season has had so far. And I think I can fairly predict that it's going to be successful among the fan service-adoring crowd because it does extremely well at what it absolutely must do: deliver a bevy of sexy ladies, with the devilish themes as an extra kink factor.
In fact, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that the artistic effort here is gorgeous. Lucifer is alluring enough to be convincing as the most prideful angel in Heaven and most of the other devil ladies and human girls shown so far are sexpots to some degree. This shouldn't at all be surprising, given the series' pedigree includes two of the defining fan service titles of the past decade; this is, after all, the baby of the director of the Queen's Blade franchise and was animated by the studio behind the High School DxD franchise. In fact, the only real problem on the visual front is that the series seems to be aimed entirely at those who prefer big-breasted ladies. The variety of physical builds presented here to far is woefully limited.
The series clearly isn't going to sell itself on its storyline, but at least it has one. It takes a sharply different interpretation of Paradise Lost, one where all the major players except God are female and where it happens in modern day as opposed to in ages past. Exactly what's going on with Lucifer first appearing to give some of her life force to the suspiciously-named human girl Maria and then impaling her upon returning to Earth in the episode's dramatic last scene is unclear, but it does provide a good cliffhanger for the end of the episode. The rest of it, which mostly involves Lucifer trying to be arrogant in asserting authority over the fiendish Seven Mortal Sins, is pretty much just a mishmash of excuses for sexy chicks to fight and abuse each other. I found it a little disappointing that high-ranking devils would so easily get turned off by tormenting a subject, as that seems out of character, but hey, I guess you can't make them too unlikable even if they are devils, right?
The sharp closer (which I suspect will be the regular opener) is also a plus, but overall I'm having a rather “meh” reaction to the series. The story and characters just aren't that compelling yet and the fan service focus misses the mark for my tastes, but as fan service series go you could definitely do a lot worse.
Although there are a few familiar names in the dub – Morgan Garrett, Elizabeth Maxwell, Caitlin Glass in a minor role – the cast is heavily populated by complete or relative newcomers. The result is unexciting, as there are several places where it feels like a little more verve might have been warranted. They do play around with the vocal styling a bit, with Belial being given a distinct Southern drawl while another girl gets a rough attempt at a Russian accent and Maria's friend gets a sort of Valley Girl twang, but it all seems rather random. Granted, the underlying writing is rather weak, but Funimation has done more to perk up scripts of this caliber on other occasions.
Here at the end of preview week, we finally get the very horniest show of the season. Framed as a battle between the generally buxom demon lords of hell and the equally buxom fallen Lucifer, Seven Mortal Sins promises softcore porn with a side of fantasy action. And so far, it's keeping that promise very well.
Extremely fanservice-focused shows tend to often skimp on the plot, characters, and anything that really falls outside their boob-and-butt purview. Seven Mortal Sins doesn't really have that problem - not only is its cast pretty distinctive, but this first episode actually moves through a reasonably paced introduction to hell's lieutenants and Lucifer's attitude. The show has a nicely irreverent sense of humor, a somewhat intriguing and not-entirely-nonsensical setting, and an understanding of the balance between action and erotica that these battle-maiden shows need to strike. I'm not really all that interested in this genre space (not to demean it - everyone gets their horny kicks somewhere!), but I was never bored by this first episode.
The show is also blessed with reasonably solid art design, especially for this genre. I was a little underwhelmed by a lot of hell's backgrounds, but the scenes taking place in heaven and earth both looked consistently appealing, and the character designs are unique, expressive, and attractive in general. There was even some solid animation here, though the final fight scene still felt a little undercooked.
If there's anything dampening Seven Mortal Sins ecchi aspirations, it's the incredibly overbearing censorship. Pretty much any shot that offered a hint of a nipple or crotch was completed obscured by giant alchemical symbols, hobbling Seven Mortal Sins' most fundamental aspiration. It's looking like this show could end up being a very solid ecchi platform, but giant “wait for the bluray” intrusions make its streaming incarnation a little hard to watch. Count my score here as a grade for the first episode's theoretical uncensored version - as is, Seven Mortal Sins isn't really a watchable version of itself.
Well, that was pretty pointless. Seven Mortal Sins has its origins in a set of raunchy character designs and figures, so it's not a surprise that the show's first episode is a barrage of bare skin. Unfortunately, most of that fanservice is covered up by rays of unnatural light and conveniently placed magical summoning circles. This is clearly the broadcast version of a series that will be much more explicit in its eventual physical media release, which begs an important question: why bother?
Seven Mortal Sins attempts to answer that question by providing something resembling a story. This episode talks a pretty big game, setting up Lucifer's fall from grace and lining up a procession of scantily clad foes for her to defeat one by one over the course of the season. It's all presented with a rather dramatic tone, but all the heavy-handed writing in the world can't disguise the real purpose here. This is a show where the characters tear one another's clothes off and feel each other up in a frequently non-consensual way. The sexual stuff isn't a means to a narrative end so much as it is the end that the narrative is pursuing.
There's a lone highlight here in the form of the character designs, which are at least distinctive in a “bikini armor” way. Each character's appearance offers some hints about her personality, which is what a franchise like this needs if it's going to sell a boatload of merchandise. The animation itself isn't much to write home about, with some largely underwhelming fight scenes. I imagine the majority of time and effort was spent on the fanservice shots, but it's tough to tell under all the spinning magical symbols.
That takes us back to my initial complaint. Seven Mortal Sins is clearly going all in on the sex appeal; there doesn't seem to be anything of interest here if that's not your thing. If that's what you want, then why in the world would you watch a version of the show that covers all of that content up? This is essentially a full-length commercial for the Blu-Ray release of the series. Wait for the discs if Seven Mortal Sins strikes your fancy, and just skip the whole thing if it doesn't. Either way, don't waste your time here.
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