Reviewby Theron Martin,
Seven Deadly Sins -Signs of Holy War-
episodes 1-4 streaming
With the treacherous Grandmasters defeated and King Baltra restored, Liones begins its rebuilding process. That gives the Seven Deadly Sins some downtime, which they use in various ways: to settle a delayed duel, to pursue love, or to track down a certain small pig who's run off over a misunderstanding about being eaten. More practical endeavors also arise, such as helping to rebuild both the city and trust, tracking down a stalker, and even convincing Merlin to serve as a waitress at the Boar's Hut in order to drum up flagging business. Not all is entirely peaceful, however, for Baltra is starting to have prophetic visions again and out on the fringes some dastardly deeds are in the works.
Although this is (correctly) labeled as a TV series, that label can be misleading in this case, as it implies that it consists of more than just four episodes. That is clearly all that it was planned for, however, so what Netflix is listing as the series' second season is going to be rather short.
What's also clear is that this “season” is intended as the set-up for further animated content, although at the time of this writing nothing of the sort has yet been announced. This foreshadowing almost entirely plays out in the after-closer epilogues for each episode, which reveal that certain people thought dead aren't necessarily so and they are still up to no good in a really big way. (And boy, do I want to see an explanation on how one of them managed to pull that off!) Those scenes reinforce what King Baltra said at the end of the last episode of the first series: that the next challenge facing the Sins could make the battle against Hendricks and Dreyfus seem like small potatoes by comparison. But you'd expect nothing less from a shonen action series, would you?
Chronologically speaking, the events of these four episodes seem to fall during episode 24, in the interim between when Diane starts walking around at human size and when Baltra tells Elizabeth at the breakfast table that the Sins are already leaving for their next dangerous assignment In fact, Diane never assumes her full size during these episodes outside of in the opener, but the occasional action scene interestingly suggests that she retains most of her strength and endurance in this smaller form. This actually streamlines her interactions with the others, though, as throughout the first series she was regularly hampered by her sheer size when it came to commiserating with others – especially in town. It also opens more realistic romantic possibilities, and her being the prettiest female character in the series at that size certainly doesn't hurt on that front. (Merlin is unquestionably sexier, but she doesn't have the semblance of youthful charm that Diane has.)
Beyond Diane, the behavior and portrayal of other major cast members is pretty much par for the course. Each gets his or her own time in the spotlight, whether it's Gowther dealing with a little boy who lost a mother whose features resemble Gowther's, Ban fighting Melodias or getting peeved at not being able to destroy the Gray Demon that Merlin wants to study, or fan-favorite character King trying to make the most of a game of tag and pseudo-date with Diane. Both of Elizabeth's sisters also make appearances, as do a handful of the more prominent Holy Knights, especially Gilthunder and Hauser, who appear to some degree in all four episodes and are often integrally involved in what's going on. On the upside, spreading the attention around like this assures that no one gets forgotten, which is a big deal in a series which had as interesting a cast as this one did at the end of the first series. On the downside, Gilthunder could have stood less attention, as he comes across as a pathetic fanboy at times. Meliodas, meanwhile, is back to his same annoying shtick, lame sexual harassment and all.
Despite the peaceful times, these episode do find excuses for their allotment of action scenes. The only true fight is the Melodias vs. Ban duel, as the simultaneous Hauser vs. King duel is more of a joke than a real fight, but the pursuit of Hawk produces some fun action moments, too. The best action scene, though, is actually Diane and King's game of tag across the rooftops of Liones, which is not so much thrilling as it is just neat to watch. The animation during these scenes is some of the sharpest that the franchise has produced so far.
Otherwise the technical merits are well in line with what was seen in the first series. Thankfully the most visually egregious element – the goofy Holy Knight designs – is absent here since none of the Holy Knights have to armor up, but the decidedly more cartoony look than the norm for anime is still evident. Background arts shows its best detail in some of the reconstruction efforts, particularly for the castle. The musical score doesn't get the opportunity to shine like it did in the second half of the first series since events simply aren't as weighty, but it keeps things lively enough. The new open impresses more for the visuals, which feature the Sins and Elizabeth in formal dress as if for a dinner party, while the closer is pleasant enough but nothing special.
The English dub, courtesy of Bang Zoom! Entertainment, returns everyone from the solid dub for the first season. Bryce Papenbrook's vocal quality varies a little as Meliodas, to the point that I sometimes wondered if they had recast the role, but several other performances shine, especially Erica Mendez as Diane. As is typical for Bang Zoom!, the dub script never strays too far.
For all its action, the first series was commonly at its best when it focused on its more personal stories. That definitely holds true here as well, and the higher concentration of those segments here is why it earns slightly higher marks from me than the original series does.
Overall (dub) : B+
Overall (sub) : B+
Story : B+
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ King and Diane's segment, Gowther's segment, sets up for possible future animation.
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