If you take damsels in distress, Deus ex Machina plot writing, bad guys doing bad guy things for the sake of being bad, and overpowered protagonists, and wrap that up in some blatant fan-service to top it all off, what do you get? Traditional mainstream shounen material. If you enjoy Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Fairy Tail and the like, then you might enjoy this manga series, as well. Nanatsu no Taizai offers a narrative not that far off from your average shounen series, the likes of which only people with reprehensible taste would fall in love with (either that, or children and newbies to anime/manga). I've been hearing that some people suspect that Nanatsu no Taizai will be the "next big thing" in the shounen universe, and honestly, I wouldn't be surprised. As soon as this manga gets its anime, all the mainstream shounen fanboys will be jizzing in their pants. And you know what I'LL be doing? Not that.
Story - 4/10
Nanatsu no Taizai (or "The Seven Deadly Sins") is about a band of legendary knights called the Seven Deadly Sins who have been framed with the crime of allegedly assassinating the Great Holy Knight of the kingdom of Liones. And thus, the rest of the Holy Knight army branded them traitors. History says they were eradicated by the Holy Knights, but rumor has it they still live. Ten years later, Elizabeth, the adopted daughter of the king of Liones, goes on a search for the rumored Seven Deadly Sins because she has found that the Holy Knights are trying to overthrow the kingdom. She soon stumbles upon a guy named Meliodas, and finds out that he is (or was) the leader of the legendary Seven Deadly Sins; known as the Dragon's Sin of Wrath. Ultimately, both she and Meliodas begin on a journey to collect the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins and try to stop the Holy Knights' tyranny.
Frankly, I think Nanatsu no Taizai, while relatively decent, is a very platitudinous, banal, and overall generic shounen series, with various tropes often seen in its genre. Its premise is utterly trite and unoriginal by itself, where an overpowered protagonist meets a princess who, more often than not, is depicted as a defenseless damsel in distress and oftentimes needs to be protected and/or rescued. This trope is demonstrably overused and obsolete, and it really is a wonder why many writers still use this degrading plot device, in this day and age.
And lest we forget about the obnoxious amount of Deus ex Machina plot writing within this series, with ass-pulls galore. The kind of plot writing that essentially ensures that the protagonists never fail and that the antagonists never prevail, even when the protagonist is on the brink of death, surely bound for defeat. That said, this series, like just about any other shounen, becomes quite predictable and evidently contrived. Nanatsu no Taizai conforms heavily to conventional shounen ideas and provides nothing short of typicality.
However, that's not to say that the series isn't at least somewhat interesting. To the contrary, Nanatsu no Taizai does contain various concepts that can perpetuate the attention of some. Notions such as love and loss, deception, revenge, teamwork, difficult decisions, etc. While much of the series is very clichéd, we are still presented with an adequate narrative, as well as a fair amount of action to boot. But even so, this series, to me, mostly feels like just another shounen trying to be like all the others, and it isn't interesting enough to keep my attention, personally. Although I haven't yet finished the series (because it's currently ongoing), I have in fact gotten far enough into it to surmise that it probably won't be much different from this point on.
Character - 5/10
Nanatsu no Taizai's main cast of characters are pretty much your average cardboard cutouts. You've got your tsundere (Diane), your trap (Gowther), your overpowered half-demon protagonist/pervert (Meliodas), your damsel in distress princess (Elizabeth), your shota (King), and a sadomasochistic immortal (Ban -- Okay, that one's pretty original actually). While all this may be true, the characters are still rather charming and likable, in spite of their banality.
The antagonists in the series seem like generic, one-dimensional bad guys who are merely evil just because the writer made them that way, instead of providing a legitimate reason for their inimical behavior. "I wanna rule the kingdom, I wanna be the most powerful knight," etc. This is a very uninspired, vapid and rather trivial rationale for being the antagonist in any story.
Let's not forget about the ever-overused talking animal trope. You know, like Happy from Fairy Tail, Kon from Bleach, Chopper from One Piece, etc. This time around, it's a talking pig named Hawk. What is this, the magical girl genre (considering the trope is common there)? It pretty much makes these shounen series seem even more childish than they already are.
One bit I'd like to touch on is the backstory of some of the characters. So far, we've been introduced to Ban's past, as well as a dual backstory of King and Diane, among other relatively small, vague tidbits of flashbacks from other characters. I actually really enjoyed King and Diane's backstory quite a bit. I think the idea of the perception of time isn't used enough in story writing. This segment in the series shows us a bond between a young giant and the king of the fairies who takes care of her as they live together in the middle of nowhere for hundreds of years. In Nanatsu no Taizai's lore, giants and fairies have a very long lifespan, so when they meet humans, it depicts for the reader just how short and precious human life truly is.
Art - 7.5/10
I actually enjoy the art style quite a fair amount. It has a simple yet detailed look to it. I also like the kingdom and environment designs and how they indubitably accentuate the Britannia-esque world. On the other hand, I've noticed that some of the character designs look reused. Many of the characters have the same eyes as other characters and the only real distinguishable details are hair and clothing. All in all, Suzuki Nakaba is a pretty good artist. But as a story writer? Not so much.
Enjoyment - 4/10
Of course, my enjoyment isn't very high with this manga. I feel that Suzuki-san borrows far too many ideas from orthodox shounen material and hardly does anything different with them. I don't necessarily dislike the series, per se, but I don't like it very much either. If I had to describe Nanatsu no Taizai in a single word, it'd be "sub-par." I found this series through a video from a Youtube channel that I frequent. The Youtuber was quite ecstatic at this manga getting an anime adaptation, so I decided to check out the series for myself. I found it to be quite the disappointment after how hackneyed it turned out being, but then again, I shouldn't have expected anything less after seeing a huge fanboy of "the Big Three" praising this series. All things considered, this manga series certainly isn't anything new or fresh, and it really is a wonder why anime/manga like this are still going strong.
Overall Score - 4/10