Manga of the Month: Nanatsu no TaizaiMarch 5, 2013
Everyone is waiting for a new hero to arrive. Monkey D Luffy is a superstar but he is only one man. Ichigo Kurosaki and Naruto Uzumaki are close to retiring. There are some B and C level celebrities like Soul Eater Evans and Natsu Dragneel but they don’t have that top-tier of star power that classic shonen champions like Goku or Himura Kenshin had. There are a few empty seats on the round table of shonen money makers and the manga industry eagerly awaits the paladins who will fill those chairs.
Nanatsu no Taizai is a new series from Weekly Shonen Magazine that is attempting to gain membership to this illustrious line up. With a fantasy setting and high-powered knights it looks like it could be a viable contender.
The champions of the Kingdom of Britannia were the knights known as the Seven Deadly Sins. But after they assassinate a fellow knight of the kingdom they marked as traitors and replaced with the order of the Holy Knights. After 10 years the Holy Knights have staged a coup and the daughter of the king, Elizabeth, seeks out the Seven Deadly Sins in the hopes they can free her father and retake the kingdom. Before being captured she stumbles upon Meliodas, the leader of the Sins who saves her. Can Elizabeth and Meliodas reassemble the Sins and save Britannia?
There are two elements that determine the strength of a shonen fighting series. The quality of the characters and the excitiement in the fights. The quality of the characters is good so far in Nanatsu no Taizai. Meliodas has a nice mixture of power and smarts that makes him stand out from the typical nice guy powerhouse that is a dumb as a bag of rocks hero in so many shonen manga. Elizabeth is a bit of the standard princess princess that needs to be rescued but at least she is trying to (and sometimes succeeding) be helpful. Diane is sexy giant who stands out as a powerhouse female character in a genre that tends to marginalize women in general.
But just as importantly the fights are what make Nanatsu no Taizai stand out. The Seven Deadly Sin are crazy powerful professional soldiers. They don’t need to go on personal adventures to unlock their potential. They did that before the manga began. They are infact here to beat the snot out of almost as powerful knights with their wits and skills. That makes the series entertaining and a bit seinen like in that respect.
Can Meliodas fill in a spot in this shonen fighting power vacuum? Only time well tell. But you can start reading this series and see if it can make the grade.