This volume provides something for everyone.
Chaos is filling the land of the dead as the heroes face off with a powerful Holy Knight in the fourth volume of Seven Deadly Sins.
Here’s Kodansha’s synopsis:
“Reunions and Farewells The Grizzly Sin, King, is alive! Unfortunately, King not only refuses to help Meliodas, he declares Ban as his mortal enemy for having attained eternal life at the cost of the life of his sister Elaine. During a gripping confrontation between King and Ban, the fearsomely skilled Holy Knight Gila comes bearing startling disaster and devastation!”
The fourth volume of The Seven Deadly Sins can be divided into three parts: the conclusion to the Capital of the Dead arc, the aftermath and what comes next, and Ban’s time with Elaine, King’s sister. Each part is good in its own way, either bringing some new revelations or diving into some good characterization. There was a nice mixture on a whole of plot and character progression with a good dash of action and setup that made this one of the juicer volumes of the series, offering a little something for everyone.
This has been your daily dose of exposition.
Story wise, the storyline involving the dead closes out in a somewhat satisfying note. The gang gains a new ally, a villain has been defeated for the time being, and some new goals and questions have emerged in the aftermath. The resolution does feel a little weak in the sense that King ultimately defeats Guila without much effort and it doesn’t feel like he or Ban reached any stable ground between one another. However, an explanation for one of these problems is raised that I’m curious about seeing, so it’s not a huge issue. The second part is interesting since we finally get more of a look into current state of the kingdom with the introduction of Veronica, Elizabeth’s middle sister and why she’s cool with the abusive behavior of the Holy Knights. We also get a side look at the Holy Knights themselves and how they operate. It has some great world building and development, and shows that there is more to the knights than meets the eye. I also like the callbacks in the second portion, especially how a few answered some questions I raised in my earlier reviews.
The third part is a bonus story focusing on the seven days that Ban and Elaine knew each other before the tragedy. It’s a fun tale about friendship blooming between two unlikely individuals, which seems a bit average and something we’ve seen before, but the writing and characters sell it. They’re both charming, amusing people who play off of each other very well and have their own interests and goals that define them, providing us with sympathy for their situation. Frankly, I found myself walking away with a much stronger opinion of Ban than any of the chapters gave me. It’s a fun, sad, and intriguing story that ends on a note that’ll leave you with plenty of questions and answers, but in a good way.
On a pure character level, the cast is as enjoyable and interesting to read about. While we don’t necessarily advance any of the old characters much (though I like that Elizabeth is still trying her best to help), the recent new characters do shine. I haven’t had much of a read on Ban other than he was a jerk and a troublemaker, but this volume shows there was more to him than just that. He has a noble, good natured side to him and he will do his best to help others and his allies, even if they hurt him back. King is interesting, and we discover that he is King of the Fairies and a powerful figure. He seeks revenge for what Ban did to his homeland, but as we discover, that’s not the case and his crusade is all for naught. There’s a scene that’s rather heartbreaking as he desperately asks why Ban can see his sister and why he can’t himself, all tying into him abandoning his homeland in the first place. It puts him on a better path to understanding that there may be more to Ban and Elaine’s past than he thinks, but how he’ll change and act in the future remains up in the air. The two are both fun, one more casual and laid back, while the other is far more serious and focused solely on the mission (except when it comes to Diane), making for a fun dynamic that I eagerly await to see more of in the future.
More than before, the Holy Knights have my attention due to their single-focused chapter we got on them. While Guila herself is pretty strong and makes for an intimidating foe due to her single-minded, crazed desire for justice, the revelation about her character and what we learn makes her and the rest of the knights intriguing. There almost seems to be two factions to this group, both sharing the same goal, but one side clearly doing something highly dangerous and shady to achieve it. Given how things are set up, it does show there may soon be an internal power struggle and loyalties will be questioned. It’s an interesting route to go with this villain group, one that’ll hopefully grow and develop them as a whole as well. As it stands, the villains could use a little more backstory and depth to them besides what little we have so far.
The artwork continues to be quite nice, as usual. It does a fantastic job presenting its characters and giving such great range of expressions and emotions shown through their body language and faces. The action flows really well in some panels — you feel the power behind every hit and slash, and the layout work with each page can be exceptional at conveying the motion and energy of what’s happening.
The highlight of the book goes to the small scene of Meliodas rescuing Elizabeth from a knight. It’s a scene that’s meant to be very fast — the world seems like it moves in slow motion as it all goes down, but the quick cuts between the small fight and Elizabeth realizing what is happening are expertly crafted and paced. The only time the art dips is in the backgrounds and setting of the Capital of the Dead itself, which is very empty outside of a lot of crystal formations. While cool at first, it loses its appeal very quickly since it feels like there could be so much more to this location and it’s just not being taken advantage of.
The Seven Deadly Sins Vol. 4 is a good outing for the series, providing something for everybody. It has solid story developments, intriguing setup, fun characters, some good action, and the artwork really shines quite a bit. It has some flaws, but the further we go in, the more the story, its characters, and world unfolds, the more enjoyable the manga becomes. I look forward to the fifth volume.