A friend has been kidnapped, taken straight behind enemy lines. The heroes make a move to rescue her, heading straight into the belly of the beast. Another powerful figure appears on the scene, entangling themselves in the matter at hand. Things are getting far crazier in the ninth volume of The Seven Deadly Sins. Is it good?
According to the official description from Amazon:
Multiple forces collide as Meliodas and the Sins storm the castle to rescue Elizabeth. Meanwhile, King Arthur of Camelot appears with an army ready for a confrontation. The two captains of the Holy Knights are locked in a serious argument of their own, but must first deal with the Sins and King Arthur. Is this the beginning of the Holy War?
I know I say this a lot, but this volume is one of the series’ finest outings to date. Now, looking at it, it may seem like mostly action with little plot development. Characters basically move around the city a bit and get into conflicts, with the central aim of rescuing Elizabeth from her prison only moving about half an inch when you think about it. Most of the time there’s just a lot of fighting and back and forth between the characters. There’s a lot more than just that going on under the hood, however.
The ninth volume of The Seven Deadly Sins has some of the best characterization and development I’ve seen in the series. It’s not really with the main characters though, but rather the supporting cast and antagonists. This manga gets down into developing these characters rather well, whether it be overtly with lots of focus or subtly with small hints that have been building for a while now. This makes this book a lot more fulfilling than it initially seems.
The big standouts here for me personally are Guila, Captain Dreyfus, and Jericho. Guila, despite being one of the most ruthless and vicious Holy Knights we’ve seen, has also been established as a person who seeks justice and strives to become a hero, continuing in the footsteps of her missing father and wanting to be an example for her brother. It’s always been incredibly warped, but that’s what she wants to be. This volume, building off events from last time, twists everything she knew and stood for, finally showing her that her path isn’t exactly what she believed it to be. As such, her decision to finally turn and what makes that turn happen really make sense. It will be very interesting to see where she goes from here.
Captain Dreyfus probably has the most overt and interesting characterization, all confined mostly within one chapter. For most of the series we’ve seen him as a strong leader who wants what’s best for his kingdom and is keeping eye on his partner when he senses a problem. He never flinches, always showing this impenetrable strength that never seems to crack. Beneath the surface, however, he’s a man consumed with guilt. Subtly, we see that he’s jealous of his brother and worries for his kingdom in the sense that it may be getting weaker with no true threat out there. It is something that has been building and building for years, eventually resulting in him betraying his brother to take his rank and position. It’s all for the “good” of his kingdom, at least that’s what he tells himself. His actions take on a different meaning now, especially with how he reacted to Hendrickson’s true goals and what lies deep within him. It makes you think a lot more about what was kind of a dull character, making you want to see more of him.
And then there’s Jericho. She is definitely less noticeable when it comes to her characterization here, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t interesting. She has a strong inferiority complex and is desperate for approval and to show she truly is a Holy Knight worthy of her status. This is revealed to come from her brother constantly disparaging her for following in his footsteps and seeing her as nothing but an embarrassment to him. It really grinds her deeply; it’s something that she just can’t escape no matter how hard she tries. Thus, all of her decisions are fueled by this, from drinking demon’s blood to taking a chance at gleefully murdering Diane, even though she knows clearly that the Sin isn’t really as bad as she seems. She’s a very broken character, and while her journey isn’t as strong as others I love how well it has been written and executed. I really want to see more of her.
There are plenty of other great character beats and moments throughout, from Howzer standing up for Diane to the brief time spent with Slader of the Dawn of the Roars, but that’s not all there was to this book. The storytelling is very tight, with not a single wasted moment from beginning to end. The humor is on point, with one moment especially getting me with how well it was executed and built up. There are fantastic callbacks to previous events in the series, including King Arthur being alluded to all the way back in the first chapter. Some long-form plot points are finally being addressed, like what happened to King’s black hound. The dialogue is full of personality and almost every character gets some moment or bit of characterization that really helps them out. The weakest points, ironically, are that a lot of the Seven Deadly Sins and Elizabeth are barely in the book despite their importance. You’d almost forget about them if Suzuki didn’t cut back to them every now and then.
Then there’s the artwork and honestly, there aren’t really any problems. The characters, layouts, action, and storytelling are all solid here. I will focus one point that I rather liked: the double-page spreads. These are some of the best in the series with just how over-the-top, intense, and wild they can be. The detail is fantastic, and the energy is just dripping off the pages with how powerful it all looks. Plus, there’s one of the best double-page spreads I have ever seen in any series. I dare not spoil it, but it’s so wonderful and funny in all it displays. The characters, the reactions, the stone silence…everything is wonderful.
Is it Good?
The Seven Deadly Sins Vol. 9 is probably the best installment of the series to date. While some of the most important figures fall into the background, the supporting cast really shines amongst the intense action as everyone collides with each other. The writing and artwork are really strong as well and come together perfectly. This is easily my favorite volume of the series to date and I hope the next one keeps this excitement going.