The Seven Deadly Sins franchise is slowly coming to an end. The first half of The Seven Deadly Sins, Dragon’s Judgement, which is the anime’s final season, is now available stream on Netflix worldwide. This includes the first 12 episodes and completes the New Holy War arc. The season is already over in Japan, with Netflix trailing behind with global release.
The story faithfully adapts the manga and picks up right where the last season left off. Elizabeth has a few days left to live, and Meliodas is on his way to become the Demon King. Estarossa kills Monspeet and takes his Commandment, while Ban is going into Purgatory, to try and save Meliodas. The Sins are torn between loyalty to their leader and humans, along with Elizabeth, and the other members of the Goddess clan.
Before we begin, keep in mind that Netflix lists Signs of the Holy War special as season 2, which makes Dragon’s Judgement season 5 on their website. In reality, most fans see it as season 4, so we will also use that system in this review.
Overall Production Quality
Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room – the animation. After the switch from A-1 Pictures to Studio DEEN, the quality of animation noticeably went down. Soon after Imperial Wrath of the Gods started airing the fans noticed derpy-looking scenes and started making them into mems. Parts of the series were outsourced to Marvy Jack, a studio perhaps best known for co-operating with Brain’s Base on Spice and Wolf series. Understandably, Seven Deadly Sins is a big franchise, and animating over 50 episodes is a big task that requires a lot of time and work.
The main staff from Imperial Wrath of the Gods returned for Dragon’s Judgement. Susumu Nishizawa directed the season, while Rie Nishino once again did character designs. Rintaro Ikeda was in charge of series composition.
While Dragon’s Judgement animation is better in some ways, it’s still far from perfect. The quality dip is especially noticeable in the fight scenes, as they are filled with stills and missing frames. Group shots are also less detailed, especially if zoomed out. However, unlike last season, this season has way fewer weird-looking characters. Character designs are true to the manga style (something A-1 Pictures slightly changed during the first seasons) and characters introduced in this season look pretty good. Meliodas’ demon form is also looking better than it did in season 3.
Sound Effects and Music
Another issue that some early episodes had has to do with the sound. It’s almost as if the few episodes are missing background music/effects, making the experience a little weird. Having fight scenes without music and over-the-top sound effects, especially in shounen anime, is quite uncommon.
All things aside, Dragon’s Judgement has a lot to offer in terms of music, seeing as it complements some scenes that have lackluster animation, giving them a more complete feel. Takafumi Wada, Hiroyuki Sawano, and Kohta Yamamoto teamed up to once again deliver the OST, which has some truly amazing tracks. Akihito Okano, from Porno Graffitti, performs the opening song. Sawano composed the OP, while N-buna did the lyrics. ReoNa sings the ending “Time”, again with Sawano on music.
Voice acting, as always, carries this anime. Voice cast returns in full, with Mamoru Miyano joining to voice Wild.
Story and characters
The story in Dragon’s Judgement is very similar to the usual Seven Deadly Sins style. In typical shounen fashion, friendship can overcome everything. Gowther is always plotting, so his role in this season is once again quite important. As it turns out, he is the reason that the Holy War stopped in the first place. He manipulated everyone into thinking that Mael is Estarossa, which helped ease the tensions, but caused issues for our heroes in the present.
Zeldris also gets his chance to shine, and we finally get to see his backstory, as well as his complicated relationship with Meliodas. We get to learn more about Hawk and his origin. Vampires are also mentioned, with a bit more context after last season left us hanging. Ludociel gets his redemption arc, and Hendricks once again manages to surprise us.
If you haven’t read the manga you might have trouble keeping up with everything that is happening. The plot is rushed at times, and a lot of things are meant to be assumed. New characters don’t get much screen time, and we don’t learn enough about them. Some backstories are jumbled up and just added as an after-thought. Surprisingly, the pacing itself isn’t too bad – there just isn’t enough time for all side-characters, which is understandable. But, all things considered, it’s not that difficult to follow. Since it’s a long-running series, the viewers are already familiar with most characters.
Overall Impression of Dragon’s Judgement
The Seven Deadly Sins franchise has been through a lot. Dragon’s Judgement installment definitely isn’t the best shounen genre has to offer, it’s not the best Seven Deadly Sins has to offer. But, if you’re a fan of the series and if you’ve made it through the last season you should at least give it a go. The story that we all fell in love with is still there, as are the characters. The shounen genre has a way of sucking you in and making you feel accepted like you’re a part of the family and Seven Deadly Sins takes advantage of that fact.
This first part of the final season tries to set the stage for the grand finale. Even though it feels like the story is concluded, there are still quite a few loose ends, and they will be tied up in the second part. It succeeds in making you want more, while still having issues. If you can get past those problems, you will have a good time watching Dragon’s Judgement.
Netflix’s decision to split this season in 2 makes the wait a bit easier, but we still don’t have a release date for the second part. Looking at their past releases, we could probably expect it around October. This doesn’t create many issues for overseas fans, but it might be a bit harder to avoid spoilers, since a sequel film, Cursed by Light opens in Japanese theatres on July 2nd, 2021.
You can watch The Seven Deadly Sins anime on Netflix.
Images via Netflix
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