"I can't believe I watched the whole damn thing!"
These words left my mouth by the time the end credits rolled one last time for the Spring 2017 anime series Seven Mortal Sins. This was a show that was based on Hobby Japan's fantasy figure series and directed by the same guy who did Queen's Blade: The Exiled Virgin, so I knew exactly what I was signing up for when I decided to give it a go. But my God, I was not expecting to see a series that not only lacks any effort in its execution, but also acts as a teaching tool to animators and writers on what not to do to make a good series.
Seven Mortal Sins takes as little of a cue as possible from Paradise Lost, where the Devil character Lucifer (Eri Kitamura) is cast out of Heaven and sent straight to Hell. There she meets an aspiring demon named Leviathan (Akane Fujita), who makes elects herself the sidekick of Lucifer. From there she vows to take out each of the Seven Mortal Sins one by one, with the aid of Leviathan and a mortal girl named Maria (Megumi Toda) whose heart she literally steals to make her into her immortal mistress.
From there, each episode passes with Lucifer battling the Sins via their own demonic specialty. A pole dance-off with lusty Asmodeus (Chiaki Takahashi), a sing-off against the melancholy Astaroth (Azusa Tadokoro), an eating contest against the gluttonous Beelzebub (Yui Ogura), and an online MMO-styled battle with Belphegor (Ai Kakuma) the sloth are just some of the fights Lucifer finds herself placed in. On paper these sound like they could be both interesting and humorous to witness. Unfortunately not only are these fights unfunny and lacking anything unique, they drag on like nobody's business.
One of the biggest problem with Seven Mortal Sins is that it took an existing property and decided to give it life without a proper story to tell. It also doesn't help that the concept of fallen angels has been done many times over and rarely going over well in the long run (with the exception of Kevin Smith's cult classic Dogma). You mainly get a story about a wandering soul whose lost their way and tries to get back for either forgiveness or revenge. At the very least, this anime could've gone a much better path if there were far more creative minds behind the concepts & ideas of who these sins are and how they act.
But nope. We instead get another dose of meaningless fan-service from start-to-finish. Clothes are torn off, ladies get naked, and sexual interaction occurs throughout. At least, that's what I think happens, because nearly 75% of the time the show is covered up by so many censors that even Tipper Gore would think it was going overboard with it! And that's not even an exaggeration. More than half the time Seven Mortal Sins is blocked off from prying eyes, with the hopes that the series could probably sell more Blu-Ray copies for the demographic in Japan that doesn't know how to look up Internet porn properly.
You know what makes good fan-service? It's when you take something risqué and make it both entertaining and funny. Monster Musume got it right because of how ridiculous it was to have hot monster girls who had the IQ of Kimihito's shoe size. High School DxD knocked it out of the park because it was in on the joke, not to mention made the hero of the tale a pervert that had even his teammates wince at his actions. The Senran Kagura video game series pulls it off thanks to its fun gameplay mechanics and deep back-stories of all the shinobi.
Seven Mortal Sins has none of that. Its attempt at humor will make you roll your eyes more than the Undertaker did his entire 27-year wrestling career. Whenever it tries to be clever with its storytelling, it reacts in the same way a toddler does after making a scribbling drawing and claiming it's a family picture. Even when a legit fight to the (not) death between Lucifer and one of the sins occurs, it somehow manages to make the spectacle something that'd have you looking at your watch and wonder when it's gonna be over.
And that, dear readers, is the series in a nutshell. Rarely has there been an anime that felt more like a waste of one's time quite like this one. It's especially shameful due to the fact that there are some pretty talented seiyuu behind the roles, people like Kitamura, Tadokoro, and Yoko Hikasa that have played some fantastic characters in the past. Hearing them deliver their dialogue in a half-assed manner week after week in Seven Mortal Sins was kinda painful to my ears.
Even more painful was its soundtrack, filled to the brim with some halfhearted singing and badly rushed English lyrics that make the sound of nails on a chalkboard more pleasing. The fact that Mia REGINA, who have done a lot of great songs for the likes of momokuri and Matoi the Sacred Slayer, were responsible for the uncomfortable opening and ending themes "My Sweet Maiden" and "Welcome to our diabolic paradise" adds more salt to these wounds. If this series has taught me one thing, it's that you can be a very talented individual and still be stuck doing a shit job once in awhile.
To be blunt, this anime is really bad. It's not even the kind of bad where watching it with two wise-cracking robots on a spaceship would make it more fun. Seven Mortal Sins is the prime definition of the word "terrible," and the fact that I put up with it for the sake of writing about something that wasn't either a glowing spectacle of anime goodness or a slice of mediocrity has left me broken in places in my soul. I want back the 288 minutes that I spent watching this drivel.
Final Grade (not an average):
Seven Mortal Sins can be viewed on Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, and VRV. It has been licensed by Funimation. Episodes 1-12 were reluctantly observed for the review. Promotional consideration provided by Crunchyroll.
Background Noise: Dear by BORIS - 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of this Japanese doom metal trio, and they're celebrating it with their most face-melting release since 2005's Pink. The sounds of "DEADSONG," "The Power," and the epic "Dystopia -Vanishing Point-" are the true melodies of a screaming soul dragging itself out of Hell's fire & brimstone for a taste of solidarity. Dear is a true artistic masterpiece, the complete opposite of what Seven Mortal Sins was.