Seven Mortal Sins Collection (Cert 18)
2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 330 minutes approx.
As we should all be aware, the seven deadly sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. I propose adding an eighth – wastefulness, as in making an anime series based on a flimsy concept like a range of toys and adopting the fan service/ecchi route instead of cultivating a compelling and intelligent story. My case for the argument is Exhibit A: Seven Mortal Sins.
Having been expelled from heaven for arguing with God, former angel Lucifer is strapped to a large cross and sent plummeting to Hell, briefly crashing into a church, where Lucifer passes some of her angel blood into a devout girl Maria before continuing her journey to the underworld. Upon arrival, Lucifer meets Leviathan, an aspiring Demon Lord with the power to manipulate water, who falls in love with Lucifer and vows to be her sidekick.
The face off against two Demon Lords of the Seven Mortal Sins that rule Hell, Satan and Belial, until Belial subdues Lucifer, removing her angel wings and powers, turning Lucifer into a Demon Lord herself. She and Levi escape to the church where Lucifer stabs Maria and takes her heart for her angel’s blood, turning Maria into an immortal servant. The trio now embark on a journey to defeat all seven of the Demon Lords and have the Garb of Punishment removed from Lucifer’s body.
Just like many fantasy anime before it, there is a promising and potentially exciting story driving Seven Mortal Sins with only a scintilla of that potential explored. Because the origins of the characters are a figure set created for hobbyist magazine Hobby Japan, and we know what sort of figurines otaku like to collect, any story connected to them was always going to be an afterthought, and not for the first time either.
In an ideal world this really shouldn’t be a problem since Japanese writers have proven to possess some of the most vivid and creative imaginations in the arts, but they also have a poor track record of aiming for the lowest common denominator and appealing to the base instincts of, sadly, a wide section of its audience.
The argument could be made that with the cast comprising of busty, (very) scantily clad women that the tawdry nature of the content is a given, but skimpy attire doesn’t always have to equate to borderline explicit sexual activity. Perhaps the thinking in this instance was to take the term “fantasy” and literally apply it to the raunchiness of the characters’ appearances and tapping into the wish fulfilment of an assuredly predominantly male audience rather than “fantasy” meaning outlandish and fanciful fiction.
We’re barely two minutes into the first episode before Lucifer’s ample bosom is exposed and it is mere minutes later that Levi indulges in some lewd Sapphic interaction, relating her habit of belated breast feeding and wandering fingers around the nether regions. Once the two become partners, this becomes infatuation for Levi so the lasciviousness simply moves on for the other characters to perform, mostly unsolicited.
Since the main cast are all female, the idea of “inappropriate behaviour” will no doubt be considered a non-issue or acceptable as no men are involved and nothing truly graphic or penetrative occurs. In fact, there is one creepy scene with a lecherous old man that, like most of the prurience is unnecessary but perhaps the worst example is the unsubtle priapic punishment for Beelzebub, Lord of Gluttony involving a string of thick sausages.
Yet there is a story behind all of this, with Lucifer trying to reclaim her freedom from Belial which evolves into a sort of all-girl harem in that each Demon Lord she faces tends to bond with Lucifer and in the big finale, they all work together. Maybe a spoiler, but this story has been told many times before thus shouldn’t be any surprise to seasoned anime fans how the climax (not THAT sort) plays out.
However, what is interesting is how the religious aspect, which should feel disrespected for providing a base for a such a lewd show, is pretty much marginalised until the last few episodes when crunch time arrives. Before this, only the basic concept of Heaven, Hell and the seven sins feature in any real manner. As things progress and the final showdown is underway, we learn a little more about Lucifer’s grievances with God and his (or her?) attitude towards humankind that frames the Almighty as the villain.
Certainly, this would be seen as blasphemy but the caustic and deviant personalities of the Demon Lords and Lucifer herself, assuming the role of Pride, the denizens of Hell aren’t paragons of virtue either. Only Maria is held up as the chaste one with what are considered “conventional” morals which would have meant something if she too wasn’t top heavy and teasingly attired.
But this is as far as any theological discussion goes and had it been a recurring theme might have raised many interesting points for the audience to ponder on what is morality and how truthful is religion’s influence over those who believe. Unfortunately, sex sells, as do figurines of half-naked busty battling babes, meaning this release will too
The production is shared between two studios Artland and TNK, the latter with form in the ecchi genre, and is arguably the show’s strongest asset, boasting some fine looking background artwork, and dazzling animation during the battles. Character designs are standard “off the peg” ecchi, with Beelzebub the only one without a heaving bosom as the obligatory gothic loli.
I have to confess I wanted to stop Seven Mortal Sins before the first episode was over but my duty as a reviewer forced me to go the distance. It tries to redeem itself near the end but remains little more than tacky and lurid soft porn. It could have been so much better but isn’t. Unless gratuitous animated nudity and lesbian smut is your bag, buy Made In Abyss instead!
English Language 5.1 Dolby True HD
Japanese Language 2.0 Dolby True HD
Disc 2 only:
Textless Opening Song “My Sweet Maiden”
Textless Closing Song “Welcome To Our Diabolic Paradise”
Rating – **
Man In Black