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The Untold Truth Of Netflix's The Seven Deadly Sins

"The Seven Deadly Sins" is a fantasy-adventure anime that has aired on Netflix since 2015, releasing five seasons so far. Based on a manga series from Nakaba Suzuki, the series is set in the antiquity of the kingdom of Britannia, when Holy Knights once fought demons. The titular characters are the most powerful and loyal knights, each of whom committed an unpardonable sin that made them wanted criminals. The series starts ten years after they were framed and exiled, when a young woman named Elizabeth stumbles across a bar, looking for the Seven Deadly Sins. 

She's actually a princess and the daughter of the king, and reveals that her father has been deposed in a coup by several Holy Knights. Her only hope of stopping this is finding the Seven Deadly Sins. The owner of the bar, who seems to be no older than a teenager, helps her escape into the forest with his friend Hawk, a talking pig. When they are chased down by a powerful knight, the owner uses a broken sword and extremely powerful magic to easily defeat him.

That's when the owner reveals that he is Meliodas, the former Captain of the Seven Deadly Sins. Every sin has an animal tattoo and a "sin" that accompanied them; for Meliodas, he's the Dragon's sin of Wrath. Meliodas decides to help Elizabeth and tells her he's going to go find the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins and, using his powers, will free the kingdom from its usurpers.

This sets into motion an extremely complicated narrative, one that has gone in some surprising directions.

Arthurian overtones

The map of Britannia looks just like England, and it's one of many references to the Arthurian mythos. The Sins are all knights, and the kingdom of Liones has a castle keep. One of the members of the Sins is Merlin, although she's gender-flipped to be a woman and looks eternally young. However, she's the most powerful sorcerer in the world. There was also a Lady of the Lake who dispensed wisdom. 

The connections go much deeper than this, however. Young Arthur Pendragon himself and the kingdom of Camelot make their debut in the 16th episode of the series. He comes to see the king of Liones with an army behind him, but the usurpers Dreyfuss and Hendrickson try to delay and deceive him before attacking him. As Arthur becomes a regular ally of Meliodas and his friends, more is revealed about his past. He is loyal to Liones because its king had saved him from his murdering brother when he was younger. Just like in the original Arthurian stories, Merlin was his teacher, and she has a great deal of almost-motherly affection for him. Arthur wields the sword Excalibur, and in the show, all of the spirits of its previous wielders give him power and knowledge of their expertise.

Arthur is also resistant to most demon magic, with some of the most powerful spells of the Ten Commandments having no effect. He is also described as having no presence, meaning he can sneak up on demons. 

Angels and Demons

"The Seven Deadly Sins" draws a lot of its imagery from biblical sources. The seven deadly sins in Christianity are lust, sloth, greed, wrath, envy, pride, and gluttony. Each one of the Holy Knights in the Seven Deadly Sins has a "sin" associated with them. King is associated with gluttony, Escanor with pride, and Diane with envy. Of course, one of the running themes in the show is that things aren't always as they seem, and there are extenuating circumstances surrounding everyone's sin. 

One of the early plotlines sees the possessed usurpers of the throne trying to resurrect the Demon Clan after they had been sealed in the Coffin of Eternal Darkness for 3,000 years. The demons had been created by the Demon King, one of the first creatures created by the god Chaos at the dawn of creation. Their main opponents were the Goddess Clan, who had the appearance of angels, complete with feathery wings. 

The elite Demon Clan force is known as the Ten Commandments, each of whom has a deadly ability roughly related to the ideals of the Talmudic Ten Commandments. For example, Grayroad has the Commandment of Pacifism, based on the religious principle of "Thou shalt not kill." It gives her the power to rapidly age anyone who killed in her presence.

The Goddess Clan countered them with their own elite squad, the Four Archangels. While angelic in name and appearance, they are every bit as bloodthirsty as their opponents. 

What was Merlin's sin?

Most of the Seven Deadly Sins discuss what their "sin" was in the early going of the show. Of course, the entire group was framed for a murder they didn't commit. However, each member also has a different sin associated with them. Escanor is the Lion's sin of Pride, because he is mistakenly blamed for destroying towns he tried to help, in prideful defiance of the king. 

It was known that Merlin bore the Pig's sin of Gluttony, but it was unknown until near the end of the series what her sin had been exactly. In part, that's because she kept the secrets of her origins and age tightly-held. It was eventually revealed that she was over 3,000 years old, and was raised in a kingdom of wizards as its brightest prodigy. However, she was constantly used as a pawn and never felt love. 

The first being who ever showed her true kindness was the son of the Demon King: Meliodas. Still only a little girl, she fell in love with him, but he loved Elizabeth. So, she changed her form to that of an adult and approached the Demon King and the Supreme Being about joining their side in their war. She asked each for a gift. The Demon King gave her protection against Goddess magic and the Supreme Being gave her protection against darkness. When she took both gifts, the angry gods killed everyone in her country, furious at her gluttony.

Pig power!

One of the funniest, most resilient characters in "The Seven Deadly Sins" is Hawk, the talking pig who is Meliodas' friend and business partner. When Meliodas escaped from Liones after the Sins were framed for murder, he happened upon a pig named Hawk and his gigantic mother in a forest. Hawk took him to his cave and nursed him back to health. When Hawk told Meliodas about how he missed eating the scraps at a bar he liked, Meliodas sold his special treasure and they opened a bar together. 

Building the bar on the back of Hawk's enormous mother, they named it "The Boar Hat," where the food wasn't very good but the liquor was potent. The bar was entirely mobile because of Hawk's mom, so they could just pick up and go to a new location whenever they felt like it. Hawk loved it when Meliodas got the Sins back together, and his foolishly boastful nature often made him declare he was more powerful than anyone in the group. An amused Merlin gave him a magic item that allowed him to gauge the power levels of anyone he came into contact with. Gowther liked to refer to him as the "Scraps Captain."  

Hawk, who was later revealed to be a magical being from Purgatory, also has the best magical power: "Transpork." This allows him to temporarily absorb the magical abilities of anything he eats, be it demon flesh, dragon, or fish. 

The tragedy and triumph of Meliodas

One of the earliest mysteries in "The Seven Deadly Sins" was how Meliodas had become effortlessly powerful. His "Full Counter" ability allowed him to deflect virtually any magical attack, and his skill and speed as a fighter was nearly unmatched. However, he looked no older than a teenage boy and never seemed to age. When he rescued Elizabeth from a trap, his silhouette revealed a monstrous form and later fights revealed the truth: cheerful Meliodas was in fact a Demon. 

Not just any Demon, it turns out, but the son of the Demon King, one of the most powerful beings in existence. He abandoned his destiny for the love of the Goddess Elizabeth, turning against his kind in the Holy War, only to be cursed with immortality. The problem with this was that every time he was resurrected, he got closer and closer to his original, demonic self. 

When he was killed by his brother Estarossa, he came back more ruthless than before. At a certain point, he declared that in order to break the curse, he would have to become the new Demon King, much to the horror of his friends. The reality is that the Demon King himself had deceived his son into bringing him into the mortal world. Merlin learned Meliodas' emotions were in Purgatory, and Ben rescued him. Eventually, the Sins came to provide Meliodas support as he defeated his father and returned to his loving self. 

The sad tale of King and Diane

Many characters in "The Seven Deadly Sins" suffered from a loss of memory due to trauma, but it hit King and Diane the hardest. King's full name was the Fairy King Harlequin, whose job it was to protect the Fairy Forest from intruders. He was attacked and seriously injured trying to save one of his friends, but he was saved by a young giant named Diane. 

Diane had left her giant clan because she hated the constant bloodshed, but she was terribly lonely. King lost his memories after being attacked and was content to protect this brave young giant. She and King spent hundreds of years together in a valley and fell in love. Eventually, he regained his memories and realized that Diane was endangered by enemies from his past, so he erased her memories of him. She went back to her tribe. 

When both were recruited to join the Seven Deadly Sins, King took on a different form so Diane wouldn't know it was him. Eventually, she regained her memories and they reunited as lovers. Diane would cruelly lose her memories yet again because of Gowther, but after defeating powerful enemies from their past, Diane regained all of her memories for good. They eventually married and she gave birth — an unusual event in the land of Fairy. 

Escanor: highest and lowest

Escanor was the final recruit of the Seven Deadly Sins, and he would prove to simultaneously be both the strongest and weakest member. A former prince, he was banned from his kingdom because of his strange power that he couldn't control. 

At night, Escanor was weak, frail, and shy. A sensitive man, he often composed poetry. When the sun rose, and with each passing hour until its zenith, Escanor grew stronger and stronger, with his body becoming bigger and more powerful. In this state, he found it hard to control his powers, and his family decried him as a monster. 

Meliodas found him while on a formal mission to stop his destruction and eventually talked him into joining the Holy Knights. He even challenged Escanor to a fight, and thought he had accidentally killed Meliodas and Ban after a single punch. Merlin took pity on him and helped him come to terms with his past, while Meliodas forced Escanor to realize that he truly wanted to live. 

After the Seven Deadly Sins were forced to go into exile, Escanor became a bartender, hiding his daytime form by wearing loose, baggy clothes. When Meliodas tracked him down, he was grateful to be found, even if it took him a while to get into the swing of fighting again. However, when he used his primary power, "Sunshine," it produced a blinding heat that could melt anything or quickly evaporate an entire lake. 

The ballad of Meliodas and Elizabeth

The love story of Meliodas and Elizabeth is a familiar one: two young lovers from quarreling families who dared it all for the sake of their love. In this case, the "families" were the Demon race and the Goddess race, both of whom were bloodthirsty in their Holy War. Meliodas was the son of the all-powerful Demon King, and was regarded as the second-most powerful Demon alive. He was captain of the elite Ten Commandments and was as vicious as any Demon, though he demonstrated a softer side when he rescued Merlin when she was a child. 

Elizabeth was the daughter of the Supreme Deity, and this strong but kind being fell in love with Meliodas. Meliodas' love for her was so fierce that he defected from the Demons, killing two Commandments along the way. That tipped the balance of power and set off the Holy War. The Demon King and Supreme Deity finally intervened, severely punishing the others' child. The Supreme Deity cursed Meliodas with immortality. He could never truly die, but each time he was resurrected, he would lose a little more of his newfound humanity and would move towards being a Demon again. Elizabeth was cursed with reincarnation, so that Meliodas could watch her die over and over, knowing they would always be drawn back together. 

After Meliodas overcame being possessed by his father, he and Elizabeth finally managed to break the curse and lived happily ever after. Just like in the Arthurian mythos, Meliodas had a son named Tristan. 

The living doll

Gowther's appearance remained a mystery for a long time, as Merlin constructed a huge suit of armor for him that he never removed. The reason was that he was mistakenly accused of a horrific crime: molesting and murdering Princess Nadja of Liones. How did all of this happen? Why was his true appearance surprisingly so androgynous? Why did he seem so strangely emotionless?

It was all because Gowther was a doll — a sophisticated construct made 3,000 years ago by the Demon Gowther. A member of the Ten Commandments, the original Gowther was extremely clever but also lonely. He crafted a doll that was in the image of his dead lover, only he flipped its gender because he wanted a companion, not a lover. When the original Gowther used his entire life force to alter the Archangel Mael's memories and make him think he was a demon, he used his doll's energy as well. This forced an ending to the Holy War, but at the cost of Gowther's life.

The doll fled and erased his old memories. He happened upon Nadja and they became very close, with her falling in love and him trying to understand what feelings were. She died of heart failure and as he attempted to give her his heart, guards burst in. That's when he joined the Seven Deadly Sins, keeping his true form hidden. He revealed his true identity when he rejoined the team. 

The man who couldn't die

Many of the Seven Deadly Sins were ancient beings or had some ties to royalty. Ban had the humblest of origins, born into poverty and then trained as a thief. When he was older, he was known as "Bandit Ban" and became a feared robber. He had heard about a fountain of youth guarded by a spirit when he was younger, and he located it as an adult at the top of a tree in the Fairy Forest, guarded by a beautiful Fairy named Elaine. 

Every time he approached her, they had a stand-off. When he seemingly made a move to attack her, she countered him, only to see that it was a trick that allowed him to get at the fountain. However, she was too quick for him and bound him. What was strange is that she didn't sense he was evil. 

He explained that the reason he wanted to be immortal was that he thought if he lived long enough, something good might happen to him. They became friends and fell in love, but she explained that she couldn't leave because the original guardian of the fountain had left. Ban volunteered to find him, but a Demon attack left both of them near death. Elaine gave him water from the fountain, making him immortal. 

Many people tried to execute him numerous times, until Meliodas sprung him from prison and made him a Holy Knight.