After such an impressive display of power by Gowther in chapter 70, chapter 71 represents the lowest point thus far for the Deadly Sins. Any concerns that the main characters were too overpowered for any suspenseful or meaningful conflict have been directly and forcefully refuted. The Holy Knights have proven to be more than a match for the Deadly Sins, and Gowther and Diane are completely overpowered by Dreyfus and Helbram, respectively. The sight of the cheerful and bubbly Diane becoming so severely beaten is sobering, and the situation has never seemed direr for both her and Gowther.
The subsequent battle between Helbram and the two defecting Holy Knights gives an interesting look at Helbram’s character. While he is perhaps easy to overlook given the colorful abilities and powers present in this series, Helbram has quietly become one of the more intriguing shonen characters in recent memory. His usual irreverent, lackadaisical behavior contrasts sharply with his grizzled design, and this contrast at times leads him to be underestimated. When Helbram chastises the defecting Holy Knights in chapter 71 for treating him lightly, he is chastising the readers as well, as he then unleashes the wonderfully named magic power of death, “Call of Inferno.” This display of power in chapter 71 proves that Helbram is an intimidating powerhouse on a level matching any of the Sins or Holy Knights. For a series that makes little effort to stray from shonen cliché, Helbram is an enjoyably nonstandard character.
Chapter 72 begins with King confronting and battling Helbram in an impressive display of power. In this battle, as well as Gowther’s and Diane’s battles in recent chapters, this series showcases its strengths: the cast of characters surrounding Meliodas, and the variety of abilities on display. While all of the Deadly Sins are incredibly powerful, their powers, abilities, and fighting styles are all unique and creative. The abilities of many battle manga characters in other series are simply some variant of punching or kicking things with various power or speed, but those of Nanatsu no Taizai have proven to be much more interesting. Diane’s brute force, Gowther’s psychological warfare, and King’s ranged combat are all exciting, and used to great effect by the author.
In a surprising twist, King reveals that he and Helbram have a history that extends 700 years, and that Helbram’s middle-aged appearance is merely a façade. This is a positive development for Helbram; his true nature of an immortal similar to King explains his childlike personality, and establishes him as a personal antagonist for King. Chapters 71 and 72 have firmly established Helbram as a fearsome force, and his upcoming battle with King should be exciting.
Nanatsu no Taizai has quickly become one of the most enjoyable series currently being published. Despite its abundance of tropes and clichés, most of the cast possesses enough depth to ensure reader investment, and the battles between these absurdly powerful characters remain as exciting as ever. This series seems to have hit its stride, and its future looks bright.
Final Flash: Two excellent chapters packed with action and character development, everything wanted from a shonen series.