I don’t know where this idea came from, I just know it’s been knocking around in my drafts folder for a long time without me actually going and writing it. The idea, inspired by the numerous blog tags that have been floating around the anime blogging community, is to have a go at assigning each of the biblical seven deadly sins with characters and their actions throughout the shows I’ve seen.
The reason this has probably taken me so long to write is most likely due to the fact that I knew it would out me as the vanilla, shallowly read anime fan that I actually am. The gist of this list is that I am going to try and assign an event in an anime to a particular sin. Hopefully, an event where the character embodies the sin, and it ends up screwing them over somehow as a result. Showing that you eventually reap what you sow.
Just a note; I’m aware there is an anime called The Seven Deadly Sins, but I’ve never watched it and know nothing about it. So sorry if you clicked the link thinking this was about that. Also, I’m not going to bring up Full Metal Alchemist, because it kind of feels like cheating. Once I get going though, I feel like you’ll get what I’m doing here. I’m only going to use one example per franchise too, because let’s be honest; I could make an entire list for this with Dragon Ball characters alone.
A sin that there are no shortage of examples of in anime: rage and revenge are incredibly popular motivators in shonen. What I’m going for here though is an event from My Hero Academia, where Tenya Iida goes on his one made crusade to try and takedown the hero killer Stain. Iida is out for revenge against the man who critically injured his brother, who he worships like a hero, and despite all the support he gets from his friends, he ends up bottling it all inside and almost gets himself killed as a result.
If not for Deku and Todoroki’s intervention at the last minute, Iida’s wrath would have ended up putting an end to his short life. All for a sense of rage and anger he knows is wrong , but refuses to reach out for support anyway. I also picked this because Iida is one of my favourite characters in the series, who I feel hasn’t really gotten any time to shine since this episode from the second series.
The most recent example of this I’ve seen also happens to be the best one. Just finishing the first season of Tower of God, the final episode of the series reveals that Bam’s entire quest to find his best friend Rachel has been totally misguided. Rachel is not a very good person, and spends the entire series being small, petty and envious of Bam’s talents and warm personality.
She spends a lot of the show thinking things are no fair while never really doing anything about it, instead wallowing in her issues which eventually lead her to betraying Bam for her own personal gain. She even reached a juncture in her journey that could allow her to turn over a new leaf, begin to trust Bam and try to be a better person, getting everything she wanted. But instead she takes the lower road and snatches anything he had for herself, because being an accessory to someone else will overshadow the greatness she deems destined for herself.
I kind of struggled to think of an example of this one, but in the end I’m going point towards Saitama in One Punch Man. Which might seem like a contradiction of sorts, especially considering the personal hell he felt like he put himself through to attain the comedically huge power he now wields.
In One Punch Man, it seems like the world is seemingly always on the verge of going to shit; alien attacks, monster associations, hero hunters. Threats that only a small number of the substantial hero association can actually deal with. Saitama, however, could probably go and end all of these threats before they cause the catastrophic amounts of damage they eventually do.
This is because Saitama has lost his vigour, his lust for life. Fighting monsters has become boring to him to the point that he seems to busy himself over the more mundane aspects of his life while everything falls apart around him. Sloth is pretty much Saitama’s entire character for 80% of One Punch Man, and a lot of the reason that he’s so miserable all the time. If he’d focus more on the heroism of what he does other than his own personal gratification, then maybe he’d be a little happier.
Think of all the ugly bastards in anime, think of how many of them alone come from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. For a series that’s known for it’s fabulous, chiselled protagonists, there are plenty of disgusting characters in there too, none more so than Polpo; the Capo who tests Giorino Giovanna, almost killing him in the process.
Polpo is a grotesquely fat man whose prison cell is more like his own luxurious, private safe room. Meaning that Giorno getting revenge on the guy more difficult. But it is his own gluttony that ends his life in the end, with Giorno turning a loaded gun in Polpo’s cell into a banana.
So, of course when Polpo goes to take a bite out of this this banana, he unwittingly shootings himself in the head.
Hmm, to come up with an example of lust that isn’t just a hentai plot. For this one, I’m actually going to highlight Hisoka Morow from Hunter x Hunter. A weirdly fascinating character from the series who seems to get off on testing his limits and fighting strong opponents to the death.
And when I say he gets off on it, he really gets off on it. Especially around an 11 year old Gon, who he essentially grooms into being stronger so he can get his rocks off fighting the kid down the road as he gets stronger. The specific example I want to bring up through is his actions throughout the entire Yorknew City arc. Hisoka is going to a lot of trouble of faking his membership in the Phatom Troupe, spying on them for Kurapika and orchestrating it all so he can fight the leader Chrollo.
In the end though, it all comes to bite him in the ass. As Kurapika ends up binding Chrollo’s powers, thus taking all of the joy out of a fight with him from Hisoka’s point of view. His Lust for release in battle ends up being taken away from him by his very involvement in setting the fight up in the first place.
I struggled to find an example here I was happy with. I was looking at Golden Kamuy for a while and trying to remember why everyone was chasing that gold, but none of that felt like it was for purely selfish reasons. In the end, I decided to move away and look at a different kind of greed with the example of Rui, the spider-demon from Demon Slayer.
Rui’s example of greed isn’t a monetary one, or one of hoarding objects. Although through his mental state, it’s difficult for him to assign another living thing as anything but an object. Rui “collects” family members, bringing demons into his fold and forcing them to become his warped approximation of a nuclear family.
Anyone who denies him or thinks about leaving it promptly punished or killed. Rui’s selfish desire to hoard those around him ends up extending to Tanjiro’s sister Nezuko, who he sees protecting her brother with a ferocity. Something he immediately decides he wants for himself, and damn anyone who would deny him what he wants.
Obviously, him making his creepy spider-harem/family is what beings the demon slayer corps down onto him and ends up being what kills him.
You can’t spell pride without VEGETA! Like with Wrath, there are no shortage of examples of characters in anime bringing around their own downfall through their arrogance and sense of self superiority. Vegeta from Dragon Ball is the biggest and most obvious example you could ever imagine though. It doesn’t hurt that pride is a word uttered by him every other statement.
There are so many examples where Vegeta’s hubris ends up screwing him over, but the rest of the gang too. No more so than when he allowed Cell to absorb Android 18 and attain his perfect form. Despite literally everyone around him telling him otherwise, and even Trunks going as far as to kick him in the stratosphere, his supreme confidence in his newly attained power leads to doom for everyone.
I don’t feel like there is anything else to say on the matter. Vegeta is pride personified and it rarely works for him. Well no back in the days of Z anyway.
There you have it. I felt like doing something a little different here, and honestly I’d welcome any other bloggers who read this to give it a go themselves. I’m sure there are some people out there who could come up with seven examples far more impressive than this super mainstream list ended up being. If anyone does, please post me a link, I’d love to see it.
One thought on “My Seven Deadly Sins in Anime”
Secret Bonus Dragon Ball Sins List:
Wrath – Gohan toying with Cell and getting his dad killed.
Envy – Vegeta allowing Babidi to take control of his mind to get a power boost when fighting Goku.
Sloth – Beerus’ inability to do his own job because he’s just too lazy. Deal with Moro you dumb cat man.
Gluttony – Majin Buu. Share your damn pudding!
Lust – Master Roshi… need I say more?
Greed – Android 18 being motivated by money to do just about anything, even when the planet is in danger.
Pride – Goku (Not Vegeta) Pushing Gohan into fighting Cell, even giving Cell a Sensu bean and failing to understand that Gohan doesn’t want to fight.