Although this season did still follow the manga (and answer a leftover question I had from the first season as to just how exactly a Grand Master Holy Knight managed to hit Elizabeth with his attack), the pacing of the anime itself started to crumble, and the plot started to show gaping holes.
That said, it was still a good season and followed the manga fairly well.
Hendrickson/Gray Demon was defeated, but it's not over yet as evil continues to plot on how to break the seal and unleash the demons. In particular, Meliodas is concerned about a group of powerful demons known as the "Ten Commandments", though a confrontation with them seems inevitable.
Meanwhile, new friends join up with them as suspicions grow even amongst the group.
Same characters are before, though there are a couple new faces (such as the final Sin appearing). In addition to that, we see a little more of King's suspicious and cruel side, while some questions about Meliodas' past (particularly in regards to Liz and what exactly happened in Danafor) finally are answered...though not all of them get an answer in this season.
I'm going to have to involve spoilers; I'll make a few warnings before I actually get into the spoilers, but in order to explain some of the major issues I have with the writing (and that's not even including even more blaring issues which come from the manga beyond this point), I'll need to talk about a couple fights/scenes in particular.
First, The season is certainly a good watch and adds even more depth to the story; there's more going on than just Hendrickson getting drunk on demonic power to start a second Holy War because he and another Grandmaster were bored.
The characters are vastly underpowered to the new threat, which is a change from the first season (as with the exception of a couple fights and Hendrickson, they were about on even footing or had an advantage). There's some internal strife with the Sins (particularly involving Gowther, Diane, and King...and later on King and Meliodas), and Ban goes off in search of a way to revive Elaine.
This is where the problem occurs; once Diane runs off at a certain point, the anime is now split between Diane (and some of her past), Ban (and his past and present searching, as well as when King went with him initially), and Meliodas' group.
That wouldn't be too much of a problem if it was done with smoother transitions, but there was one time when I skipped half an episode because it jumped to what Ban was up to in the middle of a cliffhanger for one of the other groups (I did go back to watch Ban's half of the episode afterwards). I don't understand why the writers/producers just didn't do that in the first place.
Not only does that break the pacing up and interrupt similar "cliffhanger" or "danger" scenes with what other characters are doing at the time, it also cuts away to the Ten Commandments and what they're doing. In the grand scheme of the plot, most of what they were doing did not deserve as much screentime as it got (I say this being completely up to date on the manga; chapter 295 at the time of this review).
And of course, there's another tournament arc. I don't mind tournament arcs, and this one led to something much darker than the last one, but it just felt a little dull that a tournament arc was repeated. That said, tournament arcs are pretty much a staple in shounen series; Dragonball gained a lot of popularity due to its tournament arc. Fairy Tail's Magic Games is a tournament arc which gapped seasons one and two. Two of the seasons in Yu Yu Hakusho are tournament arcs. Even Shaman King had a freaking tournament arc.
Compared to those tournament arcs, the ones in Nanatsu no Taizai (particularly this season) barely lasted anytime at all. However, it was just a little disappointing that a fighting tournament had to be used in the first place.
But, that's just a little nitpick of mine.
What I'm going to talk about next contain SPOILERS.
I'll start with some light spoilers, then work my way to the one which bothers me the most in terms of what happened.
Well, that said, both of them are still pretty big spoilers, and one pertains to the manga as well.
Major Spoilers Ahead.
You have been warned.
Manga Spoilers also Ahead.
Okay, I'm going to start with a gripe about "plot armor" sort of thing. This involves Merlin.
We learn in season one that Merlin was the one who knocked Meliodas out and stole his power from him. In season two, this is explained: He was about to go berserk again because a young Elizabeth had been caught up in the attack.
We also see the Goddess Ambers again (as one of them appeared in season one when Veronica tried to seal Meliodas in one). They seem to be a major component of how the Druids' cave works, containing monsters and such for them to fight.
There was also a much larger one which contained the rest of Meliodas' power...and by the rest, I mean that we find out during Hawk's analysis of power levels that Merlin had apparently taken and sealed the majority of Meliodas' demonic magic (leaving him with about a tenth of his original power).
At that time, she was reduced to having her soul inhabit her sacred treasure, so obviously she couldn't really use much magic (though she did teleport Meliodas at one point), but nothing big (like taking the majority of a demon's power).
Thing is, when she returned to her body...why didn't she just teleport herself over to the Commandments while they were scattered and take their powers?
I feel this is a major "wait, what?" in the writing. Not counting the time when she put her own soul into her sacred treasure and thus couldn't seem to use any of her bigger spells, why couldn't she just take their power and seal it?
On that note, why didn't Ban use Snatch or Hunt when he went to save Meliodas? It wouldn't have made a huge difference, but it would have been a good surprise attack to catch them off guard.
These may seem like minor things with the writing, and honestly they are compared to the next spoiler, but an explanation as to why she was able to take Meliodas' power but didn't do the same to the Commandments would have been nice (one can theorize that maybe it's due to their commandment, but that's just a theory).
Onto more Spoilers.
This one is a lot more specific, and I have to talk about a particular scene.
Major Spoiler Alert!
Some of you who have already seen the entirety of this season might know what I'm about to talk about.
I'm talking, of course, about the episode "Meliodas vs The Ten Commandments" and the episode which follows.
Well, the first issue I have is that we never see Grayroad (that amalgamation of a demon with all the heads/masks) use those chains EVER AGAIN. It puts a curse on Meliodas to bind him to a location, but never does anything of the sort ever again.
Also, we learn later on that Grayroad's commandment is "Pacifism", and that "nobody can murder another in their presence. Anyone who does will have their time stolen and rapidly age until they die".
We also know, due to an earlier fight between Escanor and Galand, that the Commandments are not immune to their own powers. It goes to reason that their powers can then affect anyone, even other Commandments.
So then...Estarossa murders Meliodas right in front of all of the Commandments...including Grayroad, the Commandment of Pacifism.
You know, that one I just said has an aura which punishes those who kills in their presence?
Well, there was no consequence to Estarossa for killing Meliodas. Zero.
Knowing the truth about Estarossa still does not make any difference to this rule because every species ages. Merlin was the only one exempt because she literally stopped her own time (thus meaning it couldn't be manipulated by a curse, aura, ect).
Ever since the rules of the Pacifism commandment was explained, I've had trouble with this. Right there in season two was a huge, gaping plot hole laying out in the open. Yes, it would have screwed things up later on if Estarossa died then, but then just have a different commandment do the deed or something.
Spoilers are done.
It's quite possibly one of the biggest flaws of the season (and series) in addition to later writing and the messy way in which this season was thrown together.
It's not a smooth telling of the story like the first season was, and though I'd still recommend it (and there are episodes I go back to rewatch because I enjoyed them), and it cranks up the feelz train by about 120% (ha, you thought you were coming for a comedy, didn't you?), it starts to show its many writing and pacing flaws.
I'd still recommend watching it (especially if you've seen season 1...oh, but watch the "season 2", the 4-episode short season between the first season and Ten Commandments, before this one as it wraps up some things which didn't quite make it into either season. I wouldn't actually call it "season 2", though Netflix does).
However, I hope that when there are more seasons (as my guess is that if they plan to continue to animate it, there will be at least two more seasons) that they go with the same pacing as season 1 and stop bouncing around.
If you're wondering why I still rated it highly despite this somewhat negative review, it's because there are some moments which are able to make up for the flaws. Not completely, but enough for enjoyment.