Four Knights of the Apocalypse – Author Nakaba Suzuki – Action, Adventure – Shonen
After the end of The Seven Deadly Sins, the series author Nakaba Suzuki announced the sequel series, Four Knights of the Apocalypse. The series focuses on Tristan, the son of Meliodas and Elizabeth, and introduces a new character, Percival. Chapter 1, The Boy Sets Out on Adventure, opens with 16 years old Percival chasing down a “roc bird.” The giant, bluish beast is killed when Percival’s grandfather, Varghese impales it with a pitchfork. Percival grabs it by the neck and tumbles off a cliff. This scene works to show both the strength of Percival and where that power comes from his family. Varghese is a hulking figure. Despite his jovial personality, he has a massively muscular body. He has taught Percival everything the boy knows, from hunting to cooking to fighting.
Percival has reached a milestone. He’s turning sixteen. Varghese is shocked when his grandson tells him he has no interest in adventure. Varghese tells him of the Aerialian Island created by the Goddess Race, Britannia, the cruel mage living in a “twisty tower,” an inescapable forest, and a “knight who rows the skies.” Varghese is hoping to inspire his grandson’s sense of adventure and by extension excite us, the readers. Percival is satisfied to just live with his grandfather. Drunk, Varghese recites what he calls an “old creed,” “Your eyes will judge the wicked. Your mouth will speak the truth. Your heart will be filled with justice. And your sword will crush all evil.” Percival has heard it so many times, he’s able to recite the rest.
Percival takes an oath
I expect that this oath will motivate Percival’s life in the future. He’s eager to accept the job and protect his grandfather. That night, Percival allows himself to dream of going on an adventure. He’s so excited that he runs around the island until he falls. He wants to go, but he won’t leave his grandfather. Percival wakes up the next morning still outside. He overheard something over his shoulder, it’s the knight who rows across the sky. The knight asks for his grandfather by name, claiming he’s an old friend. Ignorant, Percival points to the location of their house and marvels at the knight’s phantom ship.
“Your eyes will judge the wicked. The mouth will speak the truth. Your heart will be filled with justice. And your sword will crush all evil.”
If your familiar with the Hero’s journey then this chapter is predictable. The hero’s journey is “the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis and comes home changed or transformed” (Wikipedia). The journey begins with a “call to adventure” and followed by a “refusal of the call.” The hero usually accepts the call after “help by a mentor figure.” Percival has crossed both, the only thing left is the acceptance. Suzuki has alluded to the reason for Percival’s reluctance, the presence of his grandfather, Varghese. If he’s going to go on that journey his grandfather can’t be around. Before the Knight heads to the house, he calls Varghese a “cruel man” for keeping something from Percival. The comment stays with Percival and he becomes concerned.
Percival begins his hero’s journey
The Knight attacks Varghese from behind, sending him flying through the house. The knight accuses him of “betrayal,” and Varghese responds by calling him the betrayer. They clash until the knight makes a cross in the air with his finger. The seemingly subtle gesture blows a cross-shaped hole in Varghese. Percival interferes, attacking the knight with rocks. When Varghese grabs the knight from behind, he’s defeated. The Knight then uses his cross attack to crave a cross into Percival’s chest. Enraged, Percival continues to attack but is violently kicked away. Varghese calls the knight by his name, Ironside, and asks why he’s come. The Knights received a “foreboding prophecy” predicting the ruin of King Arthur. The prophecy is called the “Four Knights of the Apocalypse.” Ironside is on a mission to kill anyone that might be among these four and Varghese seems like a possible candidate.
Percival and Varghese are battered and bloody. They apologize to each other for their failure. Percival couldn’t protect his grandfather and Varghese lied to his grandson. Terminally injured, Varghese tells Percival the truth. Ironside is Percival’s father. Before he dies, Varghese sets Percival on his journey, fulfilling his role in the hero’s journey. He also makes clear to the audience what Percival’s mission is, find someone to protect and as his father why. Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 1 is an interesting opening to the sequel to the Seven Deadly Sins. Personally, I didn’t get into the Seven Deadly Sins series, particularly the manga. I have seen some of the movies, and season 1 of the anime. At the moment of this review, the series is at chapter 15, but I’m excited to read it.