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People sometimes say that negative attributes often attract other negative attributes. Sometimes, that attraction has a chance to be a fatal one. The well-received manga series, The Seven Deadly Sins, covers the lives of those who bear emotions that are considered evil to many. One relationship between these characters is intriguing because of the awkwardness it creates. I’m talking about the friendship between Ban, the Fox’s Sin of Greed, and King, the Bear’s Sin of Sloth. Here’s the fun question - are both greed and sloth enemies of each other or two sides of the same coin?
Ban (pictured left above) and King (pictured right) are both connected to a fairy girl named Elaine. Elaine is King’s sister and fell in love with Ban many years ago after meeting him for the first time. Ban was a regular human who didn’t value himself, but grew to appreciate Elaine’s feelings for him. Elaine was killed over an incident that involved a treasure called the Fountain of Youth, which led to Ban becoming immortal and vilified by society. King blamed Ban for his sister’s death and teamed up with the Holy Knights, enemies of the Seven Deadly Sins, to find and kill Ban. The two eventually meet during the current story timeline and battle in the Capital of the Dead, when Elaine’s ghost shows up to save Ban. King becomes confused as she pleads him to protect her lover. The two decide to fight together once more under their leader, Melodias, but their relationship is still a bit rocky at times.
Greed and sloth could be considered polar opposites of each other. Greed gets someone to put some effort in getting whatever they want. Sloth causes someone to not make any kind of effort at all. Both Ban and King reflect their sins as Ban will go after anything he targets, while King prefers the beat of his own drum (indicated by his desire to float around). They fought with each other a lot during their early beginnings as knights.
One of the conflicts between the two involved stuffed animals. Ban decided to steal a bunch of them from children for his own sake. King criticized him and later gave them all back to the kids while Ban was asleep. As many people will tell you, greed makes you do very selfish things for the sake of pleasing only yourself. What was interesting was how sloth counteracts greed during that situation. Sloth can be equated to kindness, as taking the time to think gives you the opportunity to be appreciative of others. King is noted to be one of the kindest characters in the whole series.
During the Capital of the Dead storyline, Elaine criticizes King for leaving her to be the protector of their home forest 700 years ago. She also tells him that Ban isn’t the bad person that he thinks he is. It poses the thought of whether a lazy person feels regret. Yet sloth is more than just laziness. The person distances him/herself from reality and tries to justify his/her actions for not moving forward. Christian thought also suggests that sloth represents not trying hard to love and understand others. King reflects that thought as he was ignorant of the circumstances surrounding Ban and Elaine. It’s easier to hate someone, right? Greed counteracts sloth as someone who takes time to be thoughtful of others deserves a chance to want something important all to themselves. Elaine saw that in Ban as she became bored of life at the forest (possibly reflecting King) and hopes that King sees what she saw at some point.
The two do need each other to create a powerful partnership. A greedy person can take a few lessons in slowing down a bit and carefully plan their goals to gain wealth. A sloth-like individual can see why it’s important to work hard and go after their desires to ensure long-term relaxation. How does this relate to real life? Here’s a fun example: the two major political parties of the U.S. - Democrats and Republicans. The former is considered to be lazy bums, while the latter is criticized as greedy rats. Both parties engage in pointless fighting that affects the society they are supposed to help without considering their needs completely. Imagine if they stopped playing war games with each other like Ban and King have for the sake of the world.
Both greed and sloth can be good for you. There will be times where perceived negative emotions turn out to be positive charges for your mind. The relationship between Ban and King shows that opposites do attract as long as they share some core values. It sort of reflects how we should be looking for our “better halves”, no matter how frightening they may be.
While there are sayings about keeping friends and enemies close to you, what about a saying for frenemies? Maybe “Keep them next to you at all times?”
Top Image Source: Wowfel (DeviantART)
All other images © Shonen Magazine, Kodansha Ltd.