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「友達,救います!」 (Tomodachi, Sukui Masu!)
“Going to Save a Friend!”

Is it just me, or does Issei have the potential to become ridiculously overpowered? Let’s go over the stats:

  • If he’s on enemy territory, he can “promote” himself and gain the power of any of the other pieces (Akeno’s Queen, Koneko’s Rook, etc), save for the King.
  • His Sacred Gear, Dragon’s Hand – also called Twice Critical, which is the name I’m going to use since it sounds less cliched – can temporarily multiple his power.
  • Twice Critical responds to his will – the stronger his will, the stronger the amplification.
  • The healer chick is totally into him.

To my shounen anime / fantasy RPG polluted mind, those are some great abilities. The stronger he gets the better his amplifying ability will be, he can swap his class on a whim, and as long as he believes in what he’s doing and has a strong will, he can walk into enemy territory and start whooping arse in the sure knowledge that someone is going to heal him afterwards. Oh, and his companions are no slouches either. Yeesh, OP much?

But I have to give it to Rias-senpai this episode. At first I was annoyed with her for scolding Issei and then turning around and helping him do what she knew he was going to do anyway. Why not just work together? It was only when I was making the list above that I realized why she did that – Issei’s will. If they all had worked together, then it would have been everybody’s decision, everybody’s plan – everybody’s will. Instead, Rias-senpai set it up so that Issei had to make the decision for himself, and even defy her to do so. It takes a lot of determination to defy the sexy senpai who keeps saving your tail, so hopefully that will help him get the most out of Twice Critical. That and what’s happening to Asia. I don’t know, perhaps I’m thinking too far into things, but it seems like a clever little ploy on Rias-senpai’s part to get the most out of her people. Damn manipulative managers, why does that stuff have to work so well??

Still, as Yuuma-chan–or rather Reinare (Nabatame Hitomi) rightfully noted, being able to amplify your power isn’t real useful when you’re a level 1 Warrior wielding a wooden sword, so we’re probably in for a lot more of Issei getting beat up before he starts soloing Sephiroth. Time to earn those haremettes, boy!

Now for the part I didn’t like about this episode – the fanservice. That’s a weird thing to hear coming from the guy who chose to cover this show, eh? Well, it’s not the existence of fanservice that annoys me. I’m totally okay with that. What annoys me is when it’s done badly, and this episode is a great case study in when fanservice works and when it doesn’t.

First, when it works. Fanservice works great when the tone is light, such as when Rias-senpai was giving a little sexual healing to Issei at the beginning of the episode. It also works when the tone is so ridiculous that you can’t take things too seriously, which was the entire first episode. Akeno-senpai’s awesome transformation sequence was fine too, because us anime fans have been trained to think transformation sequence = sparkly nudity, heh. Hell even a quick panty flash is alright, even if it’s rather unnecessary and could easily be left out.

Now for the bad. Fanservice is not a good idea when the situation is serious or dramatic. When fanservice is shoved into a scene where characters are fighting and striving and dying, it spoils the whole thing. I am of course referring to the completely unnecessary close up of Asia’s bare breast when she is dying on a cross. Read that again. They’re throwing out Asia fanservice when she is dying on a cross. Come on TNK, that’s just not necessary! You’re sending us mixed signals here, in a scene that is otherwise just full-on bad news for the protagonists. See that you don’t do it again, alright? There’s a good studio.

Still, don’t let my attempts to lecture an anime studio that isn’t listening stop you from enjoying the episode. We’ve now got all the actors to the stage and Issei is bound to be pissed, so there should be some good action next episode. I’m hoping Issei will Queen himself and start thunderbolting people, Pikachu-style. Hopefully that won’t come along with Akeno-senpai’s sadism, though. I think we can all agree that it looks far better on her.

 

Preview

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January 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm
43 comments »
  • January 27, 2012 at 7:40 pmTSouL

    FOR REAL!?!? guess Issei just went from weak pawn to full power rook…

  • January 27, 2012 at 7:53 pmSpinarakk

    I don’t see the problem with him having the potential to be overpowered. Who the hell would want to watch an action show where the protagonist isn’t able to kick at least a few butts.

    • January 28, 2012 at 1:59 pmTSouL

      I was refering to the priest going “Majide” when Issei took his bullets without breaking a sweat.

      MAJIDE = FOR REAL!?!?

  • January 27, 2012 at 7:55 pmewok40k

  • January 27, 2012 at 8:08 pmMR.KLAC

    oh my look like indeed next ep time to checkmate whacked the ex aka Yuuma.

    indeed give some service another shower for risa give it show back story past about asia about her power & past.

    yet oh no really “whacked” asia ok now indeed now yea issei is going now going killed the ex on next ep.

    & oh Akeno is now electric miko oh boy.

    overall with few service more develop story & the “WHAM” part indeed must see ep.5

    one more thing yea hurray crazy priest got galactica phantom punch by issei nuff said.

  • January 27, 2012 at 8:11 pmfragb85

    I’m just glad that this features a protagonist that I can get behind in addition to the gratuitous fansvervice. The entire show is pretty much derivative, but I can enjoy it because it has something OTHER than fanservice.

    Really fanservice to me is like condiments, it just accentuates the meal. Bad fanservice shows are bad because everything else in it sucks. A lot of audiences can’t seem to to understand that its actually possible to have a gratuitous fanservice show and still have plot, character development and perhaps decent action. Shinkon Gattai Godannar is a prime example of a good show with alot of fanservice. I believe DxD is somewhere along the line.

    • January 27, 2012 at 10:46 pmStilts

      Yes, exactly! Like Sora no Otoshimono…sure, a lot of it is just Tamaki being gloriously perverted, but there’s plot and character arcs and Nymph being cute and Astraea being an idiot to entertain as well. A little salt and some dill on a nice piece of fish is fantastic…a pile of salt and dill is $%@^&# gross, heh

      • January 27, 2012 at 11:34 pmKoroshiyaKi

        Don’t leave out President.

      • January 28, 2012 at 9:03 amboingman

        I love Sora no Otoshimono for the perverted comedy alone. Probably my favorite comedy series these past years and am looking forward to season 3 which has just been announced. :)

      • January 29, 2012 at 2:35 pmAureateFlux

        I think, really, your problem with the “dramatic situation” fanservice is not the actual nudity, or even the fact that there was a close-up on that nudity… it’s the fact that in a show like this that is overtly oriented toward fanservice, the effect of nudity in those situations subverts the drama in every way.

        The nudity isn’t enjoyable– not because it’s a situation where it doesn’t make sense, but because you can’t be sure whether or not you’re supposed to enjoy it as fanservice or if it’s supposed to be upping the dramatic stakes.

        In a show that isn’t so oriented toward fanservice–but doesn’t shy away from nudity– this would clearly be a situation where the nudity itself and the treatment of the character is appalling. You don’t WANT to see the nudity because it would be a violation of that character. It’s the same thing you feel in, say, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves when Alan Rickman is trying to force himself on the resistant Maid Marian.

        To some degree, the show managed to do that in the third episode with Asia, but only by overplaying the sadism and perversion of the priest as he explicitly threatens to rape her. Without doing something like that, a show like DxD can’t evoke a “purity in danger” response because it spends so much effort at fanservice that the viewer *has* to think, “is this motivated by fanservice, or am I supposed to be really upset?” And even if you decide to be upset, as is probably the intent, you won’t be able to shake the feeling that there’s a very real likelihood that BOTH fanservice and drama were the goals, which rather than hitting both notes only serves to sour both.

  • January 27, 2012 at 8:27 pmCroco

    I want this series to replace Bleach’s running slot. I want to see fun stuff every week.

  • January 27, 2012 at 8:54 pmEr

    Regarding Yuuma’s proclamation on Twice Critical, it’s exactly what it says. It can just multiply your power but only by 2. It might just be lost in the translation when it was said to “multiply your power” but no amount of will can increase its multiplying effect which is why Yuuma felt no threat regarding it. 1 multiplied by 2 is just 2.

    Big spoiler Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 28, 2012 at 1:09 amArcad

      ^^ What he said you haven’t even seen OP compared to whats going to happen by (my predicted) season ender.

  • January 27, 2012 at 9:07 pmBass.EXE

    heh, that was almost a Bayonetta transformation sequence there

  • January 27, 2012 at 9:12 pmjrj

    while the promotion ability could result in overpower very soon, it seems like even when promoted, Issei can’t unleash the full power of the other piece… given the power level of Koneko from last episode (when she was fighting that boob laser demon), Issei’s punch on the perverted father didn’t do as much damage…
    and to be honest, I kind of hate this kind of cliffhanger… though hopefully that dragon boost will provide to be far more interesting than just a 2x multiplier…

    ps. is it just me or this resembles imagine breaker toma punch? http://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2028.jpg

    • January 28, 2012 at 1:13 amArcad

      Lol nice reference butya gotta remember touma punched women lol

  • January 27, 2012 at 9:28 pmomeganx

    isnt this anime RIGHt BEHIND the manga? I guessing theyre gonna do a separate storyline.

    • January 27, 2012 at 9:35 pmEr

      It’s based on an ongoing light novel that currently has 11 volumes out. There’s lots of material left so no worries about that.

  • January 27, 2012 at 9:47 pmcutemi2

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 27, 2012 at 10:04 pmgecd

    lol at Sacred Gear’s voice
    now Issei is a Kamen Rider!!!

  • January 27, 2012 at 10:35 pmsuff

    I always told people that this show is more than just fanservice and no one believed me T_T. I hope this is some solid evidence that this show is more than just that.

    • January 28, 2012 at 9:09 amboingman

      Since I don’t really take the action seriously, I have no problems with them showing a nekkid dying Asia. Demons and naked girls go hand in hand. She’ll be revived next ep. anyways.

    • January 29, 2012 at 2:48 pmmike

      Especially after volume 4 of the novel, u kind of start to wonder why are they even fighting now. I mean it why are they even fighting now. Those who read the novel will know why I said that.

  • January 27, 2012 at 10:37 pmsuff

    BTW, Issei’s Sacred Gear is actually on his left hand even though he seems right-handed. I originally thought it’s like a glove or a claw on his dominate arm, but this does not seem like the case this episode when he punched that perverted exorcist with his right fist.

  • January 27, 2012 at 10:40 pmkite

    read the light novel for detailed info on issei’s sacred gear

  • January 27, 2012 at 11:08 pmryuuzaki

    Akeno – Rias combo ♥_♥

  • January 27, 2012 at 11:19 pmRayyy

    I feel saddened by the fact the anime looks like it’ll end after Volume 2. Was hoping they’d animate volume 3. Though I can look forward to what happens next with Ise ^^.

    • January 27, 2012 at 11:43 pmbelatkuro

      Seems like it.
      I’m actually glad vol 1 will end more or less next episode since I found it a bit dull. Vol 2 is where things get really good and will be a treat for the others. And it’s also a good way to end the series.

  • January 27, 2012 at 11:29 pmkite

    I think Show Spoiler ▼

    Probably, the series will end at volume 2 after his fight with phoenix house

    • January 28, 2012 at 1:11 amArcad

      Just cause welsh is telling his story doesn’t necessarily mean that happened.

  • January 28, 2012 at 1:22 amKusano

    Issei’s scared gear has a really kickass voice. Just listen to the “DRAGON BOOSUTAAAA!” at the end of the preview.

  • January 28, 2012 at 1:50 amdeafvader

    Asia-san likes Pikachu. or something that looks like one.
    @Verdant: no comment on the trend of light-novels-about-fallen-church-that-become-anime must be defeated by the male’s right hook?

  • January 28, 2012 at 2:25 amkite

    @Arcad

    Yeah, Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 28, 2012 at 5:59 pmkurochan

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 28, 2012 at 6:01 amSnicket

    *Looks around for hidden cameras* DAMN IT STILTS! ARE YOU SPYING ON ME? I had the exact same opinion as you did on this episode. Right down to the WTF at Asia’s breast flash at the end.

    Ok thoughts of delusion and paranoia aside. This Series might shape up to be something good. I originally gauged this as another fighting fan service series, like we had last season Where the protagonist was capable of holding his ground. But hit behind some false morals and choose to let his harem do all the fighting. Only to take a page from Buse Renkin and go bazark at the end.

    Glade to see that my four episode rule, didn’t let me dismiss this series. Lets hope the protagonist keeps to his guns and doesn’t lose his resolve. And revert to a useless pervert, when this arch is finished.

    As it may just be me, but MC’s weaspon looks like a red version of Kushiya’s gauntlet Maken from the series i mentioned above. Though let’s hope this series doesn’t turn into that.

  • January 28, 2012 at 5:47 pmkurochan

    I really love Issei, he is one of the best main male lead ever! He have character development, he’s strong, not a wimpy like most male lead are now. He also don’t afraid…
    MAJOR SPOILER from the latest novel! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 28, 2012 at 9:25 pmAni_BEE

    During the arcade scene in on of the crane machines there was a little reference to Suigintou of Rozen Maiden but with red hair on the one poster.

    I’m enjoying the plot and characters although the fan service is not completely over the top to drive me away (sorry Issei your just not enough eye candy lol) I’m tankful there is not exploding clothes scene… Sorry let me rephrases that repetitive gratuitous exploding clothes scenes to make me want to slap the production team (like what happened with FREEZING)

  • January 29, 2012 at 11:16 amsealouse

    It really bothered me that Asia showed up and instead of Issei taking her to the base right away they spent the day playing around. Yep. Doesn’t make sense, but I guess if it did we wouldn’t have much of a show.

  • January 29, 2012 at 3:20 pmlucci

    This is totally random, but I am IN LOVE with that crazy priest, I hope he doesn’t die soon. He is really the sole reason I keep watching this medicore anime. He cracks me up XD

  • January 30, 2012 at 11:52 pmbeast

    @lucci
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 31, 2012 at 9:03 pmNecromas

    I was kind of hoping his power would be revealed to be the shell bullet.