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High School DxD BorN – 05 »« High School DxD BorN – 03

High School DxD BorN – 04

「迎撃、開始です!」 (Geigeki, kaishidesu!)
“Interception, Commence!”

On the one hand, the episode felt abrupt—suddenly there’s a climactic battle that the powerful characters couldn’t take care of for reasons. On the other hand, the battles were great, the character growth was satisfying, and the ending … cliffhanger, DAMN!

Suddenly, A Major Battle

I heard tell that season three is skipping around, and this stuff is from a later volume than the events of last episode. Which I don’t have a problem with if it’s done for a reason, and done well—a story should be adapted to its medium, rather than directly ported over, because each medium has different strengths and weaknesses. But you have to do it well, and the first half of this episode felt abrupt.

Last episode felt like the end of a crisis, not the immediate prelude to a larger one. The reasons for why Rias’ and Souna’s teams went instead of the big shots who were all over this place also barely passed muster. LN readers, I know—their powers are so great that they would trigger the war or destroy the world or whatever. Like I said, they barely passed muster. It’s just galling when all the big shots are right there and don’t act because of reasons that feel so clearly contrived. Then there’s the tonal shift from powering up via breast pokes last episode, to full-on life-and-death, the-world-is-on-the-line struggles this time. I like that DxD can encompass both of those, but we need an episode or two in between.

The Character Development Is Real

Yet for all the odd stitch marks on the first part of the episode, I enjoyed the second half a lot. Part of it was seeing the realization of Koneko-chan’s and Akeno’s growth, even if Koneko-chan’s was tied in part to her feelings for Issei, which once again felt abrupt. (And after I was praising the show for taking it slow last week, ugh.) I like how Koneko-chan’s struggles jived with Akeno’s struggles, so them both making breakthroughs at the same time was satisfying.

I also enjoyed all the character combinations and interactions. Xenovia and Irina back together was great, while Saji getting a thank you from Souna was adorable. Nothing beats Kiba-kun complimenting Tsubaki, though, and her blushing. I can ship them, right? Right? SHIPPING FURIOUSLY!!

Oh Hi, Fenrir

The moment when Fenrir took out Issei was well done. One of the great things visual mediums can do is control the pace so we don’t see the punch until it lands. A good example is The Dark Knight, where:

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Here, Fenrir broke free of Kiba-kun’s balance breaker, and then the hammer appeared, and—chomp. There wasn’t enough time to consider that a possibility until it had already happened. A book can do this too, but since the reader controls the pace, this is something a movie or TV show excels at. It was well done.

Then add on everyone crying for Issei, with Rias most of all. (Bonus: It’s the guy getting hurt to inspire a roaring rampage of revenge (trope!) from the girl, for once.) The feeeeels!

Looking Ahead – I Guess This Death Won’t Stick Long

I’m annoyed that they showed Issei alive in the preview. I would never expect Issei to stay dead for long, but I can think of stories that made me worry the main character had died—which I can’t mention, because holy hell spoilers—and that made it nearly impossible to not watch/read the next instalment as quickly as possible. Make us doubt, if even just for a while, and we could have wondered if Issei would spend some time dead, spend major time in the hospital, be somehow hobbled by this injury, or even gone altogether … but no, he’s back immediately, apparently. Bah! Ball dropped on that one.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – An abrupt first half gives way to awesome battles & a gut-wrenching turn in the second. Issei, nooo! #haremking s3e4

Random thoughts:

  • This feels obvious now, but I would have said this at the beginning of the episode too: Should have taken Asia. Who leaves their healer behind? Bakas.
  • It’s interesting to compare the gods (and satans, and whatever) in DxD to the ones in DanMachi. Here the socio-political situation is interesting, and it’s a good backdrop for Issei & co’s adventures, but the gods in DanMachi are such better characters. They’re a lot more central to the story, granted, but every time I see DxD Loki, I’m struck by how every other version of Loki I’ve ever seen is more interesting than this one, the DanMachi one most certainly included. Still, I suppose he does his job.
  • I feel like they had a crappy team comp for most of the battles. The two knights are on Fenrir, while the two tankiest fighters are on some chump wolf, and four casters are dealing with the dragon. Mix in Koneko or Issei on Fenrir to keep him contained better, then take Xenovia, Kiba, and one of the Kings/Queens on the dragon and focus fire the two little dogs down one after another. Soon you’ve got a max of three enemies, counting Loki, and maybe Issei doesn’t get chomped. Where did all that studying go, Rias!

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Schrödinger’s Skill, Pricing: Ebooks and print, Happiness is low overhead, and People as things.

Full-length images: 02, 03, 23, 37, 41.

 

Preview

April 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm
44 comments »
  • April 26, 2015 at 3:44 pmSilentCid

    He can’t die, he didn’t have sex with each of them!

  • April 26, 2015 at 3:55 pmTreyon

    Things are no longer the same as the novel, here they rushed things like there is no tomorrow, not bringing asia was a huge mistake… its way, WAY much better in the novel…
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 26, 2015 at 4:01 pmPedro

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 26, 2015 at 4:16 pmKuro

        I would have to disagree with you.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 26, 2015 at 4:28 pmPedro

        The author himself said the anime will be different from the LN at certain points this Season, no surprises there. He also said he’s satisfied with the end result.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 26, 2015 at 5:29 pmGary29

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 26, 2015 at 7:18 pmMgMaster

      Yup! As much as I like DxD, it doesn’t really shine when it takes itself too seriously. I’m not just talking about our weekly dose of oppai here but there needs to be at least some comedy, some witty(and usually pervy) remarks from Issei.

      Though of course, I understand the need of such eps every once in a while but the skipping around was easily noticeable for a non-LN reader like myself too and not in a good way. Everyone became stronger and is showing it…a bit abrupt but okay, can deal with that. What’s totally not okay is Akeno’s quick self-acceptance – like wth? One of the most popular characters can’t be treated like that. Address her issues properly DxD!

    • April 26, 2015 at 9:30 pmdaikama

      Treyon (above post): “…its way, WAY much better in the novel…

      This ^ Rushed, overly compressed/busy, choppy, and perhaps even convoluted at times as a bunch of stuff just happens so we can warp speed ahead with multiple plot lines. Sooooo much rapid fire exposition interrupting the flow of battle. For me, the battle was quite choppy rather than anything dramatic or exciting. I honestly felt as if I was watching some master checklist being completed for a number of plot lines/story developments rather than a story being told: Sona’s dream (check); Irina becoming a reincarnated angel (check); Rossweisse <3 introduction (check); Saji's power up (check); etc. The LN has a much better, more natural progression when it comes to these things – including which battles are fought when. Partial credit for some character development, but even that suffered from the rushed presentation IMO. Watching it came across as too much "Never mind. I'm good with it now. Fighto!"

      Sad to state this, but for me the adaptation quality (more precisely lack thereof) has relegated HS DxD S3 into the realm of the utterly mundane. At times, there are glimpses of what makes the series IMO a benchmark for its genre… I think. Perhaps I'm just mentally filling in blanks from reading the LN as I watch. Not sure. Regardless, what was once anticipation entering the third season has been replaced with pure apathy. So far, this "adaptation" has removed a lot of what I liked about the series overall (including the SoL/comedy moments). I was looking forward to the Ratings Game in Vol. 05, but I guess that’s off the table now. :/ Even if it is included later, some of the little surprises/twists during that match are now spoiled IIRC because of all the rush and/or mixing of arcs.

      Is HS DxD S3 terrible? IMO, no. I’d still rank it above last season’s ecchi harem LN offerings (plus Isuca). That being said, I struggled to finish one of those last season so the bar here is very low, and TBH, I’m not sure by exactly how much HS DxD S3 clears said bar. So far I have to rate Danmachi’s anime ahead of HS DxD S3. IMO, Danmachi is a better anime and a better adaptation (in a sense two different things) though like HS DxD S3, I think Danmachi would materially benefit from a slower adaptation pace. Regardless, I’m definitely enjoying Danmachi more thus far (FYI – I’m also spoiled for Danmachi as well so it’s not a matter of “not spoiled vs. being spoiled”).

      • April 26, 2015 at 9:31 pmdaikama

        LOL. Didn’t intend this to be a reply post, but whatever.

      • April 27, 2015 at 8:25 amAoihoshikage

        I really enjoyed S1 and S2 of the DxD anime because while the story moved fast, it still covered most of the character growth and plot. Basically it was right on the edge of rushing, but never went over. However, this season seems to have gone right over the edge and down the cliff. It’s become the stuff-as-much-as-you-can-into-each-episode-and-let-the-novel-fill-in-the-details. I mean, Isse’s training with Tannin was basically an afterthought? They might make it up with an OVA, but now glossing over Akeno’s story? And now the Loki fight? I’m still hoping S3 can redeem itself seeing as it apparently has the author’s approval, but yeah, I’m sad that we’re losing all the nice tidbits that made High School DxD such a great series.

        The DxD anime should have been planned as one of those long Shounen series (like 12 eps per volume would have fleshed out all the lovely details from the novels) instead of the 6 per volume that was seasons 1 and 2. This season seems to be compressing 1 volume into 3 episodes now…Maybe in 10 or 20 years they’ll do a “DxD Reborn” remake (just dreaming)…

  • April 26, 2015 at 3:57 pmPedro

    Rias said clearly that she wouldn’t let him die, so he’s just unconscious. With 3 holes the size of plates in his body and losing blood at a terrifying pace. But not dead yet.

    • April 26, 2015 at 8:03 pmStilts

      Aye, that’s true. They could have let us worry, though. That kind of worrying makes it more satisfying when he makes it through.

  • April 26, 2015 at 4:17 pmKuro

    http://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20BorN%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2003.jpg

    With that figure and mature look, it’s easy to forget that Rossweisse is the same age as Rias and the other occult club members.

    • April 26, 2015 at 5:55 pmIncognito

      Let Rossweisse fill the “mature onee-san” niche, we seriously need more of those. (A mature onee-san with a youthful beauty and slight innocence [if the ED is any indication] on par with little sister characters? It’s the best of both worlds!)

      Besides, she’s got those to die for, hubba hubba… Mmm…

    • April 26, 2015 at 11:38 pmewok40k

      Rossweisse has NO BOYFRIEND.
      Actually she has not have one at all yet.

      Where can I get her phone number? Odin-sama?

  • April 26, 2015 at 4:23 pmKrant

    Wow. I haven’t seen anime episode that butchered source material like that since Zero no Tsukaima F… Anyone knows how HDxD fans in Japan reacted to this?

    • April 26, 2015 at 4:30 pmPedro

      A guy in the wikia said the responses in Twitter were positive and that the pre-order numbers increased a lot.

  • April 26, 2015 at 4:53 pmmythnut

    It was a good episode for Saji, though.

  • April 26, 2015 at 5:18 pmAex

    “Better than I feared, worse than I hoped.” That suits this episode perfectly.

    Plenty of griping to be done. First is the most obvious that Stilts pointed out: Asia. Seriously, you go in knowing it’s going to be an endurance match until the trump card shows up, and who do you leave behind? The healer. That’s just screaming that the episode was going to end with someone mortally wounded for impact.

    Next is the good-old “Shut up and fight!” that anime often suffers from. Is that a trope? It should be. “I’ll explain later!” *explains .5 seconds later* …Really Irina?

    The last big complaint is that both Saji and Issei got the shaft compared to source material when it came to their moments of badassery. Show Spoiler ▼

    Basically they both got down-graded from a “F*ck Yeah!” to an “Oh, Cool.”

    I do like how Rias was made more relevant. Rather than more of her “glass-cannon” role, she was acting a bit more like a real “King”. Though we were back to her having zero tactical-sense like usual, though.

    Stilts, ship Yuuto x Tsubaki. WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT!!! XD

    • April 26, 2015 at 8:10 pmStilts

      If you have healer (or barrier casters, ala Kannagi in Log Horizon or one of the main characters in my book), you can’t just sideline them like that without it being @$%& aggravating. They either still need to be fighting (just somewhere else), or they need to be knocked out of commission (preferably because they protected people SO MUCH that they ran out of juice) for the others to be put in more direct mortal danger.

      If they had brought Asia along, and she had been healing people constantly, and she was running low on power, and then that big attack hit and she used up pretty much all her reserves to keep people alive, and then she can barely stand and Issei gets hit? And then she stumbles over, tries to heal him, but she’s so out of power her sacred gear just sputters, she can’t do anything, she’s just crying over him wishing she could help, wishing their was something she could do…

      Imagine that. Woulda been better, right?

      • April 26, 2015 at 9:48 pmdaikama

        @Stilts: Depends upon the role really. Not every healer is a “battle cleric”, and there is some realism in that (e.g. WWII medics). Asia’s ability is an important (and highly desirable) one. Besides, it’s not like things turned out well as it was, and you have just about everyone else going “Noooooo! Isseiiiiii!” anyway.

        I won’t get into specific spoilers, but a big part of the issue is the mashing of volumes/arcs together along with fast pacing. As I mentioned in my above comment, there’s (IMO) a much better, more natural progression to the various character power-ups/skill improvements along with battles in the LN. WHY they decided to abandon the previous two season’s adaptation method is beyond me.

  • April 26, 2015 at 5:35 pmIncognito

    Almost got Myeh-Myeh!” *Gets wolfed by Fenrir*

    And just like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a heroic Asgardian (MCU Thor/DxD‘s Rossweisse) still tries to talk some sense into Loki.

    “This feels obvious now, but I would have said this at the beginning of the episode too: Should have taken Asia. Who leaves their healer behind? Bakas.”

    I guess Rias and company were thinking, “now that Asia’s training [back in episode 2] to use Twilight Healing from a distance is complete, maybe we can try that strategy out by leaving her behind so she can heal us from far away.”

    But then again, any strategy that’s still untested shouldn’t be tried out on the battlefield. And it wasn’t shown whether Asia’s training was a success.

    • April 26, 2015 at 8:15 pmStilts

      I think, by further away, they meant “not melee range”. In the past she’s always had to be right by them, but if she could heal them from 20 yards away? She could be healing someone while they kept fighting. That’d be powerful.

      I doubt she’ll ever be able to heal someone from another dimension. That’d be a bit imbalanced.

      About the best I can guess is they figured she would be a liability because she’s not a good combatant, but that’s stupid because then you just protect her and she protects the others. Just a dumb move.

      • April 26, 2015 at 10:28 pmIncognito

        I was under the impression that Loki and Fenrir were teleported to an isolated corner of the Underworld. Based on how big the Gremory family’s kingdom was, I’m pretty sure the Underworld is vast enough to contain the kingdoms of the other great devil families and have deserted regions to spare (perfect for reducing collateral damage). If that was the case, using Twilight Healing from long distance would have worked.

        But another dimension? Well, that clinches it. And with Rias’ party going for more damage-dealing instead of survivability (they only needed to hold out until Mjolnir arrived for Issei to use–I guess his dragon powers made him worthy of Mjolnir?), well…that happened.

        And considering how hax some abilities in DxD can get (and going by shonen logic), I assume interdimensional long-distance healing would be the next step for Asia’s training in future chapters/episodes?

      • April 27, 2015 at 12:05 amStilts

        Now that I think about it, I actually don’t have a clue where they are. They could be in the underworld still. My point was just that I don’t think Asia had trained for super long range. If she can’t see them with the unaided eye, I doubt she could heal them … and probably a lot closer than that.

        An LN reader can chime in any time here, ’cause I’m talking out of my ass… lol

      • April 27, 2015 at 1:44 amdamrod

        As far as i can remember from reading the novels, the range of Asia’s healing power is never explained. She has longer range yes, but how much farther is not known in the novels at least.
        But Show Spoiler ▼

        ( not sure if that could be considered a major spoiler so tagged to be sure)

  • April 26, 2015 at 5:59 pmGary29

    Stilts, I completely agree with the negative points you made about this episode. Although irrelevant to the anime, the real reason the higher-ups don’t handle this is because Fenrir’s fangs and claws can kill Gods, which would upset the power balance of the factions if one of them were to be killed. I couldn’t buy that excuse they gave, but it didn’t detract from the overall story. TNK has certainly improved significantly in their anime-original content work, but their dialogue and explanations leave a lot to be desired at times.

    As for Koneko, I’m actually a bit sad that they rushed her development with Ise. Anime-wise, you can say that her heartwarming speech from last episode was the climax to her seeing him as more than just an ally, but the prelude to that was disappointingly rushed or taken out. If it helps, you can take comfort in knowing that her progression to harem member in the LN is a lot smoother.

    Showing Ise in the preview was really, REALLY anti-climactic. Even though it’s most likely a flashback, it kills the mood severely. But, don’t worry. For every desire that this was played out better…

    Show Spoiler ▼

    I’ve said it on another site, and I’ll point it out here: part of what makes DxD so amazing to me is that all the intricate details tie in to make a really fluid and well-done story. Unfortunately, a lot of that had to be cut out this season, and it started to feel like a “typical shounen” in regards to Ise in the fights. He doesn’t need any help at all regenerating his wings, right? It’s not like Ddraig helps him with flying or anything…

    Ship Kiba and Tsubaki. Do it!!! Adding that touch was a really nice job on TNK’s part.

    The Gods in DxD get way better later on. Loki’s a one-time character, no one cares about him!

    Not bringing Asia along was another an odd choice which I hope they remedy in the final fight, since this is where they start to realize how reliant they are on her healing abilities. I get that they needed all their fighters to take on Fenrir and co., but why not bring along the whole Sitri group? Protecting Asia is a menial task when you have another ~4 or so people fighting Fenrir’s children or Midgardsormr.

    But for everything that was wrong, there were a ton of positives too. Sales are already looking great, and I look forward to a season 4 that will bring us back to a DxD where intricate details are everywhere and the plot is stronger than ever, the plot too.

    • April 26, 2015 at 8:28 pmStilts

      The teleporter dude said he could only send about ten people (and then sent 11 -_-), which I accepted better’n the reason they weren’t using the gods (if you’re never going to use the big guns, what’s the point in having them?). It’s their choice of who to send that I, like you, question.

      Already looking forward to season four? Damn.

      Kiba x Tsubaki 4 ever! I love B couples :3

      • April 27, 2015 at 12:43 amHalfDemonInuyasha

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Of course, I only knew this by his name and from reading a bunch of fanfics. Never actually read the LN, lol.

      • April 27, 2015 at 8:57 amStilts

        I caught who he was, I just didn’t bother to remember his name for all the reasons you mentioned.

  • April 26, 2015 at 11:48 pmdamrod

    Why couldn’t they just stick with the normal pacing of the last two seasons instead of rushing the stories of Akeno and Koneko?!

    Unless they change the rating matches as well, they kinda screwed themselves over with the matches.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Loki is not even that important, he only showed up in a single volume and never showed up after that. Show Spoiler ▼

    Not sure if i would’ve liked the switching up if i didn’t read the LN, but Koneko and Akeno accepted their power and spot in the harem far too easily in the anime >_>
    Rossweisse is still looking nice though, and you should totally ship tsubaki and Kiba!

  • April 27, 2015 at 1:48 ambakakubi

    Stilts, don’t ship Kiba & Tsubaki. You have been warned. :)

  • April 27, 2015 at 3:26 amReikakou

    Oh boy… I’ll just throw out everything that I’ve read and known from the LNs and just enjoy the nice “plots” in every episode.

    I’m having a migraine relating the anime and LN.

    The reason of fighting Loki and Fenrir was really half assed. It made those powerful demons, angels and fallen angel leaders incompetent.

  • April 27, 2015 at 7:57 amKrud

    Personally, I find this episode good if I’m viewing it as an anime watcher. I hope they can get back on track. But as one of the LN readers of it, this episode bothers me. I know that a lot of people will tell me not to worry about it but I’m just going to put what I think about it. Might have some LN comparisons as I put my thoughts about it so I’ll put it up as spoiler…
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Also, even tho they hint it early, I’m rooting for Kiba x Tsubaki

    Sorry if I sounded confusing. First time posting something this long as a reply in blogs…

  • April 27, 2015 at 8:16 amGinobi47

    Hmm…. this might be just the LN reader in me, but I find this episode unappealing.

    On the other hand, I think the anime is trying to save as much time as possible in order to get the most out of a certain Juggernaught Drive scene at Volume 6 of the LN.

    PS: I know I’m probably the only one who loves this girl but allow me to say this, SONA SITRI IS MAI WAIFU!

    http://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20BorN%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2017.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20BorN%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2018.jpg

    • April 27, 2015 at 11:58 amFabio

      No, she’s mine. :D

  • April 28, 2015 at 5:42 amSkinsthunderbomb

    I feel like the only one whose enjoying the anime for what it is. And I LOVED this episode. My only complaint is it feels a tad rushed. I hope they slow down soon.

  • April 28, 2015 at 8:22 amCeimur

    Loki was like… Oh did you guys forgot that Fenrir is a god slaying dog? So of course a low devil like you is not going to last it.
    (This is not a spoiler right? You guys actually know that right? Since that is the part of the mythology right?)

    Anyways, this episode proved that all the people who cried at this battle really likes issei romantically. (Even Kiba)
    Miscellaneous spoiler alert
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anyways, the small change or big change in plot is suprisingly good. But I still cannot help but to be disappointed.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 28, 2015 at 10:11 amPedro

      In the preview Ise mentions a technique besides Dress Break, so it’ll still be there. It’s going to be different, and I hope it has a debut worthy of it’s magnificence.

  • May 1, 2015 at 9:43 pmBlackShock_

    The LN does provide a better storytelling experience, but the anime is immensely satisfying to watch nevertheless.

  • May 2, 2015 at 12:20 pmWorldwideDepp

    Ep 05:

    It gets an 8/10 from me

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • May 2, 2015 at 12:42 pmWorldwideDepp

      btw, i hope Loki gets an better Layout in the future. He seems kind out of place, just with his Long Hair and this long White coat. Hope he has more interesting things hide under it. he is boring to look at (sorry, i am not hiding my word behind flowers)

  • May 13, 2015 at 5:53 amRed HeartGold ZX

    Good for you to include everyone but Kiba crying for Issei, Stilts. I highly disapprove male additions in Issei’s harem. Gasper is plenty enough.

  • June 4, 2015 at 5:57 amMs m

    I found all Bilder good