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High School DxD BorN – 10 »« High School DxD BorN – 08

High School DxD BorN – 09

「ドラゴン・オブ・ドラゴン」 (Doragon Obu Doragon)
“Dragon of Dragon”

Damn, that was cool!

Crimson Emotional Crescendo

First, the not-so-good. It was obvious that Asia’s apparent death wouldn’t stick, and that she’d somehow get saved. This time it was Vali’s team and pure happenstance, but it had to be something. Which makes one roll the eyes, but we’re used to that.

Screw it, let’s talk about the good stuff. There was a lot of it this time. High School DxD is undoubtedly an emotional show; think about it too much, and it all falls apart. But when the emotions run high—whatever those emotions may be—this show can be excellent at what it does. From Xenovia’s desperate attack to Issei utterly breaking at Asia’s apparent death, it was the emotions of these scenes that worked, no matter how dodgy some of the logic might be. Screw the logic! This is working!

With Xenovia, this episode made me realize something I should have put together a while ago—that her heterosexual lifemate friendship with Asia is far more organic and natural than any baby-making desire she has with Issei. Her attack, and her relief at the end, made my heart clench. And when Issei broke … no matter how much power he has, that helps keep him from becoming a Gary Stu, because he’s not perfect. Sure, many would like to be in his position, harem-wise, but who wants to suffer pain like that? We all like to think we’d muscle though, but probably we’d break as well. That makes him less enviable, but more human. It’s what makes him him, rather than an audience stand in. That and the irrepressible perversion.

Juggernaut Drive

LN readers have been hinting at (and hyping up) the Juggernaught Drive all season, and I’m happy to say it delivered. Not only were the emotional notes there, it’s just damn cool. More dodgy plotting: Vali suddenly decides to help save Issei. Which almost kind of sort of works—it feels like these two could be friends if circumstances were different. (Or maybe they still can. We’ll see.) But the Juggernaught Drive was every bit as powerful as it was billed.

My only major complaint? Rias didn’t immediately tell Issei that Asia had survived when she went to talk sense into him. Just spit it out, girl! That’s what you claimed you had set out to do. Yeesh.

The Meaning of the Name

It’s always hard to know how much some authors plan these things ahead, but I feel pretty comfortable in saying that the original author had this Dragon of Dragon (DxD) thing in mind from the beginning. That’s a cool moment, finally knowing what the series title means, and maybe where all of this is going. Not that a lot of it still doesn’t make sense when you think about it, but like I said, the emotional notes are being hit beautifully. This show has never been for everyone, but it is a lot of fun for those who like it, especially right now.

Raynare’s Curse

Issei’s constant not-jumping-on-all-the-girls-bones-oppai is a constant source of frustration for many viewers. Like I mentioned before, the given reason in the light novels is apparently that he got killed by his first girlfriend, the fallen angel Raynare. That hasn’t been coming through well in the anime at all, but at least they’re trying this time. Now there’s some intrigue. Did Raynare leave a curse on Issei, perhaps? Maybe I’ve read too much of The Dresden Files; I don’t even know if death curses are a thing in this world. (That sounds like a Harry Potter thing too. I wouldn’t know. Never read ‘em.) But it could move things forward on the romance front now that Ophius has lifted the curse (or whatever it was).

Hey, I can hope.

Looking Ahead – Issei In Trouble

They certainly ended on an ominous note, which seems wise, because this was one hell of an event to just blow over without lasting consequences, and what’s bad for the characters is usually good for the story. Things really feel like they’re moving now, and in the good way—like a lot of interesting things are happening, not like they’re just rushing.

Good. Keep it up, DxD. You doin’ good.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – An emotional crescendo resonates as the Juggernaught Drive is unveiled, making for one of the best episodes of DxD so far #haremking s3e9

Random thoughts:

  • I like how powerful they made Sirzechs feel. He totally curbstomped that “true” satan with a harsh glare and calm words. Sometimes a fake can beat the “real” thing if the fake works harder, bitch!
  • Kaji Yuki started using his Silvermask voice when the Juggernaught Drive was spinning up. I don’t care about all the hate Kaji Yuki gets sometimes, the dude has a voice!
  • Divine Dividing. What a silly name.

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: A lifestyle designed for productivity, Practical freedom, Old to them, and Stop sending me job ideas.

Full-length images: 22, 42.

 

Preview

June 1, 2015 at 7:08 pm
48 comments »
  • June 1, 2015 at 7:26 pmPedro

    Actually, that curse Ophis was talking about was more likely the one Loki put on Ise earlier this season. That black smoke looks like a silhouette of Loki at one point. It’s also an anime original plot point so it’s hard to know.

    And about the Raynare foreshadowing, that whole thing with his being mindfucked on JD was anime original, the trauma wasn’t really evident, and only hinted at before volume 9 in the LNs. If this isn’t a good anime original addition, I seriously don’t know what is.

    In the original, JD was kind of overshadowed by a rather silly (and hilarious) event that they probably left for later this season, which would’ve been bad if it wasn’t for the rather ridiculous consequence of it’s use. Seriously, I still can’t believe the author put such a drawback, what the hell.

    That foreshadowing for Gasper though.

    Ironic how the most interesting parts of this season is rather anime original, or added foreshadowing for later events. lol

    DxD/10

    • June 1, 2015 at 7:50 pmbassgs435

      An LN reader earnestly praising the anime changes?
      You’re my hero. I’m don’t follow the LNs, just the anime and I like what they’re doing (specially these last two episodes), but almost all LN readers are really angry with the changes, so it’s a breath of fresh air to see someone who can see them in a positive light. And considering the LN author worked with the anime team to make the changes, your points make sense to me.
      Honestly, thank you for not throwing a bunch of insults at the anime because it changed some stuff

      • June 1, 2015 at 7:56 pmPedro

        Not really, by what I’ve seen it’s split 50-50. Negative opinions are just voiced more often.

        And I’ve seen FAR worse adaptations than this, seriously, everyone who’s bitching should watch the second season of Rosario+Vampire to see what a shitty adaptation really is.

      • June 1, 2015 at 8:25 pmStilts

        You’re not making me want to catch up on Rosario+Vampire, which has been on my backlog for pretty much forever >_< And is sliding lower down the list now…

      • June 1, 2015 at 8:36 pmPedro

        The manga is okay though. The first season of the anime not so much, but the second season threw any plot aside from a new character out of the window and went the “Let’s just make it made of 200% fan servicey-filler to compensate for the lack of actual plot” route.

      • June 1, 2015 at 8:40 pmKuro

        I will agree that this adaptation at least makes sense compared to the Rosario+Vampire season 2, which ruined any possibility for a sequel by butchering all major plot points.

      • June 2, 2015 at 3:51 amAex

        The praise overshadows the criticism here because this is the first time the changes haven’t felt rushed as hell. Every other time the changes could have worked they were drowned in a sense of “we didn’t fully think this through so let’s just get through it and onto something else”. Here you can tell everyone slowed down and said “ok, this is what the episode is about!”

        The only part I’ll roll my eyes at is Vali going JD when Albion himself was warning him not to just a season ago, which is maybe a month of two in-show-time. That was the only part that felt a little forced because they needed to save time, but it at least half-worked, so it’ll pass. The Rias-Issei love was good.

        It seems that next week half the episode will be anime-original, so let’s hope they keep the juju good.

      • June 2, 2015 at 6:31 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

        @Pedro

        They did the same thing with Infinite Stratos 2, but IS 2 at least has the small excuse that the source material, last I heard anyway, was on indefinite hiatus or something like that, so there wasn’t much to go on as it was, so they were much more just taking advantage of the popularity of the girls in it than trying to advance what little plot there was introduced. Rosario + Vampire, on the other hand, was far ahead in the manga from where Season 1 left off, IIRC, so it’s not like they didn’t have much to work with to make a whole, much more satisfying Season 2, even with changes.

    • June 1, 2015 at 8:45 pmAndmeuths

      The Raynare curse makes me suspect that they are actually preparing for yet another season of High School DxD. It’s a brilliant adaptation decision that lays an excellent groundwork for further character development on the part of Issei Hyoudo.

      • June 1, 2015 at 9:26 pmPedro

        The staff said themselves they’ll gladly make a season 4 and 5 if the sales are good enough. So yeah, they are more than willing to make more seasons.

      • June 2, 2015 at 3:53 amAex

        Considering that season 4 would likely cover vol 9 – 10 I really hope for at least that much, since vol 10 would make a near-perfect ending for the anime.

      • June 2, 2015 at 2:09 pmdamrod

        But to end it at volume 10 would be terrible… At 11, i can kinda see that one since it could still kinda work but to end it at volume 10? Definitely not a good point to stop.

      • June 2, 2015 at 7:14 pmAex

        No, 10 is the great ending that everyone’s waited for, 11 is the super-ultra-deluxe cliffhanger. 11 and 12 must never be separated, or risk loss of all sanity points.

      • June 3, 2015 at 4:41 amdamrod

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • June 3, 2015 at 1:17 amdaikama

      @Pedro: “And about the Raynare foreshadowing, that whole thing with his being mindfucked on JD was anime original, the trauma wasn’t really evident, and only hinted at before volume 9 in the LNs. If this isn’t a good anime original addition, I seriously don’t know what is.”

      Pretty sure I understand your statement correctly, but just to be clear, I’m assuming you mean the Raynare specific flashbacks (particularly the “Will you die for me”) are the “anime original” parts which “showed that Issei was mindfucked”, as opposed to losing his sanity/reason when going into Juggernaut Drive (“JD”) at the thought of Asia dying (which is per LN). Technically, I suppose all the flashbacks – anything from Issei’s POV, is “anime” only since they are not in the LN given that the narrative switches to Kiba’s POV once Issei goes in to JD since at that point Issei’s mind is completely gone in terms of any rational thought. He’s mentally a beast, literally unable to form words, and driven by pure emotion. It’s not until a certain song is played that he regains some mental facility and is able to actually form words. So to me the Aisa flashbacks are a “show” instead of “tell” version of what Kiba says in the LN: “Even if he lost himself, he still has the sadness of losing Asia-san within him.”

      Now I would consider the whole Reynare flashbacks “anime original”. That I did not expect to see. However, I don’t understand why that is such a “great” addition. Frankly, the whole “Will you die for me” line struck me as “off topic”. True his past with Reynare traumatizes Issei when it comes to love-love relationships, but what does that have to do with this particular situation? What triggers Issei going into JD is NOT his trauma from Raynare, but the thought of losing Asia for good. Issei does not go into JD from his Reynare “trauma”. Ever (at least in the LN). Frankly, IMO, even if Issei didn’t have “Reynare trauma”, I firmly believe he would still go into JD in this situation. Once Asia disappears, he’s pretty much “mindfucked” anyway before he even enters JD. In both the LN and anime, once Asia disappears, he wanders around with a blank state calling out to Asia. He just can’t deal with the fact she’s gone.

      Honestly, from my perspective, the Raynare flashbacks didn’t add anything. Had I been the director, I’d keep the Asia centric flashbacks (including the part where Reynare kills Asia since that’s part of “Asia’s story with Issei”), but honestly I would have left the “Will you die for me” part out. Separate issue IMO. Maybe they could do a better job of connecting cause to effect with that since it seems the the lack of sex in HS DxD bothers some viewers, but they didn’t do that here. Issei going into JD is all about “losing” Asai. Reynare has nothing to do with it.

      ————————

      In the original, JD was kind of overshadowed by a rather silly (and hilarious) event that they probably left for later this season, which would’ve been bad if it wasn’t for the rather ridiculous consequence of it’s use. Seriously, I still can’t believe the author put such a drawback, what the hell.

      I’m not entirely clear on this statement. The way I read it, “the rather ridiculous consequence of it’s use. Seriously, I still can’t believe the author put such a drawback, what the hell.” part refers to the consequence of using JD. Assuming that is correct, I strongly disagree with your statement. JD is surpassing normal limits to temporarily obtain power that rivals god. It’s like running an engine on high turbocharger/supercharger overboost + nitrous oxide. Parts wear out a LOT faster – if they don’t break during use. You’re greatly exceeding normal limits, and there are repercussions for doing so.

      So IMO, in terms of the story, it makes a LOT of sense, otherwise both sacred gears would be too OP from the start. Just run around in JD all the time since there are no consequences, and in that state, you pretty much pawn all but the strongest gods. And yes, I know what happens later, but the fact there are limits for JD makes the later events all the more special and unique (as they are supposed to be) not to mention there’s a nice progression to it all. The “drawback” (i.e. consequences) also makes a ton of sense from Issei’s perspective since he’s originally normal human (excluding sacred gear). Can’t remember if they explained why Vali can use JD so much more easily in the anime, but the LN did a fine job of explaining the difference between him and Issei.

      • June 3, 2015 at 2:00 amdaikama

        @Pedro: “And I’ve seen FAR worse adaptations than this, seriously, everyone who’s bitching should watch the second season of Rosario+Vampire to see what a shitty adaptation really is.”

        Didn’t see this before I posted and to be thorough, probably should address this as well. I’ve watched “Rosario to Vampire Season 2″, and I agree it wasn’t good. I’ve also seen worse adaptations than this, but so what? So what? That’s irrelevant from my perspective. Just because there are worse adaptations (or even anime) doesn’t fix anything or make this any better. Period. Is that really the standard now? “Hey it’s not the worst anime/adaptation ever so it’s all good”. IS Season 2 was pretty bad IMO, but I’ve watched in dropped worse so I guess it’s fine now? No criticism allowed?

        If we are going to make comparisons, the most relevant IMO are the first two seasons of HS DxD and the original source materiel. IMO compared to those, this current season significantly sub-par. Period – that’s all there is to it. They skipped entirely some of the things I looked forward to the most, the presentation is rushed, and at times choppy. Stuff just happens too often. The humor isn’t there – a lot of the fun and charm to me in this series has been lost this season.

        To me it’s just not as good period, and thing is that you had not one, but TWO seasons of what a lot of people (including myself) thought were good adaptations – good enough for a third season. I haven’t commented much because at this point, I’m bing watching at this point and just caught up – for now. Disappointing is disappointing, and that’s what this is. That and frustrating because had they just stuck to the adaptation method for the first two seasons, I’d be enjoying this season a lot more.

      • June 3, 2015 at 4:09 amPedro

        JD is a berserk mode that pretty much is caused by the grudge and despair of the past possessors, him having hallucination with the worst experience of his life makes perfect sense. It wasn’t caused by his trauma, but the trauma served as an extra fuel for the JD curse, that’s what I mean.

        I said ridiculous in a rather positive meaning. It’s something that just made me go WTF because I never expected such a draw back. It was a good kind of ridiculous. (Maybe it’s just me mistranslating the word, if it’s the case, sorry)

      • June 3, 2015 at 4:21 amPedro

        About your second comment:

        They didn’t cut anything vital for the overall plot, heck they even got rid of the most useless plot point in the series (Reverse) which simply was forgotten after volume 6.

        About the “adaptation formula” of the first 2 seasons: They’d need to do a “3 volumes Season” at some point, either now or mix volume 7 with volumes 9 and 10. If they kept doing the 2 volumes per season, they’d end up with a season 6 ending the 3rd arc (v12) and starting the 4th arc (v14), and there’s no way they’d be able to complete the 4th arc in 1 court seasons because it’s too long. And if I have to choose between v5 and v9-10 suffering cuts, I’ll choose the former any day, every day.

        Aside from the way they handled Akeno’s arc, there’s really nothing bad about any of the changes.

      • June 6, 2015 at 10:10 pmdaikama

        @Pedro: Sorry if this is “TL:DR” long, but I wanted to give reasons why I strongly disagree with you on some points.

        I’m honestly a bit dumbfounded for you to reduce vol. 05′s ratings game to only “reverse” let alone consider that a “plot point”. There’s a lot IMO to the Rias vs. Sona ratings game beyond the action. For “reverse” there are two major “plot points” which do NOT go away by vol. 06. First, the Grigori/Fallen Angels are now mass producing artificial sacred gear, which plays a significant role from here on. Second, like that entire rating game, the “reverse” scene illustrates some important shortcomings with both Team Gregory and Rias as it’s leader – also which do NOT “go away” in vol. 06. Rias learns a HARD lesson about herself which lingers for several volumes. The members of Team Gregory learn something about themselves and how the act as a team – which does matter for later battles, and the anime just by passes all that.

        That’s on top of overall presentation and things outside Team Gregory (including some important side characters – unless you consider side characters “unimportant”). That ratings game is an important stepping stone in the whole “power-up” scheme, and all of those details add richness/depth to the story, which IMO help to separate HS DxD from the mass of mundane/mediocre in its genre (and some outside). Only the “really important stuff” (which again we differ on what’s “important”) doesn’t work for me anymore than CliffsNotes the Anime™ works for me. Honestly, I utterly sick and tired of overly rushed, “ESPN SportsCenter Highlights” styled “adaptations”.

        Instead, with HS DxD anime, it just throws in “Oh, there’s a troublesome god – please take care of it young devils”. As others have mentioned… it’s a bit hard to swallow that they just hand this off to Team Protagonist at this point in the story. Doing so, IMO is pretty cliche’ writing (not that the series doesn’t have some of that already). One thing I like about HS DxD is the pacing of events. There’s good linear progression to what happens and what Team Gregory does, and I think that’s strong point of the series. Anime mucked that up. And yeah, personally I liked that ratings game on simply an enjoyment level. More fun to read for me than vol. 06 – Juggernaut Drive or not, or vol 07. It was a good battle with some nice tactics on Sona’s end (which again DOES play a role in the story going forward) on top of all the other things I mentioned.

        As for the “excuse” of “they need to do xyz for the 3rd, 4th, etc. arc” – IF they get two more seasons. That’s not guaranteed, but putting that aside, if you want to argue that, that does NOT explain the approach taken – WTF does the anime original Loki curse add? So far – nothing IMO, and unless they make some major changes, it’s ultimately a dead end… one that takes up valuable time given this season’s pacing. Rather than jumbling elements of volume 05/07 + dubious anime only additions, they could have stuck to the source and compressed the volumes in order as is as best they could… which is pretty much what they’ve done with this arc (minor JD flashback tweaks aside).

        So when you post “Aside from the way they handled Akeno’s arc, there’s really nothing bad about any of the changes.”, while I agree that Akano’s arc could have been handled better, that by far IMO is NOT the only thing wrong with this season’s adaptation. Again, I think this all comes down to what we like about the story and what we perceive as “important”, and our opinions widely diverge on that topic. Furthermore, this adaptation and the level of presentation has lost a lot of the charm of the original series. It’s mediocre at best (I’m “bing watching this”) – nothing special, and for me that’s disappointing. DanMachi is rushing through source material at an even faster rate, but the overall presentation of what it keeps IMO is consistently better, and they are not wasting valuable time adding dubious anime only additions. It’s also keeping an appropriate balance of serious and non-serious moments which this season’s adaptation of HS DxD IMO is failing to do. It’s lost some of the fun/whimsy the series has, and it NEEDS that. This is NOT a series which works well with a predominantly serious tone/approach. Way too many silly/nonsensical things going on to take the story as a whole seriously.

        —————–

        As for JD: Frankly the whole flashback deal didn’t add much for me. It did nothing to add to my understanding of JD which the LN over time explains in spades. Personally, given how the “curse” works, I would think the “voices of the past” would also be going through his head – egging him on to succumb to negative emotions, “take revenge for Asia”, etc., etc. Succumb to power which rivals god ’cause that’s what JD is – being drunk on power. Lose yourself in that power. Chose the path of “Tyrant” (aka “domination” – that word is used repeatedly for a reason) and not the “path of the King” (again which is consistent with the LN). Honestly, I never considered Issie’s POV during this scene as anything important given how it plays out, what it is, and the fact it all gets explained in great detail later. Actually, I don’t recall anything in the LN to suggest that past trauma is a precondition to JD – just simply the desire for power and domination. Meh, there’s quite a bit I could write here, but getting (too) long as it is. At any rate, if the anime wants to add a bit of proverbial salt for seasoning in the form of Asia flashbacks and Issei’s POV – fine. No problem on my end, but personally, not a big deal either if the anime didn’t add Issei’s POV. Would have worked just fine per LN IMO.

        However, the problem is that adding the Raynare parts mucks things up. You don’t need more “JD fuel” – PLENTY of “fuel” with Asia being gone (You could have the “voices of the past”/curse as “added fuel” if that’s really necessary). Adding Raynare flashbacks – especially the “Will you die for me” part, obfuscates what’s going on. It’s misleading to the extent you have at least one anime-only viewer suggests a “Raynare’s Curse” (see Stilts’ review above). Frankly, from an anime-only viewpoint, I can totally see why that conclusion would be made. It’s just as “logical”, if not more so, as bad memories = “JD fuel” given the presentation. The way it’s presented strongly implies that ALL his dealings with Raynare (even BEFORE he met Asia) are some how wrapped up together with JD in a cause/effect manner which is NOT the case. Again, Asia “death” = JD. Period. There is NO “Reynare Curse” unless the anime really starts to change things. I simply cannot consider such an addition (paraphrasing) “as good as any anime original addition” as you suggest.

  • June 1, 2015 at 8:37 pmKuro

    Juggernaut Drive looks a little different from what I imagined, but still very cool. I was not expecting them to increase about five times in size.

    Now I’m waiting to see Show Spoiler ▼

    That being said, no Oppai Dragon song makes me sad…

    Stilts edit: Tag your spoilers, ladies & gents.

    • June 1, 2015 at 8:51 pmPedro

      At first I was a bit disappointed too, but imagine if they put it in the finale together with that absurdity from volume 7. Imagine how friggin’ hilarious it’d be. Damn, my kidneys will hurt a lot. xD

  • June 1, 2015 at 9:04 pmGinobi47

    wtf have they done?!

    There are suppose to be 2 highlights in this episode, the juggernaut drive and the oppai dragon song! Where the hell is my oppai song?!

    Oh well. We cant have everything. thankfully, this episode exceedingly well

    http://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20BorN%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2016.jpg

    I applaud how they delivered the juggernaut drive scene. PowerOverwhelming baby

    http://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20BorN%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2012.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20BorN%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2019.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20BorN%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2020.jpg

    Another big plus for me is Ophis. Anyone who can present a good goth loli gets a gold star and 3 pedo bear cookies in my book.

    ps: Ophis looks delicious….. you can call the police now

    • June 2, 2015 at 7:18 amPontai

      It’s a he :)))

      • June 2, 2015 at 11:08 amdamrod

        Technically, Ophis has no gender…
        As noted in the later novels, Ophis is both male and female depending on what she wants to be at that moment. Not sure why Ophis doesn’t just stick to a single gender, Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 1, 2015 at 10:15 pmPtolemaios00

    Juggernaut Drive hype!
    Longinus Smasher hype!
    Ophis X bandaid bra hype!
    Great Red hype!

    This episode was just plain great. This is pretty much the starting point of everything awesome about this series.

    A lot more spoiler hypes:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 1, 2015 at 10:48 pmKerozenpy

    • June 1, 2015 at 11:52 pmManman

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 1, 2015 at 11:01 pmIncognito

    I’ve never seen that much concentrated rage since the Rogue Titan. *cough*seiyuujoke*cough*

    Anyway, I wonder if Loki’s curse “feeds” upon the insecurities/hangups of the one being cursed (i.e.: Issei being betrayed by Raynare) and uses it to mess with his/her head. If that’s the case, the whole curse thing makes sense.

    Also, it was mentioned that the Juggernaut Drive transformation (despite being so damn powerful) was considered an “incomplete” one. Is Loki’s curse also to blame for that, or is it because (despite being resurrected as a devil and taking multiple levels in badass) Issei is still a “squishy human” at his core? (Which would kind of build up to that…”spoiler-heavy scenario” in the light novel…)

    And finally, I can’t mention Ophis without pointing out that she’s practically walking around bare-chested–with her nipples covered by strips of (what I assume to be) duct tape… With all the distractions offered by a plethora of boobs in this show, Ophis’ minimally-covered chest had to be the most distracting. XD

  • June 1, 2015 at 11:45 pmManman

  • June 1, 2015 at 11:48 pmMechamorph

    I must say while I find the anime original additions a bit hit and miss, I am impressed by how the animators and seiyuu have brought a lot of the emotion to the show. High School DxD runs on hot blood and so far it delivers. Now I truly hope for seasons 4 and 5, praying to see how the cast will handle the events surrounding LN volume 12. If there ever was a series of events that would stretch the cast’s dramatic acting muscles it would be vol 11-12. Sadly that would likely be in a hypothetical season 6 or 7. orz

  • June 2, 2015 at 12:49 amRedRocket

    Very cool episode and making a ok reason for Issei not to have indulged himself so far.

    Thanks for the explanation last week Stilts, yes Issei’s original hairum idea was sexist fantasy as it treated girls as objects. It is the lead actually wanting a hairum type of story that can contain this chauvinistic idea. The most common type of hairum stories are around the male and female fantasy of having lots of suitors without trying to have more than one and normally end undecided or with a couple formed. The real hairum stories because of the need to dance around the sex part end up really developing the females as people as they end up telling the story of the relationships between women and with the male in a non controlling way.

    With Issei his sexist concept keeps tripping over the fact that he wants to treat everyone as real human beings and Issei is completely incapable of the manipulations needed to trap women in a hairum. Of course this makes Issei very loved by the females around him and might get him the non chauvinistic form of hairum he did not envision having but might end up with. Now I could go on why that is not chauvinistic unless you want to shove bisexuals under the bus but there are plenty of real chauvinistic things like dress break to chew on. But I can enjoy a what I call a sexist but also not tale common in anime like this as many of the females are shown as powerful, intelligent free agent beings.

    To bad the mythology used is so male dominated, need to bring Belldandy (the way you make Verðandi useable in Japanese) and her sister Norns in to keep Odin in check as they actually are the most powerful beings in Norse mythology basically being all powerful. (yes Belldandy in Ah My Goddess is actually the full power Norn of the present in her true form without limiters)

    Note the spell corrector on random curiosity refuses to accept hairum as a word.

    • June 2, 2015 at 4:07 amAex

      Unless the MC is a king or other such authority in a position of power (and then even then sometimes depending on the genre), most harems in anime tend to evolve like Issei into ones with the ladies in charge. For that not to happen and still keep even some sense of realism, the girls would need to be in a position where they don’t have much choice to be there or the man has a violent streak, as anything else would result in infighting instead of sisterhood(which both have an even percentage of in actual harems of today).

      So for a harem to be heartwarming like what they’ve been going for from the start with Issei, the chauvinism was always going to be rubbed off. Now if it ever rubs off completely and he actually realizes that he already has a harem, that’ll be shocking. Even in the LN he’s still getting there. Honestly I think it’s because he’s subconsciously attached a subservient or degrading connotation to the idea of a girl being in his harem that he isn’t willing to apply to the Gremory girls or Irina. He wants a harem, but he doesn’t really want girls to be subservient to him(like you said, he wants everyone to be equal), yet he thinks that’s what they’d need to be for it to be considered a harem, so once again, he’s shooting himself in the foot.

    • June 2, 2015 at 7:57 amStilts

      @ RedRocket

      No problem.

      One clarification: I was referring to the story basis of nearly all harem anime as inherently chauvinistic. That doesn’t mean the characters are; as you rightly note, many harem leads are actually looking for a single girlfriend, they just have an embarrassment of suitors. It’s the story basis of one man collecting a bevy of beautiful women all for himself (like they’re pokemon or something) that’s inherently chauvinistic. As long as that’s recognized though, I find it perfectly okay to enjoy the ensuing story.

      (All this is true of female-led harems as well, by the way.)

      (And Pokemon is pretty messed up for other reasons.)

      • June 2, 2015 at 12:02 pmRedRocket

        Now I’m confused there is no collection in most hairums. In fact these tales only differ from what happens in real life in groups in that the target of the multiple suitors is not the most popular member for traditional reasons of the opposite sex. Maybe this is referring to the wrong assumption that the fantasy of collecting a bunch of the opposite sex is in play. In real life no collection is involved the multiple suitors choose on their own to pursue the desirable target and the same in these stories. In most hairums the fantasy in play is the I’m somehow the popular guy/girl that everyone wants there is no possession involved unless the story starts transitioning to the rarer I’m going to keep them all type of story. The misuse of the term hairum to describe these stories is actually causing a misunderstanding. Is it a worry that all fans are like me who prefer the actually want’s a hairum type of story are writing fan fiction at least in our heads making the suitors willing to share. Is their an unfamiliarity that a lot of these stories are based off of dating games where often you can never end up with more than one of the choices? Is it sexism for us “losers” to want have what the popular man and women in our society actually have?

        Now in real life things can turn sexist and abusive if the popular target starts lying and playing several of the people chasing them but this does not happen normally in anime.

        What is the story supposed to do have the hero tell all the people pursuing them to buzz off it’s setting a bad example and for them to declare celibacy and condemn anyone seeking a relationship with them, or pick the first suitor regardless of compatibility?

      • June 2, 2015 at 12:59 pmStilts

        You misunderstand. It’s not that most harem leads are collecting haremettes, it’s that the author is constructing a story where that (by default in the genre) happens. The main male (or female) character can be entirely blameless in it, but the story setting which he and the other characters inhibit is usually, to some degree, sexist. That’s because it’s constructed specifically so that he can be a harem lead.

        Here’s how I think about it. Take Log Horizon. In that story, it never feels like Akatsuki, Minori, or Henrietta are Shiroe’s haremettes, nor even his romantic interests. Their feelings, as a plot point, are not about Shiroe being loved. They’re about them loving Shiroe. Their feelings are THEIR story, nor Shiroe’s. In contrast, all the girls who love Issei are about the viewer stepping into his shoes and imagining themselves there. Those characters are accessories to that goal.

        Honestly, if you’re not following where I’m going with this, don’t worry about it. I’m pretty deep in the weeds from a storytelling point of view. You get the general idea—that a guy trying to collect a harem is inherently somewhat chauvinistic; all I’m saying is that an author constructing a story to make that happen is chauvinistic as well. Not necessarily a lot, or even reproachably so, but somewhat. That’s all.

  • June 2, 2015 at 3:15 amdamrod

    While i agree that the juggernaut part was awesome as hell, Vali his Juggernaut form is an anime-original since they never showed that one. The one we do get to see of him in the LN is Volume 11 and that is a different form of juggernaut.

    One thing i did find a bit lacking was that the chant for Issei his juggernaut drive was spoken rather bland, as if he was just reading a menu out loud instead of a chant that could unleash terrible destruction. Other than that, it was actually better done than i had expected honestly ^_^ Especially with the size-difference of before and after the transformation.

    Oh and stilts, if you enjoyed this version of juggernautShow Spoiler ▼

    As for Sirzechs and a certain other maou lets hope they can do those two justice when they reveal how strong those really are Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 2, 2015 at 3:17 amYato

    This episode had me totally mindfu****. A lot of new things were revealed without making much sense.

    - New bad guys, supposedly the real inheritors of satan, pulling the strings behind the scenes, crushed immediately, um okay?
    - Vali actual enemy of Issei, just helping out real quick like no big deal, kinda odd?
    - Dragon of Dragon, new goal to get stronger than them, so there are like godly versions of the sekiryuutei?
    - Curse of Loki/Raynare, so that was just basically to have Issei kill himself once he lost it, not clear at all?

    Not that I am not enjoying the show, just all these things coming together and being resolved/revealed this way feel quite far fetched and abrupt to me.

    • June 2, 2015 at 3:22 amYato

      Plus the whole story around Ophis has me totally confused as well. Not sure even who has which goal in DxD anymore and how all that stuff is supposed to go hand in hand.

    • June 2, 2015 at 3:32 amSK

      The original Maou were killed at some point during the war, just like God was. Their names were passed down to the current ones, like Sirzechs and Serafall, as inherited titles for the strongest current Devils. The Old Maou faction, which is part of the terrorists, are the descendants of the original Maou, and they believe they are the true inheritors of the Maou, and thus see the ones with the titles as usurpers whom they want to kill/overthrow.
      Vali is more or less a battle freak, and he wants Issei to get stronger and become a worthy opponent for him. He is more of a rival than an enemy, despite the deadly fate between the two dragons.

    • June 2, 2015 at 5:58 amPedro

      They aren’t new, they were introduced in season 2 with Ketleya.(or whatever that bitch was called)

      Imagine Vali as the Sixth Power Ranger. He’s not really the best friend of the protagonists but he helps them occasionally. Most of the time he’s just doing his own thing.

      The curse is anime original so I can’t say what it was for, but apparently it isn’t over yet, so let’s see how this turns out.

    • June 2, 2015 at 8:06 amStilts

      @ Yato

      As I mentioned in my post, while the emotions are right, the plot starts to get shifty FAST when you look at it too long. Which isn’t an apology for it, but, well, all stories are flawed. This one has some major flaws, but it also has some major strengths. Probably best to focus your attention on the strengths so at least you can enjoy it.

  • June 2, 2015 at 6:25 amTreyon

    No Oppai Dragon song… EPIC FAIL!!! That was the part when Oppai Dragon is known to the world!

    • June 2, 2015 at 6:46 amPedro

      With that Reynare mindfuck scene added, it wouldn’t have worked as well as the LN, the mood was a lot more serious in the anime. They will put it later anyway, so there’s no real reason to complain.

  • June 2, 2015 at 9:25 amYanDaMan

    You know what this show always lacked? A goth loli.

    Now the problem has been rectified :3

    • June 2, 2015 at 10:17 amPedro

      It also lacks the twins trope.

      • June 2, 2015 at 10:30 amAex

        Rasier has chainsaw-wielding twins, remember.

  • June 2, 2015 at 5:33 pmNameless422

    Darn it no Oppai Dragon song. You know what that means?

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 4, 2015 at 9:55 amcookievalenzuela666

    - this is like the 4th episode in a row with issei man crying and its getting on my nerves, of all the things they chose to leave out, why not leave out some of that?

    - it’s been fun watching the other girls get closer to issei (especially akeno), but let’s not forget who’s #1, this episode did a real good job in reminding us why rias will always be first, the way she fearlessly goes after issei was definitely one of the highlights for me