「対戦前夜です!」 (Taisen Zen’yadesu)
“The Night Before Battle!”

This episode was everything I like about High School DxD, and only a little of what I don’t. Can we do this all the time?

Bountiful Boo—Fanservice

Regular readers shouldn’t be surprised to hear that, when it comes to Stilts and fanservice, the more shameless, the better. Fanservice is so silly when you actually think about it that it works best when it’s taking refuge in audacity (trope!) and leaning heavily on the rule of sexy (trope!). So, yeah, I enjoyed this episode. Rias-buchou, you’re the best! (And Akeno, and and—*nosebleed*)

The only time it rubbed wrong: when Astaroth was holding Asia upside down and threatening to rape her. High School DxD has a bad habit of continuing to fetishize characters when sexual abuse is on the table, which is horrifying rather than titillating. But the rest was carefree, silly, and hawt, so overall a good job. Turns out that Stilts can be distracted by the sexy (trope!). Who knew?

(Everyone knew.)

Avoiding The Railroad Plot

What annoyed me about the Loki arc was that it was a railroad plot (trope!). The reasons given for why Issei & co had to confront Loki felt contrived, especially when the most powerful people in heaven and hell were sitting on the sidelines for reasons. Here, they avoided that mistake splendidly. Given Astaroth’s interest in Asia, using them as bait was entirely reasonable, and then we were treated to powerhouses like Odin, Azazel, and even Sairaorg actually helping! Granted, they were holding off a bunch of mooks, mostly off-screen, but at least they were still doing something.

I also appreciate how Azazel made a mistake. He never planned for Rias’ team to fight Astaroth, becuse why would he? He’s got more powerful pieces on the board. But once Asia was kidnapped (again), he didn’t argue—and now our heroes get the juiciest part once again. Splendidly done.


Another thing I liked this time was the good foreshadowing. From what’s-his-name taking over as heir after the original died in an “accident” to Sairaorg kicking ass (again), they’re at least trying to lay things out ahead of time. (And the TV guest appearance thing too, I suspect.) Vali’s hint was too blasted vague though. I wish he had said something to make me go, “Ooo, I wonder what that means?” instead of, “You unnecessarily cryptic bastard.”

But what I really found interesting was the talk of when Issei will go off on his own. I didn’t realize it was such an understood, normal thing that he would eventually do that. Now I just have to wonder who Rias will be left with once Issei takes Asia, Xenovia, and let’s face it, most of the harem with him. Mark and tag your spoilers, LN readers—I was speaking hypothetically. I’ll wait until it happens to see.

Looking Ahead – Punch This Creepy Fuck In The Dick

There’s something nice about completely reprehensible villains. I love a multi-faceted villain as much as the next guy, but sometimes you want a bastard the heroes can wholeheartedly beat the tar out of, and Astaroth was kind evil enough to oblige. I look forward to that, and what sounds like Issei’s new skill, next time.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Great fanservice, good foreshadowing, & action that avoids the railroad plot. More of this please #haremking s3e7

Random thoughts:

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: Practical freedom, Old to them, Stop sending me job ideas, and Schrödinger’s Skill.

Full-length images: 08, 10, 11, 12, 19, 24, 26, 34, 37, 38.




  1. N-No screenshot or mention of the mysterious man in the middle of the episode?

    On the Issei going off on his own topic…

    Show Spoiler ▼

    …and it’s not as common as you might think. Getting a promotion to High-class isn’t that easy, even for the Sekiryuutei.

    Kuroka-neesama too? What IS it with Issei!

    Dragon genes are too good.

    Odin looking up Akeno’s skirt was plainly perfect, and I can’t wait for Freed-kun to return. Next episode will be, without a doubt, the best episode of the season so far, Stilts… and then the episode after it will blow it away (almost literally).

      1. Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Show Spoiler ▼

      3. Show Spoiler ▼

  2. Down vote me if you want, but I feel Koneko’s 180 in personality is pretty poorly written. I’m having flashbacks to the terribleness that was Xenovia in season 2. I still don’t really understand why she just gave up on the church instantly when it was revealed that God died. This show has quickly devolved into the same harem shenanigans that are a dime a dozen. Season 1 was fantastic and actually convinced me pretty well why Rias and Asia are in love with Issei. Everything since has just went downhill. I’ll keep watching for the fanservice, but it’s a shame they couldn’t maintain the quality of season 1.

    This Guy
    1. That’s cause Xenovia wasn’t in love with Issei, she just wanted his kids. Literally. She makes the distinction, then recently, yes, she has fallen for him(kiss on the cheek was cute). She also openly ponders if she was too hasty with her decision to go devil, but being an airhead, it was believable that she would be hasty in such an absurd way after finding out that God is dead, the church has been lying to everyone for about a century, and not all devils are evil (like she’s been taught).

      I’ve also always thought they meant for Koneko’s 180 to be very cat-ish. It was a lot more gradual/natural in the LN, but the way she still goes from hot to cold is very cat-like.

      1. I don’t find “I’m an airhead” to be a good reason to give up your entire faith in an instant. I don’t find it believable at all. She was shown to be willing to do anything for the church and was even okay with killing Asia for being a traitor and becoming a devil. Koneko likewise went from hating Issei’s guts and perversion to straight up wanting his man parts and joining in the perversion. It just reeks of bad writing to me. Both of these could have easily been avoided by gradually showing changes in characters over a novel or two, but instead the author only cares about increasing Issei’s harem at every opportunity. That’s not even getting into the problems this show suffers from just like any other harem. I mean why can’t some of the females like other guys or just be friends with Issei. Why do they have to become harem mates? Like I said in my first post this show came out of the gate with its first season being well written and it has so far devolved into just a typical harem anime. It gets praised like it’s somehow better than the rest, but it’s really not anymore.

        This Guy
      2. Sounds more like you just don’t like the harem genre in general. You go into harem knowing that the main girls will all like the MC. It’s just the way it is, and even if it’s rushed in the anime version, at least here they all have reasons instead of the usual “you were nice to me once so now I love you forever!”

        Also, the girls do all change over time. You just have to notice when they go from “he’s fun to tease” to “okay, I like him”, which is around when Issei takes out Raynare(Asia), faces off with Raiser (Rias, Akeno), and when he helps Yuuto (Koneko stops hating him, Xenovia “chooses” him). Then the feelings get more serious over time, and Koneko’s gets a big boost when he protects her and her place of happiness. Whole process isn’t nearly as fast as other series.

        Anyway, agree to disagree.

      3. @ This Guy

        Read the light novel. All of the haremettes slowly fall in love to Issei there. Not as quick as what was shown in the anime adaptation. Do not rely on the anime that butchered the pacing and plot sequence.

      4. Apologies for the double post.

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      5. @ This Guy

        I don’t disagree, both with Koneko and Xenovia. It’s more that I’ve just gotten past my disappointment of that and gotten onto enjoying dereneko. The dish might have been rushed out, but it’s still tasty!

      6. @Aex I think it’s kind of presumptuous to jump to the conclusion that because I don’t like things about Highschool Dxd that I don’t like harem in general…I thought Shuffle! was fantastic for it’s portrayal of what a harem actually is like. I even said in both of my posts that I thought season 1 of Highschool DxD was fantastic. I even liked season 2 despite all its problems. I just feel every harem mate since the first two has been terribly developed, but as you said we’ll agree to disagree.

        @Reikakou I get you’re trying to help me out, but I think an anime should be able to stand on it’s own and judged separately. Basically imo if I have to read the novel for any reason to get the full story, then the anime failed.

        This Guy
      7. Which is the point. The anime failed horrendously in the S2 and S3 adaptation. I’m just enjoying the animated gainaxing and ecchi moments which are of the highest class and just shut off my brain in terms of understanding the story and plot progression.

        I already have my fill when I read the LNs.

    2. @ Stilts Yeh I guess that’s what I’m going to do from now on. I’ll just try to enjoy it for what it is. I guess what irks me the most is that I liked Koneko and Xenovia’s personalities way more before they joined the harem.

      This Guy
      1. I agree with you on Koneko’s part, but Xenovia’s is really narural in my opinion. With the lies that she had to hear and the sudden change in the church’s attitude toward her after she knew the whole story, she fell lost and decided to join the devil. Her first initial thought was to have a baby with Issei since she wanted to have a similar dream to normal girl (air head). However, her love started to bloom when Issei ask Michael for them to be able to pray which was clearly stated in the Bluray of Season 2.

        Guilty Slumber
  3. Astaroth is my least-favorite villain for Stilts’ reason above: they went too far with him. Threaten murder? Sure. Destruction of a city? Standard villain stuff. Threaten to rape a girl until her mind breaks and she becomes your slave? In front of the man she loves? That ain’t right. Miles over the line. Castrate him and leave him writhing in pain.

    It’s also so outside of the standard for this series that you know it would never happen, so then the potential tension turns to irritation. A guy this twisted is never going to get a victory in this series, so just get the incoming curb-stomp over with and onto better things.

    1. All good points, actually. It hearkens back to something I was talking about in this week’s Nanoha ViVid post, about how sports anime are great because either side can potentially win without fundamentally changing the story (i.e. a character death; or in this case, rape). So it’s nice to have a villain so unredeemable because seeing him get shut down will be satisfying, but there’s no real tension.

      Then again, the DxD anime loves to defuse any tension in its action portions anyway, like it did back with Issei’s hinted at (and then immediately spoiled in the preview) death/serious injury a few episodes back.

  4. Issei… I’ve been wanting to say this for a while. When girls show themselves off to you that blatantly, that shamelessly, and that repeatedly; it means they want to have your babies. It also implies that they want them badly enough that they wouldn’t object if you started the process right then and there.


    1. Im very sorry… after 19 chapters of the LN, we’re far from remotely getting to that part.

      Show Spoiler ▼

    2. One of the great frustrations of harem series these days, IMO.

      To be fair of course, High School DxD is guilty of this more than most – though Shinmai Maou no Testament takes the top spot, no contest – it’s hardly the only one: Campione!, Date A Live, Tsuki Tsuki!, Zero no Tsukaima and many others are all just as guilty.

      They should take a lesson from series like Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan and CubexCursedxCurious that know how to get things done.

      Ryan Ashfyre
  5. If you disregard the rushed development before this one, this one wasn’t that bad actually…
    Sure, it was still more rushed than one would like but it was better than the previous episodes ^_^
    As for the talks about Koneko finally beginning to getting serious, that would have to be Volume 9. That volume has also some damn touching moments and development Show Spoiler ▼

  6. I would probably hate Astaroth a lot more if I actually cared about Asia even slightly. Unfortunately I cant find myself to care. She’s such an uninteresting character and I really hate her helpless and submissive character archetype with the high pitched voice.

    But on the subject of lolz, even Kuroka want Issei’s babies now? LEL

  7. Railroading as a GM I avoided by having a really free choice of actions I just told players that if they picked a option that I did not have prepared I’d drag out my alternate game we could play and that I would be ready by next session. Sometimes they would then railroad them self’s by going oh I change my mind I’ll go to the closer treasure location hinted.

    A very sexy episode. The only problem with as an explicit show as High School DXD there is no room for the Japanese pure on the outside kinky on the inside inferences you can have with characters who are probably not virgin. After careful observations of the culture you can assume most adult or non virgin type high school types that they have an active sex life but in Japanese style it in love hotels and the like and not mentioned but assumed. So yes if a anime character acts very sexual experienced, or is just an adult you can assume they are sexually active frequently but it often will be never actually mentioned. So in these sex comedies people are actually less sexually active than they are in other tales. The female oriented dramas often include tons sex when the male oriented tales the males are always more a prude than any normal man could be.

  8. – sorry rias, but akeno won that round. it’s funny how quickly rias changes into her costume, it almost as if she stashed it aside for situations just like this, “break glass in case of akeno emergency”

    – if there’s one thing the anime is getting spot on, its kuroka, she’s so damn erotic with just a hint of danger, definitely the highlight of the season so far.

    – while koneko isn’t one of my favorite characters (i’m a bit of an anti-loli) it’s still nice to see her getting closer to issei.

  9. “Fanservice is so silly when you actually think about it that it works best when it’s taking refuge in audacity (trope!) and leaning heavily on the rule of sexy (trope!)”

    That can be fun and is fun in DXD. On the other hand, I also find fan service works very well when it’s included in a serious story where you care about the characters. After all, that’s why some types of fanfic is so popular – people are more excited and interested in the sex lives of characters they care about than a bunch of random figures engaged in mindless nookie.

    High School DxD does do a decent job of making one sort of half care about the cast. Of course, it actually started telling a GOOD story with characters who weren’t cliches, it soon be attacked for “ruining a good story with all this icky fan service.” You can’t win.

  10. If you are looking for a fanservice-ecchi comedy, look no further, for DxD delivers the goods in style!
    Harem having fansevice contest for Issei’s pleasure – pure win!
    Odin looking upskirt of Akeno, and then totally obliterating enemy mooks, excellent!


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