「オカ研消失!?」 (Oka-ken Shoushitsu!?)
“The Occult Club Disappears?!”

The atmosphere is uncomfortable as we confront the darkness in Rias’ heart.

Asia’s Pure Feelings

The first part of the episode, where Issei was healed, initially had the signature mixture of too much technobabble and a convenient stretching of previous rules in how Asia was able to heal Issei by going deep instead of from a distance. Which was all made tolerable by the kiss. Asia’s feelings, at least, were true, and sweet to behold.

What I wish was that this wasn’t the only light-hearted or lovey-dovey section of the episode! Aside from Rosseweisse crying, it was all serious business, and while I like that too, I’m hurting for the DxD levity that’s so much fun. I feel like we need a break between the heavy stuff, and there was none of that here. It was just into more.

The Darkness In Issei’s & Rias’ Hearts

What this episode did well was invoke atmosphere … even if it’s an atmosphere counter to what I enjoy in High School DxD, which made me enjoy the episode less. There was a serious feeling of wrongness, from the frequent facial close ups to the pacing. I’m not sure how much of that was intentional, and how much is a function of the story going off the rails and doing something different, but it was effective.

Mostly this was used in regards to Rias, who apparently got the curse too. Who knew. Her darkness almost certainly has to do with Issei himself—uncertainty about whether he loves her, typified in how he still calls her “buchou” instead of by her name—which is why the Issei double was able to brainwash her or whatever. Issei’s darkness—that he’s afraid of finding out about how girls feel about him—really just codifies another excuse for why there are still so many virgins in the cast. It’s still a reach, but at least they’re trying.

Looking Ahead – Off To See The Vali

After last week’s episode, this was bound to be a step down, but I feel like there was too much setup for something that’s not really exciting me. Maybe it’s just my disdain for mind control plots, but I neither liked nor disliked this episode. It just was. Hopefully injecting some Kuroka-neesan, along with a verbal showdown between Issei and Vali, will help bring the fun back to DxD.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – An atmosphere of wrongness infuses the air as an Issei clone exploits the darkness in Rias’ heart #haremking s3e10

Random thoughts:

  • Issei is getting NTR’d by himself. Ouch.

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.

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  1. This episode peek my interest, it set up the things that I want to see what happen between Issei and Rias. Seeing her doubting herself hurt me a lot, but I wonder if this happens too soon. Hope the ending will satisfy me in this whole ordeal thing. The Hype is real right now :}}}

    Guilty Slumber
  2. My biggest disappoints were…(note that I’m an anime-only viewer, so haven’t read the LNs or anything)

    A.) We didn’t get any sort of show of Asia actually “exploring” Issei’s heart, seeing the things he was fearing and was uncertain about (perhaps getting an inner monologue from Issei about it too), finding him in some darker place and being able to lead him out while the curse is dispelled. I feel that the heartfelt moment between them afterwards could’ve been a lot more meaningful if that had happened, but the way it was felt a bit…I dunno…”cheap” that Issei is otherwise “healed” like it was just a bigger wound or something.

    Basically, the result (in regards to Twilight Healing and all that talk) didn’t fit the build-up they gave.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    And yeah, I do wish things weren’t SO dark and serious one event after the other like they’ve been doing since early on. I miss the way even more serious moments could be broken with some out-of-nowhere hilarity (like the way Issei, at the end of Season 2, powered up enough to beat Vali and such all because of Azazel making an “off-hand” comment about how Vali’s Divine Dividing could halve the size of Rias’ and the other girls’ breasts) or even slightly earlier with the whole “breast reading” bit.

  3. First thought when I saw it was a clone was the “300 Issei” short story, but unfortunately, things didn’t turn out quite that lighthearted. Maybe it (and the rest of vol. 8) will be OVAs?

    This curse business is anime-original and straying from the LN, so we’ll see where the last few episodes go from here. Kinda seems like the season will end with an event from vol. 10, so there’s some more potential shuffling to be had in the (hopefully) 4th season.

    An unusual NTR, though I guess it’s kinda similar to being NTR’d by an identical twin? Makes me wonder if Issei would feel more or less heartbroken if the clone were someone else.

    1. It’s possible that the Issei clone we saw was Loki in disguise–or at least, a projection of himself disguised as Issei. (Let’s see if the next episode will confirm or joss that theory.)

  4. While it kinda seems to works so far anime-wise, it seems they are throwing in stuff from volume 9 in it Show Spoiler ▼

    I still wanna see Rossweiss being all cute after she has been influenced by the girls later in the volumes, that overdose of cute-ness should be forbidden after all if we ever get to that point 😛

  5. I get that they’re trying to get Issei’s feelings moving in a more tolerable direction for anime-only viewers who don’t get the exposition advantage of the LN. Issei’s thoughts on the roof were straight out of vol 10. Having said that, a brainwashing-via-inner-feelings subplot? Really? Gods I’ve always hated those. Sure they bring out the deepest parts of a character, but to me they also make that part of the character feel a hundred times cheaper. Rias is so concerned about her own insecurities that she attacks Gasper and can’t tell the real from the fake when Gasper and Koneko are with the real one? *sigh* I guess anime-Rias is a lot more weak-willed…

    The most frustrating part is I can predict where this is going, even though it’s all anime-original. It’ll either be a) Rias has been turned into the core of Loki’s god-killer and her power of destruction is now a weapon she can’t control, and only Issei shouting out his true feelings will give her the strength to save herself (since of course no one can get close, but Issei will try and get ripped to shreds)(this is my preferred scenario, by the way), OR
    b) the clone is still around and he and real-Issei will get into a shouting match over which one is real, which of course real-Issei can’t win since the real can never win against the ideal, it’ll turn into a fight with real-Issei’s true feelings giving him the strength to beat the clone, but Rias will jump in the way just before the final blow, causing real-Issei to stop short and fake-Issei will strike instead, maybe through Rias (I always like the look of “how could I have been so stupid?” when that happens). Then Rias will wake up, kill the clone, Issei will confess his feelings while dying, and Rias will break everyone out of the trap (because of course she was just bait for a trap) with her irrepressible rage. In both cases, Loki will have broken out to fight them for the ending.

    All-in-all, I hate brainwash subplots. They’re so frustrating and predictable, cliche even. Should’ve stuck with the sweet Rias, Koneko and Akeno moments we were supposed to get after JD was dealt with and Asia got her kiss.

    1. The production team has already said they wouldn’t mind making more seasons, and the original creator is involved in this one. I’m not sure precisely why they’ve decided to mix things up more this time, but it doesn’t necessarily close the door on future seasons.

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