「俺、戦います！」 (Ore, Tatakaimasu!)
“I Will Fight!”
That … was not impressive. Not at all.
An Honest Display Of Passionate Love
Let’s get the good stuff out of the way, for it was sadly in the minority. I enjoyed the opening scenes, where Team Rias displayed an honest outpouring or support and love for Rias, and confirmed their determination to save her, no matter what. Rias is the character who knits them all together, the one who each and every one of them has a deep, personal relationship with. This felt natural. It felt good. It put a smile on my face, because, though is was easy to predict, it was right. That’s what they would say; obviously, right? It’s what they needed to say. It felt good to hear them say it all out loud.
Aaaand that’s all I’ve got on the good stuff.
And Then The Rest Of It
For the record, I’m in favor of anime original content, in theory. I believe that the mediums of television and manga or the written word are different enough that source material pulled from the latter two usually needs to be tweaked for the former. Somewhat. I say “in theory” because, in practice, this usually doesn’t work out. Consider the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, which is a good example of anime original content. It’s a good example, and yet the pieces don’t quite fit together. Obviously, right? The story wasn’t designed to end that way. So Brotherhood ended up being the better anime, though to be fair it was helped because Fullmetal Alchemist is a story that translates wonderfully from manga to anime, and was given the attention and episode count necessary to do it correctly.
This, though… To be fair, I don’t know if this is anime original content, save for what I’ve surmised from commenters in recent episodes. LN readers will correct me if I’m wrong. But this reeks of cliché, of overused tropes, and of not taking enough time to tell a story properly. Issei’s negotiation with Kuroka was pathetic—he brought nothing to the table, save for yelling depending on the kindness of a sworn enemy. The Vali part was fine; I expected Vali to help him, so that Issei could get stronger for their eventual fight. Then they talk about the Dimensional Gap being controlled by the heart, so Rias will conveniently show up. Then they shout out their feelings again, and—I mean, really? It worked well the first time. It was nice the first time. The second time it was just repetitive, cliched, and most importantly, not very interesting. They didn’t even doll it up with a fight worth its salt.
As for Rias going into Welsh Dragon Balance Breaker mode, I don’t even. This is a series that runs on magic, and yet that still doesn’t make sense. They could have stuck with the Ruin Princess part, had her be a Nanoha/Lina Inverse-caliber nuker (pffft, she wishes) that they have to defeat through determination and grit. But this? WhatisthisIdon’teven.
Once again, I don’t know if this is anime original or not. Maybe this happens in the source, and they had to muscle it in somewhere. But if so, it wasn’t foreshadowed well, wasn’t presented well, and as such, didn’t go over well. I’m not mad. I’m really not. I’m disappointed. I always want to let creators try something new, I want to trust them to make changes and give us something other than a directly translation of the source. But then I’m left with episodes like this, which commit the greatest storytelling sin of all.
It was boring. Not all episodes need to be exciting—not all stories even need to be exciting at any point in their run. But they do need to be interesting. If they’re not interesting on some level, they’re wasting our time. In three seasons, I’ve almost never felt like High School DxD was wasting my time. I feel like they did today.
Looking Ahead – The Final Episode
The fun (see: fraught with despair) thing about episodic blogging is that I write these posts immediately after I see the episode, and sometimes my initial impressions are wrong. I wonder if that’s what happened with this episode? The creators went with their first ideas, and they ended up wrong. That could be the case here. I might end up reconsidering this post shortly after it goes up, and realizing all the majesty I missed in the first watching.
It could happen. For now, though, I’m just hoping the last episode doesn’t suck. It’s up to Issei to save Rias, because his feelings are the strongest, despite the others who’ve known her longer, opened up to her more, and owe her more than he ever could. And her dragon armor is a chainmail bikini (trope!). Guh. I need a drink.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – After an honest outpouring of feelings for Rias, it all goes down hill. FAST. Welsh Dragon Rias? Whatever #haremking s3e11
- Anyone have a clue what the green guy did to Issei? Though maybe it’s just foreshadowing.
- Wait… I just realized what I said in that last paragraph. I complained about the skimpy armor in High School DxD. See!? This is why you can’t phone it in! This story needs to be fun to get away with that. I’m getting that drink.
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: How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love, Guilty pleasures are bullshit, A lifestyle designed for productivity, and Practical freedom.
Full-length images: 29.