「いつでも、いつまでも!」 (Itsu Demo, Itsu Made mo!)
“Any Time, For All Time!”

Well that was a lackluster ending to what was, up until the last few episodes, a pretty fun season. TNK fumbled at the finish line, and they only have themselves to blame.

The Fight That Ends Not With A Bang, But With A Name

Usually, the final battle of a season is supposed to be the biggest, baddest, and hopefully best one. If that was the hope, we should have stopped on episode nine, because this was lame. It’s a poster child for phoning it in. Once again, Issei wins not because he fights well, not because he taps into more power, not because he comes up a clever way around his problem, or even because he does something so ridiculous and crazy that it actually works—which are all things he’s done this season, and all of which can be satisfying. No, he won because he got the stuffing kicked out of him, then made a speech and called Rias by her name. That’s it.

There are ways to make this work. A simple change: If Issei had been pleading with Rias the whole time, talking to her and giving speeches and trying to get through to her while she was kicking the living shit out of him …. if he had been doing that, it would have become a race between Issei breaking through to the real Rias and brainwashed Rias breaking his spine. That could have been compelling! But instead they did it in probably the worst way possible, giving the impression that all Issei needed to do was just say her damn name—something which he reverts from doing by the end of the episode. Godsdammit! *flips a table* It turns out the status quo is god (trope!), and I could not be more annoyed.

Someone Ordered A Dues Ex Machina? With A Side Of Aggravation?

Speaking of lazy writing, here’s something I wrote in my running episode notes after Rias and Issei both shed their armor: “So now they get to die in the Dimensional Gap together. Fun.” But nope! Great Red had to come by and save them, because the status quo is still god. Things like that are neutering the danger of the Dimensional Gap as quickly as Issei’s one-shot eradication of the bogus Juggernaut Drive enemy neutered the supposed power of his own Juggernaut Drive.

But that’s not what really got my tail feathers in a bunch. The kiss between Issei and Rias was nice. I thought that here, we would finally get a little change! Here, Issei would finally start calling Rias by her name, at least! But no. They forgot the whole damn thing. Godsdammit! *turns table back over, the flips it again* If a reset like that happens in something like Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, I accept it, because it’s both characters’ faults, and because it would disrupt the primarily comedic nature of the story. Even in Slayers, which did exactly this during the second season (I think … it’s been a while), is something that I let pass, because the character interactions were largely comedic. But here? Come on! If the source doesn’t allow for some real change to happen here, then don’t act like it’s going to happen. Or better yet, just follow the source instead of phoning in this crap.

Rosseweisse Is Too Easy-Going

The best part of the episode (other than how Issei woke up … seriously, how is he still a virgin? *flips neighbor’s table*), was undoubtedly how easy-going Rosseweisse was about becoming a demon. Insurance premiums and pension plans? Come on, Rosseweisse! Though unlike with Xenovia, which was just abrupt, this was at least silly enough to be funny. Plus it means more Rosseweisse, just in time for … the season to end. Godsdammit! *sets up a card table, then flips it*

It Ends With A Three-Legged Race. Seriously?

I felt like the could-have-been-hilarious Oppai Dragon song reveal—which was still funny, don’t get me wrong. I just feel like it could have been much funnier (label and tag your spoilers, people)—was all but sacrificed to end on Issei and Asia’s three-legged race, of all things. Sometimes returning to regular life is a great ending, if that’s what the character’s desire, and though they do, I feel it would have been more in keeping with the ethos of High School DxD if they did something funny or Harem King-related. After all, that’s Issei’s stated dream … even if he’s pretty much already a harem king right now. Guh.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The final battle was unimpressive, & the status quo wiped away any changes. What a weak ending #haremking s3e12 END

Random thoughts:

  • I guess the junk with green guy was foreshadowing after all. Badly done, badly explained foreshadowing.
  • Hey. That’s Shiroe’s and Akatsuki’s beach.
  • Issei’s parents are the real winners of this story. They’re now rich, their pervert son is bound to get at least one polite, respectful wife, and they get a new daughter to pamper in Asia. Also, they got a free around-the-world trip. See anime, this is a much better way to get the parents out of the way instead of just killing them off (trope!). Buy them off instead.

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: Story Review: Mad Max Fury Road, How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love, Guilty pleasures are bullshit, and A lifestyle designed for productivity.

Full-length images: 22, 25.


Final Impressions

After Trinity Seven disappointed me, I was looking forward to another season of High School DxD. Here was a goofy harem series I could trust. Issei is always fun, his haremettes are fighting over time with him rather than exclusive possession, leaving the Harem End as an all-but foregone conclusion, and the plot and action tend to be pretty good. It’s an easy win, right?

First we got the Koneko arc, which was fine. A little rushed at times, as the entire training arc was skipped over and Koneko went from tsun to dere oddly quick. (It was Xenovia all over again.) Then was the battle against Loki, which had some more wonk, but had some good stuff as well. Up to this point, all the changes were, if not for the better, at least not deal breakers. I was still having a fine time, all things considered.

Then came episodes eight and nine. Though I’m told we missed some awesome Ratings Game battles, which would have been fun to see—I’m a sucker for a good tournament arc (trope!)—I really enjoyed these episodes. Eight included Issei charging up Akeno by promising her a date, and then him curbstomping Diodora, which was overdue and satisfying. And episode nine … need I even explain? The emotion, the action, our first glimpse of the asskicking Juggernaut Drive, and finally learning the reason behind the DxD name. Awesome! It might be the single best episode of all three seasons. If not, it’s definitely at the top of the list.

Then it went downhill, fast. The last three episodes were just sad. An unnecessary anime only ending that bored me, and sent LN readers into an uproar. It’s rare enough for an anime to get some source fans on their side, but TNK threw it all away with the last three episodes. I’m not sure why. There was plenty of source material. Everything I’ve heard says they could have adapted more steadily—two volumes a season, as they did before—and it would have been fine. But they didn’t. Instead they gave us the worst arc of the DxD anime, and left us on a foul note.

I enjoy High School DxD. It’s not high art, but it’s ridiculous, fun, and the plot is pretty decent in its own right. I know studio TNK and the staff has said they would happily make another season of DxD, but I don’t know how they could do it now. Too many snarls have been added, too many plot holes they’d need to patch up to get back in track. Part of me wants another season, in the hopes that they’ll retcon what they must and move on with what they can. But if we’re going to get more anime original nonsense, with a group that clearly can’t do that as well as they thought, maybe it’s better to stop.

I don’t know. As a viewer, I’d probably watch another season. But as a blogger, this might be the last season I write about. They burned me, guys. They burned me bad. Hopefully time will lessen the wounds, but after these last few episodes, I have a feeling I’ll find it hard to trust them again. Which is a shame, because like Infinite Stratos before it, this has been my go-to example of how to do a harem anime right for a while. It hasn’t fallen quite as low as IS, but the fact that I’m referencing IS at all isn’t a good sign. I still like High School DxD, but get your shit together before we do this again, TNK. You can only burn me so many times before I cut you out of my life.


    1. Agreed, sadly, while it was nice that Issei has gotten new additions to his harem, each season, I feel sad knowing we have to wait for another LONG and ambiguous amount of time for the next season.

      On the side note, did we see a certain NTR villian, aka Riser? Not sure if we saw him this season.

  1. First IS now this. Also High School DxD was way more tolerable than IS. But this is a shame with them ruining this great Harem series. The ONLY best Harem series now screwed up. Looks like there won’t be anymore.

  2. The author should strongly consider looking for another studio to animate his work.

    I would actually like a RESET of this season 3, now closely following the LN. But we are now spoiled of so many stuffs way beyond volume 6. And it feels like the studio doesn’t know where to cut the cour based on the source material that they butchered so they decided to fuck it and make an anime original ending.

    Saisarog was supposed to be very bad ass. But he simply became a background character. Even the Sitri’s… AH~!!

    *flips his office table*

    Oh shiiii~! The PC!!!!

    Anyways… this adaptation is simply a trainwreck.

    1. Right now hope the good sales in Japan give another season or two and they don’t mess them up. Then in 10 years or so we can have DXD Sisterhood with everything fixed to the written form.

    2. Let’s count the number of volumes this season screwed over.

      Volume 5: The rating game between Gremory and Sitri is nonexistent, tons of character development lost.

      Volume 6: Poorly adapted, but at least still mostly intact. Juggernaut Drive was the only saving point.

      Volume 7: Again, very poorly adapted, ruining most of the story, but still there. Loki was completely rewritten.

      Volume 8: Doesn’t count, since it’s a compilation of shorts.

      Volume 9: Ruined for future adaptation.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Volume 10: Ruined for character development.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Volume 11: Totally ruined for plot twist.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Volume 12: See above

      Volume 13: Again a compilation, so does not count.

      Volume 14: Still viable.

      Volume 15: Another compilation.

      Volume 16: Ruined for the surprise villain power.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Volume 17: See above.

      So in summary, 7 volumes screwed over (6 of which are new), 3 volumes of compilations that are more suited for OVA, 2 poorly adapted volumes in this season, and only 1 potentially viable future season.

      1. Only one I’ll disagree on is Vol 10. The memory-wipe can be used here so that Rias still gets annoyed that Issei not only won’t call her name, but also can’t even remember that he’s already done it. He also doesn’t remember their kiss.

        It’s lame and in bad taste, but it could still keep the plot on track.

      2. You want to talk about fucked. because of one single detail there is an arc which could be non existing and that is the revelation of the other world, a world were the Chichigami was know thanks to Issei. That is the motivation of that arcs main villain and the whole arc just went to disappear in the anime. No Chichigami, no Qlippoth, No Evil Dragons, No Rizevim Livan Lucifer, No Divine Wyvering Fairy, No Penetrate, NO DIABOLOS DRAGON (DxD), NO TRIHEXA (666).

    3. @ Reikakou

      The sad thing is that the author (Ishibumi Ichie-sensei) CAN’T search for another studio to adapt his work. That’s because, for all intents and purposes, he doesn’t own it.

      I’ll explain.

      (Note: This is based off of my knowledge of how English-language publishing works, but I’d be extremely surprised if it wasn’t the same. The economics are identical.)

      When an author is traditionally published, i.e. by a legacy publisher such as Fujimi Fantasia Bunko / Fujimi Shobo / Kadokawa Shoten (which is who publishes the High School DxD light novels), they no longer own the rights to their work. They have sold them to the publisher, who then markets and sells the work in hope of turning a profit. While I don’t know if the publisher can totally excise the author, i.e. fire them and bring in someone else to right the LNs, I DO know that they have little to no CONTRACTUAL say-so in how the book is formatted, illustrated, and marketed. Those are the publisher’s business, not the author’s.

      That’s for the light novels themselves. When it comes to a story’s movie/TV rights, I also happen to have some knowledge on how that works, because I know an author (not me) who sold his movie rights to a Hollywood studio.

      Here’s how it works: When your movie/TV rights are sold, you have NO VOICE in what happens next. None whatsoever. You negotiate the contract, they cut you a check, and then it’s THEIRS to make (or not make) into a movie or TV show. The guy I know who sold his movie rights cashed the check, then all by expunged the movie project from his mind, because it’s no longer his business what happens to it.

      tl;dr – It’s not up to Ishibumi-sensei who animates his work, much less whether it gets animated at all. With the exception of the upcoming Sore ga Seiyuu anime, which is entirely creator-owned, it’s the author’s publisher that has control over who animates (or not) the works in their portfolio. They hold the rights, they put up the money, they negotiate with the studios, everything.

      So it’s their fault (and TNK’s fault), not Ishibumi-sensei. He may have consulted on the season, but they could ignore his opinions at any time they wanted. Contractually, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

      1. Stilts in Western publishing unless you have the worst contract ever or you are working on a company owned brand like the old Doc Savage novels you are just leasing the rights to your book to the publisher. Unless you are doing licensed work all contracts from a reputable publisher will have revision conditions to gain back control of your work.

        If you have a multi-book contract the publisher might be due your next book or the next book in a particular series but that does not give them the right to produce more books in your series unless you give them that right in your contract. Which is very rare and usually happens after the death of the original author.

      2. That’s always been my assumption as well, but I’ve never known for sure.

        That said, I DO know that they own the rights to anything you publish under their imprint for your life + 70 years or something ridiculous like that. And that their contracts are shitty for a lot of other reasons. That’s not something to get into here, though.

        Thanks for the confirmation!

  3. I enjoyed it more than many probably because I don’t have any knowledge of the source material. I quite enjoyed the part after they got home at school. Yep bribing the parents is best.

    Rias is the reigning harem queen I actually don’t see that changing but Issei can be King consort. I have heard he breaks off but if he ever gets back with Rias I still see her as the alfa of the relationship.

    Can we pretend to change genre to girl oriented story. In them you can have characters in high school having sex first episode. Started watching Wolf Girl after not seeing one in awhile and the change is jarring. This convention of no sex for the male in guy stories for them not to get some is tiring.

    Hey even new Sailor Moon has sex, the reviewer here and I both missed it on viewing but I’m old enough that I should have noticed the under the radar trope. But other boards caught it, when two people in a room with a bed kiss standing up then flowers cover the screen to change to an outside shot and the next shot has the couple in the same dwelling the next morning they had sex.

    I have seen elsewhere that High School DXD has done well in Japan so a sequel is fairly sure. As they did a ok job with all but three episodes I hope Stilts will blog it at least to see if they catch themselves.

    Well I’ll miss this liberating for women tale. How is it liberating? Notice world wide and down though history the more sexualization of women is censored and women are expected to cover themselves up the more women are oppressed. Something to think about, but I need somewhere other than here to go into way greater depth.

  4. “Insurance premiums and pension plans? Come on, Rosseweisse!”

    Well, Rossweisse treats saving money as serious business. It’s a shame they didn’t include the scene where…
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Among other things… Man, I wish Rossweisse was more than just a simple “running gag” character…

    I came in hoping that having the same company/studio three seasons in a row would ensure that DxD BorN would be just as fun to watch as (and in keeping with) the previous two seasons. To say my hopes have been dashed would be an understatement.

    I’d be fine if the new season of To LOVE-Ru Darkness does better than DxD BorN (since that’s the only other ecchi harem series that can come close to–if not match–DxD)… But if season 2 of Shinmai Maou no Testament does better than this… Damnit. Damnit and blast.

    And on an aside note: (Re: How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love)
    This writeup is just what I need when dealing with a certain “critic” on MAL. (Want me to name him?)

      1. The “How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love” post.

        After thinking about it some more, I decided not to namedrop who that MAL “critic” is since whatever he says does not deserve recognition and he completely misses the point of the anime he watches–or rather, the point of watching anime in the first place.

  5. How the mighty have fallen. A lackluster season capped off by a filler finale. This is easily in the running for “Biggest Disappointment” of 2015 to me. I mean the writing was never good, but for the most part it was entertaining. 0/10 DxD Born…I wish I could forget this happened just like Issei and Rias.

    This Guy
  6. Even as an anime-only viewer, all I could think after the episode ended was, “What? That’s it?” Similarly, I also found Rossweisse’s conversion the best part of the episode.

    And characters that people were really looking forward to seeing animated and doing their thing; Kuroka, Rossweisse, Ophis, etc., and they barely do anything at all…

  7. This ending had only a single canon stuff that was actually supposed to happen around that point in the LN and that was the festival…
    Other than that, it was either anime-original or from later on in the novels.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Lets hope that if they do another season, they’ll pull a brotherhood since it would be damn hard to fix all the mistakes while continuing with the story with how they threw in stuff from later volumes where it wasn’t needed or just threw in anime-original stuff.
    Hell, if it is done in a proper manner, i don’t mind fillers (bount arc of bleach comes to mind for that one ) but this just looks like TNK went the same route as IS did which is such a shame as well.

  8. *Sigh* If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. They had a good formula going for the first 2 seasons, so why they decided to stray from that with original stuff I have no idea. It’s not like there’s a lack of material to adapt, like some other shows (FMA, for example). If they were gonna throw in a Deus ex Machina anyway, they could’ve at least kept the funny one in place.
    Only reason I can kinda buy for the changes is that they won’t make any more seasons and they wanted some kind of resolution between Rias and Issei before they ended the series. If they’re planning on making more, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that needs to be retconnned or else they’ve gotta continue diverging, and I’ve lost all trust that an anime-original storyline for DxD will be any good.

    On a random note, parents being gifted a worldwide trip and a giant mansion being built kinda reminds me of Muv-Luv Extra.

  9. This, right here, is the ultimate in trying to have your cake and eat it too. The studio wanted to do something original because REASONS, but they also didn’t want it to effect the series so much that it would force them to actually use their brains to work those original changes into next season, so what do they do? They make worthless changes so they can say they did anime-original content, then reset them with a memory wipe so they can go back to straight adaptation next season. Siiiiiiiiiiiiigh, can’t even be bothered to own what they did.

    The ONE good thing to come from that is that hopefully, if there is a next season, this is a sign they won’t futz with it. Just do what they did for the first two, which will make for a great season 4.

    Well, at least we got “Koneko dere-mode” and “even-more-loving Akeno” out of this, even if neither got the attention they deserved. Rosseweisse was unfortunately never going to get much screne-time this early, even if they followed the source.

  10. Sorry for the double-post, but Stilts, I think I may have finally found the final clue to the Great-Virgin Mystery in vol 18, and unbelievably, it comes mainly in the form of the Rias/Asia combo. See, we already know that Akeno and Xenovia are fine with having their first time while someone else is watching (no surprise at this point), but it turns out that no one else is! And since Rias plus others has always been with Issei(especially in bed), and she certainly isn’t going to consciously let one of them go first, he’s stuck in a loop where even those two can’t just push him down and jump that final boundary. We all know that Issei is a romantic/sub at heart, which unfortunately means that until he and each girl get the “perfect moment”, or until Akeno is finally so pent-up she ties up all the other girls and jumps him, we’re stuck in this amusing yet frustrating status-quo.

    So yeah, unfortunately even when his trauma is dealt with the writer fell back on a cliche of the girls being each others roadblocks to keep him a virgin. Until then the writing had just done a good job of hiding that fact behind a wall of “They’re right there, and they’re willing. COME ON!”

    1. Thanks for a good explanation of the funky trick the author is using. I wish the genre did not require the virgin hero. I also hope it’s not the conventional wisdom that once you have sex the relationships get boring thus the story does. But that’s only true with a couple and normaly only a couple in honeymoon phase. Issei having sex with all the girls would change little of the fun as the girls would still compete for his attention plus work on their girl on girl part of the relationship.

    2. Granted, this is still ridiculously easy to get around, but I guess they’re still trying? Sort of?

      I’ve been wondering lately why the virgin hero is such an established trope, despite it being nothing like as common in shoujo stories (all those guys looking for pure, virginal girls are liable to be disappointed. Apparently girls have sex drives too!).

      Maybe it has something to do with the anxiety guys have about performing well the first time they have sex? There’s a certain amount of pressure on us to perform, since … well, I don’t need to paint a picture, do I? 😛 So the author would probably have to weigh in on how the guy is either great in bed, or got all nervous the first time, or whatever, since a guy who just lost his virginity is liable to be worrying about that.

      Of course, the answer to that concern is easy: Don’t make it a big deal. In this case, don’t make Issei either a sex master or a total dud. If he’s fine, and most of the arousal (from the girls) comes from the fact that it’s him (i.e. the one they love), then it’d be a non-issue.

      Then again, maybe it’s something else. I dunno. It’s strange, though.

      1. As far as Japanese LN, manga, and anime go, I blame the divide between shounen and seinen categories. “You start off as one, you have to finish as one”; that seems to be the rule. So since works like DxD start as shounen, Issei will never cross the line because that would throw the work into seinen territory. It’s a (lame) genre issue that publishers can’t get over, especially since if a work as already ecchi as DxD actually did cross the line even with implied sex (we really couldn’t expect anything else), the relationships have already built to the point where once the boundary is gone, the sex would pretty much need to be implied all the time. Rias and Issei crossing the line would give everyone else the green-light, and all the readers would want conformation that Issei and their favorite girl did the deed and she was happy. I honestly don’t think this would be much of a problem since all the girls are friends and very open. Just an extra sentence turns the usual scene of the girls sleeping peacefully on Issei’s bed into an implied orgy the night before.

        It’s cheap, but I think it’s basically that once an author crosses the sex line they start getting scared that light-hearted, fun relationships like the ones Issei has with all the girls suddenly develop a need to be “more serious”. Issei “couldn’t be” the loveable ecchi fool anymore, he’d “need” to mature. A level would have been added that they need to make room in the story for, so they’d rather just keep teasing. I honestly don’t get where that idea comes from–there’s plenty of ecchi idiots out there that aren’t virgins–and don’t see anything wrong with just keeping it as is with the added note of “By the way, yes, he tried his best for everyone in that bed last night and they love him even more for it.” For this series I think the safest you really need to be is to wait until he and Rias become official and you’re golden. No need to turn it heavy.

      2. *curse you lack of edit button*
        Just remembered that High School DxD actually is categorized as seinen (in some places) because of the nudity, so let me amend the first part: if you start out with just lighthearted ecchi teasing and all the girls interrupting each other, you’re basically expected to finish with just lighthearted ecchi teasing and all the girls interrupting each other. It’s like there’s some unspoken rule that you can’t change the level of maturity once you’ve started it, even if it’s just implied.

        Omamori Himari is a good example of about how I expect the sex in DxD to go: heavily ecchi throughout, then the real deal at the end and with a bang.

      3. @Aex: “…and all the readers would want conformation that Issei and their favorite girl did the deed and she was happy.”

        No, not all LN readers – not this one at least. Won’t lie, I’m kind of amazed at how “no sex” is such a big issue for people – and it does seem to be a major issue for some given how frequently this complaint pops up. Honestly, I could not care less about that “issue”, and I have zero interest in reading (or watching) Rias (or whoever) mounting Issei’s “hot, throbbing…dragon” all the while moaning in ecstasy about how great his technique is (despite being his first time), how big he is, etc., etc., blah, blah [insert bad pr0n dialog]. >_> Ecchi titillation (i.e. nudity) is one thing, hentai is another. Besides, there is PLENTY of “2D” and “3D” pr0n out there for that sort of thing – including who knows how many HS DxD hentai doujinshi.

        Granted JMO – to each his/her own as the saying goes, but even if the story omits the graphic details (e.g. just some morning-after dialog of “You did it!?”), my reaction would be “OK, they had sex… moving on”. Seriously. Maybe I’m not into the whole “wish fulfillment thing”, or I don’t need “confirmation” of what I consider to be the inevitable for this series at some future point in time (expressly stated or not). Frankly, I’ve watched/read ecchi series (harem or otherwise) besides HS DxD, and “Are they gonna do it!?” was never a “plot line” (or PLOT line) of importance for me. Again, just not a big deal. If it happens, it happens (consensual only please!).

      4. @daikama: probably should’ve mentioned that I’m fine waiting until the epilogue to hear that Issei finally slept with everyone (yet I’m also one of the ones that doesn’t want anyone left out, go figure). I was just talking about why most authors seem to never go beyond where they start. I also don’t think everyone would be so hung up on the idea if it didn’t seem so impossible for Issei to get laid. I’d never expect actually sex scenes (this is Shinmai and I don’t want it to be), but I think it’s the amazement that he’s living this life and still a virgin that gets people so worked up. Once the first time was done (agreed, just morning-after talk for everyone) I don’t think it would need to change anything other than one or two reminders per volume that yes, Issei is sleeping with all of them. Just something to stop the disbelief while keeping the story largely the same for everyone else.

        I also think the situation now is a lot more tolerable for the LN readers because we have all the details. We know that the plot is actually good and DxD isn’t built on just sex-appeal. Though I do want everyone and Issei to cross the line at some point, I get enough other fun bits to be satisfied and wait for the ending (though I do wish we had gotten date-chapters after the tease in vol 18).

      5. First of all, showing the sex isn’t necessary. Unless there’s a story reason to show sex (or showing sex is the reason for the story, in the case of porn / many romance novels), it needn’t be shown.

        The issue is that it shatters suspension of disbelief. People are fine with magic because it’s sufficiently outside our natural experience that, as long as it’s consistent, we’ll roll with it. But when they start violating things that are WITHIN our natural experience, people cry foul.

        A non-sex example: In the first episode of No Game No Life, people found it unrealistic that Sora and Shiro had solar chargers for their electrical devices, what with them being NEET hikikomoris. The magic and the other world? Fine. But that rubbed the wrong way. And that makes perfect sense, because that’s something we can very much imagine.

        That’s why people complain about no sex here. There’s no problem if, say, Cloud of FF7 doesn’t get laid, because he’s not sleeping with topless women every night. (Not sure why that example popped into my head, but it fits.) Issei is, though. The girls are willing, so most guys are thinking, “Shit, in his place I’da slept with all of them!” Which would probably ensure that they wouldn’t want to sleep with him anymore, lol, but hey.

        The point is that it strains, and in many cases breaks, suspension of disbelief. People who have watched three seasons are willing to put up with that, clearly. But that doesn’t mean there’s not an occasional, “Really?”

        (Note: I know it’s probably done better in the LN, no need to repeat that. I’m speaking to the underlying issue.)

  11. I do hope they have a season 4, that adapts at least Volume 10 and 11 correctly, and properly. Infact, they have a very good base to adapt Volume 10, 11 and 12 – had Issei called Rias by first name there and then, that is probably adieu to any hope of Season 4. At least, with the base with been given, Volume 10’s plot doesn’t appear as if it comes out from nowhere.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Honestly, they should have focused on Volumes 5 – 7, leave Volume 8 and 13 as OVAs, and saved Volume 9-12 for next season.

    Alternatively, it should have been two Cours – with this anime-original arc capping off the first Cour, with a focus of laying the groundwork for Volume 10-12 and bridging it better with the Volumee 5-7 Arcs. I agree with Stilts that had the focus been on Rias overcoming her brainwashing, rather than the awful (and tension-less) convenience of Rias magically snapping out of it abruptly , the show could have run better.

    1. Please gods no four volume season unless it’s 2-cour. They screwed up badly enough this season just trying to do three volumes.

      I figure they’ll either use vol 10 as an ending to the whole series (which would work well), or they’ll just never stop, because once you get to vol 11 you really can’t stop without just chopping the story.

  12. These Flashbacks on the Start.. Well,for fans they are just Time filers, nothing more. Did they really want to catch new Fans with this Finale and wanted to show them all these Flashbacks for starters?

    1/3 of the Film, i had boredom. The first time, since i watching this. Yeah let him get punch the Shit out of him and then just shoot stronger Laser then his Doppelganger Enemy = That’s it!! ???? okay….

    And what was this Log Horizon resurrection scene on the beach for?

    I dunno, the last two Scenes will not fit inside my Brain into the flow of this Anime. I try, i really try. But it is impossible

    To many Archenemy gave Issei a hand, and helped him… That one of the Walls that hit me…

  13. Enough with the table flipping Stilts!

    Someone needs to get shot for this attrocity! I dont care if its the director, the producer or even the damn janitor! Someone must pay for turning one of my most guilty pleasres into this pile of manure!

  14. Totally agree with you on the season as a whole. As a LN reader, I loved it all the way till the end of episode 9. Don’t know why they decided to do what they did with the last three episodes, it was just horrendous.

    I will still be optimistic if they do decided to work on another season, but I won’t be going in all sunshine and rainbow like I did with this season.

    Similar to you, TNK really burned us hard with this last arc. I really hope they learned from this and just stick to the source material. I’m not asking for a 100% word for word adaptation, but there really shouldn’t be any need for anime original content (now that we see how poorly it affected the show and story).

    Here’s to hoping that they’ll get their shit together.

  15. With all the table flipping, it seems a lot of tables were harmed this season of HS DxD – mine included. Personally, as an LN reader, things went awry well before Ep. 09 – around Ep. 03 or so. Not sure if I’m in the minority or not (if so, so be it), but I was looking forward to the vol. 05 Gremory vs. Sitri Ratings Game match as much as anything in vol. 05-07 (yes, that includes Juggernaut Drive) for several reasons (including simply because I thought it was a good match – nice tactics on Sitri side). Given how thoroughly entrenched the Ratings Game is in the LN, the HS DxD world as a whole, it’s kind of odd that it gets sidelined in the anime so readily. I mean Issei (and Asia) would be DEAD without the “evil pieces” which exist due to the Ratings Game, and that’s just the start. But they skipped that, and instead decided to fast forward the story with anime original plot lines for… reasons, and worse, they even screwed that up.

    If viewers consider Ep. 06-09 the best part of this season, well, no surprise. Those episodes by far stuck to the source material (vol. 06) more than the rest. The question that repeatedly comes to mind without any sufficient answer is why? One theory I’ve read for the change in adaptation style is that they needed to cover vol. 05-07 so that later seasons would fit the LN story better (i.e. they could do vol. 09 & 10 in one season) for later seasons (a bit of “counting your chickens before they hatch” IMO). Assuming that’s a valid requirement, OK, but as Ep. 06-09 showed, they still could have easily just stuck to the source material and compressed ALL three volumes into 4 episodes per LN volume like they did with vol. 06, skipping the generic, cliche’ ridden weak anime only plot line. I do NOT see why/how all this anime-only stuff was “necessary” for adapting the source material. It sure as hell wasn’t nearly as good IMO – especially the last 3 episodes as Stilts rightfully notes. This last episode in particular was just bad – a supposedly “climactic fight” turned into a mundane and cliche’ riddled one. Whee. While I would prefer the slower pacing of Season 1 & 2, based upon how Ep. 06-09 turned out, I think Season 3 would have at least turned out “good enough” – certainly better than what we got, with the compressed 4 ep/LN volume approach.

    But no, they removed/altered some of the things I looked forward to the most and replaced it with one my least favorite, overused plot lines – mind-control/evil clone/possessed evil version. Bleh and bleh. Not only that, they tried to make this “serious anime” which, sorry, just does not work for HS DxD. You do, ya know, have a main character who powers up through breasts, talks to breasts, etc. A large part of what makes this series work IMO is that it does NOT take itself too seriously. There are some serious moments which the LN pulls off just fine, but on the whole there’s a perceptible *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* “we’re just having fun her folks” atmosphere. Except perhaps for a too few scattered moments, this really wasn’t a fun season IMO. What jokes were left usually fell flat in all the rush, cut material, and attempt to be all “serious”. For example, when reading the LN, I LOL’d at Rosseweisse gushing about the financial perks of being a devil. Then again, even at that early stage there were enough hints in the LN that the “100 Yen Shop Valkyrie” is serious about money and financial stability (the LN over time gives a perfectly valid reason for that – it’s not simply greed). That’s Rosseweisse <3, and there are multiple funny moments (IMO) which play off of that aspect of her personality which help to make the story fun. IMO, HS DxD needs its comedy and moments of levity to work.

    Like Stilts, I’ve been disappointed with recent LN harem anime adaptations and was looking forward to HS DxD Season 3. The series (LN) and first two anime adaptations were fun and entertaining – a benchmark even for the genre of “how to do a harem series right”. Well, HS Season 3 does have one thing in common with the LN and prior two seasons. It’s a benchmark example alright – of how NOT to adapt a story. Not only was this disappointing, but such “adaptations” make me all the more apprehensive about Gate – Jieitai Kare no chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (Gate – Thus the JSDF Fought There!) anime adaptation this summer. Rather than be excited for an adaptation of a favorite series (manga) of mine, it’s “How much is the adaptation going to screw this up?” Apprehension instead of anticipation. :< Finally, as for a 4th season (which I suspect is in doubt), I'd take a look at it, but if it's clear we're getting something like this season, next time I'm dropping the show.

    1. Here’s something funny I’ve learned as a writer: It’s a lot easier to write, and to read, dialogue. Dialogue, which is where most funny antics live in, is—well, to quote Chuck Wendig: “Our eyes flow over dialogue like butter on the hood of a hot car.

      We think we love action the most, but the moments people often remember the most are all in the character interactions most often typified by dialogue. That’s why slice-of-life works at all. There’s no action! It’s all fluff and dialogue! And yet so many adaptations excise most of the dialogue, thinking it’s unimportant.

      It’s not! It’s super important! People remember character interactions more than almost anything else. Cutting them out destroys the heart of most stories. You can shave some away, but you’d better leave plenty in, even if it means going slower. That’s fine. We’ll be having fun along the way.

      1. Short version = I agree. Well stated. Characters/dialog matter, and at the minimum, you better make the battles/action scenes good if that’s what you selling because such scenes are a dime a dozen as the saying goes.

    2. Unfortunately I’m fairly sure what I’ve read about in Hollywood happens here as well. Some executive wants to make a name for them selves so change the story so that they can think they are better than the writer and show others their power and at least in their mind improve the work. It also happens sometimes in the story committee goes off track after all if they don’t change things they can’t justify the man hours they are using. This is the evil of Empire Building departments find any excuse to add employees and work and can never treat something as already good enough. Empire Building is why government and medium to large (even small see turn over reality shows) become very inefficient, and here time after time creative works get rewrite on filming.

  16. @Stilts: Put this in a separate post to keep above post from being “TL”DR” – hope you don’t mind. On the whole I agree with your review (nice job BTW) though, as noted above, things went south for me well before the last three episodes (though I agree those were the worst of the season). The first five episodes were pretty “meh”/”OK” IMO. Certainly the Loki fight wasn’t anything special IMO (and yes, better in the LN vol. 07). I do agree that Eps. 06-09 were the best of the season (pretty good – vol. 06 is not my favorite arc/vol. of the series).

    “But instead they did it in probably the worst way possible, giving the impression that all Issei needed to do was just say her damn name—something which he reverts from doing by the end of the episode. Godsdammit! *flips a table* It turns out the status quo is god (trope!), and I could not be more annoyed.”

    If nothing else, I would make this post for the above statement alone. THAT drove me NUTS (here again, the LN does the “Issei calling Rias by her name” much better). With the advantage of LN knowledge, the fight being resolved by this was completely as I expected. I think any LN reader could see this coming. However, while it certainly made for a poor fight, by far the worst was that right after Issei calls Rias by her first name, he goes right f’ing back to calling her “President”! *Drives to furniture store and flips a dozen tables*

    That, THAT drove me nuts. Terrible, just terrible, and the fast-forward power up from later volumes (cannons on Issei’s balance breaker armor) so he could one-shot pawn “evil Issei clone in Juggernaught Drive” *bleh!* made a bad fight worse. If that “foreshadowing” seemed upbrupt – it was. Sorry to repeat myself, but LN does it much better – better explained (much better explained), ties into things/world building, and more of a progressive power up. Better all around.

    — Re. Rossewiese – see above. She gets more time later in the LN, but the anime did cut her time short (like a lot of characters). Personally, I like Rosseweise <3 a lot. Frankly, I also like Xenovia (apparently a lot more than you). She falls under "Baka-adorable" for me, and is a fun character. I think the anime did a fair job with her, but perhaps reading the LN make things better in terms of her introduction, etc. Despite the slower pacing, pretty sure the first two seasons still curtailed her scenes somewhat. Well, character preference is personal/subjective so I'll leave it at that.

    “I felt like the could-have-been-hilarious Oppai Dragon song reveal—which was still funny, don’t get me wrong. I just feel like it could have been much funnier (label and tag your spoilers, people)—was all but sacrificed to end on Issei and Asia’s three-legged race, of all things.”

    Here’s where the anime is mixing up LN volumes. The 3-legged race is the ending for vol. 06 which makes sense since that’s “Asia’s arc”. I guess they needed something to end on, and since they put off the race, might as well use that given how they altered so much of vol. 05/07 (and in some parts future volumes as well). Hmm… just thought of a potential reason for going back to “status quo”. The Oppoai Dragon song debuts in vol. 05 (with an important purpose, believe it or not). If you recall, there were some viewer comments in a previous episode review about “What? No Oppai Dragon song?” The Oppai Dragon song is silly fun, but here it felt very much thrown in last minute to appease fans.

    1. Only one thing:

      Actually, I like Xenovia a lot. I just don’t think how quickly she jumped into the harem was done very well. The anime has kind of backpedaled in a way, portraying her as clearly less deredere for Issei, and only up for a tumble because … well, as you said, she’s baka-adorable. But balancing that with her competence in a fight is hard, and the anime hasn’t done it well. So while I like her, I like her far more NOW that she’s in a semi-logical place in the harem, as opposed to right after she became a devil and she sprinted to trying to schtupp Issei in the equipment shed.

      Good character, not handled well at the beginning, basically. Same thing we had with Koneko here … here tsundere coin flipped too suddenly to totally make sense to me. Not enough pay off for all the tsun she was throwing out for two full seasons.

      1. OK. My mistake then regarding Xenovia. Appreciate the explanation. Yeah, sorry to beat a dead horse, but material cuts, etc., etc. *sigh* Not just those two, but really there was a lot cut out this season especially. Sona Sitri and her team are actually an important “foil” (not a true foil in the sense that what’s highlighted is both good and bad) to Team Gremory, and Sona herself to Rias. This comes up during the Gremory vs. Sitri ratings match, and continues even past that. Don’t want to say too much, but “Issei not calling me Rias” isn’t the only concern/doubt Rias has at this point in the LN, but anime seems to have cut out that part of the story to streamline things/add anime only plot lines. :<

      2. Sorry – poor wording/proofing fail. “Not a true foil” in that by definition, a literature “foil” highlights another characters positive qualities. In the above example, both bad and good points are highlighted/contrasted. Not sure what the proper literary term for that is.

  17. The only thing i agree with is the ending. Among the anime that aired this season well. it is indeed disappointing. Not only the story is not consistent. the ending with three legged race is giving me “WTF?” moment. well not all the story is bad, because i enjoyed the first 8-9 episode. after that just meh.

  18. The Problem i had with this Anime Only Ending was:

    The Flashbacks of Issei, with the happy times with Rias. Come on, we are faithful Fans, and know these all about. Why in the Final Fight an “recap” of all of this?

    The Doppelganger, he just Appear out of the Blue. No one knows his Name. Only Rosseweise get an Call from their Gods seconds ahead. Then he seduce or turn over Rias offscreen, great.. NOT. Not showing us the doubts that Rias has or how the Doppelganger exploit it in her Heart, only the smooth talking of him, and Rias not suspecting anything

    A lot of Demos/Gods/Whatever has an handy Teleport Spell or some kind in their backhand. They run out of Fight through/bail out Animation Budget?

    Odin put an curse on them, only to go into deep Crystalline sleep himself. Do he not want reap what he sow? “I curse you Scum, but allow me to go to Sleep. be cursed forever!!!” *insert diabolic laughter*

    a Fight is about the Doppelganger and Issei, whit Rias in his Arms. I was thinking both of them would do an symbiosis Red Dragon… But only Issei transform with these strange things on his Shoulders.. What are these? i see them the first time? Oh it shoot green Lasers!! What? He overpower this Doppelganger, no death Sequence ala “Curse you forever” or “Chaos Brigade will avenge me!”…. no just the Doppelganger lose and be gone silently…

    Oh, the great Red Dragon appear. Oh he is showing them the Right Dimension. Huh? *checking* i am watching Highschool DxD Born? Why my eyes saying “Your watching Log Horizon resurrection Scene on the beach!”…and then Issei do not remember it, or pretend to not know it. And Rias’s fanservice should distract us from all of this?

    That are the mostly my Points, why the final was not well embedded in this Anime. As if someone from outside forced his ideas inside, and unbalanced the entire Highschool DxD universe. The balance was a very delicate between fanservice and Plot progression… The finals ruined it

    Okay, was done is done. it is just my try to reproduce my thoughts to all of this

  19. Well, if they really adapt 5th and 6th book only for 3rd season, do they have to adapt 7th and 9th book for 4th season? then 10th and 11th book for 5th season? STOP it right there.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    But then again, actually they should adapt 5,6,7 in the same season, but stretch the 3rd season to 24-episodes.(Then you can add in some originals that sell sexy parts of the female protag, like hot-spring, stuff and stuff)

    That would be better.

  20. I had hope for season 3. Now I have no hope for season 4. Oh well. Least we got to see Isse punch the shit out of the Old Maou faction, and Sirzechs disintegrate(rather poorly animated on screen) another Old Maou with powers of destruction(poorly explained on screen).

    At least Isse looked like a badass.

    I miss Sairog.

    Kioku from Laptop

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