「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
- 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.
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.