「体育館裏のホーリー」 (Taiikukan ura no Hourii)
“Holy Behind the Gymnasium”

Wow. This isn’t something you see every day. After TNK got the boot and Passione took over, word was that they would ignore the anime-original ending of BorN and continue on with the LN plot, but I didn’t expect them to take the time to officially retcon all that out and fill us in on what we missed. This is really unusual, because it comes across like they’re shitting all over the other studio/whoever made those awful decisions last time (the production committee, realistically—which makes it even more surprising, because some of those committee members might still be there) while doing all this extra work for comparatively little new content. But what makes it even more odd is that it’s the right decision—which often has no bearing on what an anime production committee does. I mean, they’re going to gain all sorts of goodwill from the LN crew for doing this, right? It’s really smart! I’m just surprised they did it. I guess the pessimists were wrong this time.

The story picks up after the end of episode eight of BorN, and contains many of the events of episode nine, with several very important changes. The funny thing is that, in a straight one-to-one comparison of scenes that are in both episodes, the BorN sections are better. Maybe it’s just the version of this 00 episode that I got a hold of, but the animation in HERO seems cheaper and fuzzier. But when it comes to the actual content, this episode wins out. Not because it stays true to the LN for staying-true-to-the-source’s sake, but because the source is friggin’ hilarious! There wasn’t much new content in this episode overall, but what there was left me in stitches.

No way did I expect the Oppai Dragon Song to be plot important, but here we are. I was laughing my butt off! And from a storytelling point of view it was the absolutely right thing to happen, because it was very in character for High School DxD. Part of what makes this series so much fun is that it doesn’t take itself seriously for too long, and when it does there’s a sense of good cheer about it. Having Issei be saved through a silly song, and because he pressed Rias’ nipple (“Switch Hime”, hah!), is the right kind of delightful absurdity for this series. It’s the right kind of stupid to be endearing, and having this happen instead of some uber-serious plot turn is way better. And now we can pick back up where the story should have been, without all that other nonsense. Great!

If I had a complaint (other than the fuzzy animation), it’s that the episode goes pretty quick, and some things (like the majesty of Great Red) don’t come across as well when you’re rushing. Vali’s rescue of Asia is even more BS in this version too, since there isn’t even a hint that he’d save her (though that was still a cheap move before). Which leaves us with a bit of a conundrum: Should someone who’s only now watching BorN skip episodes 9-12? Yes. Yes they should. Though for anime-only viewers, it might end up that having watched the bad anime-original ending of BorN, overwriting most of it with this, but remembering the good parts from episode 9 of BorN is the best way to get the complete picture. It’s an odd situation, but for those of us who have already suffered, we probably come out ahead. If someone were only catching BorN now, I’d definitely save them the pain. Oppai Dragon Song is much better.

The episode ends with a sweet Asia x Issei kiss, and there’s really not much to add. High School DxD is back! They’ve righted the ship, and it’s set to be as silly as ever. Hopefully the fuzzy animation will get better—or I’ll find a better source—before next week’s official first episode. I can’t wait!

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: Book 3 Progress Report.

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  1. Hmmm. Was it part of the studio switching deal that they had to change all the character designs? The whole thing looks like a DxD cosplay. I mean, who’s the girl with the red hair and the dai-oppai? She kind of looks a bit like Rias Gremory from some angles, but it’s not a strong resemblance. If I do watch this, it’ll be strictly for the fanservice, I suppose.

    1. Not crazy about the new designs either (can only call them “fluffier” than the originals), but when they’re part of the package with a fix this big and a whole new season, I’ll deal.

      1. @zztop: I kinda noticed that, and while I appreciate it cause I love the LN art, there’s still just a little too much fluff to them. Like they tried to lighten the characters up but got the shading just a little wrong. Maybe they’ll get a little sharper after this.

        Wow I feel like a picky old fart… I’ll shut up now.

      2. That is a sacrifice i am willing to take in order to get a proper season for this show.
        Might be a bit more generic in its animation style, but as long as they don’t screw up it will most likely be fine.

    2. While those images do exemplify how much the character designs where nerved, your statement is an oversimplification of the overall quality of the design change

      1. Yeah, I agree that it looks more like the LN but now they look cute to me, not real fuckable. Which is a shame. But I’m not a LN reader so I wouldn’t have even minded if they kept on going from the end of Born, I’m just sad because of the animation chance, it’s like they flipped the anime upside down.

  2. Oppai Dragon Dance!!

    Wow, I never expected an Ep.0 to really fix things. Maybe a quick summary, but a full retcon before they officially kick off? Damn, I’m way too happy! Gotta reel myself in a little before next week. Yeah, I should do that…

    *sees Oppai Dragon Dance* F-it, the hype is real!!

  3. You can’t spell Hero without Ero.

    It’s probably the production committee’s way to say they’ll do things properly now and to forget the last part of BorN. I already did as I forgot that the Oppai Dragon song wasn’t at this part in that version. Excited to see the whole season given the volumes they’ll cover.

    Also, glad to hear Taneda Risa again.

    1. “Also, glad to hear Taneda Risa again.”


      Also can’t wait to hear her return as KinMosa‘s Aya Komichi, GochiUsa‘s Rize Tedeza, and GATE‘s Rory Mercury.

      (Sort of OT: And even though I’ve yet to watch Shokugeki no Souma…any news on whether she’ll reprise her role as Erina Nakiri in the next season of the anime?)

      1. She has not. Kanemoto Hisako is continuing in the role of Erina for this season, and I’d suspect she’ll keep the role from here on out. The brutal truth of show business is that, once you step away from an opportunity, the person who takes it up usually gets to keep it as long as they want it. Maybe if there was a demonstrable skill difference she’da gotten it back, but Kanemoto Hisako is a top-tier seiyuu. No way her agency is giving up that role.

      2. Welp, that’s a pity. 🙁 I’m guessing (could be wrong) there are other roles Ms. Taneda previously voiced that she won’t be able to reprise after being darrin’d by another seiyuu. (Fate/Grand Order‘s Mash Kyrielight immediately comes to mind.)

  4. While there is still a lot of stuff missing that will be rather important plot points later on, at least we got our DxD back again with the proper treatment.
    No more of that lazy filler stuff ^_^

    Oh and Stilts? That Oppai song has more plot importance then you’d think at the moment in the most delicious ways possible. As for Asia her rescue being a BS thing, while i don’t remember that part as clearly from the light novels but if i am not mistaken, she first got saved by great red and then by the vali team… It was at least explained in a semi-reasonable way that didn’t feel like a BS move.

    However, if there is 1 complaint i can make (besides the animation, but that might just be thanks to how the current studio animates ) is that the scale of power felt rather weak. For all its flaws that BorN has ( and it has too many to count ) at least it gave us a better feel of strength for the juggernaut drive. Here, it just felt like a normal balance breaker going berserk. But i am willing to chalk that one up to how they had to rush certain things a bit in order to retcon last season.

    Stilts, if they are capable of keeping this up, you will love this new season 4 even more then season 1 and 2 since some of the best stuff is about to happen in the comedy aspect.

    1. The whole reason I never expected such a fully-formed retcon was because of how well BorN did the Juggernaut Drive. You’re never going to capture the same gravitas with a summary-esque episode like this, but I’ll give them points for trying. Everything else that happened around that bit was worth it.

      As for all the other important stuff we’re still missing… well, I don’t expect one episode to fix changes that happened a full season ago. We’ll probably get flashback-snippets later on about stuff that “happened” outside of BorN when it becomes relevant, and I’d personally love to forget that the stupidly overblown Show Spoiler ▼

      ever happened at all.

    2. How good they portrayed the power of the Juggernaut Drive in BorN ep9 is one of the main reasons I’m (now) happy that I’ve watched both. I’m sort of mentally stapling that info onto the events of this episode, which gives me closer to the full picture without having the time to do it all here. I guess I’d tell a new viewer to watch both ep9 of BorN and this, and just skip 10-12 of BorN. Or read a summary if they’re curious.

  5. https://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20HERO%20-%2000%20-%2034.jpg
    Nothing says “fuck you, season 3” greatly than a faithful re-adaptation of the light novel.

    There will be 12 episode again this season, meaning it maybe will adapt volume 9 and 10 of the light novel. They skipped the rest of volume 5 which is about Show Spoiler ▼

    One Pinch Man
    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      While they did a great job with this retcon, i am still cautious regarding the potential pace they will decide to go with.
      Too fast and it will screw over the season again and too slow will also botch stuff up.

      Meh, that is most likely the pessimist in me speaking thanks to the previous season *Glares at inner pessimist*

  6. Vol 25 is the final volume of DxD. Don’t worry, Ichibumi will be writing a direct continuation, Shin High School DxD (effectively DxD Vol 26).

    Apparently it’s a business move to reset the series’ volume count so not to overwhelm new readers.

    Also, Hero will only cover LN Vols 9-10.

  7. It’s funny how DxD’s fanservice looks so innocent now compared to recent “all-out” LNs like Masou Gakuen HxH and Shinmai Maou. (Especially Kizuna’s indirect-sex escalations and Basara’s bedromps.)

    Some LN readers I spoke with say DxD’s approach is a good thing, because it makes the story more palatable to a wider audience who primarily come for the action-adventure, with the sexiness complimenting the story and characters (as opposed to the others which seek to arouse the readers from the start). However, some think the story should go “all-out” so they can finally see Issei carnally commit to his harem after so long.

    What is your opinion on this?

    1. Personally, I always found HSDXD’s approach better because it’s both more fun/casual and more in-character. Other series basically stop the plot to put in some explicit fanservice that gets more and more hardcore as the series goes on, but this series manages to keep things going even while the ecchi is front and center. HSDXD never has the big “hold on, need some sex power-ups” moments that kinda leave me asking if this is really the time for that, and the little ones like the breast-poke here are just so in-character for Issei that they’re more comedy then a distraction.

      The comedy and ecchi are so intertwined in this show that stopping to have more “intense” moments doesn’t sound right. The ecchi here isn’t about intensity, it’s about the characters’ feelings and having fun with each other. It always amazed me how well these characters were written to just be so incredibly comfortable with each other that they can all be naked in the bath together with Issei right there and somehow the scene comes off as really sweet instead of perverted. Which makes sense because as much as Issei loves his “oppai”, he’s a really sweet and caring guy. He doesn’t dominate anyone and he isn’t submissive, he’s everyone’s partner.

      Sure, eventually Issei and the harem should cross the final line, but I almost don’t want to see the act itself as much as I’d rather see the scene when the girls have finally had enough stalling and lock Rias and Issei in a room together to get it over with so the rest of them can have a turn.

    2. I like how DXD uses fanservice in its story. Issei’s “all-out” should be at the very end of the light novel.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      One Pinch Man
    3. My first reply seems to have died in review, so I’ll try to give a quick reply this time since I can’t remember half of what I wrote:

      Intense fanservice has never been the point of HSDXD. The ecchi has always been tied to the plot, and Issei in particular, rather than be something that the plot has to stop for so the characters can have a “sexy power-up session”. This brand of fanservice has always been more casual and comical/fun than that and more to show how incredibly comfortable the characters are with each other. I don’t know another series where everyone in the bath or in bed together can come off as sweet and heartwarming instead of perverted, and that’s because of the characters.

      “Intense” wouldn’t fit here, really. Issei isn’t that type of lead. In a way, he’s too sweet and thoughtful. Even the times when the girls have thrown themselves at him he’d rather help them fix their problem (because it’s always because of a problem) because he cares about them, rather than “give them what they’re asking for” and then fix the problem. It’s a combination of his lack of confidence in himself (he thinks the girls see him as harmless) and the fact that he’ll always put them first.

      Sure, eventually the line needs to be crossed, but I almost don’t want to see the deed itself since again, this isn’t that kind of story. I think it’d be more fitting for the haremettes to finally lose their patients with Issei and Rias and lock them both in a room to finally get to it while they wait outside for their turn, only to be left waiting the entire day until they can’t wait anymore and peek inside to see them still going at it, at which point they boil over and everyone charges him, end scene.

    4. I largely agree with Aex. DxD is more about action and comedy, with the fanservice being icing on the cake + an avenue for the comedy (plus a little wish fulfillment). The problem with going intense with the fanservice is that you quickly get to the point Shinmai Maou no Testament got to, which is an exasperated sigh and a (spoke out loud to no one) question of, “Can they just DO it already?” Having that not happen though a combination of Issei’s self-confidence issues and a lighter, sillier tone keeps it from being frustrating. That can’t last forever, but it can last for a while—especially once a reader/viewer sees some of these other series, and realizes how comparatively well this works.

    5. “It’s funny how DxD’s fanservice looks so innocent now compared to recent “all-out” LNs like Masou Gakuen HxH and Shinmai Maou. (Especially Kizuna’s indirect-sex escalations and Basara’s bedromps.)”
      You should also add Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai.
      I am currently a list of “all-out” fanservice anime. Does anyone else have any recommendations?

      1. Try Nanatsu no Bitoku i guess?
        Then there is also Hundred, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, Valkyrie drive, Bikini warriors, if we go with an older one there is probably also 1+2=Paradise and lets not forget the obvious ones like the queens blade ones and maybe seikon no qwaser. Then again, qwaser is more about sucking breasts to power up instead so eh.

      2. Oh, I just noticed my type-o, I am saying “I am currently Making a list of “all-out” fanservice anime.”
        Anyway, thank you Damrod. I appreciate the help you gave me. You just told me some good fanservice anime I have yet seen.

    6. I guess after having seen Shinmai Maou no Testament and Masou Gakuen HxH (which was basically discount Infinite Stratos with the ecchi turned up to eleven), I could say… There is such a thing as “too much ecchi.”

      Now, I love my guilty pleasure ecchi shows, but please don’t crank the ecchi up at the cost of a well-written story and sympathetic characters that are more than just seasonal waifu choices.

      With Shinmai Maou no Testament, I couldn’t help but feel apathetic toward the main characters–much less get interested in the show’s setting and premise–despite billing itself as a guilty pleasure ecchi show.

      As for Masou Gakuen HxH, it was good that the main characters had sympathetic backstories that were presented well and the premise was interesting (and almost as audacious as DxD). But some of the mechanical designs for the Heart Hybrid Gear weapons weren’t as impressive (or as imaginatively named) as the weapons in Infinite Stratos. (Could be a bad case of off-model as well, but I haven’t heard if the Blu-Ray/DVD versions fixed that and extended some scenes.) It’s a shame since the show kinda grew on me, and I really wanted to see where that story would go despite some of the show’s flaws–just like Infinite Stratos itself.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  8. I just want to comment on the visuals really quickly (and it will be quick because otherwise i’d be writing pages about the differences between the original series and this new production). Yes, while some of the character designs have been nerfed (not all of them mind you) this lends to better character animation…you hear that….WE MAY ACTUALLY GET CHARACTER ANIMATION IN A DXD SEASON!!! Like i said in my complaints regarding dagashi kashi’s visuals, i don’t mind certain sacrifices if it means we get something equally or even more valuable in return. With Dagashi Kashi season 2, everything about its visuals was a downgrade. With DXD however, this nerfing of the character designs will make it easier for there to be actual character animation; and in a series that is all about the fanservice, this an extremely good thing. Unfortunately, it seems that the art direction has a taken a bit of hit. The appropriate use of shadows and effects animation that gave DxD some visual depth and energy in the previous season also seems to have been cast to the wayside (that kinda sucks) which makes the born equivalent scenes of this retread looked….admittedly better (this episode of season 4 also looked a bit overexposed; not on the level of something like 3d kanojo but it’s noticeable). Oh and that fuzziness in the action scenes comes from shoddy post-processing. Still, we may get some character animation from the DxD series and that’s the significant net positive of this new adaptation. Unfortunately, i didn’t see too much of that during ep 00 which was odd especially because the shots from the pv boasted better animation quality than what we got this ep. I know a pv tries to insert the best shots into the trailer but still; those pv shots were all fairly consistent which has me scratching my head why we didn’t see more of that quality beyond Rias’ glorious boob jiggle; probably the best her breasts have looked) I’m just going to assume this was a more passive effort on the production team because they were treading similar ground from a previous season. Either way, I’m generally up for this visual change. In a show where titillation is the name of the game, you bet your ass i want some good character animation to be attached to it

  9. DxD’s author also retconned Born’s anime original content via DxD Ex, a special LN included with Born’s Blurays.
    He hinted the original stuff was “an alternate timeline” spinoff caused by Future Loki’s time travel.

    (The plot’s about Future Loki escaping his prison, allying with evil biomachine gods seeking to conquer the world. He travels back in time with them to end Issei and co. Present-day Azazel teams up with Issei’s future children to stop Loki’s plans.)

  10. With all the things that are just so wrong with the world today (and we’d be here all year if I even try to mention them all, plus YMMV), it’s always good freaking news whenever one wrong is finally righted. (And I’m still having a figurative hangover from the continuity snarl caused by the last quarter of BorN, blyat.)

    That said, while I will be tempering my optimism with caution, I’m still ultimately looking forward to a more (if not totally) faithful animated adaptation of the LN with a season-ender that can ignite interest for a new season. If Studio Passione can do that, then I can definitely say that High School DxD has returned to form.

    But based on this retcon prologue episode…
    – Audacious ecchi comedy? Check. (The “Oppai Dragon” song returns! Also, “Switch Princess” Rias.)
    – “Holy s**t!”-worthy awesome moments/Characters pulling off “Holy s**t!”-worthy awesome moments. Check. (Vali fighting Juggernaut Drive mode Issei in order to tire the latter out while the “Oppai Dragon” song plays loudly in the background.)
    – Bonus (especially for the LN fans): Cao Cao and Siegfried being introduced.

    …yep, High School DxD HERO is on its way to returning to form. (I wish I could say the same for Infinite Stratos…if it ever gets a new season.) Eager to watch the rest of the episodes.

  11. So did you guys all watch the google translation of the french version? So impatient. 😀

    Very good news that this series continues to be broadcasted uncensored (on the right channels of course).

    “Should someone who’s only now watching BorN skip episodes 9-12? Yes. Yes they should.”
    —> Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Thankfully someone already explained what to watch in the season preview comments section. Still have to watch the DxD New OVA, which hasn’t been blogged, I think? But then it’s time for BorN.

    1. I discussed it in another comment above, but you might want to watch ep9 of BorN as well. It covers a lot of the content of this episode in a different way, but you get some things…
      Show Spoiler ▼

      …much better in that episode. I’d definitely skip 10-12 though, and just read a summary if you’re curious what happened there.

  12. First of all I think the fighting scenes in this episode aren’t nearly as good as the original ver. Juggernaut Drive just seemed to be so much more powerful than this one. If they really wanted to redo the episode they should of done it mostly as just a remake in the new art style, but make/add a few scenes. Showing what the other characters where doing while Issei was fighting and also adding the part with the song in before Vali went to stop Issei. Then they could of just went from the end of episode 9 to the school sports festival at the end of 12, add they kiss scene, and that could of fix the problem of having episode 10-12 of last season.

    As far as the art style goes, some of the characters I like, most don’t. Faces all look the same, the movement of the characters look off at times, and now everyone seems to be nearly the same height. I know it supposed to look like the LN ver, but compared to other seasons it just looks like a cheep ver.

    As much as I loved the series past seasons up till the 2 anime original episodes, I think changing studios for just those two episodes last season was a bad ideal unless there are other reasons. I’m just hoping that the new art style and animation isn’t going to ruin this season for me even if the rest of it turns out good.

    1. The issue with that is time. I don’t think there was enough run-time to do BorN ep9 almost exactly as it was, shave off a few minutes, and add in all the Oppai Dragon song stuff. There’s just not that much fluff in ep9, and they had Issei be saved much more quickly than was possible with the Oppai Dragon song. Plus I think they wanted this to serve as a reminder/full replacement for ep9+, which means they couldn’t shave off too much detail, lest new viewers be totally bewildered (they already had to seriously weaken the Vali angle. They’da needed more time for all that, but not 2x episodes worth of time.

      It’ll do, especially for those of us who saw ep9 originally. Now we see where it goes from here.

      1. The 1-2m recap at the start really wasn’t needed. If your coming in new your going to be confused anyway really, you might be better off starting when ep1 comes out. Also used the credits as time to put in the school stuff and I think if could of worked.

      2. They did use the credits for extra content. That’s why there was no OP/ED. And the recap was likely put in there to slightly ease viewers in (existing ones, not new viewers) rather than hurl them immediately into the plot. It was still a tad dizzying as is, but probably woulda been worse without that. Either way, wouldn’t have given them much more time.

        My point isn’t that they couldn’t have done better. Sure they could have. I’m just not sure there was enough time to add all the new stuff and still keep all the parts that made ep9 work really well. It’s not worth going into further though, unless we want to go minute-by-minute and edit the script. Which, pass.

      3. Only way i can think of to add the gravity from juggernaut drive and the like is by extending the length of the episode itself. They already had to cut some of the stuff there with this so unless they extended the episode itself it is just not feasible without rushing too much.

      4. But they couldn’t do that unless they went for a full double episode (due to broadcast restraints), and even then the ROI on doing that for a single retcon episode is pretty low. Probably not worth it unless they had enough content to fully fill a double episode and make it really good, and I don’t think they had that much else to do. They made the right choice imo.

      5. They might have had enough content if you’d add in the small details before coming to beelzebub ( which are not that interesting and only become semi important thanks to flashbacks ) and the stuff for the juggernaut battle, retrieval of asia and the aftermath. If you’d stretch some of it or add an outrun in it, then there might be enough for a double episode worth of stuff but most of he stuff that becomes semi important to important later in the story gets a flashback anyways in the LN so technically, those things would only give a good to high ROI if they redid the entire season. With just the recap however? I will be suprised if they’d break even with the retcon.

  13. I think I’ll be able to get used to most of the new art style after a while, but the only one I might not be able to is Vali. The previous style had a prickly, rogue element to him that really fit his character, but this one…well…as said about the art in general, it looks too “fluffy”.



    You could just stick a pair of cat ears on him and he’d literally look like Koneko’s brother, lol.

      1. Meh, the original was too 90s anime style. It was honestly generic in its own way. Every decade has a “feeling”, and yeah, this is way different but honestly I like it. It is more like the LN at any rate.

  14. Well, most of the previous Anime fans where LN fans? I do not think so, but i think they get used to it.

    Right now, i somehow have an urge for an little “flashback” to remind me all of the names and their rolls.. these little different faces are the culprit

  15. An anime studio salvaging a light novel story line that suffered from a crappy original ending?

    Please slap me. I must be dreaming. We’ve seen plenty of reboots (e.g. FMA Brotherhood), but blatant retconning to get the story back on track? Can anyone think of another series that has done this? I can only recall the hundreds of disappointing anime “original” endings that end up on my list titled “The Writers Pissed All Over the Source Material, Again”.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the latest season of Ao no Exorcist also did similar thing?

        I’m here pretty much just to say that. I’ve checked out this new episode of DxD. The narrative execution is still as childish, braindead and cringey as when I dropped it in the middle of Season 2 and now I got hit by ugly-looking faces to boot! I’m outta here. Fans, have fun.

  16. I love how they manage to say such ridiculously ecchi and hentai sentences with such a straight face and serious tone.

    I wonder who counted the number of times the word oppai was mentioned. Well trust in the oppai I shall.
    Watch the uncensored version definitely

  17. Still as amusing as it used to be. Wouldn’t really mind the art style change if the kept the eyes. They could’ve still made it softer while keeping the eyes. Sad, since I actually watch DxD more for the eyes than the boobs.

    Not too fond of changes towards softer art styles, but I still enjoyed Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-. So, it shouldn’t influence me that much. Hoping for more plot than PLOT now.

  18. One word: give me back the artwork and character design in the past three seasons, please. I know it is a different studio but the change is just too bad to be stomach.

    I wish they can at least do something to fix this issue in ep 1.


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