「乙女心は複雑です」 (Otome Kokoro wa Fukuzatsu desu)
“A Girl’s Heart is Complicated”

In some ways, the fact that Issei hasn’t banged everyone in his harem works. I mean, not really. For a boy as horny as him, it takes a leap of faith. But at least we’re given reason to have that faith, to make that leap. There are character reasons, deep-seated self-esteem issues that give reason to why he hasn’t engaged in the monster with two backs, but like—nine backs? At least?

Sometimes, though, it defies all reason. He’s so damn dense that, even though he realizes that he’s about to have his first time, he doesn’t realize that the worst thing he could do is keep calling Rias “Buchou.” Just call her Rias! Just call her her name! Or literally anything else that’s mildly affectionate! Dammit, Issei! In many ways he works, because slight reason is given to his unwillingness to have sex with the women who would be very much down to sexy times him, because giving any reason whatsoever is so unusual in harem anime that the mere effort is appreciated. But it’s still a huge stretch even by that lax standard sometimes. Rias shoulda tossed aside her misgivings and banged him in that sauna. Which is to say, really Issei should get his head out of his ass and pick up what she’s putting down! It’s not Rias’ responsibility to smack some sense into the boy! But I’m losing faith in that even being possible, so I’m going for second best. Just fuck him, Rias. Bang the confidence issues right out of him. It’s going to be a long and torturous road otherwise, so just get it over with imo.

There are other things that happened in this episode. The press conference was pretty funny. All the Rating Games stuff happened (I’ve never cared about the context of those, and the build up is mostly boring. Only the action reveals character). The stuff with Ravel’s mother was plenty funny too—Ravel is so in the harem, and both her and her family and all of the Gremory Family knows it—but it all really comes down to Issei and Rias’s relationship. When he repeats the same mistake at the end, and everyone calls him the worst—I mean, yeah. If this series weren’t so solidly in its cups tropes, he would be at risk of losing his harem right there, and a great deal of respect from his friends to boot. There’s a level of dense beyond which all love dissolves, and he’s testing those limits.

Honestly I just really feel with Rias. She shouldn’t have to explain every last damn thing to him, though neither is she being entirely clear, natch. It’s not fair. What I’m most happy about is that the others call Issei out on his shit, and are forcing him to try to figure it out for himself. Good on them! Let this be a teachable moment. The woman (women, in this case) you love want to be special, just as you want to be special to her (them), Issei. Right? So treat them like that, dammit! I hope someone punches some sense into him, even if it needs to be Sairaorg. Which is a pretty hefty punch, so maybe figure it out before then you fool.

Random thoughts:

  • To be clear: I’m not ticked off by this episode or anything. Any emotions expressed are a direct result of what the episode was trying to elicit, and also the drinks I had earlier. Don’t judge.

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  1. https://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20HERO%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2030.jpg
    Blushing Ravel is so darn cute. Also, interesting spin on the “heart-shaped boob challenge” in the eyecatch.

    Dayumn, we’re getting some fine MILFs this season. First the foxy Yasaka and now, Ravel’s mother… (BTW, anyone manage to find out who voiced her?)

    Issei: “Buchou…”

    (*cue mass facepalming*) Goddamnit, Issei. I know you still have trauma from Raynare’s “first love betrayal”, but enough with the Ichika-level density and call Rias by her first name already! DO IT! JUST DO IT! Never thought I’d be irritated with an episode of High School DxD (besides the BorN brouhaha), even though I know this was a deliberate move on the creators’ part. At least the laughs I got from that press conference balances it out?

  2. Putting it in spoilers as i don’t remember if we are already supposed to have the reason for him being ichika levels of density or not. Show Spoiler ▼

    1. To elaborate a little on your thoughts Damrod

      Show Spoiler ▼

    2. There’s also the part they’ll get to where no one’s ever actually talked to Issei about Raynare or his issues. It’s a hidden cliche that the guy always helps the girls emotionally without them realizing that he has issues of his own until said issues get in the way of him helping them again. He’s always laughing and fighting for them, so you’d think one or two could’ve checked on the guy after all he’s been through instead of assuming that killing his first love right in front of him fixed anything.

      Just a small point in his favor, and a lot of the fault is still on Issei, but it does make you see the girls that know about Raynare a little differently. Sure they had their own issues, but maybe they could’ve stopped for a second to ask why a perv like Issei wouldn’t actually be down for sex instead of failing to cram themselves down his throat for the Nth time.

      But as always, this show doesn’t handle emotional drama well.

      1. I resist putting much (or any) blame on the girls here, but you do have a point that they’re failing at simple pattern recognition and problem solving. They’re doing the same things expecting a different result, definition of insanity etc etc. So I don’t blame them for not figuring out what’s going on (I am endlessly surprised that he can’t successfully parse that they really like him, and to just accept that yes he’s with them because of his Sacred Gear—luck is real, and it helps—but he’s earned it after that), but they should probably try a new tactic for their own sakes.

      2. When did Raynare become Issei’s first love? They shared a couple of bland hours together. He didn’t know her name when she asked him out. As he lay bleeding in the ditch, he wasn’t thinking of her, he was thinking of that hot redhead he saw in the window. His last thoughts of Yuuma-chan were about what a great rack she had and how miserable she was to kill him without letting him grope her first. I find it a bit of a reach to claim that a few minutes from the first season are the cause for his multiple seasons of stupid behaviour with Rias. I think he has been an idiot his whole life (not in a bad way) and this problem is just more of that. Either way, it’s dragging.

        The show is taking itself too seriously and it’s becoming painful to watch. Its glacial pacing isn’t helping matters.

      3. @Mockman: while it is ridiculous, Issei did think of her as his first love. It’s what happens when a seemingly sweet girl goes after a guy whose never had any luck with women(even if that’s their own fault).

      4. I see both of your points but after thinking about it some more, it still feels terribly lame to me. He didn’t really get a chance to start thinking about her as more than a pair of breasts. If it was actually important (and I don’t think it should be) then they should have made it important rather than just implying it many seasons later. But even if they had done so, this segment would still be weak. This issue was going on from at least the first episode of BorN.

        In terms of storytelling, my expectations for this show aren’t particularly high, but that said, it can be fun and entertaining to watch when it delivers on its strengths. Wallowing in misery isn’t one of those things the show’s creators are able to do well (at least with the material they have). It doesn’t suit the characters or the rest of the story. It makes Rias seem less appealing than she really (usually) is, just to hammer on how simple Issei is. For me, the episodes become a chore to watch which doesn’t really seem appropriate for this type of show.

  3. Stilts, while my deeper feelings on the matter are up above in reply to Damrod, I will say that if anyone took the time to care enough about Issei’s mental health and beat some sense into him instead of pretending that calling him dense/dumb a hundred times fixed something, half the harem would already be pregnant.

    Boy needs some serious attention outside of naked time, and now that things have come to a head, maybe someone will spend two seconds and bother to figure that out. It’s been pretty damn obvious all along where the thorn is(dead first loves will do that), and given how great these girls are, it really speaks to the show’s ability to not do emotional drama well that no one has ever paid enough attention to notice.

      1. Dragon therapy is fun stuff, he needs a sedating/calming potion on him every few hours and a lot of help from issei and albion to get better.
        And he still needs the therapy in the most recent chapters so you know it will take a long time before he gets over his issues.

  4. Here’s my thing.

    Issei has a hitch concerning relationships, that is obvious.
    But this is a classic case of miscommunication.

    At any case, it’s not Ichika levels of dense and yes I do know his reason and it’s stupid.

    1. Yeah, it would help if Rias would actually be direct and ask the real question for once. They all know he’s dense, so all the girls should’ve been long past all this skittering around the issue like that’ll somehow clear things up for Issei, cause that’s obviously not going to happen.

      And calling someone an idiot or the worst does not actually count as being helpful.

  5. Does anyone think Issei is ugly in any way?

    IIRC the novels mention he’s painfully unattractive compared to other guys, especially against people like Kiba and Vali.

    From the anime visuals, I’d say he has a much derpier face compared to handsomer characters, but not to the point that he’s got to wear a paper bag on his head for people to look at him.

    1. Unfortunately, that’s another constant trope in harem/romance anime.

      They SAY the MC (male or female) is “plain”, “ugly”, “unattractive”, the bottom of the social ladder, etc., but the viewers are SHOWN an otherwise decent to even quite attractive character because, sadly, it’s a mix of the fact that a lot of people wouldn’t be interested in watching an actual unattractive, ugly, etc. person be in a relationship (Accel World was one of the few times I recall such a relationship, but even then, the romance tended to take a backseat to the action), and also so viewers can fantasize and self-insert themselves into that MC’s shoes since, obviously, you wouldn’t want to be an actual ugly, unattractive, etc. person.

    2. Issei’s physical attractiveness doesn’t really matter. Taste runs the gamut, and plenty of people actually prefer their potential mates to look otherwise than what society deems most attractive. Take the size of sexual organs (breasts, dicks, whatever). Society says we should prefer ’em all big, but you think there aren’t people who prefer small breasts and small dicks? Of course there are!

      Yeah, he’s considered less attractive than Kiba or Vali, that’s clear from the anime too. More his problem early on is that he’s a shameless uncool perv, and while later on in life he’d learn how to be more chill without losing his essential Issei-ness (and keep the goofy perviness), he’s a dumb teenager and didn’t know how. That’s why it took such a big life event—and for girls who were by and large neither predisposed for or against him to be in a situation to spend a lot of time with him—for others to get over that initial hurdle and see if they liked the boy beneath the antics. Which they did, so all’s well (except for his trauma mucking things up).

      1. >society says

        Lol no. Bigger secondary sexual characteristics are natue`s way of telling that this specimen has good genes. Everyting else is just rationalizations layered on top.

  6. I understand Issei is dense but this is a whole new level. For several episodes, a few characters and Issei himself has asked or pondered “When will he call Rias by her name?”. Her mother just laid it out for him with the mother-in-law line. Rias is literally his trigger. She has tried to give him the cheeks on countless occasions, she even told him they should marry since season 1. Has Issei been retconed? Because I swear he passed this level with Rias.

    Aquarian DragonSlayer
  7. For people saying Issei is not bad looking, don’t forget that he actually started training after Rias showed up. While it doesn’t really show in the anime, from the novels, he’s probably gone from average looking to handsome. Hell, doesn’t one of female side characters actually say he’s looking much better than before? Same deal. Sadly, most shows don’t actually showing that. And when I say shows, I mean all types of shows not just anime.

    Also, I think because Issei’s been so helpful to all the girls (and everyone for that matter) that the girls haven’t noticed how badly Issei actually is concerning relationships. Now that all the girls in his harem want to progress further than just admitting they like him, they are going to come to terms with realizing that he isn’t exactly as held together as he portrays. And yes, it isn’t their jobs to be his therapists, but they need to help him confront his fears.

    Sometimes it isn’t so much the therapist, but rather the support that is needed to get through things. When I spiraled out of control, it wasn’t so much I needed just the therapist, but also someone to be there and to confront the root of the problem.

    And if you really think about it, Issei never has taken care of the issue since it originally happened. It has been brushed aside because “oh we need to stop this” or “oh, so and so has done that”. Issei’s one of those types of people (I’m another) who won’t take care of himself until everyone else has been taken care of. That’s also a major reason why people like him (not just the girls). It is also one of the things that can self destruct yourself in the worst possible way if you aren’t careful (like me, but I got better).

    Little long winded and not really replying to anyone, just adding my log to the fire of this discussion.

    Dorian S.
    1. All good points. As you said, it’s not their job to be his therapist, but we all know they want to be there to support him (as he has them), they just gotta realize that he needs it and figure out how to best be there for him while he works through that stuff. And any further help they can give in the process, I’m sure they’d be more than willing to give.

      He also definitely is selfless, and takes that “guys should be strong for girls” nonsense seriously. All of which makes sense, but in a retrospect sort of way. It’s like, I can see where it’s coming from, it just feels a stretch. Though I’m sure that’s a combination of adaptation decay and Issei doing too good of a job of brushing aside his own issues up until now. That’s a hard character flaw to work with, believe you me.

      1. That’s the thing and I think Aex points it out well that the girls haven’t really known Issei enough to realize he’s being … well … reckless with himself. I mean, it has been maybe a year at most, right? I forget time wise. They don’t realize that he’s over doing it. If it was his perverted friends, they would definitely be able to go “yeah, no Issei’s not right”. Hell, I think that perverted girl friend of his (the one who sticks to Ashia) probably would slap the hell out of Issei right now. And she is a pervert, just better at hiding it.

        It doesn’t mean he’ll be buff as a crazy man, but he’ll definitely look better than he does now. While training with Rias, everyone else and also Taninim, isn’t going to make him buff as a dude, he’s probably got a good enough improvement that others see an improvement.

        Animators can’t really show us those small details. Sad as it is.

        I agree they probably didn’t realize how serious it is. And as someone who didn’t take of himself, I did exactly like him. I didn’t take care of it, because something always would come up that I would need to do for others.

        That’s the other thing is that Issei’s confidence and skill is so infectious that people overlook those signs. A big sign is that he still doesn’t call Rias, Rias.

        Let’s also think about it from Issei’s subconscious point of view, because that’s the issue. He called the girl he loves by what he has always called her. Sure, she … I think she gave him permission to call her Rias, but she’s never really enforced it. They were about to have sexy times but this backfires and it was a bad thing to do. Totally get why Rias is upset, but it also scares the hell out of Issei because this will cause flashbacks to Raynae (sp sorry).

        Then you get told off by all your comrades. Sure it is disappointment in Issei, but to Issei, right now his subconsciousness is playing the “will I go back to being unliked” because he’s going to directly tie that to what happened to Rias. Causing him to also worry if this is another Raynae (sp, sorry) all over again. Or if they are only in it because he’s the Red Dragon.

        It also has only been like what, six months to a year? I wouldn’t doubt he’s probably thinking “when will this dream I’m having end, I haven’t done anything to deserve all of this”.

        …sorry projecting some of myself onto Issei. That’s why I say these things in confidence. It has and is how I think for a long time now.

        Dorian S.
    2. Someone being so willing to immediately help others is actually a pretty good sign they have some issues of their own, but are just avoiding them. It’s a really hard trait to spot, though, especially if you don’t know their history(looking at you, Mr. Emiya). They’re basically trying to prove their own worth through others. Plus in the cases with these haremettes they’ve been so grateful to be helped that they almost end up putting Issei up on a pedestal and ignoring his flaws until, like you said, the flaws become really blatant, like what happened here.

      In a way it can be seen as the whole “blinded by love” thing where the girls don’t want to think of Issei as having something really wrong with him besides a minor quirk. Maybe also a little bit of guilt and/or deflection because they might’ve seen signs of something serious before but didn’t act on it because they thought he could straighten himself out, but now things have gotten to the boiling point that they hoped would never come. I mean, like we’ve been groaning about all along, what kind of guy keeps having confidence issues when gorgeous women are throwing themselves at him?

      It just turned out that Issei’s issues couldn’t be plastered over so indirectly and he might’ve actually needed someone to sit him down and spell out, in no uncertain terms, exactly why they keep going after him. That way he’s forced to stop making excuses like “oh, they’re just really grateful and they know I love breasts but they’d probably get mad if I took it too seriously” or “well, Ddraig said that dragons attract the opposite sex who want strong children, but it would be wrong to take advantage, right?”.

    3. While you are correct if we go with the novels, the anime doesn’t have that luxury i guess.
      This season has even less to work with in that area since that mess of born was supposed to show those issues a bit more as a spring board to how they solved Issei his issue this season. So not only do they have to ensure that this season actually follows the novels (which is what they are doing a pretty good job at so far with the small differences in certain sizes and clothing like the breast size of the kitsune boss and serafall, but that is just nitpicking at this point) but if they don’t have the proper set up, people will call foul, deus ex machina or just pulling stuff out of their ass for no reason besides ease of use. As certain things from season 3 ( novel wise ) are setting things up for the later volumes, they also have to make sure the resolution makes sense. Or at least enough sense so that people don’t call it as them solving stuff as easy as just telling them to get over a scraped knee. Now, i don’t know the official term for it but having issues like issei is having are a lot worse then just a simple scraped knee.


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