「若手最強決定戦、開始です!」 (Wakate Saikyou Kettei-sen, Kaishi desu!)
“The Deciding Battle of the Strongest Youth, Begins!”

This episode proves it: the idea wasn’t bad. This episode was GOOD, and the Raynare stuff was handled really well. The girls realized their error, and came in seeking to understand and heal Issei; Issei cut it out with that “Guys have to be strong” nonsense, and talked about his feelings. The girls were able to reassure him, and Issei was able to trust in their words now that he not only confronted what had happened, but had their positions stated unequivocally. It all worked well—it’s just that getting to this point was dragged out until the suspension of disbelief threatened to snap. If this had happened a while ago, shortly after several girls had fallen in love with him and they all decided to share him rather than fight, then it would have made sense. They just flirted at the razor’s edge of banging him for so long that it strained credibility that something wouldn’t have happened already—either Issei’s trauma coming roaring back earlier, or the girls getting frustrated and wondering what was going on. Which is what ultimately happened, Ishibumi-sensei just waited as long as absolutely possible to get there. Which is probably smart from a commercial standpoint—dragging out the will-they-or-won’t-they is a time-honored money making tradition—it’s just subpar from a storyetlling one. Still, we got here, and it works. I enjoyed it.

Also, you know. Boobs. Lots and lots of boobs. That part was nice too.

I rolled my eyes when Riser waltzed in and started dispensing with the advice, like suddenly he’s a good guy again. I’m pretty sure last time we saw him he was a total entitled asswipe. And yeah, people change (sometimes), but, well. I rolled my eyes, but I probably shouldn’t knock it too much. I’d like to live in a world where the absolute jackass can be reformed into a good guy, even if it doesn’t usually work that way. (Plus he was totally right about Rias’ talent being in finding and retaining great people. That’s super hard! It’s not to be underestimated.)

As for the Rating Game, the way the game is laid out seems rather funny, right? I guess the point is to balance winning (without your pieces getting too damaged to fight later) with not sending so much power as to constrain your options in the next battle, while trying to winnow down the other side enough that they have to start committing the King, and then knock the King out. It’s just, what if they roll snake eyes? Rias at least wouldn’t be able to send out a piece. What happens if Rias’ team knocks out people until it’s just Sairaorg? Do they act as if they’re rolling twelves until one side wins, or does Sairaorg lose somehow? How about if it’s Sairaorg and one other person, that person fights, and then the next time they roll anything but a twelve? Neither the person who just fought or Sairaorg would be able to go. Mulligan again?

My point is, as a game, it’s badly constructed. As a vehicle for storytelling, it’ll do just fine. This allows Ishibumi-sensei to pick exactly who he wants to battle who, and avoids him being constrained to a certain number of combatants from battle to battle. I just wouldn’t design my bloodsport like this, is all.

Random thoughts:

  • Also: I definitely understand Issei worrying about ruining the current relationship if he tells Rias he likes her. Ridiculous to us the viewers, but to a high school boy who has no idea how to gauge if a girl likes him or not, that makes total sense. Sincerely, Past Stilts.

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  1. As far as Raiser goes, there was an OVA I believe that covered the part where he was traumatized after his loss and Ravel asked Rias for help with him, which resulted in Issei dragging him to the dragon mountain to train with Tannin and a horde of dragons, and after they beat some humility into him he basically became a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.

    1. Ah yes, “The Unresurrected Phoenix”/”Yomigaerarenai Fenikkusu“.

      True, BorN had its missteps, but that OVA isn’t one of them. I suggest giving it a rewatch when possible.

  2. Harem, now with muh feelingz, kek.
    He should just follow the advice of that whatshisname canadien two-bit comic singer, “I don`t have feelings cuz feelings are gay”. Maybe then he will actuall yscore like that other bland dude.

  3. A few things I´d like to point out:

    – Issei still believes in the “guys have to be strong” nonsense, it´s just that he was forced to talk about the Raynare trauma. He even believed that after his heart out the girls would definitely lose any interest in him. His self-denial was that strong— and his PTSD which was not properly conveyed in animated form didn´t help.

    – Much to Ishibumi´s discontent, the editors´ command is to avoid sex scenes— even implicit ones— but at least he made the effort to provide reasons for the obvious not occurring. He does come up with another peculiar one for the next novels but it would be a nasty spoiler so I´ll stop here.

    – The game is not badly constructed, it simply wasn´t explained for time reasons or because it would be too much exposition. I´m sure they ´ll bring it up next episode but it´s simple actually. They just roll again and again until both teams are able to summon at least one combatant.

  4. I go with the Cliche that “catholic (Battle)Nuns” here are sexual high pitch (this want a Baby). But i really wonder where this cliche came from.. i know of the H-World, but somewhere they have been an staring point…

    1. From porn. It’s the only thing related to nuns they have seen probably.

      The day they discover most of them are old women and/or really devoted to their beliefs will be a sad one for them.

      1. I see… i was hopping to hear that this go far back in time, when Nippon open to the West and some Church Nuns came into their country.. But oh well, even their own Miko’s are not free of this stuff

    2. Most likely just from before 747 is when that cliche came about.
      Not all nuns are ugly and old after all, not even back then so it is not that much of a stretch to imagine a villager seeing a hot nun in that time, get his fun with a girl whether that was his own wife/girlfriend or a hooker while living out the idea and eventually it evolved in the stuff that we know of today.
      As for the 747 number, oldest reference with an actual year that i could dig up quickly was that one as 747 was referenced with nuns in japan.

  5. Worldwidepp, the starting point for that out of the porn business might actually have been more simple.
    The profession of a nun is already as old as 747 after christ ( oldest reference with an actual year i could dig up quickly ) and since not all nuns are ugly and/or old, there must have been some good looking ones in the past. Couple that with the fact that there is a fetish for everything ( even the sounds of balloons just bouncing is good enough for some people to get their rocks off ) and when the first nuns came to be about there might have been a good looking one in that group that grapped the attention of a villager and caused him to live out his fantasies on a courtesan to put it nicely. And when that customer gets hooked on it, he or she might tell others to try it with a courtesan if they wanted to try something new and from there we get the hot nun cliche over the years.

    Is it just me or is there a recent increase of salty people that just want to whine in the comments?


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