「リアス・グレモリーの眷属として」 (Riasu Guremorii no Kenzoku to Shite)
“As a Family Member of Rias Gremory”
This episode contained a lot of discrete battles. I could go through each one at a time, but that would be boring because most weren’t much to talk about. That’s not a knock, though, because the fact that we had five full battles is a recognition that most of them couldn’t carry an episode alone. Good! I’d prefer for more battle anime to recognize the limitations of their chosen plots and not drag them out pointlessly. The result here is that we got to see the contours of the overall contest change within the space of an episode, and that’s what this is really all about.
Granted, some of the battles were pretty limiting even so. Kiba’s battle was only all right, and Akeno’s defeat was perfunctory at best. Trying to get through a bunch of battles where each one has limited dramatic weight will lead to some duds, made so because we don’t no squat about any of Sairaorg’s family save for him, so there’s no character on the other side of the field. Some was developed over these bouts, but aside from the queen who actually won, we won’t see any of the others again, so who cares. It’s one of the times when High School DxD’s straddling of the ecchi, comedy, and fantasy action genres hurts it, because a full-on action anime might have put development time into the opponents ahead of time, but DxD didn’t care. Partially I appreciate this, because they didn’t waste our time with half-assed characterizations if they weren’t going to go all in. But only wasting a little time instead of wasting a bunch is still wasting some of our time. I’m not bad, it’s a B+ decision, it just deserves calling out.
The battles that did have more going on were more fun, though. Rosseweisse and Koneko’s battle had some actual wrinkles to it, and it ended as I expected it to: with the Gremory team winning, but losing a fighter. That’s how I expected this to play out: the Gremory team would win a lot early on, because they’re all defined characters and most of the others are just faces, until they start fighting against Sairaorg, at which point they’ll begin to lose until it’s down to Issei, Rias, and whoever else makes it dramatic (Asia, I’d bet). So it followed in Xenovia and Gasper’s match, and I did get a chuckle about Gasper talking about protecting the girls when the girl in question is way stronger than him. I know, I know, it ties in with his character arc quite nicely, and it made for by far the most compelling match of the episode. You just know how I feel about this whole “guys must protect girls” rigmarole. Everyone ought to protect everyone else! But when it came time for Gasper to protect someone, he fought on admirably, and I especially loved his time freeze as he was fading away. Now that’s how to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat! Way to go, Ga-kun!
Oh, and Issei’s match. Oh, Issei! It was a good bit of hilarious comedy interlude, and a good attempt at exploiting his “weakness,” even if I’m not sure what her plan was once she was down to her birthday suit? Unless she had some kind of Oppai Beam that was going to take down Issei in one shot, I don’t know what she was planning, but at least it was funny until she made a classic mistake. I’m a fan of mixing up the order myself, but Issei is young. He’ll come around in time.
The episode ends with the remaining rook and knights vowing to wear down Sairaorg, and that’s a
death defeat flag if I’ve ever seen one. They know they’re outmatched though, so at least they’re cognizant enough to know their chances in the match. Still, I wish I could believe that they’ll actually snatch a victory from Sairaorg … maybe, maybe. It’ll be a fun match to watch though, provided it isn’t quickly over in a big flash of light.
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