「life.MAX vs power.MAX「」」 (life.MAX vs power.MAX「Otoko tai Otoko」)
“life.MAX vs power.MAX ‘Man versus Man'”

Cheer with me now, everyone! Oppai! Oppai! Oppai! Oppai!

When High School DxD takes a hybrid approach between hard-nosed tactical decisions and hearts-and-emotions shounen battle power ups, it really adds something to the formula. The latter is always expected; Issei tends to win because of emotions, boobs, and dormant power coming to the fore. Adding a little actual tactics to the mix is the spice that adds to the flavor, by which I mean I really appreciate what Yuuto, Xenovia, and Rossweisse did to soften Sairaorg up for Issei. Sairaorg is bonkers powerful, so managing to cut off an arm and force the use of the Phoenix Tears is really good, because it makes their battle have had real worth, even though they got totally smacked down. By the same token, Sairaorg continued to look like he’s on another level from the three of them, which is different from if they had bruised their way into forcing the Phoenix Tears. That matters because it ensures Issei is still the only one who can challenge Sairaorg, setting up their big battle.

The reveal of Sairaorg’s pawn as a sacred gear was fine. It was fine! I didn’t love it, sudden shounen power ups like this are my least favorite, but it doesn’t hurt much. What I really liked is the internal struggle, and that it did not boil over into the outside. Right? Had Issei gotten up and started trying to straight up murder Sairaorg as a raging monster, though wouldn’t have been a good look. It also would have been frustrating to watch, because we’ve been there before (Oppai Dragon song etc). Instead the kid from earlier in the season reappeared, and, along with the other kids and Irina, gave him the will to dig deep and find another way to access greater power. Good, good! That kind of uplifting (and intensely silly) power up is more my speed, and a High School DxD special. It’s a moment that makes you laugh and cheer, and that’s just fun.

Next week we’ll see if the end of their battle can stand up to the hype—and if Issei can finally tell Rias that he loves her, instead of just shouting it in his internal theater.

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: Risk Tolerance in the Creative Life.

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  1. https://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20HERO%20-%2011%20-%20Large%2015.jpg

    What an odd choice for the eyecatch. She is Seekvaira Agares, the last of the 4 rookie Kings along with Sairaorg, Rias and Sona. She appeared in ep6 of Hero talking to Sairaorg. Kinda weird to have her as a lewd eyecatch given her minimal appearance. There’s still Grayfia or Kuroka out there for supporting characters. Or even Rias’ mother Venelana. Not that I mind Seekvaira though.

  2. https://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20HERO%20-%2011%20-%2007.jpg

    (I envisioned) Sairaorg… as someone strong whom the Gremory Team has to overcome…
    (Even though stronger group members like) Kiba, Xenovia and Rossweisse…have been tasting defeat continuously, it’s not them who are weak. It’s just that their opponents were too strong. (Same goes fro Akeno and Rias.)

    -Ichibumi Ishiei, DxD’s author


    1. “Mad” would’ve been okay, but he was outright ready to kill.

      That was over the line, and considering he’s fought tournament matches before, it does kinda come out of nowhere. Wanting to win is fine, but snapping like that seems like just a convenient excuse by the author to cut out a fight and build up to Issei almost going Juggernaut Drive–something else that doesn’t belong in a tournament since it’s fueled by hate and last I checked Issei considered Sairaorg a friend. In the LN even Rias and Asia were taken aback by him.

      Getting mad and frustrated during a fight is fine since that’s just what happens when you’re losing, but Issei personally “lost” to Saji and Sona’s team and was big enough to get over it without wanting to kill the Student Council, so some consistency would be good.

      1. That might actually be closer to a continuity error if we only go with the anime as that match was ditched last season. Besides, he lost to sanji and sona her team thanks to getting careless ( Sona even blatantly admitted that in a fight of raw strength, none of her team could win in a 1 on 1 with Issei. ) and the gremory team wasn’t as outmatched back then as well. Hell, the anime made it look even more like Sairaorg was just toying with the opponents in that single match. Granted, he wasn’t doing that on purpose but something with how sairaorg is written always make it seem like he is playing around even when he is serious.
        That is most likely the difference there for the change to Issei his behaviour. During the sitri game, none of sona her team fooled around as they were taking it as serious as possible. During the phenex game, he also got pissed at how they didn’t take it serious but didn’t have balance breaker at that time or juggernaut.

        I think that if Sairaorg his queen was actually allowed to show a bit more of that carelessness that it would be more obvious as to why Issei was so pissed of in the first place.
        Remember, every time he got that pissed of was when opponents acted like killing him and his friends was similar to squishing bugs. I think Loki even compared it to something similar in the novels when he fought them and ultimately lost.

    2. It also doesn’t help that Issei already fought Sairaorg in that spar earlier in the season and Sairaorg wasn’t acting any differently towards him than he was with the others – he complimented Issei when he got a good hit in, complimented Isse’s endurance and determination, and so on, yet Issei took it all in stride and didn’t seem to have any problem then.

      Maybe if Issei had never previously met, much less sparred with, Sairaorg and saw this happening, I could understand him getting so mad simply out of misunderstanding the type of guy Sairaorg is since enjoying having a good fight could come off as arrogant or looking down at the opponent.

      1. I’d just atribute to how sairaorg is written as a character.
        Besides, Issei and sairaorg are both considered battle maniacs ( although Vali would be a better fit for that then Issei but okay ) and they always love a good battle.
        My guess is just that it didn’t come out properly how they wanted it to appear.

    3. Issei being mad here is part of his character development.

      Previously, his bond with the various members of ORC were nowhere as strong as it is now, after he had go through several near death experiences with them. Furthermore, recent events like Asia almost dying again and watching Kiba/Xenovia/Ross being beaten by the Hero brigade forced him to realize that he can in fact lose his precious friends and family. Thus his anger over them getting hurt is also stronger, stronger than Issei himself expected.

      Even if he understood that it’s a tournament, that doesn’t mean he can just say ‘well yeah’ and control his new found wrath at will.

      The LN also had Azazel pointing out to Issei that this is an issue, IIRC.

  3. I want to write it here…

    This is how i imagine the Highschool DxD DNA of this Anime. Oppai!! Oppai!! Oppai!!! (Send my energy like in “Uma Musume – Pretty Derby”

  4. https://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20HERO%20-%2011%20-%20Large%2013.jpg
    Oversized piledriver arms… Big O reference?

    Saint Seiya too? Or was it GaoGaiGar? (Haven’t watched/read both series yet, but they come up often enough in anime circles that I’m kinda familiar with them.)

    Next episode’s gonna be good… Though is it also gonna be the last one for this season?


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