「life.MAXIMUM vs power.MAXIMUM 学園祭のライオンハート」 (Life. MAXIMUM vs power. MAXIMUM Gakuensai no Raionhaato)
“life.MAXIMUM vs. power.MAXIMUM Lion Heart of the School Festival”

I don’t have much to say about the finale of Sairaorg vs Issei, for it proceeded along the expected lines, save for two parts. First, Sairaorg’s mother’s image showing up. I don’t think it was terribly effective, since it seemed to come out of nowhere—that is, until we learn that she’s woken up at the end. Though that happened later, so still: Huh? High School DxD has a bad habit of pulling moments like this out of its ass, and when it doesn’t do it with hilarious aplomb, it doesn’t work. I am glad that she woke up, Sairaorg is happy, but it’s all too convenient. So, meh.

The other part is the ending. I have a soft spot for certain shounen clichés, and Sairaorg fighting past the point of consciousness motions to one of them. It’s silly and it’s stupid, but seeing the two fight so hard for their respective dreams, such that they end up hugging and crying in the end (well, one hugs and cries, the other slumps and smiles), is just a nice moment. Would that more rivalries were this good-natured.

Blah blah Issei’s promotion blah blah Sairaorg’s position. I’d say I don’t care, which is partially true, but I also watched the episode raw, so I’m not entirely sure I grasped all the difficult stuff. What I do know is that I loved every bit of the Rias x Issei angle, from his initial confession during the battle, to their conversation later on, to their kiss first being interrupted, them being teased, and then them finally getting to kiss. This season did a decent job of making it clear why Issei took so long to believe that the girls actually did love him, and that he was worthy of loving and being loved by someone as admirable as Rias. This was still a damn long time coming, though, so we’re all allowed to revel in it. Finally! Finally. Now get to the banging already (I know they won’t Orz).

I have more thoughts, but let’s discuss them during the final impressions below.

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.

Final Impressions

This was a good season! It got off to a good start when the team at Passione took the neigh-unprecedented step of redoing the hated ending to BorN, and after that they did their best to faithfully adapt the source material with a minimum of changes or fuss. That’s not as creatively interesting (for the staff) as doing something original, but that’s okay. That’s not their job. Their job is to adapt the source into an anime, and they did that admirably. I really appreciate that workmanlike pride and professional work ethic, so all kudos are due. And I liked the new character designs as well.

The content of this season was varied and pretty darn silly, which is the sweet spot for High School DxD. The Kyoto arc had the better diversions and ecchi fun, whereas the Sairaorg arc featured the by-far most important character development in ages, vis-a-vis Issei’s inability to call Rias by her name, the other girls realizing that Issei has some trauma and helping him through it, and ultimately Issei confessing his feelings to Rias and sharing with her some of the ol’ smoochin’. It was fun each week, and aside from some occasionally fuzzy animation, I don’t have much in the way of complaints. Nothing that wasn’t (I’m sure) present in the source material, that is—Ishibumi-sensei still has a habit of pulling new characters or “emotional” moments out of his rump, character development is generally slow and halting, and when the series gets to self-serious it can become a bore. But those are all present in DxD’s DNA, and are overshadowed by the uproarious fun to be had when it’s straddling the line between serious and silly, shameless and earnest, perverted and admirable, engaging and ridiculous. It’s a delicate balancing act, and this season did it better than BorN did, if only because it didn’t try to make bad shit up at the end. I’ll take that as a victory, any day of the week.


  1. This 4th season was indeed a victory, if only because Passione decided to stick to the plot and art style with almost 100% faithfulness, I’ll gladly take that instead of seemingly-out-of-place original content anytime, so applause for the new studio for (hopefully) making a successful return with the franchise and here’s hoping for the best in the near future. And also big thanks to our residual ecchi blogger Stilts-sama (no use denying it now) for blogging the show an providing goofy and fun insights week after week.

  2. Currently 16 more volumes have yet to be adapted, Vols 11-26.

    Assuming the usual 2 volumes per cour formula is used again, they’d need 8 seasons to fully cover to the latest LN.

    I recall a source saying that Ichibumi would love to see DxD fully adapted for anime. If it were, it would be a first for an anime adaptation which isn’t mainstream viewing in Japan (ex. Precure, Pokemon) or a Weekly Shounen Jump behemoth like One Piece or Gintama.

    1. If it were, it would be a first for an anime adaptation which isn’t mainstream viewing in Japan (ex. Precure, Pokemon) or a Weekly Shounen Jump behemoth like One Piece or Gintama.

      Monogatari saga (well, by the end of this year, probably)? That’s neither mainstream nor behemoth.

      1. You probably shouldn’t label the Monogatari series “non mainstream” when it consistently tops charts in Japan for sales. Koyomimonogatari had 24k first week sales on BD. It also took K-On! to dethrone Bakemonogatari from the top spot for the year.

        Not being mainstream outside of Japan doesn’t mean it’s not mainstream where it counts.

  3. Ichibumi Ishiei’s thoughts on character popularity:

    “I have done a (character popularity) survey through Fujimi Shobo’s homepage..and I have found something very shocking. (Issei’s popularity)…puts him in (the0 Top-3 out of all the characters and he surpasses the popularity of other heroines… His popularity is beyond (our expectations)… A main character that is loved even more than the heroine(!)*

    (L)ooking back through the story…the number of bishounen is higher than bishoujo. (Now)…the head of all the good looking guys Kiba-kyun (is also popular)… But (for) Issei (to be) even more popular than the good-looking guy…(how did this happen)?

    PS. I also receive kind comments like “Please give Kiba a girlfriend”. But Kiba is part of Issei’s harem…No I mean best friend!


    *In most male targeted fanservice works, the girls will usually rank higher than any male character. (The reverse applies for female targeted fanservice works.)

  4. https://randomc.net/image/High%20School%20DxD/High%20School%20DxD%20HERO%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2003.jpg
    Issei: “I love Rias Gremory!”
    Me: “Effing finally!”

    At first, I was all, “Curse you, moment killers!” But then, the rest of the harem start subverting that trope by urging Issei and Rias not to hesitate and continue (as well as give them some privacy). They really are the best harem a harem king can ever get.

    The big damn kiss! (Also, I’d love to see a well-drawn vanilla H-doujin that picks up from this scene… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) )

    Suffice to say, I’m happy that High School DxD is back to its glory days.

    P.S.: Looking forward to a side-story OAV for this season, though Passione definitely deserve to take a much-needed break. In the meantime, I guess I’ll wait for the other Passione from the upcoming anime adaptation of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo.

  5. “We truly were High School DxD.”

    Lol no but seriously I love what Passione did and while I felt underwhelmed at how seemingly rushed the fight was, I’ll just chalk it up to runtime liberties because to be fair, it’s still better than whatever S3 ended up being.

    Cheers to a great season and here’s to another one of DxD (IT WILL BLOW PEOPLE’S SOCKS OFF, I SWEAR).

  6. From the screencaps it doesn’t seem like there’s much to censor in this episode? I usually wait for the uncensored versions of episodes but if this is just an action and wholesome ending episode it wouldn’t be worth waiting.

  7. Regarding Sairaorg’s mother’s image showing up: In episode 7, Rias and Issei visited Sairaorg’s mother in the hospital. Issei was asked to use Pailingual on Sairaorg’s mom to try to wake her from her coma. Unfortunately, the actual scene didn’t get animated and the episode skipped to the part where Rias and Issei talk about the failed Pailingual attempt. That scene in the novel foreshadowed her dream appearance in the final battle scene. It’s not as much of a butt pull but rather another case of too much light novel material and too little anime time. Even so, the DxD anime adaptations (minus the real butt pull episodes at the of season 3) in my opinion are still above average for a novel to anime adaptation. It keeps novel readers like me relatively satisfied. I hope the DxD series keeps its momentum going and we get many more anime seasons.

  8. Thanks for covering, Stilts. I always thought this would be a good place to end the entire series with just a tiny anime-only wrap-up for good measure, but given who they bothered to introduce in the last seconds I think it’s safe to say we’ll be back here in six months or so.

    If so, this next season is gonna be an interesting one… XD

  9. Bit late to the post, work was screwing with me. But the reveal of sairaorgs mother was mainly supposed to be only visible to him as she was reminding him of why he kept on fighting. Overall though, Passione did their name justice with the passion found in their animations. Granted, some nitpicking here and there like the cup size of some characters being changed but overall the only complaints i have are regarding the time restrictions of too much LN for the allotted amount of time.

    Oh and i hope they are fixing that season 3 mess as well since some of the upcoming seasons will make no sense without a proper season 3 and might appear like ass-pulls. Show Spoiler ▼

    That rating game match did make me wonder something in the novels, which only got reinforced here in the anime. Namely the boost function of Ddraig in balance breaker. His balance breaker removes the timer so that he can boost himself instantly until he has reached his limit ( which is not just anime-only btw. I’ve had enough people on discord ask if that wasn’t just anime-only as he still has that 10 second thing between boosts ) so why didn’t he do that? Granted, when telling a story, it would be more entertaining to see him achieve a new unstable form so he can’t stay that long in the new form but if we remove that reasoning of how to tell a more interesting story, it made me wonder why he didn’t just boost himself to his limits and then do a promotion to rook for the most strength in a fist fight.


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