Friday, November 28, 2014

Highschool DXD Review

Highschool DXD Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Some people's first reactions to this post will be this:

You might be thinking:

"Dazz, why on earth are you reviewing a fanservice show? Doesn't that seem too far away from your alley?"

Well, not really. I've been seeing shows with fanservice for a while now. I heard of the term since I went back to anime in 6th grade. There was some nudity in Tenchi Muyo. I think I can handle at least most of it, unless it reaches inappropriate levels.

My first experience with this, being Ikki Tousen Great Guardians, bombed. The show was too busy focusing on how many breasts and panties it could successfully jam down your throat before actually giving a f**k about the story, which was in the last 4 episodes. And of course, that was after I dropped the show.

Highschool Of The Dead is another example, but that isn't all fanservice and ERRMAHGAD BOOBIES. It at least has a story, and development. I haven't seen it all of it, but I can still tell a difference between a good fanservice show, and a bad one.

This series I figured had fanservice right off the bat, since I first saw it on Behind The Voice Actors in May 2013. People have been going up and down yelling "BESTHAREMEVERKSLAJFLKAJFLAKSJFLAKSJDLAJSFLKDSJFLASJFLAKSJ!" at the top of their lungs. So after getting a bit more maturity, and jamming out to the opening 5 million times, I decided to watch.

So, is it the best harem show ever?

While some aspects of the show are enjoyable, and I found myself surprised that I liked it, it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. We have Mr. Irrelevant, the main female lead being too PERFECT for me to like her, and the exploitation of a 12 year old. There is story though, and that's always a plus for these types of shows.

Let's see how our main hero Issei got surrounded by all these gorgeous women, shall we?


Issei Hyodo's life sucks hard man! (No pun intended) Though a second year, he hasn't had any luck with the ladies and is still a virgin. This doesn't help by him also being a massive pervert. But one day, a random girl by the name of Yuma Amano asks him out on a date.


But because Issei thinks with his d**k and not with his brain, he accepts the date anyway. Afterwards, Yuma reveals herself to actually be the fallen angel Raynare. Raynare was sent by the Fallen Angels to look after Issei due to power developing in his body. She stabs him with one of her swords before taking off. After this, Rias Gremory, a third year who is one of the most lusted girls in the school, revives him to serve in her devil family, along with her other pieces.

When Issei wakes up the next day, he is surprised to find that he is still alive. Raynare has wiped out her existence from the world as Yuma, being removed from his phone, and his perverted friends not remembering who she is. He runs into another fallen angel by the name of Dohnaseek, who almost kills Issei again. However, Rias arrives in the nick of time, and rescus him. Only to be found in his bed stark naked by Issei himself the next day.

Rias then tells him that his is a part of her chess pieces, along with other members. they go under The Occult Research Club, and hunt devils who has gone away from there masters. Rias is the next heir to the Gremory House, and Issei is her newly required piece. Though he may be a pawn, he has one powerful weapon. and a goal of wanting to have a harem.

The story unravels when a nun comes to town with a special Sacred Gear, and it captures the Fallen Angel's attention. Add this with a later forced engagement, and a powerful Raiding Game, and you got yourself one hell of a ride.

Anyways, the story for this series was kind of interesting. The way chess can play a factor in a battle, and the powers that everyone had were developed nicely for the first season. The first story arc was very engaging, and while the second arc wasn't as good, the last 2 episodes of the series were quite intense.

Sadly, some of the characters weren't developed as much as I would have liked, and sometimes, this show takes into regard that fanservice is its main selling point. This can become annoying, but I'll get into that later.

Exposition about chess and the past of the Devils, Fallen Angels, and Angels was interesting, but it wasn't shown a lot. I think maybe explaining the backstory, we could hear about other demon families that were destroyed. I would add some members of those families who are still alive, those would make good villains. ;)

Let's talk about the characters next:


The characters in Highschool DXD can be a hit or miss. Some of them are properly developed and are very engaging. while others are stock tropes with no personality or effort put to them.

Let's start with Issei:

Issei can be you typical anime pervert, and is a pawn on Rias's team of devils. Rias used up all of her pawns (8) to bring him back to life, along with other chess pieces.

His destiny is to be surrounded by girls, and become the Harem King. He can announce this goal in his mind at some weird moments, and sometimes, the English script makes his perverted dialogue kind of creepy. But Issei isn't all disgusting. He can have a good heart, and will do anything to protect the people who matter most to him, mainly Asia.

Issei's main power is the Boosted Gear, which a Sacred Gear that is attached to his left arm like a gauntlet. It holds the red dragon emperor named Ddraig, and can be powerful. In awesomeness or deus ex machina tropes, you can decide.

Before the Raiding Game, Issei develops a ability he calls Dress Break, which can be used to rip a women's clothes off. This becomes his main ability, and in Episode 10, it was fun to see Riser's pawns get defeated by this.

Overall, I did manage to like Issei if he wasn't in mega pervert mood. I like his streaks of compassion, and how he can be dead serious when protecting others.

Let's go to Rias next:

*sigh* This is going to be very conflicting.

While I do like some qualities of Rias, I can't really scream that she's the best in this entire show like other people. In reality, she's too much of this:


I mentioned in my comedy posts, Rias is the prime example of a PERFECT anime character who has no flaws at all. Even past her family drama and her arranged marriage, she's clearly there to add a main female that will be TOTES OBVI that she and Issei will get together.

Yeah, don't you realize that? Rias and Issei are going to end up together later in the light novels anyways. But is that such a huge spoiler? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA F**K NO!

The whole harem now just feels unnecessary, considering that Akeno wants him, Asia wants him, and god knows how many other random girls they throw into this gimmick.

I would describe more of Rias, but all of her is pretty much perfection. So f**k it.

Asia's turn:

Asia is a 12 year old nun who has recently moved to Issei's town after being shunned away from her old one due to her Sacred Gear. Her Sacred Gear is Twilight Healing, a pair of rings that can help heal people when they get injuries. Raynare captures Asia after having a fun day with Issei, and steals her Sacred Gear by forcing out of her, thus causing her to die. Though after beating Raynare, Rias decides to revive her as a devil with a bishop piece as her powers might be useful.

After being resurrected as a devil, she moves into Issei's house, and attends school with him as well. She is very nice and gentle to Issei, and often gets jealous when Issei acts perverted to other girls. Though now a devil, Asia tries to pray to God, though she gets severe headaches while doing so.

I like Asia, and I believe she is the nicest character out of the show, as well as my favorite. Though she doesn't rank high due to the fact that she is constantly used as fanservice bait.

How so? Let me show you:

In Episode 3, while trying to protect Issei from being killed by Freed Sellzen, an exorcist, he used magic to rip the top half of her nun outfit off, along with her bra later on. Because screw what you learned in science class, right? He then goes on to slightly grope her boobs.

Asia is 12 years old.

When Twilight Healing's power is sucked out of her in Episode 4, the shock is so strong, it pops one of her breasts out of her dress. Because once again, screw logic. It somehow magically goes back in her dress when she is revived as a devil.

Asia is 12 years old.

Since we don't want her to feel left out of showing all the girls in their glory, you guessed it. They show Asia nude in Episode 8.

Asia is 12 years old.

In Episode 7, after Issei gets hit in his sack during a dodgeball game, Asia heals the injury above his pants. Later on, the show decides to shove her butt in your face, because why the hell not?

Asia is 12 F**KING YEARS OLD!

At least Ikki Tousen didn't subject this treatment to Koumei. Seriously? Does anyone want to see a 12 year old girl's boobs? Really?

I think it's a bit more creepy then Jormungand, where Jonah has a six pack. And he's around 12. Yeah, let that sink in.

Despite this, I still do like Asia as a character, but the fanservice kind of ruins it for me.

Let's move onto Akeno:

Akeno is the vice president of the Occult Research Club. She is a third year along with Rias, and has a normally happy-go-lucky attitude. However in battle, she can become quite sadistic, and enjoys her opponent's pain.

In the game of chess, Akeno serves as Rias's queen, and mainly uses lighting magic. During two battles, she also transforms into a shrine priestess outfit, though I'm not sure she does in Episode 2.

At first glance, Akeno was probably going to become my favorite character from this show. However, like many other characters, her back-story isn't developed. Good news is that it will happen next season, and it sounds so interesting. Though I still do like her.

Koneko's up now:

Koneko is the youngest member of the Occult Research Club being a first year, and is the rook in Rias's chess pieces. Her powers mainly rely on strength, as she can easily withstand crushing forces, and can kick with the best of them. She gets irritated by Issei's perverted brain, and besides that show no emotion.

Koneko is the last of the club to receive back-story, and that's in the fifth light novel. right now, she's a bit too stereo-typical, but she at least has more presence than our next character.

Now onto Mr. Irrevelevant. Opps, I mean Yuto Kiba.

I don't need to bother putting up a picture for Yuto, he's that boring. Yeah, he's memorable, but for the wrong reasons.

Yuto is GORGEOUS. Okay, not by Free standards, but still gorgeous. All the girls lust after him, because HAWT!

Yuto is Rias's knight, and he does help defeat a lot of Riser's pieces in the rating game. His Sacred Gear is Sword Birth, which helps him generate a f**kload of swords. But besides a few funny jokes, cool battles, and other stuff, Yuto could easily just be scrapped. I get that he gets development in season 2, but I'm not so sure it will change my opinion on him. He's just not memorable.

I'm just going to move on to Raynare:

There's better animated scenes with Raynare, because in Episode 4 she just looks choppy. See her in Episodes 1 and 5, she looks much more refined, and has a more sleek appearance.

Raynare is the first main villain of the show, and a good one at that. She first appears to Issei as the human girl Yuma Amano, and after a date with Issei, she kills him because of his developing power. After hearing about Twilight Healing, she steals it from Asia, and plans to use it to build up her power.

Supporting her plans are three other fallen angels who get beaten by Rias after they make fun of Issei. Dohnaseek, Karawarner, and Mittelt are interesting servants, but like other sides, don't get development.

Raynare is a much better villain than Riser, who just is a bit too perverted for me to care. I mean, he's in a arranged marriage with Rias, and still resorts to making out with his queen piece, and fondling her?

Other characters include Issei's perverted friends, Riser's younger sister, his chess pieces, the next heir of the Sitri family, her pawn, Rias's older brother, his wife who also serves as a maid to the Gremory household, Sona's queen. the red dragon emperor in Issei's boosted gear, Freed Sellzen (interesting side characters FTW), Issei's parents, and various clients that wish to form pacts. All of these customers are hilarious.


The animation for this series was done by TNK, a studio often well known for its fanservice works. Some turn out well, like Bladedance Of The Elementalers, and some don't pay off in the end, like Daimidaler,

Overall, the animation for this series looks rather nice. The characters all look great, and the hair is very shiny, mainly Rias. The fanservice does manage to look good as well, but the animation staff sometimes forget to turn there fanservice brains off, and add it in where it's not even necessary.

It's mainly directed to Asia, who shouldn't even be shown stark naked, but what mainly bothered me was Episode 9, when the club is out training. When Issei wakes up during the middle of the night, he encounters Rias, who is going out to read. Later, she tells him about the Devils, and her own status in the House of Gremory. It turns from a serious scene, to Rias's nipples being shown through the top half of her nightgown yelling "HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!"

To be honest, this pissed me off. Look, I understand that this is a fanservice show, but why oh why does it have to be now? It's a important part of the back-story, do you want me not to care? Don't pull an Ikki Tousen on me, and use every single important moment of this show to flash some panties, okay?

Also, the clothes eating slime in Episode 7? WTF?

I'm not saying that the animation is all bad when it come to the fanservice department but sometimes, it just got a bit unnecessary. The fanservice easily sucked up most of TNK's budget, because at some moments in the show, the main animation doesn't look as good as it could be. But this can mainly be for characters in the background, or more relaxed scenes.

The show still has great animation, even though they re-use some shots. But it's not too bad, unlike the two openings of next season, where they re-used majority of the animation from opening 1, and transferred it to opening 2.


The score for this series was composed by Ryosuke Nakanishi, who is also known for composing the scores for Love Stage and The Devil Is A Part Timer.

The score for this series was actually very good. I didn't feel as if the score was silly or took the fanservice to make annoying music. It felt really serious, and had a lot of high moments. Some tracks actually managed to surprise, by adding violin and piano. The score also has some fantastic battle pieces as well.

The opening for this show is perhaps one of my favorite openings of this year, and perhaps of my anime watching. I've lost track on how many times I've played it on repeat, it's just that good. The ending's a bit more ridiculous, but it's still a cute J-pop song. I'd call it ridiculous because of making the girls pole-dancers in the ending, but I can see some fans enjoying it. 

For this series, I actually watched it in its English dub, which I don't do as often as I used to. Back when anime returned into my life, I normally found it easier to watch series in dub. However, since I'm watching more recent shows, I've been watching the original Japanese, since the English dub hasn't been released yet, or the show is not licensed here in the US. Another reason is that it's a recent show that's airing in the season.

When it comes down to both being available for me to watch, it's up to me to decide which I should prefer. And time to roll on unpopular opinion time, but I find the original Japanese of Highschool DXD to be incredibly annoying.

Majority of the voices just don't click with me, minus Shizuka Ito and Yuki Kaji. It's odd to be honest, but I just can't really get into it. Yoko Hikasa's voice as Rias is kind of aggravating, unlike as Emi, in which she did rather well. And the cute voice of Gentoku was ANNOYING AS F**K in the original Japanese of Ikki Tousen, and with Asia, it's slightly better. though she still sounds  abit too moe for me.

However, the English dub was very fun to watch. The script by Jaime Marchi just shows how great her comedy is. Though some of the lines can get ridiculous, it isn't the same jokes over and over again.

Most of the voices in the English dub are amazing, and fit there characters really well. A lot of voice actors in this series are under-used, and I would love to see them in more series at FUNImation. I also wish for more Daniel Fredrick, but that would be too desperate.

Highlights include Scott Freeman, Jaime Marchi, Chloe Daniels, Teri Rogers, Jad Saxton, Sean O'Connor, Brittney Karbowski, Marie Charlson, Kyle Phillips, Christopher Corey Smith, Krishna Smitha, Lauren Allison, Felecia Angelle, Christopher Sabat, Tyson Rinehart (who actually wished me a very funny happy birthday message on Facebook), Ruben Tadeo Garcia, Chris Rager, Monica Rial, Mandy Lane (Morgan Garrett), Haley Esposito, Ben Phillips. Jessica Cavanagh, Jarrod Greene, Staci Moon (Anastasia Munoz), Ricco Fajardo, Lindsay Seidel, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Lara Woodhull, Ashleigh Domangue, Brina Palencia, and Alexis Tipton.

I'm sorry that I dumped a bunch of actors into my highlights. There's a lot of guest characters, and towards the end, they are pretty much Riser's pieces.


Even though I've been throwing bricks at this show for the most of this review, I still managed to find myself enjoying it. The story, some characters, and the animation all provided some great entertainment, and I felt excited to watch each episode.

Though I did have some problems with it, I still this show is a must to watch for fans of fanservice everywhere. It may be boobs and panties, but it can at least have a brain when it needs to.

I will be watching the second season, as I have heard that it gets better. Let's just hope the first episode isn't as disappointing as Sekirei: Pure Engagement.

Score: 7.5/10


Engaging story.

Some great characters.

Good animation.

Diverse score.

Amazing English dub.

Some fanservice is necessary.

AMAZING opening!


Some characters underdeveloped.

Asia is 12 years old.

Some fanservice is unnecessary.

The original Japanese isn't my favorite.

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