Thursday, February 26, 2015

Highschool DXD New Incomplete Review (1-6)

Highschool DXD New Incomplete Review (1-6)

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first 6 episodes of the second season of Highschool DXD. 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.

Also, keep in mind that this is an INCOMPLETE review. This is when I can't finish the series beyond its halfway point due to various reasons. These reasons will be covered in the review, among with several GIF's.

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

After I watched the first season of Highschool DXD, I wasn't sure what to expect. Based on reviews I had seen online, and several conversations, a lot of users online think that the second season is better than the first. This gave me hope that maybe I could enjoy the second season more, and perhaps find some more good fortune that this anime seemed to promise.

And then later on, after watching episodes 5 and 6 back to back, I'm wondering why I'm the pink elephant in the room. Because in my opinion, Highschool DXD New is a weak follow-up to a show that already has some problems from the get-go. Annoying fan-service gimmicks, a story arc that gave us a somewhat interesting backstory to a character I couldn't care less about, a side story plot that makes me cringe every time it goes on, and a final battle against the main villain of this arc with SO MANY deus ex machinas that you wouldn't even believe.

Of course, this show isn't horrible. I liked that the animation improved, some of the newer characters were interesting, other characters got a bit more development, and I did find some aspects of the second season enjoyable. but compared to the first, it isn't as much. It's a shame that this and Date A Live had to suffer some weak second seasons, as they have promise. At least Kamisama Kiss isn't letting me down.

Before I basically throw darts at this show, I'm going to talk about the things that I liked about it first.

#1: The animation

The animation for this series has improved. There are less times where the girl characters look oddly disproportional in the background, but I only noticed it once during the first 6 episodes. It's in Episode 3, where Koneko tells Irina to be careful of trusting a good fight with Issei due to his perverted powers. If you notice, Koneko, Asia, Rias, and Akeno look really odd, and have thick black lines for their outlines. Compared to Irina in the foreground, who actually looks pretty good.

For example, later on:

And dat Rias face doe. Can I mention that she looks younger now too?

#2: Irina and Xenovia, plus development on Genshiro's part

This season, we are introduced to 2 new characters who work with the Church. Their mission is to try and seek the Excalibur swords, and then destroy them. Both have their own Excalibur swords, with Xenovia's being the holy sword of Destruction, and Irina having the holy sword of Mimic. Irina was Issei's friend growing up, however she moved a long time ago. In fact, Issei thought she was a boy.

Both of them are interesting characters to add, as they each have different personalities. Xenovia is calm and collective, while Irina is happy-go-lucky and cheerful. Xenovia isn't a big fan of working together with Irina, but they have to because of their mission. Although, you can hint some friendship form between the girls. In face, when Xenovia becomes a devil after hearing the truth about God in this series (we'll get to it), she hides the real reason why she leaves the Church from Irina in order to protect her. 

Genshiro plays a little role in the first arc as well, along with some development in his character. You may remember him from Episode 7 of the show's first season, and how he and Issei kind of hate each other since Genshiro took a slight interest in Asia. He helps out a little bit during the first battle between Freed and later Valper (BLECH. More on him later too), and we find out that he has a Sacred Gear. Genpou's Sacred Gear is Absorption Line, which can be used to fire a rope on someone, and stick. Well, until it's cut down.

We also have another introduction to a new character named Aika Kiriyu. What sets her apart from these characters though is that she's just dropped into the series, and you have to pretend that you already know her. This is a shame, though I do like her humor.

#3: Jaime Marchi's script

Because in the anime world, her comedy scripts are genius! And Rias saying girl and mentioning selfies in two different lines in Episodes 5 and 6. I can't wait to see more from her.

And that's pretty much all I liked. Now onto the things I disliked.

#1: The extra 3 minutes added onto the episodes

I watched this show in English, and considering FUNimation graced us with the extra 3 minutes the DVD release adds per episode, it was mainly in the form of fanservice, minus Episodes 5 and 6; scratch that, just 6.

The majority of these are unnecessary, and one is downright stupid. Episode 3's at least had some comedy, but then again, there's too much directed toward fanservice.

And you thought that was bad, Episode 2 has one of the most horrifying fanservice shots I've ever seen. In this added footage, Rias and Sona talk about their childhood growing up as friends, and about her house's sauna, with Akeno making some remarks. One of the shots includes a close up of one of Rias's boobs, nipple pirky (but then again, when are they not?) and a sweat drop sliding down her boob elegantly.

A fanservice junkie's reaction would be:

Mine was:

C'mon TNK, this is just so nasty. Arms isn't any better, BUT STILL! You had better fanservice shots in Season 1, and not including Asia. 

Yeah, Asia is 12 years old still applies here. SERIOUSLY CREATORS, THIS DOESN'T TURN ME ON! STOP IT!

There are more WTF instances of fanservice in this season as well. Bu there's too many of them. Maybe it's time I focus on series with more man candy, because that's more enjoyable than some of these ever could be.

There's also more fanservice end cards if you're into those. AKA, not for me.

#2: Character development

There is pretty much none, minus Kiba and Akeno. Akeno will get her share in the next half, as she is the daughter of a fallen angel, but I could care less.

Same goes with Kiba. You may remember him as the dubbed Mr. Irrelevant from season 1. All he's really there for is to add another main male character just to distance it from the other girl characters. You could pretty much just scrap him from the show, and not lose much.

While his backstory is at least somewhat interesting, I was just this most of the time:

Asia gets nearly screwed over in season 2. Besides being the same girl that she was in season 1, she is given many jealous tendencies now that Rias is living in Issei's house. She often argues with Rias to see who gets to sleep with him, and other stuff that nobody gives a complete s**t about. It's so ridiculous, that it becomes sad really.

It's like Asia doesn't think being in line with Rias isn't good enough. And she's not accepting third place either:

I'll talk about the side plot later, considering how shallow and obnoxious it is.

Koneko will get development in season 3, Issei is still Issei, and Rias is still Rias. AKA She's the flawless queen. OH GOSH MAKE IT END ALREADY! GET HER SOME DEVELOPMENT PLEASE!

 #3: Weaker English dub this time around, plus stupid script lines

I've been watching the past two seasons in the show's English dub, And while the first season has a great English dub, the second season isn't as good. Some of the actors do better or are up to par with their performances in season 1, while others do worse, or they have moments where they have awkward line delivery.

For new arrivals, the only people that do things for me are Kristi Kang and Alexia Sabenbeard (presumably Kara Edwards). Ramona Newel (presumably Lauren Landa) does fine as Xenovia, but it lacks a spark for me to really get into it. Charles Clegg (presumably Mike McFarland) does okay as Kokabiel, but it's too generic. I can't really judge Austin Tindle as Vali yet, but I know I'll like his voice for sure.

Kenny Green's performance as Valper Galilei on the other hand, sounds half-assed (no pun intended).  I didn't really feel any drive from him, and his reaction after Kiba's deus ex machina in the final battle made me cringe. I'm sure he does better in other stuff though.

Now, onto two examples of the wonderful redundant script lines:

I'll start off with the less irritating one from Episode 4. After Freed gets his leg caught in Genshiro's rope from his Sacred Gear, Valper insturcts Freed to put energy into the sword in order to break out of it. Whilst doing this, Issei shouts, "Guys, this is bad."

Ummmm, no s**t Sherlock. And Genshiro, take his advice. It's going to be too late when Freed cuts the rope, and you fall to the ground with an awkward groan.

And Epsiode 3. Oh yeah, this one pissed me off so bad. After the mock battle with Irina and Xenovia, Rias asks Kiba not to leave her. You don't assume that he's a stray devil, until Xenovia reveals it later on in the episode. Good job script writers at being very ambiguous. At least fan-subs gave me a better idea. When Kiba leaves the room, Asia says "He left."

He left? HE LEFT?!

Just, WHY? At least Asia says his name in Japanese, but C'MON!

Okay, now let's go into the things that really sealed the deal for me:

#1: The side story

Though this was more of an issue, the actual story wasn't as interesting as season 1's first arc. But combine the two (the side plot revealed in a couple more paragraphs), and it isn't pretty. It's never good to be like this during an anime:

After Episode 5:

And after Episode 6 was all said and done:

But now onto the main problem of the plot, and the fact that the side story just LOVES to focus on the harem aspect. The majority of the girls are just SOOOOOOOOOO desperate for Issei to bed them.

Akeno starts developing feelings for Issei, of course. But we start seeing these in Episode 1, when Issei's right hand starts to get sore since he gave up his right hand to the Red Dragon Emperor. It is revealed out of nowhere that Akeno is able to help get Issei's hand back to normal by sucking on one of his fingers. So legit, this is not used as a symbolism of sex at all.

You know what? OF COURSE IT IS! No wonder Issei was finding it SOOOOOOO pleasurable. I think he at least achieved orgasm once or twice.

Also, there's a new formed rivalry between Rias and Asia, which is just beyond stupid. In the added scene, they argue like spoiled toddlers on who gets to sleep with Issei (and not sleep sleep with him mind you). I first saw this scene before I watched the second season, and when I actually watched the first episode, I skipped it entirely. It's also not really funny because in this moment, and in a pretend fantasy in Episode 2, the girls are without their bras. Which is a GREAT excuse for more of those ridiculous fanservice moments, and where Asia keeps on being objectified. How lovely.

At least Koneko is more mature than these girls are. Ugh.

#2: Valper Galilei

While Kokabiel is okay, and Freed makes a grand return (and not as entertaining as the first time, minus the boob groping), Valper is perhaps an example of the villains I just LOVE.

He's not the first kind of villains, which are so cliche and stereotypical that it makes me grit my teeth. He's a part of those villains who is just one characteristic, and not much else. He's only introduced as "Oh, he's the creator of the Holy Sword Project. He is evil. GRRRRRRRRR!"

And that's pretty much all to him. It's pretty sad, considering how much potential that he has. Instead, he's just cardboard.

Oh, and I was so happy when he was killed. One less boring villain to deal with.

#3: The absurdity of deus ex machinas in the final battle

As this show was going on a downward spiral, I was expecting the final battle to be a lot better. I mean, the battles with Raynare and Riser were entertaining, despite the fact that some of Issei's upgrades came out of nowhere. I did like some aspects of the battle, like Kokabiel revealing that Akeno was the daughter of a fallen angel. Oh wait, that was the ONLY thing that I liked. My bad.

The battle is just average. It was interesting to see Koneko battle with that three headed creature as well, but fanservice ruins that. And let's not mention the fact that deus ex machinas are EVERYWHERE! Random plot twists, power ups that come out of nowhere, and the fact that SOMEONE ELSE BEAT KOKABIEL, AND OUR HEROES COULDN'T!

Oops, I'm getting a little too ahead of myself. First deus ex machina is....

#1: Kiba attaining his Balance Breaker

Let's be honest here, it was sweet that the souls that the other kids who lost their lives in the Project had faith in Kiba to make it out alive. But that doesn't really explain the fact that these souls in the crystal were ALL of the people with him.. I did like their encouragement and positive words, but how does this gain Kiba power, and obtain his Balance Breaker? It makes no sense.

#2: A reveal about Xenovia's genetics

This is another one of those reveals that comes out of nowhere. So allow me to explain, as they involve other characters. We know that Kiba and the other kids who were in the Holy Sword Project were constantly tested in order to see if they could handle a holy sword's capabilities. Kiba isn't able to touch a holy sword, considering that he's a devil and light in a weapon is poisonous and blahblah. Once again, out of nowhere, it is revealed that Xenovia is actually a natural Holy Sword user. What that means is her genetics are already able to wield a holy sword, since Kiba's and Irina's genes had to be implanted.

On that note, she also has another sword too! And it's like REALLY powerful! And, wait, what?!

So as you can see, this is kind of confusing. All I knew from watching the English dub of this show, I was able to interpret that she could wield another sword, as if one wasn't enough. I didn't know she was a "natural holy sword user" or whatever until I looked it up for more clarification. And then it just confuses me more. I missed it when first watching this show because I was too tired to care about it anymore, However, after rewatching it again, it still confuses me as to why she had the genes. Will the anime possibly explain this? Probably not. Because, you know, boobs.

#3: Kokabiel's telling of the Last Great War

Now I get why Theron Martin was saying when it wasn't the best show with someone with high Christian beliefs. Being a Christian myself, I didn't find the first season all that offensive, as the majority of the religious material managed to be at a low. There was still mentions of God, devils, and some of that other stuff. I didn't think it was that bad.

Imagine my surprise when it's thrown everywhere in the second season. Kiba mentioning how the kids thought they were doing the Project for God, how Freed constantly gets disgusted when the word God is tossed in his face, mentions of the Church over and over again, and the fact that God is dead in this world. It's everywhere!

Oh, and the whole "God is dead" part of Kokabiel's exclamation, yeah:

ARE YOU SERIOUS?????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This pissed me off to no end in all the things that can be considered offensive. I don't mind about language in books, I don't mind language in music as long as it isn't rap, and I really don't mind hearing swear words in public, as long as it isn't n***a. But this, oh boy, this is WAY worse.

#4: Kokabiel being defeated by someone else entirely

Oh geez, forget what I said about my last dislike of the final battle. THIS is the worst part of the final battle. In fact, this tops other battle ends that I've heard about in other anime. Either cause by deus ex machinas, or getting a random power-up through nakama. (COUGHFairyTailCOUGH)

So, after the Club continues to fight Kokabiel, and their attacks of course don't work, since Kokabiel is overpowered and all, something happens. The barrier that the student council makes suddenly is destroyed. And SURPRISE SURPRISE! Vali shows up OUT OF NOWHERE! And it's also revealed that he has powers of the White Dragon, which makes him and Issei rivals.

Oh, and props to FUNimation for giving the exact same effects to Mark Fickert as Christopher Sabat so they sound EXACTLY the same. I still think it'd have been better if they had a little difference.

And how is the mighty powerful fallen angel defeated? With a punch to the face. So, that's right. A powerful fallen angel, who was able to dodge the entire Club's attacks plus Xenovia's, was beaten by Vali with just ONE PUNCH! Fairy Tail's recent filler arc has this ridiculous thing too. Is it because that this new person that randomly pops in, or our main lead just becomes SO powerful with some magic and s**t? I don't think so.

So yeah, this enraged me. But not as well as what happened next.

Issei gets all pissy at Vali because he was wanting to have some special time with Rias. Rias promised Issei that he could do whatever he wanted to her body if he defeated Kokabiel. Now that Vali did it for him, he's now ticked because he won't be able to suck Rias's nipples.


So yeah, this was when I realized that me and Highschool DXD were no longer friends.

Basically, the ending for this arc felt like:

I'm really sad about leaving this series though, because hearing about Gasper does have some cuteness levels, even though he dresses like a girl. Will he possibly be used for fanservice reasons, even though he's 10 years old? Probably.

If you want to watch this series, I recommend just watching the first season and nothing else. It's disappointing seeing that a lot of the reviews for this show online say that the second season is MUCH better than the first, when in my opinion it's not. There's little to no character development, the story is pretty weak, the childish arguments between the 2 female leads (plus Akeno in some ways) make me want to pull my hair out, and the final battle is filled to the brim with plot twists that are just there to move the plot along.

I'll admit, there are series that I've seen recently that are worse (Testament of Sister New Devil, Sengoku Musou, Absolute Duo), but beyond that, Highschool DXD New doesn't have a lot going for it.

Alright Toshiro, I need your help with something:

Summon Hyorinmaru so we can freeze this bitch.

Would you guys like to see more of these incomplete reviews? Let me know what you think.

Score: 4.5/10


Better animation.

Irina and Xenovia.

The English dub's script.


Aika gets sloppily dumped into show.

English dub is not as strong as season 1.

No character development.

Kiba's run as Mr. Irrelevant.

Extra fanservice moments are unneeded.

Side plot focuses too much on the "Which girl gets Issei into the sack first?"

Valper Galilei as a whole.

Deus ex machina central in the final battle.

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