What’s the show? High School DxD Hero, Episode 1.
Wait, didn’t we review episode 1 last week? No… that was episode 0, please keep up! It’s not that difficult.
Fuh, fine… so what’s changed since last week? Well, considering the previous episode was just a retcon of the last few eps of season 3, we’re now in all new territory here! A brand new plot line to go along with the fancy new animation and art style!
Oh! So what exciting new story do we have for season 4?! It’s another Rating Game story arc, just like in season 1 and season 3…
Oh… is that bad? Well~ it depends how they handle it, if it’s done like in season 1 then I’m all for it, something that’s high stakes and well executed but not a confusing mess or over in one punch like it was handled in season 3.
Are you confident the new studio will deliver? Well if the first episode is anything to go by, I am confident! They spend nearly 10 minutes on a little sparring match between our protagonist Issei and Sairaorg, a super powerful devil who he’ll be fighting for real in the rating game, and not only is it a well-animated, easy to follow fight but it’s also got tons of little details that really enhance the scene, like Issei’s armour taking damage and having to self repair, the physical toll that the fight is taking on him and his inner monologue as he pushes through the pain and his joy in finding an opponent who actually respects his power and abilities rather than talking down to him. It was miles away from what season 3 was and had had some of the better moments of the entire series.
High praise! And not just that, we also got a touching moment between Issei and Rias on the train platform as he’s about to leave on his class trip to Kyoto. A kiss! And it felt so genuine and nice, I had to check I was still watching High School DxD!
Is that all that happened? No, there was some nice moments at the Gremory mansion, getting to check in with Rias’ older brother Sirzechs’ as well as her mother, father and younger brother, also a probably unnecessary moment between Koneko, though I only say that because I think her character was given the most disservice in season 3 and that was the one thing they didn’t fix with their episode 0 retcon.
But other than that? Other than that I’m excited for DxD again, sure there’s some complaining that this new studio is somehow adverse to showing nipples, and while yes it’s technically true there’s a lot less nipple on display than previous seasons, it is early days, and I mean if the only reason you’re watching High School DxD is for the fan-service, then… well I don’t know what to say…
So recommended? Absolutely! Things feel like they’re getting back on track and that’s exciting! The writing’s better, the animation’s better, the fights are better and the story isn’t a jumbled and confusing mess (yet). Highly recommended for fans of this series!