High School DxD Hero Episode 3 – Anime QandA Review

What’s the show? High School DxD Hero, Episode 3.

And on a scale of 1 to 10, how much should I prepare myself to *sigh* and admonish your tactless adoration of 2D anime girls? 11.

Oh dear, maybe I should just step out of the room a moment… If after reviewing episode 0 you’d asked me whether this fourth season of High School DxD could ever hope to come close to eclipsing the excellent first season and the very excellent second season, I probably—honestly would have said it had a slim chance and impossible hill that could only be achieved by the end of the season if it was really committed to it. But here we are at episode three, and I’m so tempted to just say, yes, not only has DxD recovered from the disappointing third season but it may—in fact—be as good as it’s ever been.

Nice to see Issei with some girls other than Rias and Akeno.

Bold claim. I know, I know, and take my opinions with a grain of salt as you always should, but this episode was just so—damn—amazing, it’s hard to not want to heap mountains of praise upon it and shout its successes from the rooftop!

So what exactly about this episode has got you pitching a proverbial tent. Not just a proverbial one…

Oh come on, nobody needs to hear that, geez~! Listen, I’ve always been a vocal advocate for the quality of the storytelling in DxD, it’s not only head and shoulders above the usual harem fare it’s comparable to some of the best supernatural fiction out there and that certainly is the case here, this current storyline is simultaneously so grounded but so deeply important to so many characters that it carries a kind of weight that you only get from a show that’s been going this long. But… the fan-service in this episode is top tier and I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend some time talking about it.

It’s… it’s okay… it was in… his… imagination…

*sigh* I don’t suppose I can say anything to stop you, so just please, make it brief and clean—if at all possible… So, up to this point in the fourth season the fan-service had been good, teetering on great, but here… oh man… they brought their A-game here. From something as simple as Issei having a fantasy about a character’s mother (I’ll get to that in a second), to a very sensually directed bath-house scene with the same Rias x Akeno x Koneko nude trio as last episode, to the undoubted highlight of the episode with Issei, Asia, Xenovia and Irina hiding in a closet together, and oh boy… is it hot in here or are there 3 almost naked girls all trying to get Issei to impregnate them.

Send this picture to someone who doesn’t know what anime is.

If I *sigh* anymore I fear I’ll pass out. Are you quite done with the fan-service talk? Oh I could go on, but sure, let’s talk about something else. What should we talk about?

Oh I don’t know, how about the ~plot~ of the episode?! You joke but there is a ton of plot in this episode. Not only do we find out that loli fox antagonist from the previous episode is in fact good, she’s also a Yokai and I’m getting serious Kakuriyo vibes about this—except it’s DxD so I’m not struggling to stay awake. We learn that her mother went missing and the Kaos brigade is probably to blame, and when shown a painting of said mother Issei has a fantasy about the busty matron and his head between her head sized melons.

Yokai are weird, yo.

I said no more fan-service talk! Sorry! It just came up… speaking of things coming up…

No! Stop! Calm down, I was just going to say it seems like there’s going to be a pretty cool battle coming up, it’s teased at the end of the episode and it’s such a stylish and well-paced scene, like damn does this show know how to build up suspense. And kudos to this new studio for how well they’ve paced the whole episode, there was not a moment in this episode did I feel like I was watching extraneous or filler scenes, everything seemed to serve a purpose, even if it was just character building moments, like, oh my god…

He carries a big spear, evidently.

What? I think I have a new best girl and it came totally out of left field!

Uh-huh, who is it then? Xenovia! A character who I liked but never had that much interest in before, she always seemed kinda intentionally sidelined and two dimensional but here she was charismatic and hilarious and cool and I don’t know if it was just the lighting or whatever but she looked so damn good in the cupboard scene, it was a revelation!

Holy hell she’s so beautiful.

Right, so nothing but good things about this episode? This is probably the best episode of any show from any series this Spring 2018 season (so far)! I know that’s a big call, but for fans of DxD I’ll be very surprised if you didn’t at least think it was great if not as great as I did. The balance this episode strikes between plot and character development and comedy and action is *chefs kiss*. I don’t know if things can possibly stay at this quality throughout but I’m so unbelievably excited for the rest of the season!


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7 comments

  1. This kind of episode is when staying close to the story being adapted works out pretty well. They handled the part in the closet well, and that’s the kind of characterization of Xenovia and Irina that I’ve been talking about, that they’re not really ‘harem’ members, just interested in Issei. And it’s always funny to have Rossweisse start complaining about being an old maid (at whatever not-old age she really is). I also liked that they didn’t shoehorn any actual fights in this episode, just to have a fight.

    The show could do a little bit better with explaining the (admittedly stupid) distinctions between the different factions of the Khaos Brigade. I mean, the impression I always got was that they’re so separate that they might be better off not calling all the “bad guys” Khaos Brigade, but that’s the name they’ve got. They also could have done a little better in the flashback scene that they put in explaining what the heck actually happened, which was that they fought some mook who went for a balance breaker and then self-destructed (was explained a lot better in the book). We’ll see if they do better with the explanation when it comes up again.

    And now I want to have them fight the Kaos brigade… “Awawawawawawawa…”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess “khaos brigade” is like that worlds version of the broad term “terrorists” in our world. But yeah, it does make things more confusing than they need to be.

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      1. Actually, since I’m thinking about it I remember it better, the Khaos Brigade actually predates all the stuff in all the series, and it’s a big deal that Vali joins them, but it turns out more that Vali’s a poor fit for them, and he actually pulls some of the others out of the actual Khaos Brigade (technically the Vali Team is still part of it, but it’s less like they’d do what they want). It’s mostly the “losers” in the politics of the underworld / three factions (devils, angels, and fallen angels), especially after the cooperation between those three factions starts up.

        The factions are still kinda more important than the actual Khaos Brigade. And the show’s not doing particularly well at making a distinction between the Hero Faction and the Old Satan faction (not surprising because the Old Satan Faction was horribly overmatched).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yikes! So much backstory, I guess these issues arise when you’re adapting something as presumably dense as the DxD Light Novels. I really wish they had a proper English physical release.

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