Highschool DxD, (Parental advisory) very hard to class, but phenomenal all the same

Highschool DxD, (Parental advisory) very hard to class, but phenomenal all the same

Hello again, I’ve been playing a lot of Black Ops2 recently, and i decided to do a little multitasking and check out a new anime at the same time ( that’s right i can do that and still go positive in games, check it… as long as i don’t have to read subtitles.)

So here’s an anime I stumbled across on Hulu+ the other day. I’m not sure what made me stop on it, i think it was a combination of Rias’s Red hair and expression that caught my eye. So in my usual fashion, I bypassed any details or discription and cued up an episode.

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HERE’S where you stop reading if you want to do the same, I am a keen advocate of going into anime’s blank, and yes it has bitten me, I’ve wasted a few hours watching the first 2-4 episodes of a series that just isn’t that great, or about things i’m interested in. But those are Definitely worth it for times when you find gems with really original stories that are told in really wonderful ways. Anyway, Done preaching about the usual “don’t read the description, on to why this anime has ensnared me enough to make my blog.
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So I started an episode of the dub, and wow… i was a little turned off by the level of crudeness from Issei and his friends. The subs though are almost as crude, so i can’t blame americanization wholly for this, It’s just the way the characters were written. The whole first 5 minutes is pretty much just as crude as the boy’s speech , gratuitous fan service, peeping on girls, that one nerdy kid knows the measurements of every girl in school, and pretty much the standard lot. Then what i can only describe as a ” i realize don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and all, but seriously dude you might wanna check the molars on this one.” moment, a pretty young girl named Yuma approaches him, gushes over him and asks to be his girlfriend on the spot. By this point i was starting to get the impression that this wasn’t going to be something I’d watch through to the end, but I at least wanted to see who this red headed, seeming gothic princess Rias Gremary with the ” i run this place” look on her face was before shelving this one. Issei goes on a date with Yuma, and things are continuing at their usual tit-obsessed pace, then she murders him. Just over 10 minutes into an anime and the main character gets murdered when Yuma reveals herself to be A fallen angel named Raynare, who’s been sent to end his life because he is apparently a threat to their kind. Conveniently thanks to a flier he was given earlier his dying wish of… dying motor boating the Rias’s boobs.. is realized ( the phrasing is “dying nestled in her bosom” in the subs) and Rias appears from a magic circle clad in wings give him the opportunity to be reborn to serve her.

Flash to the next morning where he wakes up alive in his bed. He’s confused to find when he gets to school however that nobody remembers the girl he introduced them to , and all her contact info is gone from his phone. He also begins noticing strange abilities like being able to see perfectly in the dark, superhuman hearing, He returns to the place where he and Yuma went on their date and where he remembered dying in what he assumed to be a dream. In the park where he died before, another fallen angel shows up and tries to exterminate him as a stray, fortunately after again receiving mortal wounds Rias swoops in with her band of devils to save him. Rias Introduces herself as a representative of the astute Gremary Family, and it’s explained that the Gremary family is currently dominant there. Clearly outmatched, the fallen angel leaves cordially, and Rias takes Issei’s body to tend to his wounds.

Flash again to Issei in his bed, though this time not alone. He pulls back the covers to reveal a nude Rias in bed with him, and his wounds completely healed. Of course this couldn’t be a “nude in bed with a girl, not what it looks like” cliche without his mom storming into his room to tell him he’s late for school to find him on top of Rias in bed. Fortunately for Issei Rias wipes his parents memory of the incident. Once at school the usual “seen with the most popular girl at school” effect kicks in and later when he’s fetched from class from the most popular GUY in school we finally start to learn a little more about our newly-demonic hero. SURPRISE, unbeknownst to you, there is eternal war between the Devils, Angels, and Fallen angels taking place all around you. Also unknownst to Issie ying dormant within himis the power of the sacred plot device gear, given to him by god, and as per usual, the holder of this sacred plot device gear is supposed to hold great power and naturally everyone is after him because of it.

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That about sums up the first two episodes minus several things I let out because they are only funny to watch if you’re not expecting them. I can safely say there probably aren’t any long term spoilers in there because I’ve only seen the first two episodes thus far, i intend to watch the rest, just haven’t gotten there yet.

subs vs dub rating – Variable- personally I’ll take the dubs
I prefer the voices of the dub actors, (especially Raynare and Rhias’s actors especially) however I prefer the content of the subtitles to the english version mainly because it has a slightly more reverent tone, and the guy’s crude pervyness is toned slightly down, however, it’s clear what the japanese actors are saying  is in the same tone of crudeness, it just doesn’t translate to text well.  overall i think am going to go dub but may leave the subtitles on.

What i Like-

  • the art is just top notch, the highly contrasting colors look great, and the depictions of devils angels, and fallen angels is very well done.
  • (dub) the voice acting is great, casting is really well done, i love the pairing of every casting choice and they complement each other, and above all the theme of their character well.
  • characters- All the characters introduced seem to have a good level of depth that hopefully will be expanded upon as the show progresses. The character interaction as well is very good, the writers developed wonderful personalities  for each of these characters, and it definitely shows .
  • The portrayal of power in a civilized way
    • Rhias is a devil, just seeing her in frame you get the feeling that she is not the chick to cross. She doesn’t do this through flashiness, flaunting, or a castle made from the bones and flesh of her foes, All she needs is her attitude, posture, and class.  I love seeing power portrayed like this, because it creates a feeling of control, and allows the inner strength of the character show. Much like alucard  and sir integra in Hellsing, ebastian in black butler, and Jiro  in Black Blood Brothers, Rias has nothing to prove to anyone, and that inner strength shows to be the most fearsome.

 

 

 

What fell short –

  • overly…overly gratuitous fan service. This is still in the realm of an ecchi as of episode 2, but it is to the point that it is the FOCUS of this show. I’m personally hoping they tone it down just a little bit, i want to clarify though because that’s a vague statement. I love that Rias has a very open attitude regarding her body, it’s awesome, and fits her character.  Scenes like in episode 1 where they are naked in his bed after the healing where he points out ” ummm you’re not covered up anymore… i can see your stuff” and her response is ” yeah, so?” work extremely well. She is a devil, the appearances of her body would be of no consequence, especially to her own servant. Likewise with the scantily clad fallen angels, these are supernatural beings, why should they care if you can see their tits. the things that i would like to see cut down on are the standard ecchi big-3.
    • Regularly seeing up character’s skirts/seeing them changing before actually meeting them, or as an entire premise of meeting them.
    • that thing where nipples can’t be seen through bras, but can be seen through the shirts OVER the bras. *scratching head*
    • the biggest issue though is the camera angles, CONSTANT use of shots panning around the skirts and breasts. It’s to an almost comical state here, 75% of the time a character is talking the camera is zoomed in on the breasts, or panning up from up-skirt angles. Half the time when the character is talking, (I’m pointing to you scene in the occult research club room) their head isn’t in frame, it’s just a slow panning close up of the tits.  I want to actually see a real life camera man try and get these shots as an actress is doing her performance. he’d look creepy as hell panning around her body randomly about 16 inches away. what the hell, did the art director get so bored and horny reading the script that he said ” yeahhh that’s boring, make sure to make this feel like a softcore porn so that the viewer doesn’t get bored by plot and switch over to actual softcore porn.

 

  • My advice to the creators, tone down the sexualizing of every single character through the use of the Big-3 , steady your camera at a reasonable angle, maybe a comfortable middriff to top of head framed shot, so we can still see that she’s talking, I promise, We’ll still notice she’s a bombshell, just don’t make us feel like creeps while we’re admiring them.  You’ve got a voucher here to show almost all the nudity you want here without it leaving context, make use of it, make it make sense for your characters to do the things they do, (example, Rhias’s nude scene after she heals Issei, and i’ll even let the changing for her excessive showering slide into the category of contextual,) the ludicrous fantasy scenes, the EXCESSIVE repetitive upskirt due to wierd camera angles on the same person, upskirt-introductions, and CONSTANT slow pan boob close ups on the other hand could really use some reeling back.

 

Overall this looks like it’s going to be a really awesome series. hopefully the trend continues

 

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