Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Anime Graveyard: High School DxD

Let me reiterate a point about Anime Graveyard section. The anime featured in Anime Graveyard is not always bad in its genre, per say, but always highly popular in the anime community and in my opinion vastly overrated, against the popular opinion about the said show. Let me also repeat that my opinion in anime review does not represent my opinion of light novel and/or manga.

I will only be referring to the 1st season in this review. To put my opinion of second season in a nutshell, it's worse than the first season. The sad thing is, I think this anime is getting a third season

Now let's get to the review.

Issei Hyodo is your average perverted high school student whose one wish in life is to have his own harem, but he's got to be one of the unluckiest guys around. He goes on his first date with a girl only to get brutally attacked and killed when it turns out the girl is really a vicious fallen angel. To top it all off, he's later reincarnated as a devil by his gorgeous senpai who tells him that she is also a devil and now his master! One thing's for sure, his peaceful days are over. In a battle between devils and angels, who will win? (Source: FUNimation)

First, High School DxD should be praised for the fact that it never tries to be what it isn't. This is an anime that gives a nose-bleeding amount of oppai action to its fans, and never tried to hide itself by being an intelligent show at any given point. However, even though a lot of people praise it for being a great fan-service show, I think the entertainment value is crippled by the average animation and not-well executed character design, or else it could have been a lot more sexy.

It is pointless to talk about character in a ecchi harem show, but I will make one point about character in terms of enjoyment, the one that I have biggest problem with. Issei, the male lead of the show, is an extremely fickle individual most of the times who is satisfied as long as he is with boobs, no matter whose it is. I am not comparing ecchi harem to romance shows, but I think I can be much more emotionally invested in the show if he actually cared about one girl in particular whom he will protect no matter what. In a bad case of character inconsistency which I am glad for, Issei actually shows his true feelings for Rias, the female lead, at the end of the show (last two episodes) during a shounen-styled shouting-match death fight. This is hands-down the most enjoyable part of the show, and the only reason I rate this show slightly above the average standard. What a shame that this couldn't have happened more often.

Plot-wise, this show is not bad. The first two episodes were absorbing, but do not expect much because it will only turn into an episodic monster girl of the week formula, which is barely able to make me want to keep watching. That said, who watches ecchi harem shows for plot? Obviously, animation, sound, and character designs are much more important.

That brings me to this show's biggest problem: character design, or specifically, how it is animated. It follows closely to the original character designs in the novel. The character designs are not too bad, actually. However, the way TNK, the primary production company, drew the characters with no separation from the backgrounds, and thus the characters look 2-D and uninteresting (lol even though that's exactly what all of them are). That, and the fact the main female leads have too much hairs growing into their faces than what's needed.

In terms of animation of action sequences is a hit or miss. It's not top-notch, to be sure, but if you like cat-fights, magic-beams, and bouncing-boobs, you would enjoy the action much more than I did.

The song is by far the best thing about this anime. I can't remember the soundtracks used for this anime, but they are not bad, not bad at all. Furthermore, High School DxD has such a sexy ED that it is on my OP-ED countdown despite the fact that I did not like this anime. .

Overall, despite all the negative things I've said about High School DxD, it is still way above your average ecchi harem anime out there (guess what I think of the average harem ecchi anime?). Indeed, for male teens in puberty, sometimes all they needed are boob, boobs, and more boobs. I award High School DxD with 5.5/10, for having awesome sound and "oppai"entertainment.


Recommended to fans of High School DxD novel or manga, to hormone-driven male teenagers, and a must-see for fans of ecchi harem shows.

Not recommended to the entire female anime fan population, or serious fans of the romance genre.

For ultimate anime recommendation for people who like High School DxD, watch DAKARA BOKU WA, H GA DEKINAI, for basically the same kind of show except that the male lead is more outrageously hormone-driven but remains devoted to the female lead, as well as having way better character designs.
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