High School DxD is the riveting tale of an angel who falls, is murdered, and then resurrected as the servant of a powerful devil. It explores the spiritual side of human nature in intriguingly deep ways as the subjugated hero, Issei, struggles to understand the juxtaposition of both humanity and the divine inherently present in all living beings. It is a perplexingly well-written series guaranteed to make any viewers reassess what they think they know about what it means to live.
Just kidding, it’s horrible.
This is the sort of series you generally defend if you don’t understand how to find real pornography. There are practically zero reasons to watch a show like this when you could just be watching actual hentai. To say that sex is implied is false because there are lines of dialogue like, “Let’s work hard on making babies.”
There’s a minor semblance of a plot burried somewhere beneath all the panning breast shots. Issei keeps having his wet dreams interrupted with memories of his first date with ex-girlfriend Yuma, his killer. The group of various demons and Issei are making their way to the underworld for summer break where they will be taught advanced combat tactics by archdemon Azazel in between obligatory heavily-sensored hot springs scenes. Don’t worry if you miss something staring at boobs because the dialogue will repeat itself at least three times in every scene.
Issei has some special battle gear that has to power up in order to unleash strong attacks. It does this by shouting BOOST as Issei runs in circles being useless while his comrades get injured. His combat attire is a sentient entity and able to communicate directly with him, which doesn’t seem to serve any purpose since the end result is that Issei is still thousands of times weaker than the very first enemy he encounters.
The animation is neither particularly good nor all that bad. The computer-rendered bits are actually quite unintrusive, which was probably the most pleasant surprise DxD had to offer. It’s worth noting that BorN is considered the third season of the animation, however there’s so little plot that it’s not difficult to jump in and get the gist of what’s going on. This is mostly because the current arc is named after a breast dragon, so hopping on board the DxD train doesn’t exactly require a MENSA test.
Considering this is the third season of a series with light novels and a manga backing it, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that DxD does have a loyal fanbase. As easy as it is to write off this sort of viewerbase as otaku virgins, that seems a disservice. For many people, the real appeal of these sorts of harem ecchi series is not just seeing implications of nudity, but rather exploring different personalities and levels of assertiveness in relationships. It’s about finding out what appeals to you personally and cheering on the combination which you find most emotionally satisfying. There’s even an androgenous boy-elf-thing who behaves like a girl in case you’re into that.
If that last paragraph spoke to your heart, you’re probably already the sort of bloke who’s got a hard drive full of this stuff. If you’re looking for plot or dynamic characterization, a harem anime is not the way to go. The whole purpose of something like DxD is that the main character hooks up with no one so you can imagine him hooking up with everyone. The characters don’t change because that static nature enables them to be perfect archetypes of various personality or physical preferences. Essentially, nothing important can happen because it would shatter the archetypes. The only plot that can take place is plot which further develops the WYSIWYG generalizations you can make in the first episode. That’s not an inherently bad thing, but it’s not something worth writing into your schedule on a weekly basis. It’s a guilty pleasure at best and definitely not the series that’s going to get your dear old mother to sympathize with your obsessive figurine collecting.
Recommendation: Skip it.
Title: High School DxD BorN
Original Source: Light Novel
Source Writer: Ichiei Ishibumi
Source Publisher: Fujimi Shobo
Director: Tetsuya Yanagisawa
Writer: Takao Yoshioka
Music: Tyosuke Nakanishi
Run Start: 04/2015
Review Date: 04/2015
Episodes Reviewed: 01