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High School DxD: Complete Series(TV) (2012)
A war between heaven and hell is raging on Earth - and a hot mess of hormonal fury is raging in Issei's pants. The guy is dying to get some action. Which is funny, since his first date ever turns into a winged monster and tries to kill him. Fortunately, ridiculously curvy redhead Rias comes to his rescue. She's president of The Occult Research Club, a club that doesn't actually research the occult. They ARE the occult - and Rias is a Devil. Rias takes Issei as a more-than-willing slave and begins training him to use magic in battle against the Fallen Angels, the long-time enemies of Devils everywhere. If Issei can improve his mystical skills, he'll be able to help his hotter-than-hell master and her scorching supernatural schoolgirl friends defeat their foes. Even better, he might end up with a few sexy slaves of his own.
For more about High School DxD: Complete Series and the High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray release, see High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on September 2, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Yűki Kaji, Yoko Hikasa, Azumi Asakura, Ayana Taketatsu, Shizuka It˘, Kenji Nojima
» See full cast & crew
High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray Review
One man's ecchi is another man's ecch.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, September 2, 2013
If you came from a certain type of family, there's a chance that your parents warned you that "self gratification" could lead to blindness, or at least hairy palms. But death? When a series comes along called High School DxD, there's little doubt that an overly intellectual enterprise is not in the offing, and that there will be the requisite fan service and quite possibly harem hijinks. And so in that regard this series should be commended for a certain amount of truth in advertising. The typically horny high school male at the center of the series, Hyodo (transliterated as Hyoudou by some online sources) Issei, has one thing on his mind, if you can call what passes for his thinking process as actually taking place anywhere above his beltline. Characters like this exist by the score in anime, and Hyodo is about as typical as they come, oogling eyes and all. But High School DxD borrows a few tropes from other anime subgenres when it does the rather unexpected thing of killing poor Hyoudou off just when it seems he's about to consummate a relationship. That might seem to make Hyodo a kind of amorous version of, say, Yu Yu Hakusho, and in a way that analogy proves to be true, for Hyodo is brought back to a kind of life by a magical entity and who discovers he may have talents other than simply chasing after girls. It's hard to come down too hard on High School DxD, for it's a series that doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is, namely a fan service laden comedy effort that offers lots of jiggling bosoms and the requisite ubiquitous panty shots, wrapped within a fitfully interesting story of Hyoudou's efforts to wend his way through his new level of existence. The show is flat out derivative most of the time, but it's enjoyable enough, given that a reasonably low bar is set and one dials the "expectation meter" toward the mindless entertainment side of the spectrum.
When the first line of dialogue in an anime is something like "boobs are the greatest things in the world", the stage has been perfectly set for what's in store, and High School DxD certainly delivers it. Hyodo and his two similarly girl crazed buddies oogle the girls' track team, which is of course full of impossibly buxom women who evidently have never heard of sports bras, and who are happily jiggling past the boys without paying them the slightest heed. Hyodo later gets caught trying to catch more than a mere peek at the girls, and ends up much worse for the wear. He's feeling like any frustrated teenage boy, resigned to the fact that (how to put this delicately?) he may be in a relationship with his hand for the foreseeable future.
Fate intervenes, however, and Hyodo is amazedŚactually shockedŚwhen a pretty young girl approaches him on a bridge one evening and asks if he's otherwise engaged and if he might be interested in being her boyfriend. Of course Hyodo jumps at the chance and the two go on some innocent seeming dates, finally culminating in HyodoŚ touching her hand. (It's always struck me as funny that these anime with such rampant fan service also tend to traffic in absolutely innocent behaviors a lot of the time.) Just when Hyodo thinks he might actually get to first base, the young girl transforms before his eyes into a demon andŚkills him. I hate it when dates go like that, don't you?
Soon enough, though, a vixen with red hair and extremely large bosoms whom Hyodo had spotted at school earlier shows up and literally takes Hyodo under her wing, magically nursing him back to health. The girl's name is Rias Gremory, a demon herself, but a more or less benevolent one and one who is already aware that Hyodo is much more than just any ordinary mortal. Already some anime fans may be getting the feeling they've seen this show before, and while any number of previous anime could be cited as at least contributing something toward High School DxD's overall stew, at this point in the story I personally couldn't help but think of Shakugan no Shana for at least a couple of reasons. While Rias is considerably more voluptuous than Shana is, they both sport bright red-orange hair and they both are magical entities kind of alternating between snarky tsundere tendencies and more affable helpful ones. But there are a couple of other similar plot points as well, such as when Hyodo "wakes" from what he thinks has been a dream about his erstwhile girlfriend and the ensuing battle, only to find out that now that she has disappeared into thin air, no one has any memory of her whatsoever, a device that Shakugan no Shana used years ago in a very similar way.
The saving grace with this show is its unabashed goofy sense of humor. Hyodo just walks around panting most of the time, eager to have sex but never quite getting there. The supernatural elements actually tend to play somewhat less of a role than might initially be expected, and they rarely if ever add any significant excitement to the proceedings. Instead High School DxD is best enjoyed as a silly little show that incorporates a number of elements from other, in some cases better known if not exactly better, anime, but does so in a consistently funny manner that helps to keep things moving along at a fairly brisk pace. You've seen this all before (probably several times), but for lovers of fan service, gorgeous females and dunderheaded males, can there ever really be such a thing as too much?
High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray, Video Quality
High School DxD is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. This is generally a sharp and nicely detailed looking high definition presentation, one that benefits from some patently cool animation techniques (keep an eye on the sky when Hyodo first encounters the demonsŚit swirls like one of those tie dye paint wheels, in a very interesting looking sequence). The show is bright and colorful and boasts sharp line detail. There are a couple of significant anomalies, though, that some may find bothersome. Banding is quite apparent throughout the episodes, as is some really noticeable motion judder when the camera pans across the animation, something that tends to make those bosoms jiggle in an even more unlikely way than they already do.
High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray, Audio Quality
High School DxD features an English dub delivered via Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and the original Japanese language track delivered via Dolby TrueHD 2.0. As should be expected, the English dub is significantly more powerful and boasts a really nicely rendered low end which is dampened quite a bit in the 2.0 mix. The English voice work is also quite good, especially with regard to Hyodo and his buddies. Surround activity in the 5.1 mix really only explodes in some of the action sequences as well as in the show's theme music and underscore. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is very wide.
High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
As I've mentioned in other anime reviews that feature ubiquitous fan service, I'm well outside of the target demographic for this type of fare, not to mention the fact that I'm happily married with two teenage sons (who would probably be more drawn to shows like High School DxD than I am). But this series is goofily enjoyable if taken on its own low scale merits. It's derivative, repetitive and completely predictable, but it also has an unexpectedly sweet and endearing quality to it, at least if you go in without unreasonable expectations. This Blu-ray set offers decent if occasionally problematic video and nice sounding audio, as well as the usual assortment of FUNimation supplements.
High School DxD: Other Seasons
High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray, News and Updates
• FUNimation Announces August Blu-ray Slate - May 17, 2013
FUNimation is releasing eight anime titles on Blu-ray this August, including Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail, Haganai: Part 1, Eureka Seven AO: Part 1, Fairy Tail: Part 6, High School DxD: Part 1, Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Complete Series, Guilty Crown: ...
High School DxD: Complete Series Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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