I heard them say Highschool DxD is a plain anime with a poorly written story. To some extent it’s true. It has pretty typical harem stuff. But the anime isn’t bad at all.
It makes for a great comedy. Not too much drama in it. Not too many dialogues. Needless fanservice? Yes. That’s what you get if you watch a mainstream harem. But overall the fights are good and music dramatically excellent. And I mean it when I say dramatically excellent. Ryosuke Nakanishi’s work is incredible, no doubts there.
The story of Highschool DxD is fun to watch as it explores the pervert Issei and the cute relationships between the Occult Research Club members. But there is always an overwhelming burden of needless fanservice, which makes it difficult for serious anime-lovers to bear through (good thing I’m not one). Mostly, people are like:
“Dude why the hell am I even watching it?”
*Clicks on next episode*
It’s almost as if people watch DxD for boobs. Might be true. Maybe it’s just for perverts. Nothing serious really happens between Issei and any girl from his fantastical harem, like many other action harem anime. But all that aside, I advise you read on. There’s more to Highschool DxD than meets the eye.
So much expose, so much stuff
There’s too much expose in everything. Every simple thing that could be used as a device to expose is used to. Complete justice is done to the lovers of Japanese animated fanservice industry. Every camera angle shows panties or boobs if it can. In every fight, at least some flesh around the thighs or boobs is visible because the clothes tear up. In. Each. Freaking. Battle — No matter how little. Meanwhile, the boys are completely fine even in intense fights.
There’s too much stuff sandwiched between needless harem – from dragons to vampires to magic and devils and fallen angels and God wars and Excalibur sword battles and, of course, the mighty boobs. They’ve tried to serve too much juice that it makes your head dizzy (if you’ll be trying to comprehend the story, that is — we all know what you’ll be watching it for).
Characters are pretty okay I would say and when they’re not spilling too much friendship stuff and how-I’m-stronger-than-you stuff, it’s actually interesting to watch the fight scenes. In fact, the level of in-battle talk you witness in a typical action anime is seen with only one negative character in this anime.
Mostly the female characters are a tool of exploring new horizons of Issei’s harem dreams, none of which manage to materialize because he faints before he can do anything. The male characters are actually pretty stylish but unoriginal. Sir Zechs, the White Dragon, all of them are cool characters whom you’ll fall for if you have an appetite for badass stock characters. They’re good-hearted too. Villains aren’t too original either.
But saying that such typical harem stories have a character roster based on stock personalities and cliched stereotypes would be a cliche itself. It’s easily believed that you can’t really expect a deep character backdrop or experimental character design from a typical harem as such.
The second season
In the second season of Highschool DxD, everything is a tad bit better. It won’t make much sense to watch it without completing the first season.
The fight scenes are really interesting and the main plot starts taking an interesting turn here. As I said, everything is better this time including animation. In the new seasons perhaps the creators tried to follow a different approach after seeing the popularity of the first season. They figured out that only harem isn’t good anymore. So other elements of the story were given priority over fanservice.
Anyway, the typical harem continues and our exposure to the relationship between the dragon characters grows further. Character bonds are strengthened and there are a lot of plot twists in this season.
Actually, the second season is basically a continuation of the first one so nothing much could be said about it. Just that it keeps up the flow of the story and makes you like really desperate to watch the third season.
There are some scenes you would probably cry at in this season, so be geared up for that. But it has a happy ending.
The third season
Highschool DxD BorN, the third season, almost breaks away from the “boring harem” identity. Not sure whether that’s a good thing or not. Creators have made the story really intense and dramatic in this season. I started watching DxD considering it was a light-hearted ecchi — but this season completely changed things and I sort of felt played at first.
Highschool DxD BorN is a great anime, truly. It’s too emotional on too many levels. Issei has grown a lot more powerful. By the end of the anime, and it’s completely a personal opinion, Rias becomes far more lovable, attractive, beautiful, stunning, charismatic, original … uh let’s focus on the review … than she ever was. Frankly, I never like a lead whose only purpose is to push the story with her dramatic curves, but in the third season of DxD, Rias somehow grows into a charming woman who deserves respect. However, for the most part, she remains just the usual harem girl.
BorN has really great character relationships. The battle scenes are interesting. Quite indirectly, a lot of other species are shown involved in this whole drama.
Some heart-wrenching things happen in the concluding episodes related to Rias and that makes the entire experience of watching this anime series worthwhile. It’s a payback season.
By the time you reach the end of the anime, you’ll love the whole experience. I couldn’t stop myself from listening to the soundtrack and watching the last episode many times over.
There are some astounding tracks in the soundtrack, some I’ve featured as honorable mentions in the best Japanese music post.
One of my regular internet hobbies is to check for the fourth season of DxD, because, to be frank, it’s worth it.
And oh! Don’t resist crying.