On Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 anime publisher FUNimation Entertainment releases “High School DxD New”, the second season of the supernatural/action/harem anime series “High School DxD”, in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack (limited and standard editions), and we were provided an early look at the series for review.
Based on the series of light novels by Ichiei Ishibumi, with illustrations from Miyama-Zero, the story of “High School DxD” follows Issei Hyodo, a perverted high school student with ambitions focused almost entirely on the opposite sex. After finally being asked out on a date, Issei is surprised to learn that the girl is actually a Fallen Angel, and her intentions are to kill him. Poor Issei is killed by the Fallen Angel, but he doesn’t stay dead for long, thanks to Rias Gremory, an upperclassman who saves him by bringing Issei back to life, as a Devil.
As Issei awakens next to a naked Rias, he learns of his fate as a Devil, and also that his school is home to a multitude of supernatural beings. To serve his new master, Issei is recruited into the school’s Occult Research Club, and it falls to him and his fellow club members to battle against both the church and Fallen Angels, the arch-enemies of the devils. Unlike his allies, Issei isn’t very proficient with magic, he does have one advantage though, he posses a Sacred Gear, a powerful artifact imbued with special abilities, in Issei’s case, it houses the Red Dragon Emperor, which increases his power when his will is in line with his ambition. Issei’s main goal however, is to become a “Harem King”, with a bevy of beautiful girls at his beck and call.
“High School DxD New”, or season two, kicks off with the Occult Research Club continuing with their daily lives, making deals with humans as only Devils can. Following a major battle, Rias has become much more affectionate with Issei, and Asia tries her best to vie for Issei’s affections. These two aren’t the only ladies fighting for Issei’s attention though, as Akeno’s interest in him begins to grow, and the team gets a new member, taken from the church.
The story isn’t all beautiful women falling at Issei’s feet though, the team also has to deal with powerful Fallen Angels who have managed to get their hands on a couple of the Excalibur, holy swords that can easily kill Devils. They do receive a little help as well, in the form of holy sword wielders from the church, which causes some friction with Kiba. This part of the story also proves to be pretty important, as the church takes a major blow when a long kept secret is revealed.
Issei also comes face to face with the White Dragon Emperor, the rival to the Red, and someone that is destined to battle with Issei. But their power levels are drastically different, and Issei doesn’t stand a chance.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story, for those of you who haven’t watched the series yet, so I won’t say much more. I will add, that the team does receive a few new members, and they once again come face to face with a powerful new foe, and receive some unexpected help.
As far as the story goes, it isn’t really anything surprising, if you’re familiar with how harem-type anime series typically go. The addition of a few more characters and potential love interests, make for some fun moments, and confrontations. Rias and Issei’s relationship definitely advanced a bit in this season, although it continues to hold just short of resolution, and the extra girls definitely brought out an interesting side to Rias.
The main story however, was pretty entertaining. The clash between the three warring factions and the characters involved in the conflict are all interesting to see. Towards the end of the second season, the change in alliances and new potential allies and villains made me anxious to see where the fight goes next.
Visually, “High School DxD” has a good look, the picture quality is clear, the animation is smooth, although there were a few “more obvious” recycled images, and the colors are vivid. Having watched the series half on the Blu-ray and half on the DVD, on my Xbox One, I didn’t really see a major difference in the overall quality.
I kind of enjoyed the English dub of the series about as much as I did the Japanese. Both were enjoyable, and I don’t really think you miss out too much choosing one over the other. The subtitles were clear, easy to read, had a good flow, and remain on screen for a fair length of time.
One thing that the second season of “High School DxD” had a lot of is on-disc special features. Along with the usual FUNimation trailers, promo videos, textless opening and closings, the collection also included “Yoko Hikasa’s Voice Acting School” which features the series’ main Japanese voice actress as well as some of the voice actresses for new characters. Also included are promo videos that contain a rundown of each of the arcs that are included in season two, and a revisit of season one.
“High School DxD” is a fun, harem comedy series filled with beautiful girls and plenty of magical battles against powerful foes. It definitely won’t disappoint fan service lovers either, so that should make some viewers happy.
Typically, while I do watch harem/comedy anime, I don’t get into them as much as I used to. “High School DxD” however, is one of the series that I have found myself greatly interested in, and I look forward to more.
If you enjoyed series like “Rosario + Vampire”, “Maken-ki!” and “Demon King Daimao”, then you will likely want to check out “High School DxD” and “High School DxD New”.
High School DxD New (Season Two)
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Runtime: 321 minutes
Number of Discs: 3 DVDs (Also on Blu-ray)
Number of Episodes: 12 (13-24)
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV-MA
Release Date: Nov. 11, 2014
(A review copy of “High School DxD” on DVD and Blu-ray, was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)