- Alt. Name
- Release Date
- Winter 2012
- No. of Episodes
- Light Novel
High School DxD is a 2012 Harem Action and Fantasy anime series from Japanese animation studio TNK, whose created series such as School Days, Bladedance of Elementalers, and Redo of a healer. While the studio is most notably known for the high school DxD series, that doesn’t entirely mean this series is worth anyone’s time. For a studio to have such a – for lack of a better word – devoted fanbase to this series. Something most captivating about this anime, at least hopefully when it comes to reviewing a series with multiple seasons, is always essential to note that each season is its creation. As such, it must be judged individually.
High school student Issei Hyoudou is your run-of-the-mill pervert who does nothing productive with his life, peeping on women and dreaming of having a harem one day. Things seem to be looking up for Issei when a beautiful girl asks him out on a date, although she turns out to be a fallen angel who brutally kills him! However, he miraculously gets a second chance at life when the beautiful senior student Rias Gremory, who is also a top-class devil, revives him as her servant, recruiting him into the school’s Occult Research Club ranks.
As this sudden life change slowly starts to become his new norm, Issei must train and fight to survive the violent world of angels and demons. Each new adventure leads to many hilarious and sometimes risqué moments with his newfound friends, all the while keeping his new life a secret from his friends and family. Will Issei be able to keep his secret and be able to survive in his new life, or did Rias waste her powers on giving him a second chance? They both learn that life is not always the way we wanted it to go, but sometimes it’s well worth the hardship.
High School DxD did an excellent job of creating the proper levels of both action and adventure without overdoing it or even losing its primary focus on the story. Having a series nail the right amounts of the two main genres shows that the viewer won’t be bait and switched for terrible world-building and repeated areas from other series. Another area that this story had surpassed expectations was the pacing. Though not perfect, it did have a very decent pace compared to other action series with the same episode count.
Unfortunately, the pacing didn’t speed up when things were getting close to the end but did when it needed to, which focused more on the areas of the story the viewer will potentially enjoy more than if they just kept at the same pace.
The most significant efficacious anyone can get from this series is the excellent use of world-building throughout the series. Concepts and one-off lines that seemed unimportant early on in the series came back later and were built upon later, and had tie-ins that were interesting when used later in the plot.
Outside of these few positives, there are many negatives one could find with this series, but these mentioned will only be the key negatives one could find. The biggest one that must be stated is that this series will be an automatic no-go for someone if someone isn’t into high nudity and sexual scenes. Some may find this series story okay because they see tons of women’s chests and naked bodies, but that doesn’t excuse them. Outside of this huge negative, the others are a tad smaller in comparison.
For instance, the main character is one of the most powerful in the entire series. While that’s not entirely negative, what makes it worse is that the series does a terrible job of handling the element. For example, in each battle, the character right before defeat can outdo their opponent because of this device they somehow have. Another negative aspect this series seemed to have was that they try to have a real story and constantly try to get traction. Still, every single time it finally gets its footing, the series ruins it with cheap nudity and derails the work it worked so hard to achieve. Which after a while, it got mundane.
The biggest problem that High School DxD has is that it has no direction or course of action. Sure it has a road map of points A and B, but it doesn’t aim anywhere. This series would be more enjoyable if they had some direction because it simply doesn’t know where it’s going. So is this series about how stupid and yet crazy high schoolers are having their hormones raging throughout their bodies drives us crazy? Is this about a boy who wants to push himself to the very limit for a girl because he wants her sexually?
Though when it comes to this series Art style, viewers will be pleasantly surprised by the fact that it’s well done. The colors in the background are well-fitting for a series of this caliber, meaning not too dull yet not too extraordinary. The real treat for the viewers will be from the beautiful character designs of the female characters. Each character is wonderfully different, and the colors match their personality flawlessly at times. But what makes this series art stand out is that it seems not to take itself so seriously all the time; it makes it cartoony and overdramatic when needed, which for a harem series is always a plus, especially when needed the story is subpar.
On the other hand, the animation production was shockingly better than what one may expect, not just within a harem or ecchi series, just in general. The opening theme and animation were engaging and slightly fell into the trap of being generic compared to others. Overall the opening was grand. But what makes this opening even better is the theme song “Trip -innocent of D” by Larval Stage Planning. Their song seemed to be a perfect fit for this animation, and without it seems to fall flat. However, this series had an ending animation that wasn’t the best, whether it was due to StylipS’s song “STUDY x STUDY” or the animation itself; somehow, they both didn’t fit the mold of this series, perhaps was going towards, whatever that may be.
Usually, when a series has many ecchi or harem themes, they tend to lose character development, and this series did a tad better than what one may expect. Issei Hyodo is a second-year high school student at Kuoh Academy, while he has a massive reputation for being a pervert and lives up to it enormously. While his biggest goal is to have his harem, he has no skills to talk to the opposite gender whatsoever. Overall he’s very typical in regards to this harem series.
Rias Gremory is the main female character who is a devil of the Gremory clan, one of the highest-ranking devil families. She initially saves Issei after a fallen angel attacked him. While she is the head of Kou Academy’s Occult Research school club, the club is a ploy to have them do devil duties. She is stern and intelligent and very popular with both genders inside and out of school, but she doesn’t bother with constant praise.
Asia Argento is a powerful magic user who was raised as a nun of the catholic church. However, when she starts associating herself with Issei, some events ultimately get her excommunicated from the church. She is the dimwitted one of the group and the nicest out of anyone in the Gremory clan. Though being part of the devil clan, she tries to continue her faith, although she immediately gets a severe headache whenever she prays or reads the Bible.
Akeno Himejima is the Occult Research Club’s vice present. Issei describes her as the ideal Japanese woman with a pretty face that is always smiling. Along with Rias, she makes up the two great big sisters that are idolized at the school. On the outside, she is calm and gentle, but in reality, she is highly sadistic.
Koneko Toujou is a white-haired devil of the Occult Research Club. Though she is a freshman, she is one of the more traumatized characters within the series. She is also the only one in the group that doesn’t like Issei initially and finds his perverted nature appalling. However, she shows the most concern for her comrades when they are in trouble, often lending her strength in fights. Though on the outside, this series is just an anime aimed at teenage boys who love breasts, which anyone arguing against that is insane. The truth is that this series is better than what one may expect, but not in ways that some may expect. Even though it has its significant problems, when one takes the nudity out of the equation, the story was about average. As mentioned before, if a viewer is unwilling to watch a series with heavy nudity and ecchi level, this is not a series for them.
The art style is stunning and probably even better than most viewers’ expectations. However, with the high level of nudity, it’s hard to suggest this series to anyone. Who is either just getting into anime or fans of any genre outside of the obvious. Perhaps this series is on some viewers’ list for the bouncing boobs, but if that’s the only reason this series will be viewed, then that’s a shame since High School DxD is better than what one may expect both the story and the level of nudity.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.