I'll post my thoughts later, gotta go out for a bit. Here's the discussion blog in the meantime.
RIP Hyoudou Issei XXXX - 2015
Okay, review time. Just in time for episode 05 in a day and a half! Sorry for the delay. Minor LN spoilers follow.
I'll split this review into two primary sections and then post some minor comments at the end.
Fight vs Loki
- I'm not too sure what Fenrir's problem was. He was either heavily nerfed from the LN, wanted to sit back and let his children fight and only intervene when necessary, or Loki placed some sort of a seal on his power like the comments discussed. There's no way that he could shatter Ise's Scale-mail just like that and not be able to get past a bunch of Holy Demonic Swords. To me, it looked like he was just sitting back and watching and only doing something when he felt he needed to. It's a positive that after all those attacks, he was shown with absolutely no damage. That's the Fenrir we know.
- It also took me a couple re-watches to understand the transition from Fenrir to its child and back to Fenrir to be caged by Kiba's swords, but otherwise the display of each battle with each group of characters was great.
- Loki was definitely a powerhouse, demonstrating why he's a God. As long as Fenrir actually does something in the final fight, I don't mind Loki being the brains and brawn while Fenrir is brawn x2.
- A couple of Koneko's scenes seemed off to me. I couldn't tell if she was just sitting on Fenrir's child in one scene, and throwing it up in the air so easily like that surprised me. Just because she's a Rook doesn't mean Hati/Skoll isn't heavy you know? Especially grabbing it from the nose, but eh, a minor gripe. I also really liked how they showed off her senjutsu. It's in-line with the LN considering some of the things she can do later on.
- Holy Lightning OP as fuck, I'll talk about her more in Character Developments.
- After Issei failed to tech Fenrir's attack, Rias entered Rage percentage and proceeded to fire off multiple Charge Shots at maximum power. If anyone here gets the references, you're the best.
- Here's where I can't tell if TNK made a subtle hint that'll be expounded on during the Diodora RG in episode 8 or they really removed the Balance Breaker countdown. Issei already had the gauntlet activated when the episode started, so there's a chance they didn't unnecessarily modify that.
- Character designs
- Midgardsormr's design caught me off-guard at first, in particular his face when he first appeared, but I don't have a problem with it. I actually liked Hati/Skoll's designs, and I've grown accustomed to Fenrir's but still prefer the regular wolf version.
- Dueler Loki is still a pretty good look for him.
- For the most part, animation was excellent. Rossweisse's full burst wasn't exactly what I was expecting (if that even was her fullburst), but that can easily be fixed in a potential season 4. Her armor at the Gremory territory was particularly well done, and Loki's attacks distorting the space looked pretty cool. I'm looking forward to some (hopefully) really fluid battle scenes later this season. It'd be good practice for S4.
So in the midst of all this fighting and preparation for fighting, we actually get a significant amount of character development. I'll sub-divide it into sections by person so it's easier to keep track of.
- We finally get an official introduction to the best girl in DxD! Odin's Valkryie bodyguard, Rossweisse, joins the fight against Loki! She looks great, and I really love her anime design (although at one point she looked way older and then later on she looked more like a 17/18 year old). As stated earlier, her fullburst wasn't as awesome-looking as I was expecting, but that can be modified later.
- And while we're on the topic of animation again, I'm really expecting some great animation in the second half of this season so it's not like Tokyo Ghoul A.
- Akeno & Koneko
- It looks like they're scrapping the Rating Game (at least, for now!) and giving Akeno and Koneko their development during this Loki fight. I'll be honest; this season is great. I love it. But rushing both of their developments really saddens me. Koneko's was rushed badly and so far Akeno's hasn't had as much of an impact as it did in v5. I have really high expectations for BorN's second half.
- And is it just me, or was Koneko's voice uncharacteristically soft at times? I found that interesting. Her first -nya was adorable and makes that one early v7 senjutsu treatment scene even more of a necessity this season.
- It's not exactly character development, but more a lack thereof. One of the things I love about DxD is the intricate details that are placed into the story. Because of episode constraints, a bit of that (at least so far) was taken away with Issei. Putting aside the potential lack of BB countdown, I'm a bit unhappy that they didn't get to include the mention that Ddraig was helping him fly with the Dragon wings. It almost made Issei look like a "typical shounen MC" this fight. And by that, I mean he got a major power-up and needs no assistance whatsoever even though he's been so weak the past 2 seasons. In a way it makes his later strength feel a bit less worthwhile if shown in the anime because of how rushed one of his biggest stepping-stones has been. But that entire point about the flying is moot if they do indeed recognize it later on. It'll just feel a bit out of place, like "Why didn't you address this earlier?"
- So he was given the Vritra Gears by Azazel already. This fight is basically the substitution for all the development the Sitri RG provided, so if they're going to re-add that (as a line by Rias hints at, if not an easter egg for LN readers) later on (most likely early S4 or never) they'd need some serious re-writing assistance from Ishibumi since they know all of one another's powers and Saji already has these. I wonder how they're going to awake Vritra now? And on that topic... how are they going to introduce Bilingual next episode?!
I also didn't like the higher-ups reasoning for not taking care of Loki themselves. I understand that their taking part in a fight against another faction's God could lead to all-out war (Ragnarok!), but the dialogue didn't explain it well. It would've been simpler to invoke Fenrir's God-killing claws/fangs as the excuse, since it was a similar situation with a certain Hero in the LN.
Overall it was a great episode, and I enjoyed it. It had its flaws, and though TNK has improved dramatically with anime-original scenes, their dialogue needs a bit of work still (one of Saji's lines that sounded like a famous quote or something sounded a bit off for his character as well). I'm definitely looking forward to the second half of BorN (though we're not there yet) and all of the amazing fights to accompany it.
...I'm also looking forward to a potential
2 cour S4 with proper pacing once again.
And I've really come to love that ED. The lyrics pretty much describe exactly what's going on this season and the first half of the next one.
To close it off,
Thanks for reading / Daily reminder that Rossweisse is best girl!
- Animation: 9/10
- Plot: 10/10
- Fight: 9/10
- Fanservice: 5/10
- Overall: 8.25/10