The Spring 2018 Anime Preview Guide High School DxD Hero
How would you rate episode 0 of
High School DxD Hero ?
What is this?
How was the SimulDub?
This series already has a well-established English dub cast who all return for this new season, so there aren't any new variables for prior fans yet. The only real question I had was whether or not Funimation would try to dub the Boob Dragon song, and wisely they didn't; the original delivery style would have been difficult to duplicate given the dramatically different words involved. (I suppose you could have used "boo-bie" in place of "o-ppai," but that wouldn't have sounded anywhere near as smooth.) All of the performances reflect the vocal styles heard earlier in the franchise, and the only new recurring roles appear too briefly to get much impression of how well they fit. Funimation definitely juices up the script in terms of English-specific slang and snark, but it's no different from how they've handled all the previous DxD entries. However you felt about the dub in earlier installments shouldn't change any based on what's aired so far of DxD Hero.
How was the first episode?
Crunchyroll is listing the first episode of this sequel as episode 0, probably to indicate that it's a revisionist starting point rather than actual new content. While it does start with a brief recap of what has happened so far in the series, that recap utterly lacks details about how Issei and crew got into their starting situation. Hence this is not a jumping-on point for the franchise, as full familiarity with the first two seasons and the first eight episodes of the third season (BoRN) is expected.
After the brief recap, the episode picks up near the end of episode 8 in season 3 (episode 32 overall), where Diodora has been defeated and Asia is rescued. It then finishes that episode and continues into a revised version of episode 9 of season 3 (33 overall), covering it entirely. For the most part, this episode is a line-by-line reproduction of what has been animated before, albeit without the cuts to what other groups are doing. The omission of those scenes is trivial in some cases but significant concerning Vali's, as the latter explained how he found Asia. This isn't just a case of reused animation, though; these scenes have all been reanimated with different perspective shots and slightly different details. These little adjustments are mostly for the better, as the content comes off more dynamically this way.
The deviations start when the time comes to try and call Issei back from his rampage, as this happens in an entirely different way that's fully in line with what the franchise has previously established. Things briefly return back to a rehash during the wrap-up, though the way Issei and Vali part is a little different, and the flash to elsewhere that follows is entirely different, introducing an entirely new character who seems to be wielding the Spear of Longinus. The episode concludes with a new scene that shows Asia getting a little bolder and, more importantly, a complete divergence from the last three episodes of the third season. In other words, what Funimation numbers as episodes 34-36 are getting fully retconned.
Those aren't the only changes, either. This season gets a new staff and animation studio (Passione, which animated last season's Citrus), and those changes are already evident. The dramatic action sequences have improved in terms of framing and flow, and character animation is also slightly better, but there are noticeable differences in character designs that will definitely take some getting used to; many character designs are cheekier and softer in this version, for instance, which especially in Rias's case saps some of the personality of the original designs. The vivid color palette of previous installments also seems a little more muted. The biggest difference is the musical score, which also uses full orchestration but comes across much more restrained – too much so, in fact.
In other words, discounting where the story might go next, it's a mixed bag as to whether this season will be an improvement or not, even considering the weaker production values of the third season. Still, the fanservice is back in force, and I like the bolder Asia, so there's definitely still content to anticipate.
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