High School DxD Hero Episode 6
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 6 of
High School DxD Hero ?
High School DxD is more or less what you get when you cross shonen action with harem fanservice, and this episode is Exhibit A. It has the kind of dramatic ass-pull power-up that's long been a staple of shonen action series with a distinctive harem twist: the protagonist has to poke his lady's titties in order to trigger it.
Yep, Rias was only summoned to be Issei's titty trigger, then she's sent right on back. Even for this series, that strikes me as a stupidly inefficient way to do things; the power used to summon her couldn't have been used to bolster Issei instead? Of course, it was done to further reinforce that Issei's powers operate on lewd behavior, and it does more smoothly work in the requisite fanservice than those random bath scenes the last few episodes, but still. This series works best when it fully integrates the fanservice into the storytelling, and this isn't all that practical a choice.
Thankfully, the rest of the episode makes up for that by featuring some of the most dramatic and satisfying action sequences of this season so far. As predictable as it was, seeing Issei actually push Cao Cao after achieving a power-up similar in level to Juggernaut Drive but much more controlled was quite cool. The only clunky thing about it was the way the Illegal Move naming conventions were worked in. (Of course, I've never been a fan of the way the franchise forces its chess analogies.) The story follows up this fight by giving Issei and friends a new ally: the Great Victorious Fighting Buddha, who has many of the characteristics of the Monkey King of legend. He's insanely strong on a level normally reserved for new villains, and I like his cheeky attitude, but just as importantly, he adds another Eastern figure into the mix, taking another step toward offsetting a woeful deficiency in the franchise's mythological structure. I was also pleased to see Issei's Boolingual ability being applied to a situation that has nothing to do with fanservice, allowing Kunou to speak to her incapacitated mother heart-to-heart (so to speak). It's always nice to see something created as a joke actually being used seriously.
Since it's apparently still too early for Cao Cao to release his own ultimate power, GVFB's appearance and the subsequent saving of Kunou's mother mark the end of the Kyoto arc. The last third or so of the episode deals with the wrap-up and Issei and crew returning home, hopefully negating the need for an interlude episode before starting the next arc. The school festival is mentioned and Sairaorg's name comes up again, reminding us of the impending Rias/Sairaorg duel. Unless I'm forgetting something, no major significance has been attached to the school festival, so I'm curious to see if it's just going to be an interim thing or if it will overlap with the Sairaorg contest. Regardless of how that turns out, at least this episode has been a production high point on both visuals and music so far for this season.
High School DxD Hero is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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