Tag Archives: supernatural

Persona 3 The Movie: No.3 Falling Down

Type: Also known as Flying

Synopsis: Did you know that I just went on my first ever airplane flight! Crazy man. Everything looks like grids and curves in between mountains. It reminded me just how big the world is, ya know?…anyways, this is the third Persona 3 movie.

Pros: Persona 3 The Movie, No.3. Yes sir. The third movie. The big 3. El tercero movie-o. What can I say about Persona 3 The Movie, No.3. Anyone? Anyone at all? Um, it starts off after the events of Persona 3 The Movie, No.2. It has the same cast. Same focus on action quality over everything else. Ah, for the game fans we get cameos from more social link NPCs. That’s neat. The subplots for this movie are Makoto becoming nihilistic and Junpei getting into a romantic relationship with a girl that cuts herself. And a new supporting character is introduced: Ryoji. Yep, that is what happened in this movie.

Cons: Its boring. Well….no, yeah, its boring. This movie covers the least interesting part of the original game story. The problem is that the Shinjiro story in the second movie is such an emotional climax for the characters that this movie has to deal with the aftermath and therefore feels more passive than the other two in the series. Stuff happens in this movie, but you don’t end up caring as much because your still recovering from before. It’s a shame too, because this movie finishes Junpei’s character arc, finally making him more than a comedic duffus. It also sets that stage for the last stretch of the story. But at the end of the day, it’s not that interesting and actually made me question if the Persona games do have good stories or if it’s just reputation talking.

Watch it?: No. Why do I like this series so much again?

MVP: Junpei

I actually started using him after these events

Best Moment: The bathhouse scene (My favorite moment in Persona 3!!)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No.2 Midsummer Knights Dream

Type: Oh, I get it, it’s like wordplay

Synopsis: Because “midsummer” refers to the movies setting, and “Knight” refers to the cover girl Aigis, whose is like a robot knight. I see what you did there Persona 3 The Movie: No.2. 

Pros: Like the title implies, this movie covers the second act of Persona 3 the video game. We’ve established our core characters, so now we have to introduced our auxiliary characters and out main antagonists. Just to keep score, and not counting minor characters, that jumps our cast number from 5 to 12. And while that is a lot of people to keep track of, the film mainly focuses on 2 subplots, namely Aigis’s introduction and Ken/Shinjiro’s relationship. I actually feel that the Ken/Shinjiro story is better off in this condensed version than in the game, which stretched it out between long gameplay segments. You get a better sense of Ken’s youthful admiration of Shinji, of Shinji’s past with the group, and the overall impact that the resolution of the his subplot has on everyone. Plot aside, this is also the movie with the beach scene, festival scene, and love hotel scene, reminding you that Persona is the most anime RPG out there.

Cons: By watching the second movie, I’m starting to notice a few of the most consistent flaw in the Persona 3 movie series. Namely, the disparity in animation quality in dialogue scenes vs. action scenes. This movie was released a year after Person 3: Spring of Birth, and Person 3: Falling Down was released within a year after this one. This quick turn around means that the films were most likely made simultaneously and on a tight schedule, so some shortcuts had to be used. For example, the film used a still image montage for the opening beach segment. And if you noticed, most dialogue scenes involved close ups and little movement. The only parts that seemed to be afforded time and attention were the fight scenes. A lot of the cast is also shunted or minimized in this part of the story, which is fine unless your a fan of them.

Watch it?: Better than the first, but unless you’ve played the game you can skip it.

MVP: Shinjiro

He’s suppose to be 17, but I always thought he was 34.

Best Moment: The opening love hotel scene (it’s funny and I’m basic)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No. 1 Spring of Birth

Type: The theme is Death. The character’s activate their powers by shooting themselves in the head. Do you get it!?

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Synopsis: A movie based on a game that’s based on a mixture of Role Playing Games and Life Simulators, because Japan. In this one, you get to see the life of a character who’s life you would have lived through in the game instead of experiencing your own life, because real life is dull, and the Persona games are, like, a 100 hours. It’s much easier to sit down and give up 90 minutes of your life instead. The crucial part remains: you still don’t have to go outside.

Pros: Fun aside, I actually do love the Persona series. Specifically Persona 3 and 4, when the games got good (you can argue, but you know it’s true). The movie does a great job at integrating the music and layout of the original game. It even uses the calender transitions from the game. Most gamers often bemoan the fact that their will never be a good video game movie, but Persona’s made like 4 movies and 3 anime series. This first movie predictably details the beginning of the game: the protagonist showing up, the main cast coming together, everyone getting their powers, etc. I really liked what they did with the protagonist, named “Makoto Yuki,” here. In the game, “Yuki,” is a nameless and characterless avatar for the player. The move translates this silent protagonist into an apathetic protagonist, which really fits his visual character design. Floppy hair, earphones, hands in his pockets, the kid’s a poster boy for emo teen nihilism. Even more impressive, the movie gives him a character arc involving the power of friendship, which sounds trite, but is actually a crucial gameplay component of the Persona Series (you basically have to go on several dating-sim esque side missions with various NPC’s to level up your character).

Cons: The movie’s biggest positive was it’s ability to turn a silent RPG protagonist into an actual character. But it’s not without it’s flaws. For one, the story flow is choppy. Events sort of jump from thing to another without a smooth transition. This is because the transition is suppose to be the original gameplay, which is obviously absent in the movie. For those not in the know, events in the game are actually about 30 in-game days apart from each other, giving certain revelations time to digest. So the movie ends up covering 2-3 months worth of story in 90 minutes. It’s an admirable attempt, but not quite successful. Certain shots and frames are also a but awkward, almost like the camera man was a 1-2 feet too close to the actors. Cast wise…look, the Persona 3 cast isn’t as charismatic as the Persona 4 cast, but they do grow on you, especially later on in the story. And finally, the big questions: Do you have to have played Persona 3 to enjoy this movie? My answer is Yes. It’s not a bad movie, but without my prior knowledge, I would have found it a bit thin, and a little confusing.

Watch it?: Persona fans would like it. Everyone else could easily live without it.

MVP: Makoto Yuki

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God, how many of us went to high school with this guy?

Best Moment: Makoto talking (holy moley, I thought he was mute!)

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Dance in the Vampire Bund

Type: “Bund” means embankment or causeway

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Synopsis: Vampires! Creatures of the Night! Children of Satan that will feed on you very blood! They exist! They set up a city off the shore of Tokyo! Their queen is a totally legal blond girl who is regularly naked!

Pros: Despite having a highly sexualized child character as it’s poster child (which we will get to later), the anime is actually a pretty good vampire show. It has the right mix of gore, sex, and style that should appeal to any fans of this sub-genre. The plot also does not mess around. The first episode sets up the vampire city, and the rest of the series deals with the aftermath. The show tries its best to depict the social impact that Vampires would have on society,  like True Blood. But not all vampires want to integrate, leading to conflict with the protagonists,  like True Blood. And there are werewolfs and other magical creatures…like True Blood. OK, so this is the closest you may get to anime True Blood, at least in spirit. You even have a “forbidden” love between a vampire and non-vampire. The vampire in question is Mina Tepes, Queen of the Vampires.  Her physical portrayal aside, I found her to be a fun character to watch. She is portrayed as prideful and regal, but also kind and childish, and at times even cutthroat. Her best moment is her reactions to a command she gives for the benefit of her people. While necessary, she didn’t like it, but never said she regretted it, even if it cost her what she personally wanted the most. She’s a good addition to that weird group of immortal loli characters. (P.s. The animation is helmed by SHAFT, giving the show a stylish look that compliments the vampire mystique).

Cons: OK, so the first episode does this interesting thing where it’s all set during a talk show that discusses the existence of vampires. The show proper doesn’t start until episode 2. It was an interesting approach, but maybe not for everyone. In terms on character, the show seems to reserve it’s interesting character designs to vampires. Most everyone else if fairly generic. There’s also the main character, Akira, who’s about as bland as a piece of bread. His only real interesting moment is when he disagrees with one of Mina’s decisions, which was legitimately great, but everything else he does is boring. The plot…is actually worth watching, with a few factors in the show explained, from the establishment of the Vampire Bund to Mina’s appearance. That’s right, the show actually has an interesting rationale for it’s pedophilia! Not everything is explain, however, as the show has a “read the manga” ending. But it does have 12 solid episodes.

Watch it?: Every episode is named after other vampire media (4/5)

MVP: Mina Tepes

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Heavy is the head that wears the crown

Best Episode: Ep5-7 “Shadow of Vampire,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Innocent Blood” (characters actually having a disagreement based on personal beliefs and actions, not misunderstanding!)

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Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge

Type: A lot less popular than it should be

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Synopsis: We  were in the arcade late one night when our eyes beheld an eerie sight, for some dudes began to rise and suddenly to our surprise they played Nightstalkers. It was a graveyard smash!

Pros: Poor references to 1960’s parody songs aside, this anime OVA series is based on the Nighstalkers’ video game franchise. That’s right, it’s another anime based on a fighting game review! I’m starting to think I should add a tag for this. Anyway, the anime has 4 episodes, 40 minutes each, with some slight plot elements. The anime follows three pairs: Morrigan and Demitri, Donovan and Anita, and H-Sein Ko and Mei-Ling. The story takes place in a world where the “Dark” has encroached on the Human World, meaning monsters and humans are living together. “Darkstalkers” refer to creatures of the dark. For once, the fighting in this anime based on a fighting game is pretty good, and some of the story elements are interesting. Anita’s story is predictably the most compelling. The anime did it’s job by getting me interested in the series, and making me wonder why this wasn’t more popular. Seriously, its a game were movie monsters fight each other. How was it not all over the 90s!?

Cons: Even at 40 minutes a piece, the story is all over the place. I think they made a mistake trying to build an overarching story across the 4 episodes. The anime worked best when it had spotlight segments, like the one with Bishimon, the haunted samurai armor ghost, or the one with Felicia, the cat girl. Putting so much emphasis on Donovan was a mistake, because he has as much personality as a block of wood. The world itself is interesting enough. You have humans who fight the dark. You have Darkstalkers who are presecuted by humans. And you have characters who a trying to take over the world. But as it stands, you’d be better off picking and choosing what to watch, or skipping it.

Watch it?: Like the game, it has potential, but can’t quite fulfill it (3/5)

MVP: Anita

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She’s eerie, but interesting

Best Episode: Ep1 “Return of the Darkstalkers” (has a zombie in it)

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Black Butler

Type: So many historical inaccurate

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Synopsis: The Earl of Phantonhive, also known as the Duke of Short Pants, also know as Lord Protector of Boys Love, has a problem. He’s alive, and so are the people the killed his mother as father. The problem is, he would like them to not be alive anymore. You see the dilemma here. Now, he can’t simply use his vast, vast, vast fortune, connection to the Queen of England, and his own notable genius to find these people. Instead, he sold his Soul to a demon butler to get his revenge. Even though the Demon Butler can’t leave his side. Or do anything without a direct order. And was possibly responsible for the Plauge. But kids, am I right?

Pros: The anime’s strongest asset is its characters. Black Butler has a set of amazing characters, from the haughty Ciel, the always debonair Sebastian, and the comedic servants. They are quiet versatile, working in comedic and serious moments. The anime is mostly made us of “cases.” As the Earl of Phantomhive, Ciel is the “guard dog” for the British Crown, often sent to various locations to root out corruption and wrong doing. Ciel is portrayed as a very good tactician. His family’s fortune lies in sweets and games, which allude to Ciel’s talent for manipulation and his young age and temperment. Sebastian often accompanies him as his highly skilled butler, sometimes comedically so, and he’s always used as the Mcguffin that saves the day. Then there’s the comedic servants: a pyromaniac cook, a cooky maid, and a jolly groundskeeper, how as indispensable as the comic relief (since the show can get dark on you). Like I said, it’s a solid group.

Cons: The anime’s story is kinda bland. It starts off strong enough, but loses it’s luster as it goes. The whole angel subplot was weak. And there was this one dog episode, Ep.7, that felt out of nowhere. I don’t wanna see dog fights. I’ll get that fix from Pokemon, thank you very much. I also felt that the story jumped the shark too quickly on the Jack the Ripper case. From my research (Wikipedia), it seems that the anime veers off from it’s manga counterpart around halfway through. For my money, Ep.7, ep17-20, and ep.22-24 are the worst story arcs of the bunch. Ep.21 stands out because it gives use the origin of the servants, which was fun. The any does delve into some darkish territory, in a psudo Victorian horror kinda a way. Your enjoyment kinda depends on your tolerance for bloody mysteries and arrogant protagonists. Oh, and your feelings on implied romance between a teenage (?) boy and his handsome adult butler.

Watch it: Pick and choose episodes (4/5)

MVP: The Servants

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My favorite characters

Best Episode: Ep.1 “His Butler, Able” (Comedic Downton Abbey)

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Ghost Hunt

Type: Ghost Facers!

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Synopsis: Based on a Light Novel that ran for 2 years, which inspired a manga that ran for 12 years, is this anime that ran for 25 episodes. Its about, you guessed it, a group of Ghost Hunters. You get a little bit of everything. You get a Paranormal Researcher, a Monk, a Shrine Maiden, a Priest, an Onmyoji, and even a teenage girl for good measure.

Pros: Ghost Hunt is an anime comprised of several different “cases,” each involving some sort of paranormal activity. Some involve Ghost, while others involve Psychics, or Demons, or etc. One thing I really liked was the use of different specialities when dealing with the paranormal. A lot of different cultures and faiths are represented, from Buddhism, Christianity, Shintoism, to  modern technology. It’s a nice representation of the quirky fact that people all over the world have developed different ways to ward off evil spirits. The characters of the show end up using “real world” methods for fighting ghosts. So if your interested in paranormal activity, this is a quick primer. Some of the cases do get good, though they quality fluctuates. I loved the character of Mai, as her often overemotional delivery brought much needed energy into the show.

Cons: Honestly, its a little long. The show covers 8 different cases, and with 25 episodes, that’s about 3-4 episodes per case. And outside of Mai, none of the characters are well executed enough to warrant such attention. The problem is that the support cast are all outside contractors. The main characters are Mai and Naru, the latter running a paranormal research agency. Naru brings in the support characters to help out on cases. Every case in fact. Makes you wonder why he doesn’t just put them on staff. As such, there’s always this distance between the audience and the supporting characters. You pieces of personal history here and there, not that’s not much. Then there’s Naru, whose a really unlikable. He’s the stereotypical “cool” character, whose quite, prideful, and keeps things to himself. To quote Naru himself, he uses “strategic secrets.” Narratively, this is used to create situations that make Naru look evil, only to reveal after the fact that he’s actually super nice you guys! See, he wasn’t going to curse 600 students, that’s crazy talk. He was just going to make it look like he was and not tell anyone his plan, even though he had no reason not to tell the truth. Isn’t he the best and cutest?! Sadly, the brunt of this plot structure comes at the expense of Mai, who is often used to call Naru on his bullshit, only to be proven wrong at the end. Story wise, it has a monster of the week vibe, kinda boring at times, the animation doesn’t hold up, and the Opening, OH MY GOD, that was the laziest thing I’ve ever seen.

Watch it?: Overall, kind of bland. (3/5)

MVP: Mai Taniyama

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The Liveliest Hunter

Best Episodes: Ep18-21 “File 7: The Bloodstained Labyrinth Part 4” (scary, and the first anime I’ve encountered to mention Japan and China’s harsh history)

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

Type: Let’s party like it’s 1999!

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Synopsis: Once again, a perfectly normal show is being called “bizarre” just because it revolved around people who have psychic battle that sometimes result in someone turning into a rock, or collecting pocket change, or fusing a cat and a flower together that can shoot air bubbles. The show even tries to make itself presentable by using the setting of a peaceful suburban town…where you can eat at a restaurant the cleans your pores and go to a beauty shop that rearranges your face. Just what is so “bizarre” about that!

Pros: Ok, real talk, Diamond is Unbreakable is one of my favorites Jojo arcs. I flip flop between Diamond is Unbreakable and Phantom Blood. And, in all honesty, Diamond is Unbreakable is much more consistent, being Part 4 in the Jojo series. By this point the author is a seasons pro, stands have been introduced, and the stories are becoming more varies. Part 1 was a gothic shoen series. Part 2 was a martial arts shoen series. Part 3 was an adventure shoen series. But Part 4 is more of a slice-of-life suspense series. Basically Anime meets Twin Peaks. The story is mainly about this seemingly unassuming town named Morioh, which is actually home to a gaggle of strange, arguably bizarre, residents that each have weird powers called “Stands.” These powers can as straight forwards as turning invisible, or as specific a stand that turns pieces of paper into pocket dimensions. Like Twin Peaks, a lot of the best episodes are stand alone incidents involving Morioh’s abnormal residents. The show introduces some of my all time favorite Jojo characters, from the hard working Koichi, the love lorn Yukako, the mangaka Rohan, the stingy Shigekiyo, and the surprisingly compelling grade schooler Hayato. Episodes can range from deadly serious cat and mouse duels, to figuring out if the lunch your eating is actually a stand. I would actually argue that Diamond is Unbreakable is the easiest entry point for those curious about the series, but aren’t into the whole “fight-fight” shoen scenes. You can watch a random episode and not feel lost. You can follow it week by week. You can even marathon it. It has all the benefits of a slice of life show with a pinch of strange thrown in. The characters are great, as the main cast (and even some auxiliary characters) get their own episodes to shine. The show has 3 main arcs: The hunt for the Arrow, some downtime, and the search for Kira. Kira really takes over the show about a third of the way in, and his weird but deadly demeanor has made him a fan favorite antagonist, rivaling even Dio! (p.s. I also loved the color palette the show used, nice choice!)

Cons: Even though Diamond is Unbreakable is my favorite arc, it’s not without it’s flaws. As said above, a lot of the episodes are stand alone stories, with some feeling less important that others. So some points of the series may feel like the drag on too long (cough Highway Star cough). It feels like the author meanders between stories, probably returning to the main plot when his editor told him to. But your mileage may vary depending on your tastes in stories. I should also point out that because this is Part 4 of the Jojo saga, less attention is paid to the main protagonist. While Josuke Higashikata, illegitimate son of Part 2’s Joseph Joestar, if a good character and probably the most genial Jojo in the series, he can go long stretches of time without even appearing. The story often switches focus, sometimes going to Koichi, or Rohan, or even Kira! This is actually a trend that started in Part 3, and has arguably made subsequent Jojo’s feel less impactful. It doesn’t really hurt this story, but it seems like we get to know Josuke less than Jonathan or Joseph Joestar. Now, on to more subjective remarks: what the hell happened to the animation quality this season? I noticed so many animation errors and model mistakes! Either this was rushed or less people were working on it, because brah, we got some messed up picture up in here. There was also a lot more still shots, though this could be a result of simply having more episodes. Also, no women. Well, that’s not fair. There’s like 5 female characters: Two are moms, one’s killed off, one’s a love interest for a supporting character, and one’s a ghost. And, sadly, the Jojo franchise has still not gotten over giving explanatory commentary during it’s fights. This ain’t wresting! When a cat plant throws an air bubble at a serial killer, we get what’s going on!b (P.s.s. It was recently made aware of a big plothole in the show: Why didn’t anyone ask Joseph to find Kira using his stand, despite being brought in to find Red Hot Chilli Peper for the same reason!).

Watch it?: If you ever wanted to watch Jojo, start with this one (5/5)

MVP: Koichi

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A personal favorite, I admit

Best Episode: Ep.21-22 “Yoshikage Kira Just Wants to Live Quietly, Part 1 & 2 (this season was very hard to choose from, with funny and exciting choices, but one is Kira at his most menacing)

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Ghost Stories

Type: Yes, that Ghost Stories.

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Synopsis: ADV Films, in a moment of sheer brilliance, decided to take a very basic anime series and give it the ol’ “lets get weird” treatment. The result? 19 episodes of racist, sexist, and homophobic comedy. Enjoy!

Pros: This anime is infamous, infamous, for its English Dub. The story is that Aniplex, who had the license for Ghost Stories, tried desperately to find a distributor. But the Japanese version really, really, really sucked. They finally sold it to ADV Films for cheap, given them permission to do anything with it as long as it sells. Deciding to make Gold out of goat sh#t, ADV Films let its producers and voice actors go nuts. AND THEY DID. Every episode is a joke episode. A hard R comedy. No taboo is left untouched. This is an Abridged Anime series that happens to be licensed. You need to watch this, if just to experience this very abnormal event in North American Anime history.

Cons: I was not being hyperbolic when I described this show. When I say the filter was off, I mean that the filter was off. Every episode has at least one horrible racist, sexist, and/or homophobic remark. One of the characters is described as their “retarded little mascot.” If you’re easily offended by that type of humor, and I would totally understand and praise you if your were, then do not watch this show. If you’re the type of person who loves jokes like the one about the Gay dentist, then your shouldn’t watch the show either, you homophobic f@ck. Don’t enable your ignorance. But for the rest of us, especially long time anime fans, this is a treat.

Watch it?: Oh yeah, the plot is about 5th graders fighting ghosts (4/5)

MVP: Momoko

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“And you remember … Matthew 21 :17”

Best Episode: Just give it 4 minutes (then you decide)

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High School DxD BorN

Type: Capitalization ErrORS

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Synopsis: In a series that has survived way longer than anyone thought it would, we see Issei Hyodo continuing to live the good life. He’s got a dragon armor powers, he’s attached to a very powerful demon family, and every girl he knows are smokin’ hot babes that like to sleep with him naked. This season, he gets a power boost, a fight with the god Loki, goes a little aggro, and gets another kiss from his demon king. All in all, par for the course.

Pros: Yet another season of High School DxD is upon us, and I’m OK with that. As stated before, I’m a fan of this series. It’s a perfectly harmless boob-comedy. This entry continues the series tradition of breast centric humor, some demon fighting, and generic melodrama. The season is divided into about 4 story arcs. The first is a training arc, where Akeno and Koneko get more backstory. This results in Koneko becoming yet another member of the “We love Issei” club. The second story arc involves fighting the god Loki. The third story arc involves Asia getting kidnapped and Issei going a little crazy. And the last story arc involves Rias. Each arc is serviceble, and I did get emotionally invested in the third and fourth arc, since they involved arguably the two main heroines. I watched the English Dub, and by this point, you can tell they’ve given up any semblance of seriousness, its amazing. As for characters, well, the only real standout moment was when Issei noted that he know the girls all liked him, but he’s still afraid of getting close to anyone after the events of Episode 1, Season 1. I thought that was a nice touch, and is something that’s stayed consistent throughout the series.

Cons: The thing about High School DxD is that it doesn’t get any better or worse. It must be popular, because it got an English Dub the same year it was released. The boob jokes are still front and center, the pacing is still wonky, and the show simply has too many characters to explore properly. I honestly forget some of their names. This season adds more characters, which doesn’t help. It also adds the norse mythology into the plot, which I’m sure won’t muddle anything. Story wise, my one real complaint would be the Koneko arc. Mostly because she falls for Issei way too fast. She goes from relative annoyance to undying love like someone flipped a switch or something. I feel that the series is drawing dangerously close to crossing the harem threshold of “girls chasing the main character” to “sister wives.” For me, that’s when most harems go from campy fun to problematic.

Watch it?: I wonder if they’ll be a fourth season? (3/5)

MVP: Rias

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I keep misspelling it “Rise”

Best Episode: Ep.7-9 The Asia Kipnapped Arc (Gotta save the Demon Nun!)

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