All you need is love, and the courage to live it.
Sairaorg’s Nemean Armor holds so much power, even Issei’s new Illegal Move Triaina can’t cramp his style. He dishes out so much force, his opponent crumbles like paper. The Assembly of Past Red Dragon Emperors calls Issei out to force him into using the Juggernaut Drive. Issei refuses, and in doing so, calls upon a fragment of the White Dragon Emperor. Together, they break the curse innate in the drive and allows Issei to use it while still in control of himself. This Crimson Cardinal Promotion allows him to access the individual powers of Triaina forms whenever he chooses. He can mix and match without a full form change.
Issei stands up, transforming into his Crimson Cardinal Promotion armor. To pump himself up, he yells out his resolve: to fight for the dreams of the children, the goals of the Gremory household, and his love for Rias Gremory! The two colossi launch at each other again, and the playing field appears more leveled. Still, by using his Rook attacks, Issei manages to punch a hole straight through the Nemean Armor, and launch Sairaorg. While his foe flies, the Grabbin’ Dragon follows through with a Bishop cannon blast. From within the smoking crater that results, Sairaorg receives a visitor: the spirit of his comatose mother. She urges him on to fight for his future and his own goals. Though this gives him a second wind, it isn’t enough. He passes out from his injuries, and the only thing keeping him standing is Regulus holding him in place as his armor.
Afterwards, Issei receives his prize from within his hospital room. The higher-ups in the demon world found him impressive, and are considering turning him into a mid-level devil on his own. Though this certainly thrills him, his real hope resides back at school. It’s time for the festival, don’t ya know? The clubhouse underwent a metamorphosis into a haunted house and cafe, and Rias serves at the cafe in a maid uniform. Enjoyable, indeed. After the festival ends, Issei corners Rias in one of the rooms. The time has come. Time to admit all of his feelings to her, and see how she feels. Love is in the air, and the rest of the team eavesdrop outside. When the door can’t take any more, they tumble in and encourage the couple as only they can: promise to seduce Issei away from her.
Oh, by the way, Sairaorg’s mother woke up. I thought you should know.
And that wraps up the season! The battle here was good, though it didn’t feel as dire as the last episode for some reason. The two of them duking it out had individual attacks, and no lazily animated Gatling-gun punches. I feel like it got animated as one big sequence that then broke up over the episode since they used the same two angles the whole time. The animators only repeated a portion of that sequence once, and it showed up on the jumbotron. I’ll let it slide, since it continues after what we saw “live”, so it feels more like it is what we’d see live, just with a lag. It makes sense in the universe, although it’s really just eating time.
I actually enjoyed the feelings in this episode. Though Issei was a bit of a crybaby, I liked how this wasn’t a battle out of anger or malice. This fight oozed a competitive spirit, and their power urges each other on to greater heights. It was one of those fights that you aren’t sure who you want to have win it, since they’re both so awesome, and you can root for their motivations.
However, I felt like the ADR ran out of steam on this episode. Rather than a boat full of attitude, it felt like the dialogue just crammed itself full of vulgarity. It wasn’t anything I’m not used to with this show, but it felt like there were less wit and creativity behind it. Josh Grelle normally brings on the fun with his interpretation of his lines. I’m not feeling it today. Just not.
This had the roots of a great episode. However, after twelve other episodes of pumping life into the series, the localization crew finally tripped. It's okay guys. Take a well deserved break. I give you eight final forms out of ten.