English Dub Review: High School DxD HERO “Man Against Man”

Sairaorg rampages against the Gremory Team, while Issei struggles with his own rage.

Overview (Spoilers)

It’s the sixth match of the Rating Game against Sairaorg. The roll to determine who could enter allowed Sairaorg himself to join in. However, instead of sending Issei to face him, the team sends in Xenovia, Rossweisse and Kiba. Though Rossweisse launches an impressive assault of magical blasts, Sairaorg one-shots her into the ocean surrounding the arena. This leaves the two Knights to take him on themselves, rather unsuccessfully. He expresses his pleasure to them, as they take his hits far better than others in the past. They also deal a good amount of damage, just not enough to get through his skin.

As he prepares to take down Kiba, a hailstorm of blasts rain down on him. Rossweisse bears one of the pieces of Excalibur, which she used to turn invisible after his strike. That gave her the opportunity to hit him from behind. Unfortunately, her assault lacked the power needed to finish the job, and he one-shots her again… for real this time. As he recovers from that strike, Xenovia drives Ex-Durandal into his arm. Kiba jumps in to add his power to the strike, and the blade cleaves straight through. Though he kicks the crap out of them, they left him with a significant wound that could only be repaired with the Phoenix Tears.

Round Seven: Issei versus Kuisha Abaddon. Her power to send attacks back at her oppo- well, that didn’t last long. Pissed off by watching his friends suffer, Issei uses Illegal Move Triaina to take her out of the fight in one hit. After this, Sairaorg proposes they ditch the rules all-together, and fight two-on-two. Our heroes accept. Rias and Issei against Sairaorg and his Pawn, Regulus.

Regulus tells his backstory before the fight. You might know him better as the Nemean Lion of classical mythology. Invulnerable to piercing attacks, Heracles (the original name for Hercules, don’tcha know?) beat it using a bludgeon and used its skin as armor. Since then, the God of the Bible sealed it inside a Sacred Gear, and it became one of the Longinus’. After its host died in battle, it materialized and slaughtered their murderers. That was when Sairaorg found it, and made it his Pawn.

Backstory done? Great. Fight time. Ooh, Sairaorg has a bit of an advantage in speed and power over Issei, and Regulus definitely fights better than Rias. Fortunately, Sairaorg’s wound still bothers him, and his right arm lacks the punch it had. Issei uses this to his advantage, striking the spot where the arm came off, then unleashing a form-switching combo with Triaina. Still, Regulus gets the better of Rias, and Issei has to use their team’s Phoenix Tears to keep her in the match.

Then, Regulus lets something slip. Sairaorg can WEAR the Nemean Lion for an incredible boost. Like an idiot, Issei demands that they use this Balance Breaker. Issei’s attacks do little to nothing against this form, and he takes more damage than his body can sustain. The council of past Red Dragon Emperors interrupts his consciousness, demanding he use the Juggernaut Drive. Called by the encouragement of cheering children, Issei refuses. Surrendering to his rage isn’t the kind of hero he wants to be. Suddenly, the mind-space receives a visitor, one of the previous White Dragon Emperors. He’s able to appear because Issei once had a bit of Saji’s power within him. He appeared because Issei’s hope overwhelmed his rage. Perhaps… perhaps together they can unleash a new power…

New Forms for Everyone!
Courtesy: Funimation

Our Take

Yup, this episode was exactly what I hoped it would be. Great action. Great Animation. If I could have an entire series of this episode, I’d be breaking out the popcorn and enjoying life.

The plot doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, but it did what it came to do with skill and aplomb. We could all tell the three-on-one was a doomed battle. Didn’t keep it from doubling down on excitement. Though high-speed and high-impact, it relied entirely on true movements instead of cheap cycles of animations. I could tell you at the end of the last episode that Siaraorg and Issei would gain new levels of power at the end of this episode. Doesn’t matter. The way this episode goes about revealing these upgrades is dramatic enough and loaded with character depth to boot.

I loved the scene in the mind-space. The way they all chanted what they wanted him to do, but he gave a simple response… it gave him strength of character. This scene could have been cheesy, but they kept it grounded in his personality. This is because the series uses its shining salvation wherever it can: masterful dialogue and voice-acting. If this scene was written, translated, or voiced any differently, I would not have cared. Instead, Josh Grelle owned the scene, and gave us the culmination we deserved.

So, the thing I dislike about this series is the reliance on porn fanservice throughout to keep us interested. Primarily, because there is no logical, even in-universe reason for it to happen, especially at the frequency it occurs at. I can be okay with some of it, here and there, when it has a purpose. I hate it when the writing sculpts the episode for the sole purpose of fanservice. The previous episode had one glaring example of fanservice, but it had a reason to be there. I was okay with it. This episode had none of that stuff, and I appreciate it. The writers focused on the point of the episode.

Though, I couldn’t take it seriously when all those kids chanted “boobies”. Too silly.

Score

Summary

I loved this episode. Hands down, best of the season. I give it nine new forms out of ten.

9.0/10

Marshall Daley

One part best-friend/philosopher, one part creepy mad scientist. Shaken, and sprinkled with geeky factoids, quirky humor, and a major case of skepticism towards the world and you might just find a cocktail that changes the way you see... Everything!

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