One of the best parts of working for an anime and manga company is discovering classic series everyone else knew and loved that flew under your radar while boarding the otaku train...and then shifting into high gear to catch up in the series. For me, one title that slipped past little Devlen was High School DxD. It might be partly caused by my annoyance for anything fan service (I was a shonen boy and only liked action), but since several popular series now sprinkle in the fan service or use it in creative ways, I’ve come to hate it less. Widening the gap from Little Devlen to Adult Devlen, I’ve become more open to trying new series and expanding my wings more, which is why I had to review High School DxD.
This tale begins with just your average high school boy named Issei Hyoudou. He’s your normal outcast teenager looking to experience the pleasures his perverted mind conjures up. You know, getting a girlfriend, getting close with women, that kind of stuff. One day, he finally snatches the attention of a beautiful classmate named Yuuma Amano, who takes him up on a date. They have a blast exploring the town and spending time together. As the night is wrapping up, Yuuma asks him a question. Issei’s heart is pounding through his chest because his teenage mind knows he is in for a special treat. She asks him “...could you die for me?” Before he could really process the insane favor, a bright white spear is lodged into his stomach as he notices his date transform into a winged angel creature. Bleeding out fast with his life flashing before him, he calls out for anything to save him. A crimson hair figure approaches him as the next scene is Issei waking up in his bed perfectly fine. Issei later finds out that his girlfriend Yuuma Amano never existed and for some odd reason, Issei has random bursts of energy at night. Eventually, he is introduced to the crimson-haired figure as the beautiful Rias Gremory and discovers she is a demon...and so is he. Rias explains that she was the one who answered his call as he was dying and resurrected him to be part of her demon familia. Also part of Rias Gremory’s familia is a popular hotshot named Yuuto Kiba, a quiet little girl named Koneko Toujou, and another popular girl named Akeno Himejima.
The novel does a great job of submerging you into Issei’s world while explaining the demon hierarchy and the rivalry between angels, fallen angels, and demons. As you would expect, all three groups are fighting for control. Sadly our protagonist was resurrected to the side with the least amount of members. At first, I was very annoyed with Issei because he seemed like the stereotypical pervert who is just after getting a harem following. But he does redeem himself as the plot thickens. Another thing I really enjoyed about the demon familia is how they compared it to a chessboard. Each demon is allotted a queen, two knights, two rooks, two bishops, and eight pawns. What I thought was interesting was how their powers somewhat coordinated with how the pieces are in the game. The knight specializes in speed while having power, the rook has high power and defense, and the queen is able to switch between using different elements for attacks. Lastly, we get a glimpse of what the King piece has for power, but I won’t spoil what a rook and pawn strive in...that you will have to find out yourself.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series. I plan to pick up where the novel left off in the anime. If you were like me and missed this series growing up, why not check it out and see where it ranks on your list. Until next time!