This week, Monster Musume Volume 4 has gone straight to number one in the New York Times! I’m really chuffed and over the moon about this. I still got my copy on pre-order on Amazon.co.uk and isn’t due out until September 1st. =)
With that happy thought, I present to you my review on High School DxD Volume 1. =)
WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY
- MY SYNOPSIS
Issei Hyoudou is a typical young man who lives the life of a normal young man. He was one of the most unpopular lads at his school until one day; he went on his first ever date with a beauty; Yuuma. All was well until he lays on the floor in a pool of his own blood, murdered by his date, Yuuma!
On death’s door Issei wished to die in the arms of a crimson-haired beauty…
Rias Gremory, the proclaimed most beautiful lady in school, has saved the life of Issei Hyoudou. After the shocking relevation of Yuuma and being brought back to life, Issei was left with yet another bombshell… he has been reborn as a devil and has become a special piece for the devil, Rias Gremory!
Let the fun times as a reincarnated devil roll.
This manga consisted of four chapters, all of which were quite long, so I really wanted to take my time in reading it. The plot and themes are quite deep so I found that unlike D-Frag or Monster Musume I had to read carefully in order to grasp the story. It’s a really good story by all means but it was necessary for me to take my time with it in order to enjoy it and appreciate the story more. =)
2.2. Chapter One
I did feel sorry for Issei when it turns out that his date, Yuuma, turned out to be a psychotic murderer… on the outside Yuuma is easy on the eye but then she sullied her own attractiveness when she murdered her ‘date’. All anime/manga girls are attractive, no question, but their appealing factor, for me, is their personalities. So, I hereby declare Yuuma as ‘ugly’. 😉
We then get the introduction of two of Issei’s friends who are erotically charged, apparently as much as Issei. I’m not so keen on over-the-top perverted characters but at this moment it seems realistic enough. Over-the-top perverted male characters tend to ‘peek’ on girls and so far, on this occasion, Issei and co are divulging their lust into dirty magazines. I can get that it’s probably what most young men would do. Apart from the fact that Issei is more concerned about his ‘date’ rather than thinking dirty thoughts.
The ravishing Rias Gremory then makes her appearance. =D She appeared in Issei’s dying thoughts and she even gazed up at him as he looked at her from the window… I wondered if there was going to be a connection between the two, and it made me wonder if she had something to do with Issei coming back to life… assuming what he experienced wasn’t a dream. A female waking up in a bed beside the lad is a typical manga cliché but I still enjoyed reading it. It was a wonderful introduction.
2.3. Chapter Two
Poor Issei… he tried to summon himself to the client’s place but it somehow didn’t come to fruition, so, he had to travel via bike. Begrudgingly, I found it hilarious. It went from being cool and dramatic to a mellow and uncool atmosphere. XD He eventually arrives at his client’s place. The client is Mil-Tan who turned out to be a big buffed otaku who likes to cosplay. Haha. The highlight of this chapter, I must say, is the introduction of the sweet and innocent sister, Asia. =)
2.4. Chapter Three
You just know that Asia is sweet just by her brief introduction and with the way that she emitted an aura of a docile and kind personality.
Issei could have easily taken advantage of her and her docile demeanour but he didn’t. However, he did the opposite. He appreciated the kind of sweet girl that she is and he actually looked out for her as if she was a little sister in distress. He was interested in her as a person and helped her to get to the church… even if it did mean causing him some pain, that’s the kind of good male character that I’d like to see. =) He even reacts to her when she shows her cross, since devils are weak against vessels and such from the church. =)
She helped a young injured boy… whilst the boy’s mother gave Asia the cold shoulder the boy thanked Asia for healing him. I’m not sure if she is nice because she’s a sister or if it’s just in her nature, however, I still like her nonetheless.
It will be interesting to see if a relationship brews between Issei and Asia. He’s a human reincarnated as a devil and she’s a nun of the church, so… we could have a forbidden romance on the cards. =D Rias, being the over-protected sister type person, will probably have contrasting views and scold Issei for interacting with someone associated with the Church. And she did just that, but that’s just because Issei met someone of the Church rather than a Romeo and Juliet situation…
And now, in this very chapter, comes the introduction of the battle system… all the devils are pieces depending on rank…. Rias Gremory, who belongs in the Gremory household, is the King and she has her very own pieces. Her queen is Akeno, who specialises in magic and is an extreme sadist… what fun. 😉 Her knight is Yuuto who is a speed type. Her rook is Koneko who uses superhuman strength. And Issei, is her pawn… in a way, Issei being a pawn is quite appropriate because pawn can have more than one meaning. 😉 Is it an innuendo? Poor Issei though… he really has a long way to go to be ‘harem king’.
These explanations were used correctly as Rias and crew battled some stray devil. Everyone showed off their abilities whilst we establish which rank each devil is… Visual aids and simple explanations do wonders for a story. =)
2.5. Chapter Four
Chapter Four, Issei sleeping in a bed- BOOM- Rias is naked next to him. We learn that Rias can’t sleep very well when she’s naked, how convenient. 😉 He resisted touching her through fear and self-control.
In every walk of life, and in manga, girls generally do have some kind of empowerment over guys. Ladies know that the gents love sex and to get in the sack they tend to do jobs or chores for the ladies since they promise them a ‘reward’ so to speak. They’re empowered because they call the shots. In this case, Rias has Issei completely wrapped around her fingers. XD He can grope her breasts if he manages to get someone’s contract… of course, this highly motivated Issei and he got straight onto the job without much fuss… I really liked the way how Rias used the word ‘deman’ in a seductive manner to Issei…mixing man and demon in the same mix… what fun.
Then came the unfortunate encounter between Issei and some chaotic priest, Freed. He got mad and they had a bit of a scuffle, naturally Issei struggled being a devil, but then who should come to his aid but the charming and amiable, Asia. =) This is where the potential forbidden love could start… she learns that Issei is in fact, a devil, her natural enemy… However, it didn’t matter to her that Issei was a devil, because he was her friend. It’s very touching…
Issei got enraged, naturally, when Freed started to get frisky with Asia… she clearly is a pacifist. It’s good that Asia is a pacifist and all but it can cause her problems in certain situations… like this one.
Rias and the devil posse came by to aid Issei.
They have to leave because more fallen angels were on the way. And Issei had to leave poor Asia behind. She is the enemy of the devils and she can’t be transported through that summon thing since only Rias and her devils can transport through it. That slap from Rias did seem to be a bit harsh. Was there any need for that? Rias reassured Issei that everything was alright, since Asia has nothing incriminating on her that would merit fallen angels to hurt her…
That ending was simply heart-breaking to read. That was when Asia smiled through her tears to Issei that they will meet again… It was upsetting to read. If Freed tried to take advantage of her in front of Issei, just imagine what’s going to happen when he’s all alone with her… anything can happen. What is going to happen? I feel very nervous about Asia’s future. I’m hoping that nothing bad happens to her, but, I don’t like her chances of survival in Volume 2…
2.6. Parody Elements?
I didn’t tag this manga as a parody as it didn’t feel right. However, I did notice sporadic appearances from characters from other anime/manga.
- The Haruhi alarm clock which is based on Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa and Noizi Ito.
- Posing as Goku from Dragon Ball, by Akira Toriyama, when he’s about to perform the Kamehameha move
- “I will be harem king” is a shout out to Luffy’s “I will be pirate king” from One Piece by Eiichiro Oda.
- Motohama’s [Issei’s friend] scouter is a reference to the scouter used in Dragon Ball which is used to detected power levels.
- Beauty Pure, the title of Matsuda’s porn parody DVD is a reference to the anime, Pretty Cure.
- ART AND DESIGN
Miyama-Zero has done a wonderful job with the characters and their design. The artist of this manga does a good job with the art, I find it really cute. I especially like the uniform on the girls of what looks to be a jacket of some kind… I really don’t know how to explain it but I know what I like, and I certainly like that. =D
Rias’s description was good. She has a good dynamic bloody red hair that Issei visualised within his dying moments. It was very appropriate for the situation. It makes you wonder if that is why she had red hair to begin with. With Rias having red hair Akeno having dark hair I wonder if they are supposed to represent English Rose and Yamato Nadeshiko. Their beautiful appearances and charismatic auras does suggest this to me.
5.1. ISSEI HYOUDOU
I like Issei.
By what I have observed he loves the ladies very much both emotionally and physically. Being a young man it’s only natural for him to be interested in the ladies, and he has an alarm clock in the form of Haruhi Suzumiya. Haha.
His imagination is at the forefront when it comes to getting down and dirty. However, when he wakes up with a naked Rias next to him, he becomes shy and awkward. His mind is all over the place. Imagination is one thing, but dealing with reality is something completely different. Issei may have a vivid imagination but this is his first experience of being intimate with a lady, especially with Rias. In a way I find this to be realistic. All young men have lustful desires, but nice young men won’t necessarily take advantage of the opportunity.
It came to light that Issei is a reincarnated devil and he has this strange weapon called the ‘Sacred Gear’. It makes sense now why Yuuma and other Fallen Angels would go after them, as they deem the Sacred Gear ‘dangerous’.
5.2. RIAS GREMORY
Rias is incredibly lovely and has a cool yet humble personality.
To top it off, she is a beauty! You see… I actually do have a little thing for girls with wings. Whether it’s angel with wings, devil with wings or succubus with wings… any girls with wings basically! I like mermaids too, but let’s stop there before I get off track!
I instantly like her more than Yuuma. Her self-confidence in her looks and self-assurance is nice to see. How many ladies do you know who would sleep naked beside a young boy you just met? This tells me that she has no shame and that she has no sense of personal space. And she’s totally ok with Issei exploring her chest region should he choose to do so… oh my.
She does strike you as the big sister type who is very responsible and will look out for you if you need her to. However, whilst she is clearly very affectionate she’s also quite sexual in nature. Some of her actions and flirtatiousness can be interpreted on different levels. I would say that she treats everyone in a voluptuousness manner but I’ve only seen her treat Issei in this regard. Is he the special exception perhaps? She seems to sleep naked with him a lot, using him as a ‘pillow’. Perhaps using him as a ‘pawn’ is not a coincidence and that he fulfils her duties outside of the battlefield too. 😉
In some ways she reminds me of Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit as they’re both sensual, seductive and show their affection in a more than physical manner. Out of the two, I do actually prefer Rias. 😉
We know that she’s a devil and all but I actually think that it would be more appropriate to describe her as a succubus rather than a devil. Haha. I’m referring to her confidence in her personality rather than her actually being a succubus. She would never take a man’s soul for her own gain.
5.3. ASIA ARGENTO
I think Asia’s introduction was actually my favourite introduction of a character from High School DxD. I would talk about her character but I think I pretty much summed up my feelings and perception of her in the whole of Chapter Three. XD
I like girls like her who are caring, sweet and don’t judge. I can see she is a bit of a scatter brain and is a little naive. I deduce that she’s naïve due to her lack of experience in normal society. She also doesn’t get why Issei has a nose bleed. In manga, guys get nose bleeds when they get ‘excited’.
I’ll leave it as that. I look forward to seeing her more in Volume Two, if she survives that is.
5.4. AKENO HIMEJIMA
I like Akeno’s sadist side. I like anime girls to be a little bit different and unique. Normally Akeno has the appearance of a beautiful lady and acts with dignity when it comes to etiquette and polite manners. However, the bloodlust will rush when it comes to battling opponents. Being a sadist she gets off when she hurts her opponent badly… haha.
She can definitely compete with Rias in terms of being voluptuous, especially when she’s in battle. I enjoy seeing this side of her but I definitely wouldn’t want to be her opponent!
5.5. YUUTO KIBA
Kiba is pretty cool and reliable. He is the traditional handsome man with blonde hair who will attract the ladies not only with his ruggedness but with his charm too. Very smooth and crisp sword skills too, it’s very appropriate for a knight.
5.6. KONEKO TOUJOU
Koneko is cute and her looks are very misleading since she has superhuman strength and is Rias’ rook because of her unmeasurable strength. I like her.
This is definitely one of my favourite manga, at least top five.
It pretty much has everything that I’d like to see in a manga. Good action with the cast’s rank based on chess pieces. It has a good fantasy story that mixes devils, angels and fallen angels. There are many parts of the story that made me laugh, engage me and make me extremely sad and worried, especially at the end. It involves ladies who have cool personalities, a caring nature and can kick your cherry behind. 😉
Plus, we have the main male who is strong and is interested in the ladies but is not over-the-top about it. He dreams about having a harem… I’m not necessarily a harem supporter but I don’t like to see any girls or guys become broken hearted so I route for a multiple boyfriend/girlfriend so that everyone’s happy… this looks like it could go that way but at the minute we have to see if a relationship will blossom between Asia and Issei.
I wonder if a tension is going to develop between Rias and Asia… better see how things go! Rias doesn’t mean to be mean to her but she is just looking out for her devils, especially Issei.
I’m gnashing my teeth at the thought of something bad happening to her!
I don’t like the fallen angels and stray devils; they treated Issei and Asia terribly. For that, I dislike them. A lot of villains have a reason why they turned evil, but with the likes of Yuuma and Freed, I don’t see any redeeming features.
I simply love the uniqueness and battle system in the style of chess pieces. I like it how everyone has a rank based on chess pieces, with the King being the highest and the pawn being the lowest… I actually wanted to create something similar in terms of a battle strategy based on the chess piece system… High School DxD evidential got there first but I still find it reassuring that other people come up with similar ideas. I see it in a way as fate telling me that great minds think alike. =)
High School DxD Volume One gets Two gets Two Thumbs-Up. (My Rating System)
THANKS FOR READING
Funny enough, just as I finished reviewing Volume One, High School DxD Volume Two has just arrived. =D This week has been very kind to me indeed. I don’t anticipate that I’m going to review this any time soon as I want to read it for fun and understand 100% what’s going on within the story.
Thanks for reading. =D
 This manga contains risqué and sexy moments or lecherous characters.
 In this manga all the ladies are gunning after one man and/or lady.
 An English Rose is the most beautiful and attractive lady from England. Many describe Diana Princess of Wales as this.
 The term, Yamato Nadeshiko, in Japan means “personification of an idealized Japanese woman”, or “the epitome of pure, feminine beauty.”
 A Succubus comes from hell with the sole purpose of draining the soul of sleeping men through the act of sex. The male equivalent is Incubus as they have sex with sleeping ladies.