High School DxD Volume Two Review

High School DxD Vol 2

Konbanwa.^^/

I am thrilled to announce that I have recently uploaded my 50th blog post. So far, I have been enjoying it a bunch. =)
It came to my attention that I don’t really review or scrutinise manga like a professional. I also realise that some readers will not appreciate being spoiled during review. I understand and respect those points.

However, I talk about manga based on my enjoyment through my casual rambling. You will notice that I go off-topic in many of my reviews, like this one. =) The whole purpose of me blogging is a chance for me to express my feelings and how I handle social situations and cope with Autism. I figured that reviewing manga would give me another reason to blog and express myself, rather than just talk about Autism. I actually have read a few manga but so far I’ve chosen to review the ones that I’m really, really enjoying.^^/

I may not be the most professional reviewer but I’m still going to keep reviewing casually as doing it this way makes me happy. =D

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

  1. REVIEW

Issei Hyoudou, once human pre Volume One, is now the servant of the voluptuous devil, Rias Gremory. Issei has entered into a forbidden friendship with the nun of the church, the pacifist sister, Asia Argento.

Issei’s devil master, Rias, prohibits Issei from interacting with Asia, let alone befriending her. Doing so would create a striving commotion between the Devils, Fallen Angels and the church. As you can imagine, when Issei comes into contact with Asia and rushes to her aid, he’s practically asking for trouble. How will he handle Heaven’s malevolent schemes?

I enjoyed Volume Two as much as the previous volume, in more ways than one. Since this is classed as an ecchi manga and it’s targeted towards a mature audience, it’s easy to assume that it’s just full of unnecessary cheeky moments… you would be surprised that this isn’t necessarily so. It has much more to offer then beautiful ladies that expose their sensual skin and figures. I effectively refer this as a guilty pleasure bonus. 😉

With how Issei is treating Asia as a friend it does make me wonder if their relationship is going to turn into something more serious. It even implies at the back of the book that a forbidden romance could transpire between the two. Their first encounter was very nice, and their friendship certainly has blossomed in this volume. Issei may be perverted, but he’s not a jerk about it. He treats Asia with respect, and likewise, Asia treats him like a precious friend. I definitely like Asia; I tend to connect strongly with innocent and kind girls like her. I’m not that keen on aggressive girls as I don’t necessarily find them funny and it will take me a while to accept them for who they are. However, I have no such worries with innocent and polite girls like Asia as I find them to be endearing.

This is when I got concerned about Rias… She instantly grew on me when she made her debut in the first book, she is simply gorgeous. So, because she is adamant about Issei abandoning his friendship with Asia, I was concerned that she was going to dislike her. Granted, her reasons for being concerned and acting like a typical big sister are very well justified. But, I was really rooting for Asia to enter into a friendship with Issei. At that point I did suspect that a love triangle could happen. However, luckily, everything worked out in the end and my worries about disliking Rias were squashed. In fact, the opposite happened. Rias eventually accepts Asia and welcomed her into the world of the devils…

Naturally, I was most upset when Asia died after that, ahem- malicious lady killed her. The villains in this story are very well portrayed. I always think that at least the most villainous of characters will have some redeeming features, like perhaps baddies of this series…NOPE. I hate them all, at least, in this manga. XD I really like girls like Asia and I certainly like Issei, so to see those getting beaten down or besmirched did leave a bad taste in my mouth. I was upset when Asia was abandoned but nearly cried when she died… I then sighed and puffed my cheeks into a wide smile. Asia was brought back to life by Rias and made her, her bishop. I’m very happy indeed. =D

Let’s talk about Raynare, one of the many villains… I mention about redeeming features. She implied that now that she obtained Asia’s sacred gear, which involves healing abilities, she will no longer be laughed at. It makes me wonder if something horrible made her what she is today. Perhaps something drove her mad into becoming a fallen angel? Perhaps I should feel sorry for her? Perhaps I should look at it from her point of view? Perhaps her reason for killing Issei and Asia can be justified? …NAH! I still dislike her. XD I must say though, I did feel for her to some degree when Rias obliterated her. She deserved by all means but isn’t this one of those where two wrongs don’t make a right? I wouldn’t have killed her per se, but, I’m glad Rias did. =)

There are plenty of situations that can be taken as highlights, such as Issei befriending Asia, Asia, the beautiful ladies, but for me the main highlight is the battle.

The on-going battles and action were awesome; it also made me forget about the fact that this is classed as an ecchi manga. The ladies don’t expose their skin just for the sake of it, but when they do, it’s appropriate for the situation.

During the battle the roles of the fighters have been explained. Issei was the perfect protagonist that takes centre stage. His two back-ups, Kiba and Koneko, were the ideal support team. They showed off their skills to a big crowd of villains whilst Issei took on the big dog. To me, this shows that whilst the back-ups may not necessarily be as strong as the main guy, without the back-ups the main guy can’t move forward. In this case, we have Kiba and Koneko utilising their skills to help Issei move forward. If it weren’t for them, Issei wouldn’t have been able to move through that huge mass.

The visuals in the manga play a critical role during the peak and aftermath of the action. We learn about the chess pieces and fighting roles more in-depth. Rias’ explanations are also demonstrated visually as she talks about the pawn’s role and potential. The images have certainly helped me to understand better. We found out in this volume that it took eight pawn pieces to revive him. This is all because of his power, the Sacred Gear, Boosted Gear.

Speaking of the art, the illustrations demonstrated more of the lighter moments of the manga, like, when Asia eat a hamburger for the first time. Her reactions and showing off her clean hands was the highest peak of cuteness. Another cute and funny moment was when she tried to pray to God, but received a shock to the head (due to her new allegiance to being a devil). Her jealous face was cute too… Still, even if she is jealous, she is still graceful and polite. We need more characters like Asia around.

Everything concluded itself nicely, but wait, a new character is introduced. At the same time Rias is looking dejected and subdued… it seems to me that Rias is in some kind of arranged marriage and she’s engaged to this ugly looking geezer. Haha. I’m sort of hoping something happens between her and Issei. That kiss on the forehead was affectionate and endearing, but, I reckon it would have been better if they smooched. Haha.

  1. THEME
  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Ecchi[1]
  • Fantasy
  • Game
  • Harem[2]
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • School Life
  1. CONCLUSION

The chess pieces have been explained appropriately, especially the role of the pawn. Had everything been explained straightaway then I would have found it too confusing.

Visual aids and fight scenes were used to further demonstrate the roles of the fighting pieces. Issei took the limelight, showing everyone that he is the main character and showing that he can attain any rank during the fight. And, the supporting devils supported him as they showed off their abilities in their own way.

One of the main highlights for me was the fight scenes. The fights were constant and set at a good pace. There were some cheeky moments. But, these cheeky moments were not used for the sake of it; they were used since its part of the story.

I was sad when Asia died. But, I was as delighted when Rias brought her back to life. I was concerned that I was not going to like Rias but those worries were quashed. It looks as well that the forbidden romance between Issei and Asia may not be so forbidden after all. It can then turn into a straight romance if Rias approves it.

High School DxD Volume Two gets Two Thumbs Up(My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

THANKS FOR READING

High School DxD

I’m really enjoying this manga and it has entered into my official top five favourite manga along with Monster Musume and D-Frag. =) Speaking of Monster Musume, since I’m enjoying volume four so much I decided to re-read the whole thing again… it is wonderful. =D I won’t review volume four straight away since I rather not force myself. But, I will review it at least before the release of Volume five.

Thanks for reading.

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

[1] This manga contains risqué and sexy moments or lecherous characters.

[2] In this manga all the ladies are gunning after one man and/or lady.

Visiting a new Yoga place

Meditation-Yoga-pose

Good Tidings.^^/

Last Tuesday I took the opportunity to attend a local yoga class with my sister. It was a new place and we were going to attend at a different time to what we would normally. I’ve never been to this venue before. Well, I’m not counting my brother-in-law’s dad’s 50th birthday since that wasn’t sport related. Haha.

Hmm, it feels like my arm’s been stung by a fly for some reason… anyway, back on topic!

We went upstairs, as per guided by the lady from the front desk, and immediately we were lost! We spent a good duration trying to find the right class. Eventually, we followed the trail of people with yoga mats, and that was how we found our class. 😉

At first there were four other people… then at five minutes to six (that was when the class started) literally twenty of thirty people turned up! I got somewhat anxious as I anticipated that I was going to get squashed, as I did sometimes in my previous yoga classes due to the narrow space…

  1. My Personal Pros

My personal highlight was the size of the room. It was humongous. In my previous yoga classes I get a little bit overwhelmed due to the amount of people in that tiny studio space. But, in this room, it’s like ten times bigger. So, even if there were thirty people in the room, because the room was spacious I felt instantly relaxed.

The yoga instructor was very motivated and I felt engaged every time she spoke. I was never distracted by anything else as I was constantly on the move.

I can tell she is a friendly person. She was a bit abrupt intermittently with her explanations but I put that down to her motivated personality. She has the type of personality akin to a fitness instructor, someone like Jillian Michaels, for example. =)

  1. My Personal Cons

I do dislike pointing out the vices of a situation, but, it had to be done. Haha.

Ahem-

Whilst I appreciate the instructor being motivated and enthusiastic, I felt that she was a bit too motivated for me. The way she instructed our class was more like army drilling then yoga. When we poised in certain positions the instructor would then yell at us and tell us to us not to get lazy.

It’s no question that I reaped the benefits of this yoga session physically, but I didn’t reap the benefits of this yoga session, spiritually. Had I attended this session five years ago then I would have enjoyed it. However, within the past year, I have come to understand and appreciate the deeper meaning of yoga. Because of this my outlook on yoga has changed a bundle.

My next point isn’t meant to be a criticism, but an observation. I got the distinct impression that she was more of a gym teacher then a yogi teacher. For those who study under yoga will understand what I mean. From my experience there is a difference between a gym teacher teaching yoga and a yogi teaching yoga.

From a gym teacher’s perspective I deduce that they tend to see yoga as another form of workout, like aerobics if you will. However, from a yogi’s perspective, they will teach you movements, explain why we take on certain positions, and appreciate our practice. When we go to a yogi’s class it’s all about being happy and being positive, and yoga positions exist in order to bring out the happiness within you. And, every time I leave a yoga class, I feel extremely happy and appreciate life for what it is.

Right at the end of this session, I noticed, the instructor actually said that she taught aerobics years ago at this very gym. So, I interpret this as her saying that she isn’t a yogi, but employed to teach yoga.

I noticed that this was a completely different vibe yoga session straightaway when I noticed that the Buddha’s statue was absent. Once more, there were no music and the lights never dimmed. Another key factor, even though there were new people attending this class (me and my sister included) she never came to speak with any of the new attendees. My past yoga instructor spoke to me and my sister when we first attended and I felt great. She did this every time someone new joined the class, but it wasn’t just her, it was other yogi teachers too.^^/

Really during my past yoga lessons I got used to this and treated this as the norm. So, when I attended this yoga session it all felt very wrong and out of the loop. Haha.

  1. My Personal Conclusion

I wouldn’t say that it was a bad class because some people will probably appreciate yoga as a workout. Some people have their own interpretation of what a workout it, and for some, yoga is all about being ‘bendy’. That suits a lot of people and that is just fine.

In this session, I reaped the benefits of yoga physically but I didn’t reap the benefits of this lesson spiritually, which is the primarily reason why I practice yoga. Usually I would come away feeling calm, relaxed and tired; however, at the end of this I felt exhausted and out of breath. I feel that if I wanted to do a full on workout, then, I would have attended a spinning class or aerobics.

I may give this lesson another chance but chances are quite slime as I don’t have motivation (haha, motivation) to go back.

  1. Irrelevant Ramble

Lately, I’ve been narrating Thomas the Tank Engine books and I’m really enjoying them. My favourite narrator will always be Ringo Starr but I’m really enjoying my own take on telling Thomas in my way. Not the Great Western Way nor the Frank Sinatra way, but, the Ryan way! Haha. =D

I’m heavily considering on becoming a story teller for children, but, I will have to see how this goes and how I feel. =)

THANKS FOR READING

I will attend a yoga class at a different place this coming Saturday morning, starting at 10, alongside my sister. I like to use my Saturday mornings to relax, but, for all I know, this session might help me to relax more. It’ll benefit me if I keep my options open. =)

Thanks for reading!

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

Self-Confidence

keep-calm-and-think-happy-thoughts-9

Good Day.^^/

 

In my blogs I often compare my present-self with my past-self. How I handle things in the past is a lot different to how I handle things now. My confidence back then was a lot different to what it is now. The key word is “self-confidence”. This doesn’t necessarily apply to people with Autism but it certainly has played a big role in my life.

 

I’m writing this specific blog because a recent incident has triggered a realisation in me- I have good strong self-confidence. Have I always been this self-confident? Have I always liked how I looked? Am I ashamed to admit that this is my identity in appearance and personality? What do others think of me? Should I adjust myself to please them?

 

Many questions ran amok in my mind…

 

  1. Past

My school has obviously played a significant role in my life, especially in my younger days. I was always afraid of doing something “wrong” so I would aim to please without being a burden. This meant that I always tried to be a “gentleman” to be the “cleverest”, know everything, always try my best.

 

Because I went to an SEN school it was important that we were all taught how to be polite and pronounce words correctly. You will find that a lot of Autistic people speak correctly but with a slight monotone. That is because we learn how to be polite and speak correctly rather than learn how to express ourselves. I was one of those people. When I spoke in my school days, I spoke with a placid monotone. I spoke politely with an edge of nervousness.

 

I learnt how to be polite and a gentleman, but I never really knew who I was. When I tried to express myself through my personality I would get chastised for being “silly” or “rude”. So, when I tried to express myself I often got shot down.

 

I was often misunderstood because I didn’t know how to express myself. My teachers and adult figures never gave me a chance to explain myself and what I meant; instead, they assumed that as I had said it, I must have meant it. So, more often than not, I would accept my punishment instead of being given the chance to speak. Those times were extremely painful, and it certainly made me self-conscious about myself. If this was what  life was like in an SEN school then how was I going to cope if I ventured into the bigger world?

 

Going to Bobby Charlton’s School of Excellence (a football academy which was founded by ex-Manchester United football player, Bobby Charlton) didn’t help my confidence either. I was the only student that represented an SEN school. Even though SEN schools were supposedly involved the majority of the staff, at that time (2000) showed no inclination that they understood a person with Special Needs. The other children there certainly showed a lack of understanding. I got called weird underneath their breath and they often whispered things loudly so I could hear them… I probably should have walked away at that point, since I was most upset, but I was determined not to let them get the better of me…

 

I felt like a monster from that experience and it was from that point that I started to hide the fact that I was Autistic. I figured that I was treated horribly because I have Autism. I didn’t deserve to hang out with cool people. I didn’t deserve to get equal treatment and attend Mainstream courses at college. I hid my “problems” from everyone else, and I hid my “problems” from even myself. I didn’t want to accept that I was Autistic. If anyone knew that I had “special needs” then they would instantly dislike me…

 

Despite everything that had happened I could never get away from the fact that I was Autistic. That thought alone made me insecure. So, in order to not do anything “quirky” and to hide my “autistic quirks” I kept quiet and spoke politely whenever it was necessary. Don’t rock the boat. Try to remain the status quo. If I don’t say anything incriminating then I won’t get judged or get called a monster…

 

Then one day I started to attend University and that was when my life changed…. For the first time I was actually happy. I could express myself and say my views without fear of being thought bad of. I had friends, they liked me and they did not care at all about me being “autistic”. All this confidence gradually led me to performing my Auto-biography performance of my life with Autism… it was definitely one of my most memorable moments in life. I felt peace and happiness.

 

  1. Present

Right now, I like who I am. I accept who I am. I embrace the fact that I am autistic. I’m not part of Autism, Autism is part of me. Life is good. =)

I now have an identity that I call my own. I have the looks that I like, I have personality that I feel comfortable with and I have wonderful hobbies. I also have goals that I strive towards…

 

  1. The Recent Incident

There was a knock at the door. I was dubious to open it. We thought it was just a friend so I opened the door to see what the gent wanted… At the time I wore white shorts and I was topless.

 

Anyway, this man came up to me, looked me up and down and said;

 

“Hi. First of all, you need to shave that chest!”

 

 

I think it’s safe to say that I was quite miffed at that point. The sheer cheek of the man had me taken aback, and annoyed to. If this happened something like five years ago then I would have been terribly upset and insecure. In that moment though, I was more miffed that he had the cheek to say that to my face.

 

Even if he was joking it was still insensitive and gratuitous. You just don’t do it. It’s like me going up a gentleman, who is well endowed around the waist line and say “you need to lose weight!” or me going up to a lady “you need to pop that spot!” You may think it, but you just don’t say it, even as a joke. I get the impression that people like this gentleman can’t comprehend that saying that can do a lot of damage and cause unrest in an individual.

 

This issue does not apply to just people with Autism, it can be a problem for many people. It can especially be a problem for Autistic people since some of them will lack a lot of confidence in social situations.

 

How did I act? I did it by not rising to it. I just grinned. My attitude was “hahaha… not gonna happen. I’m proud of my afro chest and Tom Selleck agrees.” =)

 

  1. Irrelevant Ramble

I participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. That was a lot of fun. =D

I did the challenge on a very cold and windy day. My Dad poured the ice on top of me and I kept my eyes open with a huge smile on my face… from my point of view it was like a beautiful yet cold waterfall streaming down right before my eyes. I always wanted to go underneath a water fall and so far that’s the closest I’v ever come to experiencing one. =)

 

 

THANKS FOR READING

 

I really have come a long way in many ways in my life, especially when it comes to my self-confidence. I have learned that I can handle people’s quips a lot better and whilst I may still be sensitive, I’m not as sensitive as I used to be. I can rub off people’s cheeky quips whilst not feeling ashamed about who I am and how I present myself…

 

Thank you for reading. =)

 

Namaste.^^/

Ryan