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High School DxD Hero Limited Edition Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read
A new round of encounters, a lot more familiar and delightful fanservice.

High School DxD Hero (Click For Larger)
A new round of encounters, a lot more familiar and delightful fanservice.

What They Say:
Issei is suddenly attacked in Kyoto by a mysterious fox yokai—whose mother is missing—and it looks like the Chaos Brigade is behind it! Only the Grabbing Dragon and his voluptuous vixens are prepared to face them and get the fox yokai’s mother back.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is fairly standard fare for FUNimation as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English language mix gets a 5.1 bump, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series is one that has a very good mix of action and dialogue to it so that it gets to shine on all counts. The action scenes work well in both mixes where it uses the forward soundstage well as it goes big and has a variety of effects that come across clearly and with a lot of good impact. The 5.1 mix brings a bit more to the rear channels and overall creates a good design to things where the show works well. The dialogue is generally well placed and and there are some good scenes with depth of placement to help set the situation well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally broadcast in 2015, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The series is spread across two discs with seven episodes on the first and six on the second along with the majority of the extras, of which there are several. Animated by PAssione, the series has a really strong look to it overall which is good considering so many of the scenes are darker in nature and there’s a lot of red material, which can be problematic at times. The high definition transfer has a very solid look to it throughout with only a few areas that has some minor noise to it. The big action scenes are ones that hold up quite well without any problems in breakup during it. The color design is important here since it uses a lot of flesh tones that definitely look slick and a lot of red when it comes to Rias’ hair and the end result is a show that really does shine and all the fanservice comes across beautifully, which is hugely important here.

Packaging:
The limited edition release of this series gives us a really fun and good looking heavy chipboard box that holds the single Blu-ray case that holds both formats. The front of the box is designed like a book cover to some degree as we get a great image of Rias here that’s just striking and complement well by how it wraps around with more character artwork. The feel of the paper alone is enticing. Within the box we get the thick Blu-ray case with more artwork on both sides and the discs on hinges inside. Each of the four panels on front and back uses more of the Japanese artwork that gives it character focuses that are pretty nice looking. Within the box we get a thick book with great paper quality that shows off the character designs from the series but also a page for all of the eye-catches, showing the clothed and unclothed versions. Also included in the st but wrapped outside of it is a portion of a light novel and a small paper box that holds a really great looking fabric poster for the show. It’s a great package all around and the box quality sells it well as does the art book with the eye-catch material..

Menu:
The menu design for the release us pretty simple but works nicely as we get a piece that largely uses clips from the show with some really nice images of the characters and action that makes for a striking transition at times. The look of it is pretty good and the static aspects includes the navigation along the bottom which has a red and black checkered piece that fits the color design of the series nicely. The middle center of the menu uses the series logo with the volume numbering on it which is definitely cute and sexy in its own way. Submenus load quickly and easily and navigation is a breeze with language selection that’s not locked and can be changed on the fly.

Extras:
The extras for this season are decent as we get some fun things included with it. The set comes with a pair of English language commentaries with the cast talking about the show and the fun they had with it, this time for the fifth and eleventh episodes. We get the web previews for each of the episodes and the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences. Additionally, there’s a nearly twelve-minute piece that talks with a couple of the lead actors in it about the project that’s fun in seeing their enthusiasm.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the original light novel series wrapped up and a second series starting in 2018, I’m still sort of amused that this property is moving along. The first anime season landed in 2012 and while there’s not any real regularity to when we get new adaptations, here we are with the fourth season of the series in DXD Hero. This season ran in the spring 2018 season for twelve episodes and it was the first one done by another studio. TNK handled the animation in the first three seasons while Passione stepped in here. I’m sure there are people that will have issues or can discern the differences more clearly, but from a casual viewer standpoint it’s pretty much more of the same, albeit maybe just a bit brighter and more vibrant since it’s dealing with lighter material this time around.

This season feels a bit less defined to me in a way and really has two central things that it’s working with. There are other lighter moments and serious bits mixed in along the way but there doesn’t seem to be something that truly sprawls over the season as a whole. The early part that works nicely for me is that we get the gang doing a trip to Kyoto that deals with the opening episodes and digs into some of the upcoming rating game that’s coming up, setting the table for Sairaorg and how it’ll go with Rias. The Kyoto adventure is fun enough with its attractions and just the enjoyment of the cast getting into the mix of things, but as it progresses we get a bit of a turn where the gang has to put on a Hero show and thus is born the Boobs Dragon. You can guess it easily enough in that it’s another way of getting the boob powerup thing presented and it is admittedly fun watching this kind of interpretation hit since it’s done in the demon world and builds up Issei’s reputation.

This leads eventually into the matchup that happens between the two houses in the demon world where Saiaorg is handling things for Bael. He’s the odds-on favorite to win with his power levels what they are and that’s even without his golden lion armor on him. The initial match material is fun enough but what we get realized as it progresses is that everything is going to be meaningless as it’ll come down to Saiaorg going up against Issei. Rather than go through and extended round of fighting, the two men go into a full on challenge – one where Issei insists on Saiaorg wearing the golden lion armor and fighting to his fullest. It’s a great moment as Saiaorg realizes he would be doing a disservice to Issei to fight any other way and that he may finally be getting the challenge that he’s looked for all along. The fight isn’t one that sprawls heavily across a lot of episodes but there’s some wonderful internal material with Issei choosing what kind of Red Dragon he wants to be and what surprising help he gets and then taking all that he’s become under Rias and applying it to the fight.

While male characters are often the weak links in series like this, Issei continues to be one that breaks that mold a bit. Yeah, he’s a pervert and everything but he embraces it to a good degree since it’s part of what gives him his power. With a good range of characters to interact with he definitely has lots of opportunity and we get a lot of moments, mostly early on, where they’re basically climbing all over him and jockeying for the best position until Rias arrives. The show definitely knows how to handle its fanservice and it’s no less distinctive here than in past seasons and enough of it does fit into the story at times as well. But I just love how much it embraces it in general and really runs with it. And oh man, those eyecatch sequences are just a delight. This season works with Issei well as he continues his story and growth as understands the armor that he’s bonded with more and more. He’s still not truly overly confident or cocksure but he’s gaining the right kind of confidence and, as we see at the end of his fight with Saiaorg, some real compassion.

In Summary:
The DxD property is one that I continue to enjoy like an old friend that comes by every few years and delights me with tales of strength and sexuality. It continues to be more story based than a lot of its fellow properties but it also engages in just the right amount of silliness as well. This season feels a little lighter in terms of overall story progress but there’s just enough there to nudge things forward and keep it all moving. I love the look of the show, I love the fanservice, but I also enjoy the heck out of Issei and how he handles himself. Funimation’s release gives it exactly what it needs with a gorgeous packaging, some really strong pack-in materials with the book, light novel, and poster, and a strong looking encode and dub that will delight fans.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, High School DxD: Boobies & Heroes, Episode 5 Commentary, Episode 11 Commentary, Web Previews, Textless Songs

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: April 30th, 2019
MSRP: $84.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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