High School DxD Vol. 1 (Yen Press)

High School DxD
CREDIT: Yen Press

Rating: 4/5 – Good Plotlines Save an Otherwise Generic High-School Fanservice Romp.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.

High school pervert Issei’s life truly began when he died. Killed by his girlfriend, a (quite literal) fallen angel trying to take his unique ability (called a Sacred Gear), he’s instead recruited by a band of devils to join their ranks. It’s no coincidence that these devils all go to Issei’s school and number among the most attractive and popular people in the student body, making Issei the true odd man out where that’s concerned. Now that he’s in with the in-crowd, will he find it’s more than he bargained for?

High School DxD is yet another in a long line of recently released harem manga: heavy on fanservice but low on plot…or is it? Where most stories of this nature follow the tropes fairly closely, High School DxD at least provides an interesting playground for the characters to romp. The war between the Devils, Angels, Fallen Angels and Exorcists stands in dramatic counterbalance to the usual high school romance plotlines we see in harem manga. It’s not a comedy of errors, but a battle on planes beyond our own, that’s the setting here.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s fanservice a’plenty in this book. From chronically naked head devil Rias Gremory to youthful nun Asia, it’s the rare female character who doesn’t flash their panties at least once when they show up. If that’s all the book was, though, there’d be little to recommend it from the umpteen other books out there that’ll give you more of the same. Fortunately the aforementioned plot and the fact that Issei’s an interesting character who may undergo a sort of hero’s journey before the series is complete (from pervert to paladin, perhaps?) gives it a nice edge over other books of the same stripe.

High School DxD will satisfy any fans of fanservice, but that alone isn’t reason enough to put it on your reading list. Hiroji Mishima does an admirable job of adapting Ichiei Ishibumi’s tale to the printed page, and has a definite command of the female form as well as rendering compelling action sequences. The fact that this book has booth of those elements plus an interesting plotline makes it worth taking a look at if you’re looking for a new harem manga for your collection.

Reviewed by: Al Sparrow – al@comicspectrum.com
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