High School DxD: Hellcat of the Underworld Training Camp

By Ichiei Ishibumi and Miyama-Zero. Released in Japan by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Haydn Trowell.

(with apologies to Professor Peter Schickele)

Each time I read a new volume of High School DxD I am filled with this feeling of anticipation, a feeling of exultation, a feeling that… this new volume can’t possibly be as horny as the last one. But so far… Yeah, I know, shut up, Sean, you’re yelling at a series for 13-year-old teenage boys for talking about tits too much, and I get it. I try to recalibrate my standards for these books. Heck, the hot springs scene was even mildly amusing once those standards are recalibrated. But God Almighty, the way that Issei levels up or gets more powerful in this series makes your jaw drop. Leaving aside that the key to unlocking his new super move is to poke Rias’ nipples, there is everything about the climax of the book, where a dying Issei suddenly attains the zen-like ability to hear women’s breasts talking as separate personalities. I… what was the author on when he came up with this? I can’t even say “Oh, Japan” here. WHAT?!?!

Koneko’s on the cover, and actually gets some backstory here, though she gets less to do than I’d like. Our main cast travel to the underworld to train at Rias’ vast estate, meet her parents, and end up fighting a new Rating Game against Sona and Saji, the student council faction. Sona wants to make demon society less class-based, and is being ridiculed for the very idea, so naturally her team wants to win badly here. That said, our heroes are the protagonists. Can they be powerful enough to get past Sona’s cleverness? Maybe, but it’ll take Issei having to fight a dragon everyday, as well as Koneko having to confront her past… literally, in the form of her sister. And of course there’s Saji, who is to Sona what Issei is to Rias. He has a dream of being a teacher… and is very pissed that Issei has groped more boobs than he has.

If you leave out the tits, this is a very normal shonen battle manga. Issei is told that unlocking his Balance Breaker is the sort of thing that’s usually done in a crisis position with strong emotions behind it. We then get what is obviously meant to be just that, with Koneko’s sister attacking her and Koneko feeling tremendous self-hatred. If Issei were in Strike the Blood, this would be where he would talk about “:this is my fight!” and level up. But Issei is in High School DxD, so it’s not enough to be feeling righteous fury, he also has to be getting super horny. Hence the nipple poking. The fight between Issei and Saji is the best part of the book, pure shonen manliness and shouting about each other’s dreams… then Issei gains the ability to hear women’s breasts talking, and any drama and excitement drains out of the body.

As for why I’m still reading this, I’m not really sure. I want to actually see what happens next? Unfortunately, what happens next will likely involve more ridiculousness. But as long as it also has cool fights and some romance that isn’t pure sex, I’ll probably get the next one.

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