It’s time, yet again, to take another bite our of a slice of our freshly baked Infinite Stratos pie! This time with twice the flavour of Mecha and romance with half the fat of a regular romantic comedy. Take it with a cup of sweet coffee, because your taste buds are in for a bumpy ride.
Episode 2 -Class Representative Selection Match!
The title says it all, the second episode of IS infinite Stratos is about the IS battle between Ichika and the character I think is about 0.2% less annoying than the Justin Bieber fandom (no offense Belibers) or 5% more snobby than Miya from Yumeiro Patissiere (If anyone watches that…THAT LAUGH *shudders*). Time to (hopefully) see our nonchalant main character kick some snobby Alcott ass with some nice IS mecha action. (Note: I am not an mecha expert, so forgive me if I neglect the beauty of the mecha in this post).
We continue from the classroom scene in the previous episode in which the battle was decided. Since Ichika is the only male in the school, he gets his own personal government-provided IS machine, which according to the murmurs and exclamations of Ichika’s fellow classmates, is pretty rare and A BIG DEAL. Evidence? *clears throat* “This soon in the freshmen year?” “That is so AWESOME! I want to have a personal machine too!” “Is it that amazing to have your own personal machine?” *cues Ichika turning around listening to people* For some reason I felt this was a bit forced, or have the
air REEK of Disney teen show all over it. I do understand that they are trying to put an emphasis on Ichika getting his own personal machine, but you could have just gone with subtle murmurs and whispers than girls fangirling over him. In fact, a simultaneous gasp of the class would have been more appropriate.
Due to Ichika’s stupidity, our self-centered English friend pops up in front of his desk in order to enlighten him (and us) on the facts of the IS and the significance of having a personal machine. There are only 467 IS in the world among the 6 billion people, and only some people have personal machines, Cecilia being among them. While Cecilia rambles on her not-so-awesomeness, a random information girl appears and starts giving facts about the IS that Cecilia was obviously too self-centered to mention – such as that all 467 cores of the IS (which is a black box) was solely invented and made by Dr. Tabane Shinonono – Oh yes yes yes, that is Houki’s older sister. The technology used to invented the IS is also very exclusive and has never been revealed. The number of IS cores invented are restricted due to the refusal of Dr.Shinonono to produce any more over the set amount . Therefore, the IS cores are assigned all over the world and are often being investigated and researched by many in attempt to find the secret of the IS cores, but they all fail. Because of IS’ significance, Dr.Shinonono is incognito. Judging by Houki’s reaction to her classmates talking about her older sister and the information from other students, Houki has a sister complex – “She has nothing to do with me,” she says. This will be a point in which more of Houki’s back story is uncovered.
The episode goes onto a brief and a bit lame comedic moment relating the partnership of the IS and the human operator to one with boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Something tells me that with a mind like that, the student shouldn’t have been accepted to the IS school. As typical and one-dimensional I currently believe Houki Shinonono is, I would have the school or at least the class filled with her, please, it will save me from listening to a lot of comments that would just contribute to awkward silences in real life. There are comments that are so lame that they’re funny and those that are funny themselves, this kind of humor just burned like paper on a bonfire.
As the clock strikes 12, Ichika invites Houki to lunch, who refuse the offer but end up going anyway after Ichika grabs her hand and forces her to. The brief moment of Houki looking at Ichika’s hold on her hand was actually pretty sweet, though expected. They sit down for a casual lunch between two long-time-no-see childhood friends and Ichika asks Houki for help/training on the IS for his battle with Alcott. Initially she refuses, but proclaims that she will be his trainer after a senior student (rudely) interrupted their conversation by saying that he can tutor him. It seems like Houki’s quite possessive of Ichika and prone to be jealous of the girls around him, for she actually used the status of her older sister (sole inventor of the IS who wears bunny ears) to out-qualify the senior student for the position of Ichika’s tutor, despite her intense dislike of her sister.
The two train at the Kendo facility in the academy and Ichika is found to be very weak due to the fact that he slacked off all middle school and did not join any clubs. Ichika isn’t holding the good reputation of both his sister and himself as the only male IS pilot in the world. At this rate, he’s more likely to become the laziest and least disciplined student at the academy, which is the opposite than what he’s suppose to achieve. Love the logic of anime people, you never need to know anything in any textbook to be awesome at handling an intricate IS machine. After quite a few of Ichika’s falls and some comments made by three random classmates (who for some reason just happened to be in the Kendo place at that point in time), a disappointed Houki starts changing and ponders about what feeling she has for Ichika inside. Houki has definitely won my favoritism with her cute expressions and her girl-in-love ways. I’ve really grown to like Houki more this episode than the last because it showed more of her dere dere side, which just warms up my heart. It’s obvious that the Ichika x Houki shipping is and is going to be the strongest of the possible ones of the harem, considering their history and already made bond. Also, because IS is a pretty typical romantic comedy anime (just with mecha), it is highly probable that it turns out to be the close friend or childhood friend that ends up with the main character in a harem.
Now onto the battle! Ichika arrives at the takeoff room just in time to get his personal IS machine, which is set to default for there was no time for practice or change. Now, considering that Cecilia have had her personal IS for who knows how long, it is clear that Cecilia is at a clear advantage. At first this seems like the case – Cecilia is in her cool and beautifully designed long range sniper IS called Blue Tears. It is equipped with multiple cannon-like weapons that can fire high-energy fire orbs and heat seeking missiles. Ichika at first struggles to place an attack and could only dodge Cecilia’s attacks before he is hit. We would think it was all over, but surprisingly, Ichika’s newly transformed IS emerges out of the smoke, which signifies that “Format fitting” of Ichika’s IS is complete. The fact that Ichika has performed better than expected in the default settings of a defected IS on his SECOND time piloting. The transformation comes as a surprise to everyone, except of course, Chifuyu Orimaru, who was able to come up with a pretty accurate analysis of her brother’s battle tactics and machine. “A clenching of the left hand means he’s nervous and that he’ll make a stupid mistakes” – quite an impressive observation especially after the long period of time the two siblings have been separated. Ichika’s newly transformed IS , called Byakushiki (白式), is one of the two 4th generation IS and is an close range fighter IS. Along with the format fitting came the doubled edged sword, named “Yukihira“, which uses shield energy to power its attacks. It was this sword that led to his downfall; One loses when they have depleted all of the shield energy they have. Since Ichika has already an large amount due to the blows he took before, he immediately runs out of energy when he almost succeed in attacking Cecilia with his sword (which needed shield energy to power). So thus, Cecilia Alcott is titled the winner of the battle.
The outcome doesn’t even matter that much to Ichika considering that he never wanted to be the class representative (he was nominated by others, not by will). At the end of the day, it’s just all about that he got to connect with his IS and manage to almost win the battle. The episode concludes with a cheery Houki and Ichika walking back to the dorms, and then Cecilia in a well-steamed shower with a newly found romantic interest in Ichika. Ichika Harem count: 2. I actually would like to how Cecilia change due to her newly found feelings for Ichika, especially if it makes her less snobby and give more character development.
IS Facts Recap
- The IS is solely invented, developed and produced by Dr.Tabane Shinonono, Houki’s older sister
- Houki doesn’t like her older sister (practically disowns her)
- There are only 467 IS cores in the world and each IS core is a black box
- Cecilia Alcott pilots a long-range sniper IS called Blue Tears
- Cecilia has a sniper
- Ichika Orimura pilots a short-range battle IS called Byakushiki
- Ichika also has Yukihira, an IS energy blade that once belong to his sister
This episode has definitely picked up the pace a bit and improved from the previous episode. We got to see some mecha action, though I am not a mecha fan, I had to admit that the battle was visually interesting. – the different angles, the well timed switch in screen time between the spectators of the battle and the participants. The IS designs themselves is enough to wow you, never mind seeing them fire energy orbs. The design of the ISs seem to reflect the personality of their pilot – for example, Cecilia’s Blue Tears makes her look like a princess with an large blue emerald headband, while Ichika’s looked like it represented strength and courage (shoulder pads) from its white exterior with blue and yellow parts. The IS does give off a feel of their pilot’s inner self and strength. The animation was smooth, making it even better to watch – especially the pause of the battle to give a 360 view of Ichika’s IS in default mode. What I didn’t like was that the fight was way too short and that no one really got hurt. I understand the IS is a machine for competition and sports only, but come on, at least let someone get bruised badly.
As for the characters, I find myself to love Houki even more this episode – as we see her and Ichika interact more, her tsundere behavior seems a bit more natural. Now we get to see her flustered face once again, she gives off a very kawaii feel as the girl-in-love, which is pretty obvious judging from how she tries to avoid being alone with Ichika or looking at him in the eye. She thinks she wants it to be strictly business of being friends, but she’s not going to get that, Sorry Houki. Now that Cecilia Alcott is thrown into the harem, it’ll be interesting to see how they can battle for Ichika’s attention, especially while everyone knows what’s really going on except for Ichika himself. Could there be a catfight? You know what they say, all is fair in love and war, and with the IS, it seems that it’ll be a mix of both.
One thing is certain, the series needs to stop with its cliches and just add at least a bit of originality or else its going to lose my interest.
Infinite Stratos ED2
The ending sequence of episode 2 is basically the same thing as the first ED, but with both Cecilia Alcott and her seiyuu Yukana added into the song and animation, running along with Ichika and Houki. Which brings me to think, wouldn’t that mean that the ED screen is going to be full of the running characters by the time all 5 girls are introduced? Making a total of 6 characters running. Aren’t they going to cover up the credits? Same with the song..6 different seiyuus mixed into one song? Interesting
Looks like a new character is going to be introduced! According to Wikipedia, it’s going to be Lin Yi Fang (Asami Shimoda), the Chinese IS representative who just also happens to be another childhood friend of Ichika’s from middle school. Judging from the appearance and behavior of Lin both in the OP and this preview, she’s probably going to be a very energetic and cute character ,similar to Yui from Angel beats (both of them even have moe fangs). Also, the fact that she is the chinese representative raises up a lot of questions. Why does she have green eyes (dominant genes >recessive gene)? How does she know Ichika? What are the chances that she just happened to have lived or moved to the same town as Ichika and went to the same school? What are the chances that she just happened to be the best IS pilot in China?
This harem’s going international. What do we have now? Japan+England+China? Asia’s covered, what part of the world next? The Americas? Western Europe?
It also seems like we’re going to get to see Houki’s IS next episode, which I cannot wait to see, especially as she trains alongside Ichika in the next episode.