So many harem animes around. Is it just me or we just keep loving them despite the fact we always know that either the sole main guy of the series is a douchebag for not even noticing a shred of the girls’ feelings for him or the girls themselves have such a bad taste in falling for such guys. Oh what the heck, I guess it is always easier to criticize others than looking at ourselves. That is why such animes exist. Therefore I have picked Infinite Stratos and Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance as today’s versus blog. And it also gives me a reason to criticize… Hahaha…

Main genre:
And also the only thing that females can control.
Infinite Stratos: Exo-skeleton mecha called IS.
Blade Dance: Elemental magic.

Sole main guy:
The douchebag… And the first guy that broke the rule that only females can control.
Infinite Stratos: Ichika Orimura.
Blade Dance: Kamito Kazehaya.

The harem girls:
What do they see in this guy anyway?
Infinite Stratos: Houki Shinonono, Cecilia Alcott, Charlotte Dunois, Fan Rinrin AKA Rin, Laura Bodewig, Tatenashi Sarashiki, Kanzashi Sarashiki and Ran Gotanda.
Blade Dance: Claire Rouge, Ellis Fahrengart, Rinslet Lauranfrost, Fianna Ray Ordesia and Est Terminus.

Harem category:
The ‘composition’ of those girls…
Infinite Stratos: By nation.
Blade Dance: By element power.

The tournament:
Infinite Stratos: Mondo Grosso is an international fighting tournament held every 3 years as each nation sends a representative into a one-on-one IS match. The overall winner gets the title of Brunhilde.
Blade Dance: The Grand Battle Tournament AKA Blade Dance is held with each country sending representatives in a team battle. The overall winning team gets protection from the spirits and the winner a wish granted. Unfortunately for both, you don’t see them participating in the real tournament as far as the season is concerned.

Academy:
Infinite Stratos: IS Academy.
Blade Dance: Areishia Spirit Academy.

The class:
Noticed the guy and his harem girls must be placed in the same class?
Infinite Stratos: Class 1-1.
Blade Dance: Raven Class – A class for troubled and gifted students.

Teaching staff:
Infinite Stratos: Chifuyu Orimura and Maya Yamada.
Blade Dance: Greyworth Ciel Mais and Freya Grandol.

Untouchable girl:
Probably the best girl of the series that is hard to get.
Infinite Stratos: Chifuyu and Tatenashi.
Blade Dance: Restia Ashdoll.

Tsundere girl:
I know most of the girls are but this one is probably the most obvious one and the one our leading male is favourites to end up with.
Infinite Stratos: Houki.
Blade Dance: Claire.

Strict discipline girl:
Infinite Stratos: Houki.
Blade Dance: Ellis.

Prideful snob girl:
Infinite Stratos: Cecilia.
Blade Dance: Rinslet.

Boldest flirter:
Infinite Stratos: Tatenashi.
Blade Dance: Fianna.

Soft spoken girl:
Infinite Stratos: Charlotte at first before Kanzashi debuts.
Blade Dance: Est.

The trusted aide:
Someone who can give you great advice when you’re lost or relay something to somebody when you yourself don’t have the guts to.
Infinite Stratos: Clarisa Harfouch, the vice president of Schwarzer Hare who gives Laura advice with full confidence thanks to her ‘extensive knowledge on Japanese culture’.
Blade Dance: Rinselt’s maid, Carol Nastassja who may be clumsy but often relays her master’s true when she is not being honest with her feelings.

Bad cook:
Infinite Stratos: Cecilia.
Blade Dance: Claire and Fianna.

Exhibitionist:
They don’t mind getting naked and flaunting it before his eyes.
Infinite Stratos: Laura. Only wearing her eye-patch.
Blade Dance: Est. Only wearing her knee socks.

Elderly lady:
Look so aunty…
Infinite Stratos: Squall.
Blade Dance: Greyworth.

The other guy:
No one cares about him. Do you?
Infinite Stratos: Dan Gotanda – Ichika’s close friend in middle school.
Blade Dance: Jio Inzagi – Supposedly the other male who can use magic.

The cross-dresser:
Infinite Stratos: Charlotte first appeared dressed as a boy under the name of Charles. Everybody knows about in the end.
Blade Dance: Kamito cross-dressed as Ren Ashbell in a previous Blade Dance tournament. A tightly secret that not many knows.

The maid:
Infinite Stratos: No resident maid but we have seen some girls like Charlotte, Laura and even Chifuyu donning a maid outfit.
Blade Dance: Carol the maid of Rinslet. And at one point, Ellis…

The eccentric older sister:
Infinite Stratos: Tabane the child-like elder sister of Houki who is also the creator of IS. Laura also has an older sister, Chloe but her moment was recent and brief so I’m not pretty sure.
Blade Dance: Rubia Elstein the fallen noble elder sister of Claire who brought an unparalleled disaster and downfall to the Ordesia Empire. She has been labelled the Calamity Queen.

Super strict big sister:
Infinite Stratos: It goes without saying about Ichika’s sister, Chifuyu.
Blade Dance: Velsaria is Ellis’ big sister although not related by blood.

Childhood friends:
Infinite Stratos: Ichika with Houki and Rin.
Blade Dance: Claire and Rinslet. I don’t consider Kamito and Fianna to be this since their chance meeting was just a short one.

The first real kiss:
Dismiss all those nearly-nearly moments and indirect kisses that don’t count.
Infinite Stratos: Laura kissed Ichika when she protects him from Rin’s rage. It also marks officially that Ichika is her husband (at least in her mind).
Blade Dance: During a mayhem, Claire kisses Kamito to make him as her contracted spirit and quell the chaos.

Female antagonist:
Infinite Stratos: Phantom Task led by Squall and her underlings, Madoka and Autumn.
Blade Dance: Vivian Melosa.

The cat:
Infinite Stratos: Well, in a scene, Charlotte and Laura dressed up in cat pyjamas.
Blade Dance: Scarlet is Claire’s fire feline elemental spirit.

You’re beautiful, it’s true:
When he casually commends her without realizing the implication.
Infinite Stratos: Ichika compliments Laura’s beautiful gemstone-like eye underneath her eye-patch. Also, he did flatter Cecilia’s body just to pacify her before she goes into ranting rage about taking responsibility, blah, blah blah.
Blade Dance: Kamito wasn’t complimenting on how beautiful Ellis’ spear is during their bout. It is you yourself, baby! You’re beautiful, girl!

Badass sword:
The male protagonist shows that he is not only a chick magnet.
Infinite Stratos: Byakushiki’s only weapon is a powerful sword that can defeat you in a single blow!
Blade Dance: Est as his contracted spirit, her true form is a legendary holy sword and the only one that slew the demon lord, Sulaiman.

Intrusion and the steal:
Infinite Stratos: Intruders especially those believed from Phantom Task invaded the base to steal top secret IS documents.
Blade Dance: Jio infiltrated the academy’s library to steal sealed documents to unleash a sealed spirit Jormungandr to prove he is the demon lord’s successor.

Out of control:
Infinite Stratos: An unmanned IS named Silvario Gospel threatens to remind Japan what it’s like when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima.
Blade Dance: Restia caused all low ranking spirits to go berserk during a contracting ceremony, something Kamito believed her doing was because she was trying to grant his wish back then. Also, Velsaria during her battle with Team Scarlet, she went crazy and unsealed some dangerous spirit so as not to lose.

Overkill:
Infinite Stratos: Madoka’s terrorist attack by putting a bomb on a train holding students on a field trip just to kill Chifuyu. Thankfully the shield barrier was able to contain it.
Blade Dance: Velsaria alone (when it’s supposed to be a team match) running rampage and going all out with her Gundam-like spirit during her match with Team Scarlet, paying no regards about her destruction of her surroundings.

Birthday celebration:
Infinite Stratos: It is Ichika’s birthday and how do you celebrate it? Have everyone dress up in seductive outfits and put on a seductive performance to see which he likes best. He had to choose big sister’s…
Blade Dance: It is Claire’s birthday and how do you save up and buy her a present? For Kamito, he took up a part time job by temporarily joining Sylphid Knights.

Dipping in:
Infinite Stratos: Final episode of second season whereby Ichika entered the wrong section of the hotspring. Then all his harem girls start streaming in…
Blade Dance: Elementalists need to be pure and clean so they dip into some river or lake to purify and clean themselves. You don’t bath with your clothes on, right?

Studio production:
Infinite Stratos: 8-bit.
Blade Dance: TNK.

Number of episodes:
Infinite Stratos: 2 seasons of 12 episodes + 1 OVA each bringing a total of 26 episodes so far.
Blade Dance: Only 1 season consisting of 12 episodes although there are 6 specials.

Conclusion:
Personally, I prefer the girls from Infinite Stratos because they all look much cuter and prettier. The ones in Blade Dance just looks a bit one kind. Seriously. However the guy in Blade Dance is a much better person than the faggot in Infinite Stratos although we know they both have this caring side, hidden and talented power. But Kamito isn’t as annoyingly oblivious as Ichika since the former has his badass side. Maybe they should do a crossover and let more hilarious and chaotic cat fights ensue. Basically all the harem genres in a nutshell follow the same formula of a varied harem trying to vie for the guy’s attention. What’s so hard in doing just that? If they’d only be more honest with themselves. Ah, not to mention other rivals too. So now you see why having a harem isn’t as easy as you think? Nothing is ever simple when you have a harem. It’s complicated.

I thought it was going to get serious. Something that you know, advances the plot and goes somewhere. Maybe it did. But I didn’t see it entirely here. Because from the second title, Infinite Stratos 2: World Purge OVA sure does sound serious enough to make you think so. However when you start thinking for real again, you realize that you are watching Infinite Stratos series. You’re not supposed to take the serious things seriously. This is not why you watch this show. You are only here to see how this faggot Ichika plays around with his harem without him realizing how much they love him deep inside. This OVA is something like that. To put it simply, the girls enter a virtual world whereby a programme has them take out their most inner desires and fantasies. Oh, hoho. I can see where this is going. You know what to look forward to, right?

The Worlds Torn Apart
Tabane seems to have found something. As she takes a break, she wonders if Chloe Chronicle could help do a little favour. Meanwhile back at IS Academy, Rin is acting like a lonely tsundere. She denies she is bored because Ichika isn’t around. See that lonely love struck look on her face? Yup. Rin. Charlotte can only smile. Suddenly the place is locked down. They know something is up because the emergency lights have not come up. They are guided by Chifuyu to a special underground block. As we learn, somebody or some organization is hacking into the academy’s system and Ichika’s harem quintet need to dive into the system called World Purge to fix it. The system is monitored by Kanzashi and since they will be in totally defenceless state, this is where Tatenashi comes in on standby mode as they are expecting intruders. As for our lucky boy, he is at Kuramochi Research centre where his Byakushiki is being maintained. This sexy scientist, Hikaruno Kagaribi starts flirting with him in the meantime. I guess she must be bored after doing robotic maintenance the whole day. Ichika even has the cheek to even note how peaceful his waiting time here since the academy is always so loud. Yeah. Girls always want a piece of him for reasons he still do not get. Fishing is the best, right? If he only knew…

I suppose Rin didn’t make much impact in the last season. So here she is going first. She finds herself in her middle school uniform. She can tell this is a trap but when Ichika comes into the picture, no more a trap, huh? And what’s this? Ichika sits next to her as she flusters so greatly. They’re dating?! Next few Rin scenes… So dere-dere… They get caught in the rain, he dries her with a towel and even suggests taking a shower together! She is in the midst of taking off her panties when he comes in. Oh sh*t! He hugs her! Double sh*t! He pushes her down on the bed and starts undressing her! FREAKING Sh*t! NOW WAY!!! This Ichika doing this to her?! And has he already made up his mind that he wants her?! This faggot has decided which girl he wants?! HIM?! HE CHOSE HER?! Meanwhile in reality, Tatenashi ambushes a group of American soldiers. The reason these small fries are only here is so that we can make Tatenashi look good as she gives them her superb kicks and somersaults. Hardly much of a challenge. She is soon joined by Chifuyu but she takes on the big lady boss.

Now, before you Rin x Ichika lovers squeal in delight and this pair haters to scream your head off, now we focus on Cecilia. Ichika is her butler and has been serving her for family for generations. Uh huh. And now it is bath time. Today is going to be special because Ichika is going to wash her back. Ichika is such a naughty guy. He plays with her butt and bites her ear! OMFG!!!! This guy doing such bold things?! Before Cecilia x Ichika fans can start squealing and other haters can start hating, it’s time to shift to Charlotte. She is the maid. He is her master. Master gets what he wants on his submissive maid. Do I need to elaborate more? Charlotte elaborates for us: They can do this every night if they get married! Ichika you freaking lucky bastard!!! Finally, Laura. Despite Ichika serving her, seems she loves being submissive to him as she is made to wear a naked apron. Back to reality, Tatenashi just finished disposing off the small fries when she realizes the time of hacking and infiltration is so great. It dawned to her that the hacking group is different. Because she looks so shock, she let her guard down and this has one of the enemies shoot her (although not fatally). As she lies in her pool of blood, all she can think of is Ichika… Oh Ichika, where the f*cks are you?!

Speaking of this guy, suddenly it is like his harem tingling senses go off. In a hurry, he takes Byakushiki and flies back. Make a big hole in the wall, eh? You know how much that costs? Oh what the hell. His harem is more important. Really? He gets back in time to dispose the small fries before they can do what they want with Tatenashi. She tells him about the danger of the other girls. They are being attacked in the virtual world too. Save them. And so, it is Ichika’s turn to become a hero as he dives into the system. Continuing off from where we were in Rin’s fantasies, she is about to give in to this rape scene when the real Ichika barges in. Oh dear. Two Ichikas. How can she tell? But one in an IS outfit and the other is her ideal Ichika. She suddenly realizes what is happening and her head starts to hurt (not her heart, huh?). The real Ichika easily defeats the imposter. So easy that you think his mean looking eyes were just trolling us. Now that the threat is over, Rin is blaming him for that rape scene and wants him to take responsibility by putting her clothes back on. WTF. So it is okay for him to pull back up her panties while looking? Yes. It’s okay if it’s him. WTF. Before anything juicy can happen, Kanzashi interrupts and tells Rin to come back since she might not be safe as the attack is ongoing and for Ichika to rescue the others.

Cecilia is getting her body parts molested by Ichika in the bathtub. Then the real one barges in to save the day. Now how is he going to take responsibility for seeing her naked body? All he needs is to say her body is beautiful. Wait a minute. That was enough to satiate her? Next is Charlotte. Master Ichika is making his maid strip. Real Ichika to the rescue! Although he doesn’t have to directly take responsibility, he got his eyes poked. Poor guy… Laura is in the midst of being seduced by Ichika and I don’t know why the real one popped up from inside the cabinet. Probably he ran out of grand ways to enter the scene. As usual, the real one beats the imposter and perhaps Laura is the ‘best’ one to deal with since the shock of the flirting caused her to faint. Easy. As we have suspected, Houki is going to be the last as Kanzashi drops some weapons for him to arm himself because she is going to be the toughest of the lot. Meanwhile after all that intense action between Chifuyu and her rival, the former leads the latter to a trap where Yamada is waiting as she rains her bullets all over her. The end.

If you are wondering why Houki doesn’t get her own desire scene like the rest, it is probably isn’t as erotic as the rest. Yeah. The most normal scene. Boring. Here, she is in a kendo fight with Ichika. Though, she boldly requests him to marry into her family. The real Ichika appears all geared up as a dojo challenger and challenges the imposter to a match. However he keeps losing but refuses to give up. This confuses Houki on who this guy is because at this rate he will keep losing. This trait instantly reminds her of a certain guy. Ichika! At that moment, she wakes up back into reality with the other girls around her. However Ichika is left unconscious. As Kanzashi note, the attacks have already stopped. At the same time, we see Chloe drifting through the system core of what is believed to be Chifuyu’s personal IS, Kurezakura. She starts extracting from it. Ichika thought he saw Laura before him but she is Chloe. She introduces herself and because she has already fulfilled her master’s request, she will withdraw for now. This guy is just stumped.

The other girls are wondering what is keeping Ichika unconscious. Then Laura suggests a bold me to kiss and wake him up! Sure, some might oppose at first but when you think about it, it’s not a pretty bad idea, right? Whether it works or not isn’t the question. So as everybody hop on the bandwagon of wanting to kiss him, Kanzashi thought she could get ahead of everyone while they argue and kiss him! Not so fast you b*tch! Seems she is ‘frustrated’. I think she is spouting that long crap just to hide what she is saying. Uh huh. Because she didn’t get to take out her desires (and she really wanted to) like the rest and was about to quote Rin’s fantasies. Rin tries to shut her up by giving her a flying kick but she lands it on Chifuyu’s guts. Oh sh*t. Are this woman’s guts made of iron because Rin is the one having the recoil.

Tatenashi is probably the best girl enjoying this aftermath. Because when Ichika wakes up in the infirmary, he is surprised to see Tatenashi in the midst of changing. Not a dream. She creeps up next to him and flirts with him. Not a dream. So you see why she is the best one? She is happy that she saved him. Though, she feels a little bit sore that she too didn’t have a go with him in her fantasies like the other girls. As a consolation I guess, she reveals her real name to him: Katana Sarashiki. Ichika looked surprised but as he turns, Tatenashi is gone. A dream? No way! Later, Chifuyu confronts Chloe and knows it is Tabane who is the one behind this. She leaves a warning message for her not to stick her nose in things she doesn’t need. Chloe prepares to attack and does not heed Chifuyu’s warning that she is no match for her. Chifuyu easily overpowers her and even breaks out of her mind control manipulation. Once Chloe calms down, Chifuyu leaves. She wonders if Chloe should go see her little sister. However Chloe notes she is only an incomplete form of Laura and therefore is not her sister. Chifuyu notes she cannot lose to Tabane just yet.

Purge Your Desires!
Even with the seemingly cliff-hanger ending and some revelation about just who Chloe is, I suppose the only thing memorable from this 45 minute OVA is the cheesy fanservice that all Infinite Stratos viewers have come to accept. Yes. You are only here for the cheap fanservice, the girls in their undies, the only time when such scenes can only happen with Ichika is when it is in their head. The most ‘important’ parts of the show. Despite very few of such scenes (as compared to the duration of this OVA), I guess it is enough to make up for this OVA overall. Or not. Yeah. Not enough still. They should have just cut out that unrelated action scene of Chifuyu and whoever that woman in an IS suit is and put in more fanservice stuffs. Let us pleasure a little more from those steamy scenes even though in the back of our head, we know it is never going to be possible in real life because as we heard, Ichika himself is still freaking clueless when told about this desire thingy as he wondered why he is in all the girls’ fantasies. Get a freaking clue already!

So as far as this OVA is concerned, it is still pretty decent (how ironic) in terms of having some fanservice and mecha action. I mean, come on. What do you expect from this kind of series anyway? Now we have an idea of the girls’ deepest desires on Ichika and you could say they’re all perverts in a way even if they seem embarrassed or flustering but this is what they wanted, no? If they could have it their way, everything might have turned into some full hentai show. Only Houki is the exception because we must make it look like that Japanese have the highest honour and esteem despite they have one of the best, most varied and most creative pornography industries, right? Right?! Therefore when people ask about what you remember about this OVA, I bet you that nobody will have Houki’s version come to mind. Who says guys are the only perverts. Girls can be too and much better as far as this series is concerned (although the irony is that the perverted fantasies of the girls feel like fantasies of a guy). So is being erotic in the mind a good thing? Because whether for better or worse, some fantasies are just meant to be locked deep inside our thoughts, never revealed for others to see or know…

Infinite Stratos 2

July 5, 2014

Hello again and welcome back. Do we really remember what Infinite Stratos was about? Barely, huh? Do we really remember or even care that the basic setting is supposed to be a futuristic sports genre? Uh huh. Only females can pilot so called exo-skeletons that could have been men’s greatest war weapon of mass destruction and the use of such machines are only confined to sports. Didn’t care for all that, did you? Well, good news. Or bad, depending how you take it. The sequel Infinite Stratos 2 doesn’t necessarily need you to remember that because all we are here is to see that dumbest and most dense guy and his harem. Yes. This is how we should remember this series. Even the title of this sequel is so uninspired. Instead of some fancy second title like how most other animes are doing it, instead we just have a simple number. The lone guy in an entire academy filled with beautiful girls and is the object of desire from girls of several United Nations countries. He can never choose which girl he wants to end up with simply because he’s an idiot who doesn’t even know the girls are in love with him! So annoying! So irritating. But we like it. That’s why we are back to see how long this dude can maintain his streak of faggot-ness and how long the girls can persevere. In real life, many would have broken up with this bum but it seems in this sequel, he may just add a few more. Wow! I want to be this guy! I want to switch places with him! NOW! Or, I can just be content watching all the harem problems this guy gets into. So annoying. So irritating. But we love it.

Episode 1 (Special Edition)
This episode lasts for 39 minutes, more than your usual 24. So that’s 15 extra minutes worth of footage! Since I did not see the original first episode, I am guessing those extra scenes are fanservice ones… It begins with Ichika in a dream-like state. Some intense IS battle. And his sister Chifuyu strangles and kills him. Oh my. I hope this is not what this show is about. Because big sister got fed up with his imability to choose a future wife… Because this is what the show is supposed to be about… Ichika wakes up to find Laura sleeping with him! At least she is not naked and wearing a swimsuit. She shows him a flyer about the festival to commemorate the end of summer. Great idea. Get the hint? This dumb ass wants to invite the rest and Laura’s knife almost sliced his head. But did he learn? Cecilia returns from England after a week and because she’s thinking so much of Ichika, here he is! Delusion mode on. To add to her happiness, he invites her to the festival. Rin on the other hand sulking in her room, ruing that Ichika should have asked her out. Well, there’s a chance. He comes knocking on her door to ask her about the festival but since she is scantily dressed, she gives him a knockout punch. After Houki practises her sword, she takes a shower (my, how those boobs have greatly grown). Ichika is more careful this time as not to intrude and though he gets a glimpse of a little of a certain part, he manages to ask her out to the festival. You think she’d turn this down? Of all people, Ichika is asking her out!

I also feel this episode is somewhat a Laura-Charlotte bonding episode because we see them going out shopping together. Charlotte has Laura buy some feminine clothes and because the latter thinks too much about Ichika, she requests to try out a more revealing piece. Because the duo look like a hot couple, they started attracting admiration from other girls. Sheesh… Then at the cafe, the manager asks them if they want to work part time. Laura gets to be the maid and Charlotte looking so much like a guy gets to be the butler. But they’re setting hearts aflutter with their superb service. Suddenly a hostage takes place. The brazen terrorists do not hesitate to fire their machine guns as warning and can even kill. The police can’t get near. They get cocky enough to order Laura to bring them drinks. So Laura throws the ices in the air and uses them as her bullets. This is followed by some cool tackling and ass kicking by them. One of them wants to blow himself and everything up so our girls swiftly take their guns and fire to disarm the bomb! Superbly cool!!! I want them to be my butler and maid! Later they are at the seaside supposedly to get a mysterious crepe. They heard rumours if they eat mixed berry flavour crepe with the person they like, they’ll find true love. Unfortunately the mixed berry is out so they get strawberry and blueberry instead. A little yuri moment when Laura licks the cream off Charlotte’s face. Then they share each other’s crepe because technically it’s like eating mixed berries, right? Back home, the yuri switch must have turned on for Charlotte as they are dressed in cat pyjamas and they get really close with each other. Then Ichika comes in but since he is complimenting how cute they are, they let it slide. Of course he is here to ask Charlotte out for the festival.

An intruder is detected in the prohibited section of the base but thanks to those nanomachines in her body, no bullets can touch her and she’s like a killing machine. She is here to steal the secret IS. The rest of the security start to realize what they’re up against since she transforms into her IS mode, Silent Zephyrs. They think it could be Phantom Task but before they know it, here comes the big blast. Houki is one happy girl. She never thought Ichika would have aggressively asked her out and today is going to be a beautiful day. Till she sees the rest of the girls ahead. Long sour faces… Oh God. Then it hit her. That damn Ichika… How could he?! I thought it was only special between us?! And that bloody idiot still doesn’t get it why they’re so upset!!! At the pool, Cecilia suddenly whisks Ichika away on pretence that the others are waiting. Oh yeah… The girls think Cecilia is such a nice girl to buy them inflatables before they realize they’ve been had. Split up and search out for that b*tch! Cecilia is having a nice private time with Ichika but that doesn’t last long since she needs to hide when the rest come looking. She drags Ichika underwater and smothers him in her boobs. Once they resurface, the big waves ‘flush’ them to shore. Houki and Charlotte find Ichika and pick him up. I don’t even know how Cecilia got stranded on the statue top…

On the lover’s ride, Charlotte beats Houki in rock-scissors-paper for the right to ride down with Ichika. Girls have to sit in front of the boy and the guy has to hold her as close as possible. Embarrassing? Appalling to Houki. Wished she was the one? Before the duo can compose themselves, they already slide down. Thanks to the scariness, Ichika couldn’t help grab Charlotte’s boobs! Admit it Charlotte girl. Despite calling Ichika a pervert and giving him that stare, you liked it right?! Then he has to go back up for Houki. Not the ride again. Learning from his experience, this time he switches places. However he could feel Houki’s boobs pressing against his back. Worse? At the end of the slide, Houki feels a little embarrassed. She notes his back has gotten bigger. But Ichika needs to get back up for the other girls… Oh God. Does he need to do this for all of them?! To be fair… It is evening and the girls change into their yukata for the festival. As usual, the things they do during that include goldfish scooping, eating the standard festival foods like takoyaki and candy apple. All trying to vie for Ichika, eh? At the shooting stall, the girls prove they are sharp shooters. Because Laura wants the biggest prize, it is impossible with herself so the rest offer to help out and line up like soldiers to take it down. The end of summer has them playing sparkers. Meanwhile, Tatenashi Sarashiki tells us a very important announcement: It’s time for her debut. Yeah. See you next episode. And I think another special for this special episode is the full length ending theme.

Episode 2
Ichika is in a practice match with Rin and is on the winning streak. However his shield power wears out and this enables Rin to turn the tables on him. So while he goes analyzes what went wrong, he is greeted by Tatenashi. Who is this babe? No time to worry because she points out he is late for class. And he better come up with a better excuse than talking to a mysterious lady. Chifuyu thinks he prioritizes talking to mystery girls than coming to class and lets Charlotte handle the punishment. Gladly. Here comes the pain! During assembly, Ichika learns Tatenashi is the student council president. Didn’t know that, did he? She reminds everyone about the upcoming cultural festival. So what is Ichika’s class doing? I don’t know yet. But it seems every crazy idea has Ichika in it! They view Ichika has a duty to please them! Ichika is their property! WTF?! Till Laura comes up with a maid cafe. Everyone approves. Now they can put Ichika in a butler suit. Oh God… As he leaves for special training, he is surprised Tatenashi is assigned to be his coach. She views him very weak and he doesn’t take it lightly. He accepts her challenge that the loser must do whatever the winner wants. And so in this judo match, all Ichika has to do is to knock her down once but for Tatenashi, she must make him unable to continue. Really look down on him, huh? Of course, Ichika cannot even budge her as Tatenashi explains that being the student council president means the strongest in this academy. I suppose Ichika got desperate so when he grabs her top, he accidentally tears it open! Pervert! This is going to be costly. Yup. One punch in the face. Laura is looking for Ichika and overhears several girls talking about maintaining their appearance so she too tries to do her hair only to be spotted by Chifuyu. Trying to be feminine? She tells Laura she saw Ichika at the infirmary. But what she didn’t expect is to see him on a lap pillow of Tatenashi! Eliminate the enemy! Tatenashi easily deflects her charge. You can’t call yourself his bride if you can’t even win this…

Tatenashi introduces herself as Ichika’s special trainer to Charlotte and Cecilia and wants them to help out. She has them demonstrate some formation thingy. Ichika is really paying attention if not for Tatenashi’s seductive ways of blowing in his ear. Charlotte and Cecilia see this and lose focus, crashing into each other. Now Ichika has to demonstrate with Cecilia. I don’t understand or care about all the mumbo jumbo about his firing and shield. In a nutshell, because Ichika is just a lousy shooter, his best bet is close range fighting. Tired Ichika goes back to his room only to see Tatenashi in naked apron!!! Is she his wife now?! Bath or dinner first? Or her? Special coach means special synchronization by sleeping with him, right? Oh, Tatenashi… You’re such a great tease. She loves to see his reaction. And then… Houki is on her way to his room to bring dinner. She heard Ichika not wanting her to come in. She also hears a woman’s voice behind. That bastard! Cut down the door! Cut down that b*tch! Tatenashi easily protects and disarms Houki. Heh. What will happen if you kill the only guy in this show? Don’t want that to happen, no? Ichika continues his Spartan training under Tatenashi but can’t focus since his thoughts are on Houki’s ‘scolding’ that he is pretty submissive to older women. Then he crashes… Try again… He is so tired out that his usual harem girls don’t even have the heart to pick on him (about Tatenashi) or see this rare chance to seduce him (since that president is not around). Pitiful. What more, his morale is so low that he might be the weakest made the girls cheer him up that they like guys who try their best. And also maybe a little chance to persuade him to come to their room… Trying to take advantage when he is not on his guard? And so the argument to get Ichika come to their room because they have cards to play (?!) begins. But he is too tired to answer and falls asleep. Shhh! The girls will have to make do seeing his sleeping face. Awww… Cute.

Episode 3
Now Tatenashi is waiting for Ichika… In bed! He of course locks himself in the toilet but she gets pushy and cuts down the door! She wants her massage now! I suppose for starters and motivation, she massages his face in her boobs… And so the day of the festival is here. There is a long queue outside the maid cafe. All the girls are swooning over Ichika the butler. They want him. At least Charlotte is dressed as a maid. Rin becomes lucky number one as Ichika becomes her waiter. There is this item on the menu on the set called Treat For Your Butler. Ichika tries to persuade her to choose something else but she insists. Now she needs to feed him snacks. Initially shy, Rin gets the hang of it. However the rules state he cannot feed her. So she nibbles the snack while she is sulking. Ichika notes she is cute. Gasp! Is it true? Yup. Cute like a squirrel. Neck chop! And that guy doesn’t even know why she’s so upset! There is this lady, Reiko Makigami coming over to Ichika’s table and trying to persuade-cum-pressure him to use her company’s equipment for his Byakushiki. He tries to turn her down but she is rather pushy. His classmate Takatsuki ‘saves’ him that other customers are waiting for him. She also gives him a 30 minutes break. Cecilia wants to come along. So does Houki. Charlotte too. And Laura. All want to go together? Can’t leave the cafe unattended. The winner of the rock-scissors-paper: Cecilia! Lucky b*tch! They’re trying out some instruments and after Ichika blows the horn, he passes it to Cecilia to try. She is hesitating about this indirect kiss but she took too long that the music girl changed the mouth piece. Wasted opportunity. When Ichika gets back to work, Tatenashi is here in a maid’s outfit. But she has him help out in an important matter. She makes him put on some prince clothing and crown and to wait on stage.

And so we hear her narrate about some twisted Cinderella story. It’s no longer a name but a title. The kind of title you get when you completely destroy and annihilate your enemies! So hear is tonight’s deal, there is some confidential information in the crown that the girls must get. And they’re really dying to get it because Rin is trying to kill him! She assures her weapons are safe. Yeah, right. But the way she uses her force is as good as killing him, right? But Ichika is good at running… And dodging… Even escaping Cecilia’s sharp sniper shoots. We see a short flashback why the girls are bent on ‘killing’ him. Tatenashi told his harem that however gets the crown will get the rights to be Ichika’s roommate. As the student council president, she CAN make it happen! OMG… That crown is so mine!!! Charlotte helps Ichika out but of course she is not as violent as the rest and asks nicely for his crown. He is willing to give it to her but it seems he can’t take it off. Each time he does, he will be electrocuted! Sorry, Charlotte. When Ichika protects Charlotte like a princess, holding her close to him, it just pisses off Rin and Cecilia so much that they intensify the attack till they fall down the cliff. Although safe, Ichika continues to run and leaves Charlotte behind. Thanks for nothing. Now he has to face off with knife wielding Laura! Tatenashi adds spice to it by firing her artillery cannons. Ichika like a true hero saves her before leaving her all alone. Thanks for that too… And now for Houki… She also helps him up to a tower. Then Tatenashi unleashes a boulder on them. Run! When it passes, it’s a showdown between Houki and Laura. Looks like they have to take care of each other first. Laura cut her clothes but why must Houki cut Ichika for seeing? No logic… But time is up because Tatenashi opens this ‘contest’ to all the girls! Walk-in participants! Holy cow! It’s getting crowded! Can Ichika become Usain Bolt? Suddenly he is dragged underneath a trapdoor. It is Makigami. However she beats him up. I don’t think she is part of the game or after his crown. She is here to steal his Byakushiki. He has no choice but to transform to fight this crazy b*tch.

Episode 4
Autumn (Makigami’s real name) transforms into her IS form, Arachne and it begins the intense battle. Chifuyu has detected an unknown IS fighting with Byakushiki and orders the evacuation of the rest but has Ichika’s harem station at specific points. Ichika uses what he learns into good use but eventually not good enough and gets caught in Arachne’s web. She reveals she is from an evil organization called Phantom Task and it was them who kidnapped him during the second Mondo Grosso incident. She puts some creepy gadget on him to steal Byakushiki. Meanwhile Rin and Cecilia are facing off with an incoming powerful enemy, M operating in the stolen Silent Zephyrus. Cecilia is stunned to see this and cannot fight properly. They are forced to run when M turns to tables on them. Tatenashi is here to save Ichika. But she gets stabbed! Don’t worry. The strongest girl can’t die that easily, right? Turns out it is a water projection. The real Tatenashi explains her IS, Mysterious Lady controls water and mist. Not just ordinary water and mist as they are equipped with nanomachines. Tatenashi seems to have the upper hand against Autumn and even enjoys teasing her. And then it’s like Tatenashi lose on purposely. Autumn thought she has Tatenashi in her trap but when Tatenashi hints that the humidity of this place causes one to sweat… I guess she realizes that it’s game over. With a snap of her finger, Autumn experiences explosions within her armour since the mists are able to seep into the cracks of her armour.

Ichika has the honour to finish her off but as Autumn escapes, she is assisted by M. Autumn is not happy as she has not requested for assistance. Ichika fights M but is no match since his shield energy is dropping like crazy. In the end, the baddies must flee since they are outnumbered. Autumn takes the core from Arachne and lets her IS march towards the girls. It’s going to explode! Thankfully Tatenashi’s water protects everybody. Thankfully too, the girls are knocked out because they could have been really mad to see this: Tatenashi over Ichika and her boobs in his face. She even asks his opinion about her boobs! Soft. Back at the base, Autumn is going to kill M for interfering but their boss, Squall calls them to quit it. M retreats to her room, convinced that in no time, she will get her revenge and finally reunite with her… Hmm… Doesn’t M look like Chifuyu? Tatenashi explains to Ichika why Chifuyu assigned her to protect him since she foresaw evil organizations targeting his Byakushiki. Besides, her family has always been working in secret operations. On to some not so serious stuff, she tells him about the purpose of the crown during the Cinderella play. He is appalled that is not told about this. Well, duh… And since Tatenashi is the one who got his crown, looks like she’ll continue to be his roommate. Oh Lord…

Episode 5
Ichika is being told to send something to some part of the academy he never knew existed by Yamada. Suddenly he is being attacked from all sides and a sack is covered over his head. I can pretty much guess who those 5 shadowy figures are… The next time he opens his eyes, he is tied down to a chair. And then on stage is Yamada in a cow girl outfit as the moderator of a battle to see who can please Ichika the most! I know what this is going to be about… Houki is the first contestant and she’s in a fox priestess outfit. Doesn’t it look a little revealing? She’s a little shy. He’s a little shy. Oops, spilled the tea. Don’t mind. The mood was romantic enough but Yamada had to spoil it since time is up. There are other contestants, you know. Before Houki is forced off the stage, Ichika wants to touch her… fox ears. Duh… Next is Cecilia in a Playboy bunny suit. She is going to teach him to play billiards. Of course the way she teaches him is some sort of fanservice. Then as she makes him try, she gets too close to him. Relax those muscles… How can he when her boobs are pressing against his body? When he finally pockets the ball, time is up. Ichika expresses this as fun and hopes to do it again something. Delighted, Cecilia? Next up is Charlotte. I thought she was a sheep. But apparently that scantily bikini makes her a French poodle. She tries to feed cookies to him with her mouth. As this appals the rest, it slips and the cookie ends up in her cleavage. Wait a minute. You don’t think… Would he? However Yamada disqualifies her for being lewd. WTF?! I thought anything goes?

Next is black bunny Laura. They play darts to win prizes. How come Ichika won Laura’s swimsuit?! As Yamada explains, due to budget constraints, some of the prizes are Laura’s belongings. WTF… Somehow Laura’s show ended prematurely. In the dark, Ichika is whisked away by Tatenashi. Can’t let the girls have all the fun, eh? She wants him to meet somebody next time. She’s serious. How can he take her seriously when she’s flirting all over him like a cat? Then here comes Rin trying to give Tatenashi her kicks because she supposedly stole her cat outfit while she was distracted watching Ichika ogling Charlotte’s boobs. Tatenashi makes her escape and the harem girls want to punish Ichika. It always must come down to this, right? Everyone is ordered to the main stage for the final event. Chifuyu in a maid’s outfit?! What gives? Say a word and she’ll kill him! I guess he has to play along as she feeds him dessert. Then it turns out to be a celebration for Ichika’s birthday? That guy doesn’t even remember? Yeah, big sister says he has a habit of forgetting it. Everybody is having a nice time till Yamada asks which one of those performances he enjoyed. Dokidoki… His answer is… Chifuyu! WTF?! He thought he would be neutral, right? Wrong! Everybody got upset! So disappointed. They give him the best present ever: Beating him up. And that guy still doesn’t get why they’re so mad. On this way home, he comes into M. She reveals her real name as Madoka Orimura. She is him and in order for her to remain as herself, she will take his life. She shoots at him.

Episode 6
Ichika was quick enough to avoid the first shot. Laura saved him from the second. Madoka flees as she is not fond of being outnumbered. Since Laura didn’t have her eye-patch, Ichika comments how beautiful her eye is. Like a gemstone. This causes her to reveal she was looking for him to have a chance to be alone together. And then she beats him up. What does this guy do to deserve that? Ichika and Charlotte are in some escort mission. Seems Charlotte asked the other girls but they were busy with something else. Till Ichika came along… Blessing in disguise? True enough, a couple of unknown IS attack the place. The duo go into action to apprehend them. When one of them fires at an inflammable container, Ichika dives to protect Charlotte. Although he is fine, tests indicated something is wrong with Byakushiki. He cannot summon it. Chifuyu wants him to hand it over as it would be dangerous for him unable to summon it when Phantom Task is targeting him. Charlotte feels responsible for the incident and wants to protect him. Laura suddenly shows Ichika a catalogue of striped panties! Which does he prefer?! This raises the alarm to the rest of the other girls as Laura explains she got this idea from her senior officer Clarisa who is also an anime and manga ‘expert’. Panties flashing? You get the idea. Suddenly Charlotte feels her panties disappear! She runs away and thinks that just like Byakushiki, her IS is also experiencing some abnormalities. As long as she put on panties, it disappears! Ichika tries to rush her to class. They trip. I don’t know how Charlotte ended up in front of him when he was tagging her along from the front. He didn’t even see anything and got his daylights punched out. And so this no pantsu thingy is making Charlotte unable to concentrate. And then Laura saw it when the wind blows up her skirt. No pantsu! She makes an emergency call to Clarisa. She explains the ‘illusion’ of no pantsu and from that angle it is as though she is not wearing any. The ‘advice’ from the ‘expert’ relieves her a lot. A lot.

Charlotte thinks a lot too. She is worried if Ichika finds out about her no pantsu, he will feel disappointed in her fetish and leave her. Wow. She really thought that far. She will keep it a secret till Byakushiki returns to normal. Of course the other girls heard and have her spill the beans. And then it’s back to fighting over Ichika. Fighting over to protect him. Seriously. Are they trying to kill him???!!! Their hallway combat is put to a stop by Tatenashi who thinks of joining in because if she wins, she’ll get Ichika, right? Immediately the girls cease because they know they can’t beat her ass. They are made to rake the sand on the grounds as punishment. Later Ichika thanks Charlotte for everything so this made her think back about the time she broke her mom’s favourite mirror and kept it a secret for fear of being scolded. But mommy didn’t care about the mirror because Charlotte’s safety was more important. This made her realize she should have just told the truth right from the start. But there is a chance he might hate her. She reasons as long as she is honest with him, he will not hate her. So she stops him just to show him her panties! WTF?! Please look at this?! Laura sees what she is doing and peeps up her skirt. Her panties are still there. Charlotte is so relieved that she blatantly shows it to Ichika. What the hell is she doing? By the time she realized this embarrassment, it’s too late. And for that, Ichika gets blamed for being a pervert. Whose fault was it? Yamada and Chifuyu analyzes Byakushiki and it seems it was just a temporary problem (whatever that was, I wasn’t really interested) and is back to normal. And those terrorists had nothing to do with Phantom Task and were just spies. When Laura learns about Charlotte’s disappearing panties, she tells her she should have put on something which doesn’t resemble panties like bloomers. Embarrassed Charlotte rues she should have thought of that. Bummer…

Episode 7
Kanzashi Sarashiki is burnt out trying to configure some IS. She decides to go back and watch some anime. Dreaming the kind of hero who would come save and take her away from it all… Mayuzumi requests Ichika and Houki to come for an interview and model shoot for her sister’s magazine. Houki turns her down as she views it is against her ethics to be displayed like an object. But when Mayuzumi hands her vouchers for a restaurant dinner for 2, she immediately accepts! What happened to her ethics? Oh, now she’s a flexible thinker? And so the duo are there at the interview. A little nervous. Houki is impressed when she hears Ichika’s motto that he’ll protect his comrades. However her memories twisted it to “I’ll protect Houki!” and it made her very happy. But why does she need to punish the locker? Her thoughts are occupied on this that she picked a sexy gown for the shoot. They are made to do some very close up poses. I don’t know, can their nervous looks pass the test? Who cares… On their way home, Houki’s mind wanders that if they were alone, they might have kissed. I think she really wanted that. Her high heels got stuck in a manhole and she sprains her ankle. A cue for Ichika to carry her home. She falls asleep as she murmurs she loves him. Dumb guy didn’t even hear it even though her mouth was right next to his ear…!!!!! Meanwhile Squall confronts Madoka about her unauthorized contact. Her job is to steal other countries’ IS. Squall punishes her but Madoka’s reflex was fast enough to save her skin. Madoka is riled up when Squall knows about her intention to settle her score with Chifuyu. Madoka attacks her back because she doesn’t want her to look down on Chifuyu despite she no longer has her own IS. Squall advises her to lie low till the next mission. Ichika confronts Chifuyu and asks if they had other family members. Like a little sister? She confirms he is her only family. With that tone? That’s assuring enough.

Chifuyu announces a tag team tournament designed to improve their skills in view of the recent hijacking of IS. Those with personal IS must improve their skills. Hey, don’t those harem girls fit the bill? We are distracted a little with Charlotte and Rin feeding Ichika their lunch. He comments they could be good wives because of their good cooking. They then try to hint what kind of partner he likes for the tag tournament. He doesn’t get it that they’re hinting about him… When he goes back to his room, Tatenashi begs him for a favour. She hopes he could be her sister Kanzashi’s partner for the tag tournament. She is a little shy and gloomy and although a representative of Japan, has no IS of her own because her developers were focusing on developing Byakushiki so hers got pushed back. Ichika felt bad about it and agrees to it. For once, this dumb guy can guess the sisters are not getting along well because Tatenashi doesn’t want him to mention her name. But first Ichika must overcome the other ‘obstacles’. Laura boldly tells him to team up with her. It’s a must. Here’s the form. He boldly refuses her because there is somebody he has in mind. Like an angry wife, she tries to kill him! Only to be stopped by Chifuyu. Trying to give the husband-wife excuse isn’t going to work because Chifuyu says she will not accept such violent sister-in-law! Laura in depression mode… Houki and Cecilia are happy because they think Ichika is the one he picks. They feel bad for the other. That’s what you call counting your chickens, right? Ichika walks into Kanzashi’s class to ask her to be her partner. She turns him down instantly! What the?! Lots of girls would die just to be with him and this lucky b*tch rejects him?! He tries to change her mind but she tells him off that she has the right to punch him but feels tired so she won’t do so.

Episode 8
Kanzashi is stressed out in calibrating her IS. So it’s no wonder when for the umpteenth time Ichika comes to bug her about pairing up, she slaps him!!! OMG! No girl would hurt him… Oh wait… His harem tried to kill him many times before so I guess this is nothing. So Tatenashi finds out that things are not going well on Ichika’s side. She explains Kanzashi is trying to assemble her own IS and is quite stubborn. Learning he got slapped, she cheekily teases him maybe it’s because he touched her butt! If not, for someone who would waste such unnecessary energy, it could mean one thing: She likes him! Very perspective. With rumours spreading that Ichika has been pestering Kanzashi to pair up every day, the rest of his harem girls are fired up in training. They’re going to make him regret in not pairing him and will show him the true meaning of terror! Just you wait you bastard! Tatenashi goes up to Houki to request pairing up. She doesn’t mind so Tatenashi takes her measurements. I guess the only aspect she lost to Houki is her breast size… The harem girls think it’s nice for once that Ichika comes looking for them. Till he mentions he is looking for Kanzashi. Ichika you jerk… Get out of here now! And that guy doesn’t know why they’re so angry!!! Aha! They must be nervous about the tag team tournament. Oh brother… You got it all wrong! Kanzashi tests her IS, Uchigane Nishiki. Everything goes well till some booster thingy malfunctions. She drops like a rock and resigns to her fate she will never catch up to her sister. Of course Ichika sees this and saves her. He is glad she is alright. Can you see the change in Kanzashi’s reactions towards him now? Oh yeah. Can she be officially part of the harem now?

Seems they’re being friendly now to a point they can even eat together. Heck, Ichika even feeds her! OMG. Is that an indirect kiss?! So much so, Kanzashi can’t concentrate in class and all her thoughts are only filled with Ichika! Probably his daily stalking was effective because she sees visions of him asking her to be her partner. Hell, she even sees her favourite anime hero in him. She accepts to be his partner. Think that was a dream? Actually, she unknowingly said yes in reality too! Ichika is so happy that he takes her by the hand to the office to register. She even gives him permission to call her casually. She is flustering more and starts thinking that she may even like him! Spot on! Meanwhile there’s some sort of bonding going on between Tatenashi and Houki. The former knows that Houki doesn’t have very good relationship with her sister but is still glad that it is not to a point they hate each other. Trying to hint something about her own? Ichika has some of the maintenance crew look into Kanzashi’s IS. They calibrate back up to shape in no time. See, that saved Kanzashi from all the unnecessary stress. Ichika returns to his room only to be greeted by Tatenashi who wants a back massage. She talks that he is close to his sister. Is being strict considered close? It shows that she cares for her and he is special. Kanzashi is going to give her cookies to Ichika when she sees her sister coming out from his room. From the conversation, she realizes that they are in cahoots. This breaks her heart so much that she runs back to her room and cries uncontrollably. Wow. She must really have fallen for that useless dude.

Episode 9
Kanzashi is still reeling from the fact this is a setup by her sister. During Tatenashi’s speech for the tag team tournament, Ichika spends his time looking for Kanzashi!!! Yeah, yeah. She’s sitting somewhere sulking about everything. Before Tatenashi could officially flag off the tournament (wait a minute, there are only 8 teams?), suddenly the academy is attacked by unknown and unmanned IS drones. Hold on a second. Doesn’t this look familiar like last season? Before start of some game, some baddies attack and puts the event on hold. WTF?! These drones are upgraded versions from their previous ones so it means they really can kick ass. So powerful that they are giving our heroines a hard time. Kanzashi stumbles into one and becomes paralyzed in fear. So scared that she calls out for a hero to save her. Yup. She calls out Ichika’s name. And like a miracle, here he comes swooping down to protect her. But Kanzashi won’t be a damsel in distress as she wants to fight alongside him. Tatenashi does a very risky move that causes a big explosion. Kanzashi gives Ichika the green light to see what is happening over at the other gate and will handle this one herself. Of course when she sees big sister unconscious on her monitor, she becomes distraught. She becomes so mad and turns into a killing machine. However she is unable to destroy its core as her weapon power is empty. Even more distraught when she sees Ichika out cold. It’s back to that mentality that she’s a useless coward. No such thing as a hero in this world. And then… Tatenashi uses her body to shield Kanzashi. Bloody. Blood flying everywhere.

The sisters are like in some astral dimension, talking together like how it should be. How many years has it been since? About Kanzashi’s concern there is no hero, oh, here is Ichika in this dream too. He says there is no such thing as an invincible hero. He is human who cries, laughs and loses sometimes. As one, he can fight without running away even if it risks death. Otherwise he can never be himself again. Not convinced yet? Tatenashi adds she may be weak and all but she’s still human. As long as she stands up to the enemy and accepts her weaknesses. Back in reality, Kanzashi has got the confidence to do it. Tatenashi gives her an Aqua Crystal as charm. Because Ichika’s power is empty, Houki wants to refuel him but she needs time. Kanzashi will buy her that time and holds her ground well against the drone. Once it’s done, the trio combine their moves to bring down the drone. One of the missiles containing Aqua Crystal that Kanzashi fired is stuck in its core. Tatenashi activates it to explode and destroy the drone once and for all. The rest of the heroines also disengage the enemy by taking out the core. Tatenashi wakes up in the infirmary with Kanzashi by her side. Tatenashi feels she owes it to Ichika for making this happen because now the sisters are on good terms again. Could it also mean Tatenashi likes him? I hope so… Add more to his harem! Repentant Kanzashi apologizes for being a bad sister but Tatenashi has never stopped loving her. Cue for emotional breakdown scene. Meanwhile Yamada and Chifuyu are analyzing those unregistered cores. Although they only have 2 of them in hand, Chifuyu wants her to report to the government that they are all destroyed. She may risk putting the academy in jeopardy but she is confident enough to bet her life on this. Kanzashi is on her way to Ichika’s room. She is resolved to tell him her feelings. Oh yes. I’ve been waiting for this. She hands him a package containing her favourite hero anime. Brings back memories to him. He asks if she likes it very much. And she yells out she does before running away. But we know she’s going to be disappointed because as she takes a breather feeling relieved that she has blurted out her feelings, she realizes that he is a dense guy and must have took her confession the wrong way. He thinks she loves the anime a lot! True enough, it is! So frustrating…

Episode 10
After a couple of episodes focusing on Kanzashi, now we have our harem girls back… They’re confronting her! Oh yeah. I was waiting for this to happen. Five is already a crowded field, what more another one. They want to know if she and Ichika are dating but since Kanzashi says there is nothing going on between them, they feel relieved and become good friends. Wait. Just like that?! Don’t let your guard down! Meanwhile Ichika feels he is being setup because the student council ordered him to take physical measurements of the girls! I know it’s to calibrate the IS suits to fit them better, but him? Definitely a setup. Chifuyu gives him a blindfold. That guy is grateful till he finds out it’s see-through! Yup. Definitely a setup. So the girls are here and they would love this guy to take their measurements. He thought he would be fine with his eyes closed. What is he? Some sort of super human trying to use his third eye to see? Although we are left with our imagination, you can hear how Ichika screws up, touching the wrong parts, causing the girl to fluster like mad. What the hell are these soft things… Just open your eyes damn it! His harem girls didn’t like what they see and you can guess what happens to him after that. Some of the girls lament that their waist size has expanded but Ichika doesn’t really care about that. Oh brother. You don’t know how girls feel, don’t you? He starts complimenting the cooking of every girl except Cecilia because we know, her cooking can kill mankind, right? Rin wants Ichika to tell her the truth to save mankind but that guy doesn’t want to be so bad hearted. So Cecilia takes cooking lessons from Houki. She even brought a live chicken… I don’t even know how she can misinterpret straight instructions. But as we learn, never leave her alone unattended. When Houki attends a call, Cecilia feels the need to make it look better and sprays the colouring and some aroma. So when Houki gets back, she finds that those chicken bits are looking very good. She takes a bite… Next day, she’s absent from class and called in sick. Very rare for that to happen. I wonder why…

With Houki out of the action, Cecilia seeks Charlotte’s help next. Charlotte can guess what happened when she learns Cecilia and Houki were cooking together. Then she makes the fatal mistake of leaving her unattended. Oh, that killer looks in her eyes… Must add more colouring… Everything seems fine when Charlotte gets back so she has a taste of the dish… Late at night, Laura wakes up hungry. She thinks the pot was made by Charlotte for her. Looks good. LOOKS good, if you know what I mean… Next day, Charlotte and Laura absent from class… Was this a ploy by Cecilia so she could have Ichika all to herself for lunch? Even if it wasn’t, it was hell of a good one. But when she sees Kanzashi’s colourful kyara bento, Cecilia seeks Rin’s help. Rin refuses because she doesn’t want to die! However seeing her pitiful puppy dog eyes and the effort she put in (her fingers are all bandaged), she gives in. Although Rin didn’t make the fatal mistake of leaving her unattended, Cecilia gets the wrong idea about using more firepower in cooking. Yup. She blasts the kitchen with her cannon!!! Now you know why she should stay away from the kitchen? Next day, Cecilia apologizes to Ichika that she couldn’t make lunch for him because the kitchen yesterday somehow exploded! WTF?! Ichika is fine with that and will teach her to make his favourite dish. Sounds ambiguous if you really hear what they say because Ichika is teaching her to make onigiri. I guess the best part is him trying to guide her to make it. It’s like he is wrapping her from behind. So romantic… So warm… He thought the warmth is from making the onigiri… Duh… Meanwhile Squall tries to force Tabane to work for them. Bribing with exquisite food? Since she won’t, they threaten her. Tabane can beat up Autumn even with a smile! Not even Madoka in Silent Zephyrus can beat her! With a smile! She knows who Madoka is and is willing to make a personal IS for us if she comes with her. Oh, she wants to keep her too. Thank goodness the episode ends or else you’ll never hear the end of Tabane’s squeaky ranting. No full stop in her sentences…

Episode 11
It’s time for a field trip. The girls are in an intense card game to see who gets to be in Ichika’s group. To their dismay, he is in charge of photography and is put in a different group. Now, why didn’t he say something this important earlier on? You mad, girls? Definitely. At the site, Ichika receives a mysterious luggage. It is Tatenashi hidden inside! How did she?! Kanzashi immediately stuffs her back and throws her back into the truck! Good move! But that is just her clone… Cecilia must be feeling romantic amidst the falling maple leaves. Ichika takes a beautiful picture of her. Flattered? When she looks at the picture, she is half outside it! He is taking pictures of the scenery?! WTF????!!!! What is the meaning of this Ichika???!!! Then all the other girls hound him to have their photos. His lens fall into some ditch so Charlotte offers to help. Since she’s stretching low, he could see it. No, not the lens… Charlotte gets embarrassed when she finds out but to make up for it, he must hang out with her. Cecilia, Rin and Laura are trying their luck at some superstitious love rituals at the shrine. They get jealous thinking Charlotte is getting ahead of them with this ‘date’. Ichika denies it is a date (pissing Charlotte off). He pisses off everyone by saying they should enjoy themselves. They’re out for his head! What? Was it something he said? He bumps into Kanzashi in kimono. Anger level for the rest of his harem has just risen to boiling point. Rising even further when he carries Kanzashi away, princess style. Then he had to bump into Houki. Are we having fun yet? Later Houki gets to be alone with Ichika as they walk through the bamboo grove. He wants to take a picture of her but Squall offers to take it for them. She comments they both look good and Ichika is let baffled how she knows his name. Did he tell her? Of course not you dummy. Charlotte and Cecilia want to see the photos Ichika took but since they’re flanking his side and too close, their boobs are rubbing against him. Soon all the other girls want to see. I don’t know how many boobs he got himself molested. Because of that, he drops the camera below. Gee, why don’t the other girls help find it for him? Instead, he goes it alone but sees Madoka waiting for him. She is here to take his life. Deja vu? This time not in Silent Zephyrus but Black Knight. Houki and Cecilia notice Ichika is not back in the train when they are about to depart so they go look for him but stumble upon Autumn. Time for rematch. Chifuyu is about to go look for the trio when the train is suddenly automatically hijacked. Tatenashi confronts Squall about Phantom Task’s goal. Squall attacks her. Ichika wants to know why she is after her but Madoka claims her target is Chifuyu. Surprised?

Episode 12
Ichika is defeated. Madoka flies off to find Chifuyu but is kept busy with ‘small fries’. To add to the tension, there is a bomb on the train. 30 minutes and counting… Tatenashi continues her battle with Squall, likewise Houki and Cecilia with Autumn but they conveniently defeat her and head towards Ichika. When Madoka is going to fire at the train to destroy everybody, here comes Ichika to protect them. Bad guys always make the mistake of not making sure the hero stays dead. Kanzashi has finally managed to locate the bomb with her hacking so the other girls scramble to diffuse it. But is it too late because it exploded. Ichika got distracted by the explosion and thinks he is too late. Thanks to that, Madoka stabs him. Actually everybody is alright because the girl managed to contain the blast in a shield barrier. Houki is crying next to Ichika’s ‘lifeless’ body. Her tears must have activated something. Then it’s like deja vu because this is where the opening scene of this season comes in. Ichika getting killed by ‘Chifuyu’ who is actually Madoka. Of course he can’t die yet since his friends are still fighting so he pleads to Byakushiki to give him more power. The other girls are engaging Madoka in a destructive battle. Thanks to squall powering up some fireball barrier, the girls are weakened. Till Tatenashi unleashes some secret cannon weapon and a revived golden Byakushiki charging into the attack. Huh? What? I don’t understand. Oh what the heck. The baddies take some damage too and Squall orders a retreat as they cannot go on like this and have collected enough data. Ichika reunites with everybody and is glad everyone is okay. We see Tabane hoping Chifuyu would ‘enjoy’ this gift and promises more fun stuff is going to happen. After all this, now we’re back into familiar territory because Ichika is soaking alone in the hotspring himself. He wonders why Madoka has the same pendant as Chifuyu. Well, duh? Haven’t you connect the dots yet? Unknown to him, the hostess switch the gender sign. As usual… He is about the get out when the other girls come in. Now he’s stuck and assimilates as a rock. Tatenashi notes Houki’s boobs have grown bigger. I don’t know. The steam is covering so I can’t see. Ichika has been in hiding for so long that he passes out. And the girls freak out when they see a dead corpse resurfacing. HEY WAIT A MINUTE! It just ends like this?! WTF????!!!!!!!!

Indefinite Decisions -> Infinite Cat Fights -> Definite Mayhem!
I know I wasn’t going to expect much or even a decent ending but this one really gets on my nerves! So what if Ichika just floats up unconscious? At least it would have ended ‘better’ if we see the girls beating him up and throwing him out but nope. There is nothing. Straight away to the end credits and no epilogue after that too. Isn’t that just the worst? Or am I the worst? Nah. Blame the show. At least in the last season, we get to see everyone became sort of jealous because it looked like Ichika and Houki were hogging some quality time together. Even that they will leave you to your imagination what happens next. But this season? Too broad to leave it to our imagination. I know this show is overall a big crap. But the ending made it crappier. I know only loser guys like me without a decent girlfriend and only have an imaginary 2D girlfriend to show my sorry state will only watch this sort of anime (Oops! I think I revealed too much of unnecessary info there) but at least give us an ending that harem lovers will leave with at least a smirk.

So basically this season doesn’t ‘disappoint’ because as usual Ichika is your world’s biggest idiot and most dense person when it comes to the part of romance. He can win an Oscar for it. That factor contributes to why this show is a classic harem anime. Yes, people. Don’t get me wrong. This is a classic harem anime because the lone guy doesn’t choose any girl (ever), gets away with it and he is still being loved by everyone while they continue to fight over him. In this sense, that is why I consider this anime to ‘shine’ greatly. Otherwise, more decent anime viewers would have thrown this anime into the trash bin. There is no development or advancement with the characters. Everything seems status quo. My logic dictates that if any one of the usual girls gets ahead in her relationship with Ichika, the rest will be fuming and forming a deadly alliance to take her down. So it’s best to stay as they are now. Going nowhere. Hoping Ichika would come to realize that he really likes one of them and chooses. CHOOSES. Which of course I don’t see it happening in the even if there is Infinite Stratos 3, Infinite Stratos 4, Infinite Stratos 5… Right up to Infinite Stratos 100. I don’t think he is like that guy Kodaka in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai as in he knows what is going on but pretends nothing is happening.

Although the fight scenes involving the IS machines are still impressive, however I feel those are the ‘boring’ parts. Because we’re here for the harem factor, right? Thus during the final episode action scene, I was itching for it to be over so that the series would resume back to its more familiar route. I know. Seeing them fight among themselves is better than seeing them fight against some evil organization whose existence we don’t even care if it is relevant to this anime or not. Even if for the big chunk of the series it is about his harem and even that nothing goes anywhere, it was still enjoyable because we get to see how this faggot tries to be friends with all the girls and not having the slightest clue that he is slowly opening the Pandora Box. I mean, his intentions of wanting everybody to have fun together but think about this, as a girl in love with him, you want him to be the only want to invite you out to somewhere. It makes it very special. It makes it very romantic. It makes it everything. And then you realize he too has called the other girls. Don’t you just feel mad and want to turn yandere and chop him up into pieces? And that’s the odd part of his harem. They have the tendency to get mad so quick and Ichika will be the first person to get beaten up whether he is at fault or not. But mostly it is. So do they deserve each other? God must be a harem lover for making this atrocious harem situation go on for 2 seasons… Some episodes have a slight focus on one of the girls with Ichika like Houki’s interview-cum-photo shoot, Charlotte acting as his personal bodyguard and cooking with Cecilia. Despite these close moments, it doesn’t feel like it moved anywhere. It is like as though to just satisfy fans of certain pairings for that short moment.

Adding into Ichika’s harem is the Sarashiki sisters and from the way I see it, it is going to get more complicated and messier now. The only thing which prevents me from considering the sisters to be part of the true blue harem like the usual quintet is because they don’t engage in silly antics, embarrassing showdowns or other stand offs like the other five. Kanzashi is so shy and timid that it would made Charlotte looking like a monster. I doubt for the time being she will be one who is pro-active to fight for Ichika’s attention if there is ever a silly need for some harem tussle. Tatenashi on the other hand is superior and always in control. In fact, she stands above all the other harem girls put together. She doesn’t need to stoop so low or get down and dirty like the rest and thus sometimes it makes me wonder if she is truly in love with Ichika or just messing around with him. Of course I prefer to believe it is the former. Also, although we could guess that the duo will be part of Ichika’s harem, they somewhat arrived too late especially Kanzashi who only made her appearance past the halfway mark of the series.

But don’t write off Chifuyu too and I’m guessing she has a higher ‘authority’ than even Tatenashi. It’s just that she puts on a strict face but deep down inside, maybe she just wants to cuddle him and smother her little brother with lots of love. Yikes! Don’t want to be caught dead by her saying that! Feels like she is the ‘last boss’ if the other girls want to end up as Ichika’s bride. Win the approval of your sister-in-law! Yup. That’s how I feel, the reason why they respect her in addition to being their revered teacher. With the siblings part of his harem, it almost completes Ichika’s United Nations harem because from what I read, the Sarashiki sisters have a bit of Russian blood in them. But still don’t have the all-important American girl? As I read, there was supposed to be an American IS candidate although she wasn’t part of the main harem. In the last season when everyone fought against an unmanned IS, it was supposed to be an IS piloted by that American candidate but went out of control so as usual Ichika had to be the hero and save the day. And he got a peck on his cheek. Man, I would have really loved to see that reaction among the girls but the anime had to turn it into an unmanned IS threat. Bummer. Now that I have remembered something, it seems that another potential girl of Ichika’s harem didn’t make her appearance at all this season. Remember Ran? The sister of Ichika’s friend, Dan? I remember she was quite conscious about Ichika and even wanted to enter the same IS academy as him. I suppose with Ichika having a lot on his plate this season, maybe that’s why she is omitted. Not that the red head will make things better anyhow.

Here’s a point to ponder. Although that all the other girls in this academy are interested in Ichika, they aren’t that interested to the point where they will actually engage in dirty dog/cat fights. What does this show? Two things. One, that they view him as a ‘tool’ and for something fun and casual. Because if they really want him to their boyfriend, they would have joined the harem fight. Which will make it a lot messier than before because it will be hard to animate hundreds and thousands of girls who are chasing after your ass. Heck, can you even keep track of their names!!!! Even this would have turned off the most serious harem anime lover. Hmm… Maybe they know they can’t compete with the main ones so they don’t even bother trying. So therefore in this sense, those other extra girls who do not really harbour such desperate romantic feelings for Ichika leads us to fact number two: His harem girls are just desperate cases. They’re supposed to be IS representatives from their country and when it comes to love, they act in such a manner. Disgrace? Well, at least it shows that they are still young girls who want to experience love. I’ll give them points for persevering, though. Oh, fact number three: At least everyone in this academy is still straight and does not resort to yuri. I thought I hoped to see or at least some sort of eye candy of something yuri but amazingly, everybody here isn’t a deviant who read yuri mangas or a fujoshi fan. Good job! Think about it. Even if there are some fujoshi cases, who are they going to fantasies for Ichika’s male partner? There is no other guy around! Thank goodness?

I know IS is supposed to be some sort of sport but the way we see those machines armed with all sorts of technical and dangerous weapons and everybody spouting terms that rocket scientist would only understand, it is ironic that such weapons are loaded onto the machines for sports. As seen in the final battle how their IS can cause very destructive damage around the area. Amazingly there were no casualties. I hope those tourist areas didn’t get damaged. Therefore it is mind boggling and ironic that such weapons are created for this IS sport. Realism? You want realism? Might as well go to war. That is more real than anything. And thus with such real dangerous weapons, it is no wonder that an evil organization is going around to steal IS around the world. For whatever purpose and reason they’re doing it (I am guessing world domination, what else is there?) and how they are connected with Ichika’s past, we can’t be bothered about it since we’re here for Ichika and his girls and that the baddies don’t really make an impact. Madoka just wants to kill her sister for who knows what reason. Autumn is filled with lots of rage that you think anger management classes won’t help. Squall sounds like an old woman despite looking like an attractive young blonde. Now that Tabane has teamed up with them, it’s going to be messier. Ah, I’ve said that word again. Really, I thought her child-like and fun, sparkly and lively personality was amusing since that personality is what makes her a super genius in making all those IS machines. But it wouldn’t have done anything to this series even if she had more screen time.

Joining this seasons’ cast of line-up is Chiwa Saito as Tatenashi. She sounds like she is having lots of fun voicing her role. In addition to blonde lolis like Rebecca from Pani Poni Dash or Rachel from Linebarrels Of Iron, the liveliness she puts in reminds me of and is on par with Taokaka in BlazBlue Alter Memories and Mamejiro in Blood Lad. The rest include Suzuko Mimori as Kanzashi (Nanami in Kamisama Hajimemashita), Ai Kayano as Madoka (Mei in Sukitte Iinayo), Fumi Hirano as Squall (Lum in Urusei Yatsura) and Yuka Nishigaki as Autumn (Yuu in Guilty Crown). Minami Kuribayashi who did the opening theme in the first season, again does the same for the sequel. I thought True Blue Traveler sounded like a ‘cousin’ of last season’s Straight Jet. As for the ending theme, it is now performed by the main quintet of Ichika’s harem. Again, I thought Beautiful Sky is like a spiritual successor last season’s Super Stream. It feels so familiar… I am thinking that as long as you see the girls running along behind Ichika, it’s safe to consider they are still part of his harem. So when Kanzashi is so called ‘accepted’ into this harem, she also sings along to this ending song and adds to the running pack. And of course with Tatenashi propping up the harem in the final episode, we’ve got 7 girls singing this song. There is also a photo at the end of the end credits animation which features Ichika and his harem. Since Chifuyu is in it, one reason why I think she is an unofficial harem of his member. I mean, you need to have the big sister type, don’t you? Besides, this idiot chose big sister’s performance during that stage battle so in a way you could say he might harbour some hidden big sister fetish… Or maybe he just doesn’t want to get killed. Big sister’s strike is deadlier than any of the other girls combined.

It is with mixed feeling when watching this show and even when it ended. Harem lovers would love how this show being a ‘classic’ harem anime but would also hate how Ichika is being a faggot and possibly gay because after being surrounded by a bevy of beauties and that everyone in school from students to teachers and heck, even the enemies are all woman, if he still doesn’t harbour any ‘healthy’ perverted thoughts on any girl, it just confirms that he is just being homo. Yup. Like as though he is the only man in this anime. That makes him very special, right? No wonder there are a handful of UN girls trying to get him. Besides Ichika’s jaw dropping density performance, everything else won’t garner some sort of award or honourable mention. You watch this show just to enjoy how this guy can lead-cum-play-on his harem (isn’t it?). You laugh at all their silly antics in the name of love. You hope for something would happen between them even if it is the slightest thing but fall flat on your face back on the ground when you realize nothing is ever going to happen because Ichika is a jerk who doesn’t care about the girls’ feelings (oblivious may have been the right word but then, who cares?). It would be even more dangerous if you are inclined to a particular girl and rooting for some sort of pairing because if it doesn’t, you might just go into a fit of rage (go Ichika x Cecilia FTW!!!). Hey, it’s only a show… In view of all this, I think it is better to watch this harem cat and mouse game instead of having one myself. Everybody is an armchair critic anyway.

Infinite Stratos OVA

April 20, 2012

When the TV version of an anime finishes, the production of the OVA several months later usually stems to provide the missing link somewhere between the episodes, to further the plot and explain things that were not properly explained then or for nonsensical, random fun that has nothing to do with everything. And throw in some fanservice while they are at it too. So where does Infinite Stratos OVA fit in the above? That’s why we are here to find out. Honestly, I wasn’t keeping my hopes up on the first two choices. You know what this means, right? Besides, that is the only reason why I watched the TV series in the first place. Come on girls! Show me the cat fight!

Sextet of Burning Love
On a hot summer vacation, Charlotte is nervously waiting outside Ichika’s house, contemplating to go in or not. When she does decide to ring the bell, she is startled to see Ichika at the back of her. She fumbles her lines and was so nervy that she looked like a fool. Thank goodness Ichika is still the dense kid we all knew so he doesn’t see any problem other than Charlotte wanting to come into his house. Doh! However Charlotte’s private time with Ichika is short-lived because Cecilia comes ringing the doorbell next. We definitely know her true motive of being here despite her excuse of ‘just happened to be nearby’ and bought cakes from a local store. Imagine their utter dismay upon seeing ‘the other woman’. So as not to make it come to waste, the ladies get Ichika’s permission to feed them. So they both form a truce like how Britain and France did during the World War. Ichika starts off with Cecilia followed by Charlotte. I’m sure the ecstasy and happiness isn’t because of the delicious cake. Get what I’m saying? Next, it’s their turn to feed Ichika but they are interrupted by the doorbell. Who could it be this time? Who else. Not one, not two, but three girls. Houki, Rin and Laura. I guess it saves time by having them all appear at the same time. Yeah, everyone came up with the same idea. See how utterly disappointed to see ‘the other women’. They can throw their plans away on having a nice and quiet private day with Ichika.

Since it’s too hot outside, the gang play some weird Q&A board game (Laura made a mountain?) when Chifuyu returns home. The girls observe closely the interactions between the siblings and somewhat conclude they are acting like a husband and wife team. Disappointed? However Chifuyu will be heading back to the academy seeing teachers need to work even during summer vacation. Feels good to be a student sometimes, eh? Before she leaves, she advises Houki to return to her shrine to see her mom once in a while. When the girls mention about Ichika’s interaction with his sister like as though they’re husband and wife, that guy thinks it’s just natural since they are siblings. I’m sure that’s not what the girls are asking. Since it’s almost dinner time, Ichika and the girls go out shopping for ingredients. Yes, all of them. Nobody gets left behind. Due to Cecilia’s horrible reputation as a terrible cook, the other girls try to restrain her from cooking. But I guess she just won’t listen and her pride never accepting that there is something wrong with her cooking. So too late for the rest as we see her squeeze empty the bottle of tomato (or is it chilli?) and a couple of Tabasco sauce into the pot! Is she really going to feed everyone with that whatever she’s making? Meanwhile Laura shows them her shishkebab thingy which she mistakenly learnt as Japanese Oden. Suddenly an explosion! BOOM! Don’t worry. It isn’t any terrorist threat. It’s just Cecilia’s pot blowing up. If this grub was in their stomach… The girls try to relegate her to do other duties like set the table but she still insists… So the kids have a great dinner with the girls contributing their own dishes. Including Cecilia’s burnt pot. Haha! Elsewhere Chifuyu meets Maya at a bar and the latter thinks she is considerate to let her brother be alone with his ‘girlfriends’. However Chifuyu remembers something. Back during the extended field trip, she went overboard by telling the girls she will never let them have Ichika. She said the unnecessary without much thought and feels the girls consider her their rival.

For the second half, Houki returns to her shrine for the Shinonono Festival. She meets up with her aunt Yukiko and is glad to help her out for the Kagura dance. While cleaning herself, Houki reflects if her sister invented IS, she wouldn’t have enrolled in the academy, kept moving around and more importantly, stay by Ichika’s side. Houki in a miko priestess outfit takes care of the lottery fortune shrine. To her surprise, she sees Ichika. Seems he remembered about it.  Houki is kinda embarrassed because she fears Ichika will comment on her girly outfit that she will not look good in it. But in reality, Ichika actually praises how good she looks in it! Houki couldn’t believe it and thinks this is all a dream and wants to wake up! Yeah, she’s going berserk! Do you really want to not stay in this ‘dream’ then? Yukiko allows Houki to go around the festival grounds till the dance. Houki is happy she gets to walk around with Ichika in her yukata but guess who showed up? Charlotte? Wrong. Laura? Off the mark. Rin? Guess again. Cecilia, right? It has to be her! Nope. Eh? If not those girls, who could it be? Don’t say it’s Chifuyu. Darn right it isn’t. It’s Ran. Oh, the other rival that is almost forgotten. Ran and Houki meet each other for the first time and though they may seem friendly on the outside, on the inside they’re like not too happy that the other girl seems a lot better than thought. Or at least described by Ichika. As they go around the festival grounds, Houki seems a little depressed. I mean, her only time with Ichika just dissipated like that. Is he that insensitive? Then at a bench, Ran praises Houki’s amazing kendo and IS skills. Suddenly they hear screams of a certain imouto complex brother looking for Ran. He really is running around asking for onlookers if they have seen this sister of his. I guess the part he described her boobs really made Ran feel the need to go punish him. Call it a blessing in disguise because Houki gets to be with Ichika alone. I’m sure she’s trying to hint him something about kind people always flock to him but it’s time for the Kagura dance.

Houki gracefully performs the dance that it’s like she’s a different person. You would have wondered where the tomboyish attitude had gone for this beauty. After the dance, the duo walk together to the hilltop. Ichika praises her dancing. He then reflects on the events that led him to join the IS Academy. He is glad he did so because he got to see her again. Does that really have a deeper meaning to it? But for Houki, it does. See how nervous and blushing she becomes? Then the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Even if they didn’t kiss, Houki finally blurted the words “I love you” out from her mouth. Yes, that’s no dream. Unfortunately… Oh God. Yes, seemingly unfortunate the most important 3 words of her life are being drowned out by the start of the fireworks display. Bummer. Total bummer. As a consolation prize she holds Ichika’s arm as they watch the display together. See, this guy is dense right till the end. When a girl clings on to your arm like that, it could very well mean one thing, right? He’s just acting so cool… It’s not like the fireworks are that great a distraction anyway.

Infinite Harem…
So yeah. The OVA is basically one that doesn’t have anything to do with the plot or advancing it. We just get our fill of love polygon between the girls over Ichika and even so, that is just the first half. While nobody goes into overdrive mode and getting physical over that guy, the rivalry is still there and it is good to know that even though everyone loves Ichika, they still continue to stay as friends. For the second half of the series, it is more focused on Houki and Ichika as the rest of the IS girls are plain out of sight. So it may be a sign that Houki should be the best ‘candidate’ to end up with Ichika. Besides, if you remember at the end of the TV series, Ichika nearly kissed Houki, only to be stopped by the other girls (note: His first kiss went to Laura). But you’ll never know. At the rate Ichika is going, he won’t be choosing one very soon. Would it be good if he does? I mean, that will mean things will change. His interaction and response with the rest will change. Thus it’s best to keep status quo for the time being. So just keep waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting…

While this OVA is void of any sort of fanservice (the most you’ll get to see is that short and ‘nothing much’ scene of Houki in the bath), the episode is also void of any IS machines. That means no aerial IS fights whatsoever. Just plain ol’ romance harem episode that one could easily mistake it as those ubiquitous ones found anywhere. And to call this series a mecha genre… Anyway that’s not the point. I just wonder why the title of the OVA has ‘sextet’ in it. When you mention a sextet, that means 6 people. Taking into consideration the 5 girls, who the heck is the 6th person? Unless you count Ichika in. If not, it must be some other girl too, right? Who? Who?! Ran? Chifuyu? Yeah, it’s that burning question of who is that sextet. Hey, what about Tabane? Has anybody seen that quirky bunny ear genius around?

While there is still no mention of any sequel, if there is you’d probably know my intentions of watching it. Yeah, you saw through me and read my face like a book just like how I spotted the intentions of those quintet ladies to be with Ichika from a hundred miles away and even saw it coming 10 years ago. Haha! So exaggerating. Okay, maybe a little advancing in the plot won’t hurt a bit but that’s really what I see this anime for. While at it, maybe Ichika can add more potential ‘candidates’ to his harem each with a different nationality too to turn up the rivalry heat. How about having an IS pilot from Malaysia? They’re warm, polite and friendly. She could probably cook lots of great variety of dishes and teach you an assortment of lines like “Apa khabar” and “Saya cinta padamu“. Well, if Malaysia gets that far by having an IS pilot candidate in the first place.

Infinite Stratos

December 12, 2011

Sadly I have to admit that the reason why I watched Infinite Stratos (IS) was not because of the mecha factor, but rather the harem and potential squabbling of several girls over a guy. Sheesh. Even if I well know beforehand that this is going to be a mecha series with some cool robot fights that won’t interest me (I was never into this genre nor ever got interested in it), the harem factor was just too overwhelming to pass it up. So yeah. There you have it. I’m guilty as charged. What is the fun in watching girls fighting over a boy, you ask? I don’t know. Maybe it’s easier watching other people’s problems (even if it’s just fiction) rather than facing your own :).

But still, you will still need to know a little mecha terms and the setting for this series. What is IS (pronounce it by its initials)? In the near future, scientists have created an advanced exoskeleton called IS which possesses the most technologically advanced fighting and combat capabilities. However, men here seem to really have thought about the future of mankind because they saw the greatest threat of its destructive weapon abilities and thus drafted some treaty (why named after Alaska?) to totally ban it from ever being used in combat or war and that each IS technology must be equally distributed among all countries to prevent one from being dominant. Gee, that’s very thoughtful. But no matter how good and noble that intention is, I just can’t help see that there is going to be some unscrupulous parties trying to gain its technology for their nefarious ends.

In order not to put such awesome technological advance to waste, IS is turned into an international sport. However due to some peculiar feature, only girls can pilot these exoskeletons. Yes, it’s a sport only and for women. Oddly, if you think about it, if IS can only be piloted by women, then if nations are at war, women will only be in the front lines, right? Which country will send their women to war? Anyway back to the story. Ten years later after the introduction IS, another peculiar thing happened. There is a Japanese boy, Ichika Orimura who seems to be able to pilot an IS machine! Wait! How can this be? I have my own theory. Either he is a girl in disguise if not, he has no balls… HAHA!!! Just kidding. So yeah. This is where the harem factor is. As the only guy, and I mean THE ONLY MALE in the prestigious IS Academy in Japan, Ichika has to put up with lots of girls, perhaps every darn girl because they’re so excited to see a guy among them. Let the cat fight begin! One minor factor about Ichika’s would-be harem is that he is going to amass girls from different nations. Oh yeah, how about a potential one from as far as the other side of the world sound? But a good thing is, being in an academy filled with only girls, there have been no cases of yuri or onee-sama lovers in this entire academy! Is it a good thing that everybody here is straight? Oh well, Ichika is going to have it tough anyhow.

Episode 1
Disregard the opening sequence about a group of girls in their IS machines cooperating and taking on an enemy in some complicated, messy aerial IS fight. So this is Ichika’s first day in class as a transfer student. He is in an awkward position. The only guy in a class filled with girls who are none too happy to get to know him. Apparently, this class has 2 instructors. Maya Yamada and Chifuyu Orimura, Ichika’s older sister whom he thought was on some mysterious job. Must be a shock that she suddenly pops up here, right? And yes, all the girls start swooning over Chifuyu. I guess she must have some reputation to make girls purposely attend to this academy. Uh huh. She is Japan’s first IS representative but mysteriously disappeared at the most crucial timing. Chifuyu doesn’t treat her brother differently from anyone else. No special treatment. She is the tough and strict instructor you don’t want to mess with. She’s going to have everyone memorize the basics and let it sink into their bodies within 6 months. After that short history of the development of IS, I guess the only person Ichika can rely on is his tsundere childhood friend, Broomstick, oops I mean Houki Shinononononononono… Oops, sorry. Once more. His kendo expert childhood friend, Houki Shinonono. I guess she’s even happy that he can remember her right off the bat since it has been 6 years since they last saw each other. Let’s keep his harem count, shall we? She ahem, Houki is harem girl number 1. As the only guy in the academy, he is still a guy after all. What do I mean? He slacks in his studies. I don’t blame him. You expect him to memorize all that terms from that thick reference book. Oh, he threw it away. But if Chifuyu tells him to do it, he’s got no choice, right?

But not every girl is amused with Ichika. One of them being Cecilia Alcott and she is appalled Ichika doesn’t know the elite she is. I’m sorry. I didn’t know you are Britain’s representative for IS. Yeah, as snobbish as the Brits are. She starts bragging about her abilities that probably Ichika (and us) don’t want to hear. She’s not too happy to hear him ‘defeat’ an instructor because she was darn sure she was the only one who did it. Ichika’s day isn’t getting better when a group of girls obviously tail him back to his dorm. That intrigued with a guy, huh? Ichika is temporarily staying with Houki so you can imagine the scene when he comes in to see her clad in only a towel. She kicks him out but has to beg for his life to get in because who knows what those girls outside will do if he lingers any longer. See her tsundere side coming out? Houki proceeds to lay down the rules for them and she doesn’t hesitate to use her bokuto whenever he says the wrong things. Ichika continues to have lunch with Houki but a group of girls (I’ll refer to them as the 3 stooges) came to sit by and strike up a conversation, prompting Houki to leave. They learn they are just childhood friends and went to the same kendo dojo. Next day in class, Chifuyu announces that they need to elect a class rep. Guess who got nominated? Is there any other guy in class? Yup. Him. However Cecilia won’t accept this ‘shame’ and insult (England won the World’s Worst Cuisine award many times? What happened to good ol’ fish and chips?). She challenges him to a duel to not only decide the class rep, but if he loses, he will become her slave! But each time Ichika ‘hits’ back at Cecilia, the class finds it funny so Cecilia really thinks he is mocking her. Chifuyu approves the battle which will take place next Monday.

Episode 2
Ichika will be given his own personal IS machine since the academy doesn’t have a spare one. Wow. His own IS. How envious. There are only a handful of candidates with their own personal IS. Cecilia is one of them. Ichika is also tasked to collect data with his IS as the rest find out that Houki is the younger sister of the professor that created IS, Tabane Shinonono, who is currently missing. So more IS jargon and tsundere from Houki. Seems Ichika pleads to her to help tutor him with the IS stuff. Initially she didn’t like that idea but when several girls start popping up offering to tutor him, she just can’t say no, right? Besides, she’ll get to be alone with him too, right? Right. I’m sure that’s what she really wants. Ichika gets his own IS named Byakushiki and is given the run down on his machine and Cecilia’s Blue Tears. So into the arena, Cecilia awaits her ‘victim’ and the battle for the class rep starts. Blue Tears’ specialty is long range sniping so it’s hard for Byakushiki to get close. Plus, Ichika is still an amateur pilot so he is fast losing energy. Cecilia is a pro handling her IS though Ichika is having a hard time but enough to withstand her attacks. Then Byakushiki transforms and Cecilia realizes he was fighting her in just his default form. With lots of determination to protect his sister’s name, Ichika unleashes Yukihira Type 2, a sword that was Chifuyu’s trademark weapon. He charges and slices through all her missiles. As he is about to land the final strike, his energy runs out so Cecilia wins by default. Back down, Ichika gets an explanation why his energy runs out (something about Yukihira is like a double edge sword converting his shield energy into attack power). With Byakushiki his personal IS, he has a bracelet on his wrist so that he can summon it anytime at will. But make sure to read the THICK rules and regulations. Oh great. While Houki agrees to continue teaching Ichika, Cecilia isn’t happy about the kind of victory she gets. Oh… Ooohhh…. What is that love-struck look on her face?! Why is her mind clouded with Ichika’s face?! Ah yes. Welcome on board, Cecilia. Harem girl number 2.

Episode 3
The class are being thought the basics of IS manoeuvres. Cecilia and Ichika are tasked to demonstrate. She happily offers to guide him but as usual, the beginner crashes his IS since he can’t control it. Thank goodness he isn’t hurt but he might be if he gets caught in the cat fight that’s about to start between Houki and Cecilia! Arguing who should take him to the infirmary! And that guy is so dense, he can’t even guess why they’re on so bad terms. To his surprise, everybody throws Ichika a party to congratulate him as their class rep. Apparently Cecilia relinquished it after reflecting on her childish temperament. Cecilia is happy with a photo with Ichika but to her dismay all the other girls butt in and spoil the photo. Why? They don’t want her to get a head start! Next day, the class are discussing of a new transfer student in a class next to theirs. Their class rep gave way for this newbie to take her position. So who is this new girl? She is Fan Rinrin AKA Rin, China’s IS representative and Ichika’s second childhood friend. Oh yes. Uh huh. Ichika’s harem girl number 3. Oh boy, the rivalry is heating up. Is it a wonder why Houki and Cecilia are feeling a little irritated that Ichika and Rin are getting along quite well, catching up on lost times? We also learn how Ichika ended up in the IS academy. Seems he was on his way to take an exam. He got lost and stumbled into a room with an IS machine. It reacted to him and the rest is history. Wait a minute. What is an IS machine doing in a community hall where the entrance exam is supposed to be held? Houki and Cecilia confront them and want to know Rin’s relationship with Ichika. When Ichika mentions Rin came in right after Houki left and that Houki is childhood friend number 1 and Rin number 2, see that happy smirk on Houki’s face that she enjoys being labelled as his first childhood friend? The girls continue to argue why they deserve Ichika. Okay, I might have exaggerated on that bit but you know the way they says things, they want to be him. The only one, that is. As not to lose out, Cecilia and Houki train Ichika together. What do you expect when it’s 2 on 1? Then when Rin learns Ichika is sharing the same room with Houki, she pleads to her to switch rooms! No way, man! Rin tries to remind him about their promise (how convenient) but he remembers it as one whereby she’ll cook her sweet and sour pork for him every day. SLAP! So, Rin challenges him to a duel. In next week’s Inter-Class Tournament, the loser must grant the winner 1 request. Obviously Ichika is so dense that even poor Houki can tell what is going on and tells him to get kicked by a horse and die! Fate is really funny because for the Inter-Class Tournament, the first round pits Ichika with Rin. Well, you don’t have to wait till the finals, eh? Rin’s Shenlong is similar to Byakushiki since it specializes in melee type combats. Rin gets ready to kick his ass.

Episode 4
The battle begins with both sides confident in taking the other out. But Rin uses her Dragon Roar to keep Ichika at bay. Then remembering what Chifuyu thought him, Ichika comes up with a plan using his Ignition Boost when suddenly a stray shot is fired through the barrier almost hitting them. Turns out to be an IS of an unknown nationality and is targeting them. The match is cancelled and evacuation process is in order. However the entire arena is in a complete lockdown so the spectators are trapped. Ichika plans to take on the menace even though he is the weakest one and even saves Rin from an incoming shot. The plan is for Ichika to charge up while Rin backs him up. Cecilia wants to go assist them but as Chifuyu points out, her IS’s ability will only hinder and make the current situation worse. As Ichika and Rin fight the IS, they realize that it is unpiloted since its movements are robot-like. However it is impossible for an IS to move without a human pilot. Another odd thing is that it doesn’t go on the offensive when they’re talking or not in attacking mode. But to Ichika, he can go all out and practice his Yukihira weapon since he won’t be hurting anybody. I don’t know how Houki got out but she distracted Ichika with her pessimism that he can’t win against it if he’s not a real man. As Rin fires, Ichika absorbs her blast to power up his energy to cut one of its arm. But the other arm punches him away and he is out of energy. Ichika looks confident when the IS prepares to aim at him. Seems he has got things all plan out as Cecilia attacks from long range. Just when they thought it is the end, the IS starts moving and fires at Ichika. In the aftermath, Rin is beside unconscious Ichika at the infirmary. She tries to kiss him but he wakes up. Bad timing? Ichika finds out that IS suddenly ceased functioning then, the reason why he isn’t roasted to bits. Then they talk about sweet and sour pork. He suggests that they go out to have some fun and Rin starts thinking this is going to be a date. Before she can answer, Cecilia and Houki come in to nurse Ichika. They’re not too happy to see Rin jumping the gun. With their argument, can he heal in time? Meanwhile Chifuyu and Yamada are researching on this unmanned IS and is stumped that its core doesn’t belong to any of the personal IS machines in the world. Just what is going on?

Episode 5
Ichika takes a short off-campus break and visits his middle school friend, Dan Gotanda. Looks like his sister, Ran has a crush on Ichika. Nice to him, but rough to her own brother. That says it all. Too bad I can’t include her in the harem count because she is really just a minor character. Back at the academy, Houki is reluctant to change her room since Yamada has already sorted things out. But since Ichika’s concern that he will still wake up on time and brush his teeth properly, Houki immediately moves out. Tsundere… And he still can’t guess why she’s so mad! And more tsundere because Houki told him that if she wins next month’s Grade Level Individual Tournament, he has to go out with her. Apparently the 3 stooges were eavesdropping and they spread the big news throughout the academy. Thing is, it got twisted somehow that whoever wins this tournament gets to go out with Ichika. What’s worse with a girl with motivation? An entire academy of girls with motivation for the same goal! But the biggest news is that the class has got another transfer student. He is Charles Dunoa of France. Oh wait. Another guy who can pilot an IS? That means, the rivalry over Ichika is more spread out right? Yeah, everyone starts chasing them! Boys are such a rare commodity in this school. Well, being the other only guy in town, I’m sure Ichika is sure enthusiastic to confide everything in him. I’m surprised no girls became a fujoshi or yaoi fan. But there is something more than meets the eye for Charles. He is rather shy when changing clothes alone with Ichika. Oh no. Don’t tell me he is… During practice class, Chifuyu assigns Cecilia and Rin to demonstrate since they have personal IS machines. They aren’t too enthusiastic about it but sharp Chifuyu tells them that this is their chance to show off to him. Instantly, they’re in for it! They’ll be fighting against Yamada and somehow she crashes on Ichika and they end up in an ambiguous position. I guess everyone is fired up now, eh? Yamada being the previous IS candidate, shows the stuff she is made out as she easily beats Cecilia and Rin. Then the class is split up into groups with those with personal machines acting as leaders. Guess how many wants to be with the boys? Then Houki has a hard time getting into her IS so Ichika is ordered to carry her in, much to the envy of the other girls. During lunch, if it isn’t bad enough that 3 girls are already vying with each other to hand over their handmade lunch to Ichika, he has got to bring along Charles with them. Yeah, guys like them have to stick around each other. Other than trying to hand Ichika their lunch, they also fight over the right for him to feed them. Is this school getting lots of transfer students lately? I mean, now we have Laura Bodewig from Germany transferring into their class. However, unlike every other girl that swoon at the sight of Ichika, Laura goes up to him and slaps him!!! She will not acknowledge him as Chifuyu’s little brother.

Episode 6
The girls are explaining to Ichika how to fight. However he doesn’t understand a single thing they say till Charles show up. Yeah, he instantly understood. Then he has a spar with Charles’ Raphael Revive. And lost. Since he doesn’t grasped the nuances of long range weapons so he offers to let Ichika practice with his. But they are interrupted when Laura wants to pick a bone with Ichika. If not for the instructors butting in, it could’ve gotten ugly. So Ichika, do you remember what you did to piss her off? Later Ichika spots Laura trying to persuade Chifuyu to return to Germany and teach her because she views everyone here as trash. Chifuyu ignores her cockiness and tells her off. Chifuyu knows Ichika is spying and tells him to do some self training or else he’ll be eliminated at next month’s tournament. Ichika remembers that during the second Mondo Grosso International Tournament, for reasons unknown till this day, he was kidnapped. Chifuyu had to withdraw her participation from the finals to rush and rescue him. Her forfeiture caused a huge commotion but in order to return the favour, Chifuyu went to Germany to become the country’s instructor for a year since they were the ones responsible for tipping off Ichika’s location. Ichika goes back to his room and accidentally enters the bathroom to see Charles bathing. Okay, this confirms it. He is a she. Say, the first girl he has seen naked, eh? The atmosphere becomes awkward so Charles explains. Though her father is the president of the mass manufactured IS machines, those are all second generation IS as the world is now moving on to the third generation (like Laura’s Schwarzer Regen). Charles isn’t the daughter of her dad’s real wife and lived separately from her dad. Two years ago, her mom died and suddenly daddy’s personnel came to pick her up. They found she had capabilities to pilot an IS and was made to be a test pilot. After that, the company went into critical state since they’re still producing second generation IS. So disguising as a boy is to stir up some publicity and as well to interact with the odd case (Ichika) that is in Japan. In short, her duty is to gather data from his IS. Charles is relieved to get it off her chest (on a side note, I wonder how she hides her boobs by making it flat when she cross-dresses as a boy) but laments she will be recalled to her country since her gender is revealed. But Ichika who has never been doing well in IS studies suddenly can quote a paragraph and line from the academy’s law that states any students enrolled in this academy do not belong to any country, affiliation or organization. Just wow. I guess after all that he has to say, he wants Charles to stay and it will be fine if he keeps his mouth shut, right? Well, they almost got busted when Cecilia comes knocking on their door. Charles has to pretend to play sick so Cecilia ‘takes’ Ichika away for dinner. Too bad Houki had the same idea too and she’s not thrilled that Cecilia is wrapping herself around his arm. Not to lose out, Houki does the same onto his other arm. Wait. No Rin? I wonder where she’ll grab if she was there. Ichika brings back dinner to Charles but since she isn’t used to chopsticks, he feeds her. Oh, before I forget. Charles Dunoa: Ichika’s harem girl number 4. Even if she’s a guy in the eyes of the others. Meanwhile Laura still isn’t happy over a certain brother to Chifuyu as she takes off her eye-patch. Man, her eye is glowing!

Episode 7
Another rumour is going around. Whoever wins this month’s tournament gets to go out with Ichika. Erm? Haven’t we heard that before? Houki is bothered by this fact so her only choice is to win. Flashback reveals she was supposed to be a kendo champion for her grade but didn’t since she couldn’t participate due to circumstances and lost by default. When Tabane created IS and the people started to worry about its threat, her family was relocated under a protection programme and separated and moved periodically. It is during these times, she continued her kendo because she felt it was her only connection to Ichika. Meanwhile Cecilia and Rin are to duke it out over the right for you-know-who but are interrupted by Laura. She mocks them, their country. They don’t like her. They fight. But third generation Schwarzer Regen fares much better than the second generation of Blue Tears and Shenlong. They are losing energy at a rapid rate and at this point they may endanger their lives. Ichika can’t stand around watching his harem girls, oops, I mean his friends getting trashed so he summons Byakushiki and crashes through the barrier and fights Laura. With Charles as his support, Laura makes a formidable foe. But the fight comes to an end when Chifuyu steps in. After giving them a dressing down, he tells them to settle their differences at the grade tournament. Till then, all personal battles are prohibited. Ichika and Charles nurse Cecilia and Rin at the infirmary. Looks like their pride got hurt a lot more. Charles nearly spit out that they like Ichika but thankfully they were quick enough to shut her up. So they weren’t that badly injured, I take. And Ichika is still the dense guy… Suddenly loads of girls barge in and requests Ichika to be their partner. Seems that the grade tournament will be in fought in pairs. Those without pairs will be chosen via lottery. Guess who Ichika chose? Charles! Well, he’s got to protect her identity as a ‘guy’, right? How disappointing. Yeah, Cecilia and Rin would’ve joined the ‘fight’ if not for Yamada’s stern advice not to participate due to their injuries. Back in their room, Charles thanks Ichika for standing up for her. The odd part is when they want to change, they turned their backs against each other. Of course as expected, Charles slipped and her cry was enough to send Ichika into reflex action to look the other way. So what does he see? Charles in her undies. Part 2. Don’t scream, or else… Oh, he got kicked and knocked out by the way. I was just wondering why one didn’t use the bathroom to change. Duh… After putting Ichika into bed, Charles pecks his forehead. The day of the tournament arrives and lots of big shots and VIPs are attending the first round. Remember how fate is a funny thing? Guess who Ichika-Charles will be up against in the first round? Yes. Laura-Houki. Seems the two were paired via lottery. Yeah, fate is indeed real funny and ironic.

Episode 8
As the match begins, it seems Laura isn’t treating this match as a team. She knocks Houki out of commission when she’s in the way even if she’s being hammered by the smooth coordination and cooperation of Ichika and Charles. But with Houki out of the way, it’s a good thing since they’ll be able to concentrate on bringing down that b*tch. As powerful Laura is, she is still no match when the duo combine their tactics. She is cornered and… Flashback time. Laura was a test subject and the strongest living weapon alive. Till IS came along. To increase her compatibility with the machine, a nanomachine was implanted in her eye. But her body couldn’t adapt quick enough and was marked as a failure. Then she met Chifuyu and she became her instructor. With her, she regained her position as number 1. Laura asked Chifuyu’s source of strength and her reply was she had a little brother. Then looking at her gentle impression, it was then Laura couldn’t accept that little brother who changed her instructor. Laura’s craze for power goes awry when Schwarzer Regen absorbs her and she turns into a mindless IS blob. Chifuyu orders the cancellation of the tournament (again?) and the evacuation of the spectators. Ichika becomes very upset when he sees Laura using a signature move that only belongs exclusively to Chifuyu. He is made to calm down by Houki and his energy has run out. Charles offer to recharge him in exchange he mustn’t lose. Or else he’ll have to come to school in a girl’s uniform. Ichika powers up and cuts the IS blob to free unconscious Laura. In Laura’s unconscious mind, she hears Ichika’s voice of wanting to become strong and protect the one he loves. She wakes up in the infirmary with Chifuyu next to her. She mentions about some Valkyrie Trace System which is banned under the IS treaty (and equipped on Laura’s IS) since it will cause the pilot’s will to be taken away in addition to damaging the pilot’s mental state. Chifuyu asks is she is somebody. If not, it is convenient since she will be Laura Bodewig from now on. Also, she cannot become her. At the end, the tournament is cancelled for good. There goes everybody’s hope for a date. But Ichika is still going to honour his promise with Houki by going out with her. For shopping that is. She anticipated his kind of answer and kicks him in the gut! Yamada rewards Ichika and Charles with a nice big hot bath. Nobody but them. Uh huh. Charles uses this chance to get intimate with Ichika. She wants him to call her by her real name: Charlotte. She also decides to be herself. This means, the next day in class, she reintroduces herself as a girl, much to everyone’s shock. What is the first thought that cross their mind? Ichika has been sharing a room with her since and yesterday’s bath… Oh, Rin looks so pissed off that she is ready to kill Ichika when she comes bursting in fully equipped with her Shenlong. However he didn’t die because Laura protected him and suddenly KISSES HIM!!! WOAH!!! Out of all the girls, I never thought she would be the first one to steal his kiss! She literally jumped the queue!!! How would the others in line feel? Not only that, Laura proclaims Ichika will be her husband and he will have NO RIGHT to object to it. Yeah, he has no say whatsoever. And so, completes Ichika’s harem for this season. Laura, you are girl number 5 even if you’re the first to smooch him.

Episode 9
Houki feels like hanging up a call from Tabane. But it seems that genius has finished something that Houki wanted: Her own IS machine. Meanwhile Ichika’s morning will never be the same again since he is shocked to find naked Laura getting bolder and bolder by the moment. So what happens when Houki comes in and sees them in some hentai play (she’s doing some submission move on him totally naked). Hurt, would be one of the words used to describe his predicament. With the beach study session coming up, Ichika brings Charlotte to buy their swimsuit. She was happy that this is some sort of date till she realizes she was just accompanying him. Yeah, you can never break through his density. He doesn’t even get it when she mocks him in third person. Be patient, patient my dear. Obviously Cecilia and Rin aren’t happy so they stalk them with Laura joining them because they need to gather intelligence when facing an unknown enemy. Isn’t that just like stalking? Anyway Ichika bumps into Dan and Ran (the latter over happy to see him). She says she’ll be joining his harem next year. Oops, I mean the IS Academy. Since she’s blabbing too much, Charlotte took Ichika away under her nose. At the swimsuit store, Charlotte spots the stalking trio and in her haste, takes Ichika to hide inside the changing room with her. I don’t know why, Charlotte starts undressing as an excuse to test out her swimsuit. To take his mind off this stimulation, Ichika starts expressing the pi formula! How many digits has he gone into?! His voice attracted Chifuyu and Yamada passing by so they’re taken out and giving a good lecturing right on the spot. Meanwhile Laura contacts her Schwarzer Hare (Black Rabbit) organization vice president, Clarisa Harfouch about advice on which swimsuit to choose. Thanks to Clarisa’s extensive knowledge on Japanese anime and manga (in other words, she’s an otaku), did Laura make a good choice?

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the beach episode finally arrives! Being the only guy is hard because the girls are vying for his attention. Like Cecilia, she makes Ichika apply sun lotion all over her back and ‘other parts she can’t reach’ so much so Rin can’t take it anymore and applies the lotion on his behalf. This results in Ichika getting kicked when she got up and he saw her topless. Then Rin challenges Ichika to a swimming race but her feet got cramped. Ichika saves her and brings her ashore. Cecilia is going to bring her hospital but she insists she is fine. Then Laura comes by wrapped like a mummy. She is too shy to reveal her swimsuit but ultimately does. Wait a minute. For a girl who wasn’t embarrassed to wrestle Ichika totally naked in the morning, she is now shy in letting him see her swimsuit? It isn’t anything that flashy either but it’s better than your typical school swimsuit. Then with Charles, Laura and the 3 stooges, they play beach volleyball but Laura is so love-stuck with Ichika’s words calling her cute, she got knocked out by the ball. Where has that tough girl gone to? Then Chifuyu and Yamada switch places and Charlotte is dismayed that there are too many rivals thinking that Chifuyu may be in Ichika’s books too. Though, he himself may not realize it. He was dense before the sun scorched his brain. And with the fun continuing throughout the day, thinking about it now, where the heck is Houki all these while?! It would’ve been more havoc if she had been in the equation. Apparently she is worried about something. Chifuyu sees her and tells her Laura’s Valkyrie Trace System has got nothing to do with Tabane and that she might be returning. Hey, I thought she was missing? But Tabane has finished creating Houki’s own personal IS machine with the latest specs and technology on par with Byakushiki: Akatsubaki.

Episode 10
Charlotte mistakenly eats the wasabi and feels the fiery sensation while Cecilia isn’t going to give up her seat next to Ichika seeing she worked so hard for it. She’s not use sitting Japanese style and is in much discomfort and has Ichika feed her, much to the envy of others. It could’ve got rowdier if Chifuyu didn’t tell them off. To make up for it, Ichika invites Cecilia to his room. Ooohh… Is this the moment you’ve been waiting for? The words you long to hear? Cecilia happily makes her way to Ichika’s room but was intercepted by the 3 stooges undressing her to reveal her shoubu pantsu. When she manages to get away, she sees Ichika’s harem girls eavesdropping outside his room. Sounds like he is doing something ambiguous to Chifuyu! The door gives way and they realize he was giving her a back massage. What were they thinking? So I guess that’s why he called Cecilia here too right? Yeah, he gives her a good massage too. Chifuyu flips up Cecilia’s underneath to note her shoubu pantsu. After getting Ichika to buy them drinks, she has a talk to the girls. Is big sister going to give Ichika to them? Not a chance! Oh, how heart breaking. Well, she wants them to take him by force. Next day, Houki spots a pair of funny bunny ears sticking out of the ground. Her instincts are right not to pull it but as for Ichika, he is like the curious cat. Suddenly a capsule comes crashing down next to them! Out comes Tabane! Yeah, it’s those rabbit ears. How can this genius be so child-like? Maybe that’s why she’s a genius. She goes off to find Houki with her Houki Detector? Later as Chifuyu gives the gang a personal training, annoying Tabane comes by. She is here to give Houki’s fourth generation Akatsubaki to Houki. Fourth generation? And the world has just begun to venture into the third. That’s why she’s a genius. Tabane does some fitting and input for Houki and after that she test pilots the IS. With super speed and more power from her twin swords, Amazuki and Kawarene, she is able to slice a rain of missiles easily. She revels in the new power she has acquired. But training is put on hold when Yamada comes by with special orders from HQ. Seems a third generation IS machine, Silvario Gospel under joint development by USA and Israel has lost control and gone berserk. The unmanned IS is approaching their area and Chifuyu wants the kids to countermeasure it. As they plan their attack, seems they need an IS with enough power to fell it in 1 go. That’s a job for Byakushiki. But they also need a fast IS to send him there so that he can conserve his energy for the hit. That will be Akatsubaki as Tabane suggests. Another flashback 10 years ago about the White Knight incident. After the announcement of IS, somebody hacked and launch 2,341 missiles from various nations towards Japan! It could be another Hiroshima in the making if a mysterious White Knight IS didn’t show up and dispel every missile and keep Japan safe till today. The White Knight shortly vanishes shortly after. Till today, nobody knows the identity of that saviour. Well, hints may indicate it’s Chifuyu but don’t be too hasty yet. Houki and Ichika prepare themselves to make this mission a success.

Episode 11
Just moments before blast-off, via private channel, Chifuyu warns Ichika that Houki seemed a little merry and may be doing something stupid and if that happens, he must support her. Akatsubaki’s lightning speed arrives at Gospel as soon before you know it. Their presence has alerted Gospel as it goes into attack mode. Gospel is equally swift and powerful. As Ichika gets ready to strike it, he sees a ship below and goes to protect it. As far as everyone knows, all ships are supposed to be cleared of this area. Scanning shows that this may be an illegal fishing vessel. Houki isn’t amused that Ichika wants to protect such petty criminals so Ichika talks some sense into her. He doesn’t want her to say such sad things. Has she lost sight of protecting the weak after gaining power? Houki realizes and feels guilty. During that moment, Gospel opens fire on them. Ichika uses every ounce of his energy to shield Houki. The mission is considered a failure. They have lost track of Gospel’s location. But Chifuyu has everyone on standby since they have not received orders to back out. Ichika is retrieved from sea and recuperating in a room while guilt-laden Houki sits by him. Though Houki wonders those scums disrupting law and order were the weak ones worth protecting, she also wonders if this is Ichika’s strength. Another flashback reveals how the boys back in school used to pick and tease Houki for being a tomboy. Ichika stood up for her and even punched one of them in the face for crossing the line. Soon after, that’s when they started calling each other by their first names because it’ll be too confusing calling by their family names since both sides have famous people going by that name. As Houki wallows further in depression on the beach, Rin comes to slap some sense into her. So what is she going to do? She’s going to fight anyway. That’s the Houki we all know. And all the other girls agree that they won’t have it any other way. Laura’s intelligence has her confirming Gospel’s location. Though it is on stealth mode, it is not camouflaged so the satellite visuals spotted it. They also make plans and their respective roles on how they’re going tackle Gospel. That night, Gospel arrives in the vicinity as Laura fires the first blood at it. Yamada wants Chifuyu to order them to return but even though if they are disobeying orders, she knows this was going to happen anyway.

Episode 12
Remember that fight scene way back in the first episode? Yup, it’s here now. The girls cooperate to take down Gospel while Ichika must be experiencing some near-death experience. In a calming and soothing world, he sees a girl in white. Then from bright blue cloudy skies, it turns into a glowing sunset and perhaps that same girl now in the IS machine asks him if he desires power. To cut his explanation short, yes, he wants it to protect his loved ones. Back to the battle, though Houki manages to slay Gospel, it starts activating Second Shift. Read that as power up to kick your ass real good. Now the girls will have a hard time. Houki is taken out and as she lays barely conscious, she thinks of wanting to see Ichika just once. She gets her wish because Ichika is suddenly next to her in his Byakushiki. This is no dream either. He’s real. He gives her a ribbon because he prefers her old hairstyle and wishes happy birthday. Oh. A girl is happy when their guy remembers her birthday, right? So how did Ichika get out from his room? Well, if you put the 3 stooges on watch, sure can lah. What about his wounds. Apparently Byakushiki has this ability to heal. How convenient. So with Ichika regrouping with the girls, he even powers up into his Second Form, Setsura after getting a much needed charge up from Houki. In the end, Ichika disables Gospel for good. See, all you need is lots of determination and not just power. Maybe a harem too. In the aftermath, though Chifuyu notes the mission is a success, they disobeyed orders and will face some sort of punishment. But to show she isn’t really cold-hearted devil, she praises them a job well done and to get some well deserved rest.

Later Chifuyu meets Tabane and they discuss about Byakushiki exceeding Tabane’s expectation. It reminded her of Shirokishi AKA Core Number 001, the first machine she put her entire soul into. Then Chifuyu talks hypothetically that what if on that day a certain genius led a certain boy to a room with an IS machine on his entrance exam day and made it specifically in a way it would function at a specific time. This would make the boy look like he could operate the IS. Then on another separate hypothetical topic, what if a certain genius wanted to let her precious sister make her public debut and prepared a personal machine and incident to make some IS go berserk. For this, the new high performance machine piloted by the little sister would be included in this operation and thus it will be a grand debut for her. One hell of a genius? Indeed. I’m sure you know which genius they’re talking about, right? Elsewhere, I guess it’s better late than never as Houki shows Ichika her swimsuit at the cove. She apologizes for her reckless action that could have resulted in his death. But he forgives her and just flicks her forehead as punishment. It may not be the question we’re hoping she pops but she asks if Ichika thinks of her as a woman (hard to answer no when she’s putting his hands over her chest, right?). Guess how he answers that? “Well, I guess…”. Sheesh. Since it isn’t a negative answer, I suppose it’s enough to make Houki happy. Then as Ichika tries to kiss her (yes, it’s him who initiates), he sees a gun pointing at his face. Uh huh. His jealous harem is going to kill him! Next time, keep your eyes real close on him, okay? While they start firing, Ichika carries Houki and make a run for it. Now his real problem begins…

Definite Harem Struggle…
So yeah. There you have it. Ichika is going to see more troubled days ahead. What do you expect if you have an international harem by your side? A tsundere Japanese childhood friend, a snobbish British elite, a cheeky Chinese second childhood friend, a cross-dressing French and an imposing German. Like they say, variety is the spice of life (wink, wink). Man, with such power house nations, I wonder why there isn’t one from USA or Russia. Makes it feel like WWII, harem style, eh? At this rate, he might as well get the entire academy. I hope Ichika will learn how to handle ‘sensitive issues’ and ‘territorial disputes’ via diplomatic relationships. He’s going to need it. Somehow when these girls start to fall for him, they aren’t as intimidating as before, especially Laura. Looks like she has lost her aggressiveness ever since Ichika saved her. Since I’m only here for the harem factor, I just wished there were more scenes and episodes dedicated to see how the girls fight over him and become something like Desperate Housewives. Haha. Just kidding. Though the part of wanting to see a cat fight remains true. I’m such a sucker for this kind of genre. Having said that, to me the mecha battles were just a side affair and an ‘excuse’ to have some plot and storyline so the anime can move forward. That’s not a bad thing, really. Even if Ichika has the qualification to enter the Hall of the Most Dense Guy In The World when it comes to realizing a girl’s feelings, that last scene indicates that he may have preferred Houki to the rest. After all, she is the first girl whom he knows and spent his younger days with. So for the rest of you girls, you might want to think twice about killing Ichika for real because if you do, there’ll be nobody else to fight over :). Just beat him up a little, enough for him to recuperate and heal for the next round :p. Otherwise, Ichika is your typical heroic anime kid who cares and protects the weak. Even going as far as protecting puny criminals as demonstrated. To many of us, we wouldn’t even bat an eyelid once we have branded somebody as a criminal or villain. How many of us can be as strong as him to really stick to his beliefs?

There may be a few questions hanging over my head. For instance the responsible person or organization that sends out unmanned IS machines and making them go berserk. Well, it is hinted it may be Tabane since after all, she is the only quirky genius in the world and the only one who could possibly pull off that kind of stunt. The kind of genius that can hack into 12 countries’ military computers! She is annoying yet mysterious. So don’t write her off as an airhead because she’ll probably hit you back when you least expected it and have already all covered as part of her plan. Plus, how was she considered missing in the first place? Just a side distraction while she worked on Akatsubaki? The series is too short to develop or flesh out any characters so we may not get insights of Chifuyu’s past or get to know more about other side characters like Yamada and Clarisa. Another thing is the postponement of matches. First, the much awaited whatever battle take place. Then it gets interrupted and the match will be put off. At this rate, nobody is going to see some real tournament action, right? And to see Ichika squaring off with his harem girl as early as the first round not only once but a few times, it really feels like a setup or an early final. Who cares about that since I’m only here for the harem. Oops. I’ve said that too often.

I’m not mecha fan despite watching a few mecha series for the last couple of years. So if you ask me about the mecha fights, well, an ‘amateur’ like me will pass it off as something cool. It’s nice to see the ‘messy’ aerial battles with all the cool plasma shots and missile vapour trails, but I guess that is just about it. Other than that, I am still blur when it comes to the unique terms and names of the weapons and armament. Each time they mention it, I would go like “What? Say that again, please?”. Then with the next change of scene, I would have already forgotten its name. Is my memory that bad? Probably my mind was just focused on the harem… One thing I’m pondering about the IS battles in its arena. Though the spectators are fully protected by some barrier, when the IS machines are fighting in an aerial high and wide in the sky, it makes the perimeters of the arena redundant, isn’t it? With the pilots flying up so high, how could anyone from below see unless there is a giant screen somewhere in the arena. And how far does the protective barrier run especially if they’re fighting in the air? They might have killed an innocent bird! Thankfully no animals were harmed in the production or making of this series. Haha. But really, if there was a barrier, the pilots would’ve broke through them already. Unless of course the barrier only protects the arena. Hmm… Maybe this is possible.

The seiyuu cast are nothing to shout about nor do I have any qualms with the casting. Except for one. Yukari Tamura as Tabane (Yamada in B Gata H Kei). Sure, who wouldn’t recognize that high pitch squealing and though I feel there is nothing wrong for her to voice that genius, it felt that her voice and Tabane’s mature physical appearance do not match. I was thinking along the lines of at least somebody with a dreamy voice maybe like Kikuko Inoue for Tabane but I guess if you want somebody to sound scatterbrain, Yukari Tamura is your perfect choice. Even so, I felt that if Yukari Tamura was used, at least they should’ve made Tabane look like a loli to suit the characters’ voice. But then again, this is my opinion and what I feel. Initially I thought Ayako Kawasumi was the voice behind Yamada but it turned out to be Norika Shitaya (Sakura in Fate/Stay Night). The other casts include Kouki Uchiyama as Ichika (Soul in Soul Eater), Youko Hikasa as Houki (Mio in K-ON!), Yukana as Cecilia (Teletha in Full Metal Panic series), Asami Shimoda as Rin (Chika in Kyo No Go No Ni), Kana Hanazwa as Charles/Charlotte (Kobato in Kobato), Marina Inoue as Laura (Chiri in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series) and Megumi Toyoguchi as Chifuyu (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist).

The lively opening is quite generic for animes of this genre. It is entitled Straight Jet by Minami Kuribayashi. As for the ending theme, it is called Super Stream and depending on the girls added to Ichika’s factor, as they become ‘official’, they’ll be part of the singing team for this ending piece. At first I didn’t notice the difference but soon it starts to get a little ‘crowded and noisy’ towards the end and this is when I found out. It started out with Houki’s seiyuu all alone at first, slowly adding Cecilia, Rin, Charlotte and finally Laura into the fray. You can easily tell because the ending credits animation are just Ichika and the girls running across the screen in a line. So each time they become part of his harem, they are added into this animation part. Thus safe to say, Chifuyu isn’t going to be part of the harem because as far as Ichika is concerned, she will always be his big sister. But the rest may not know that, right? Sometimes you can never be too careful. I wonder if Ichika has 100 girls (maybe the entire IS Academy) following him, how are they all going to fit into the screen! Then again, there are official harems and non-official ones.

It really boggles my mind to still think that IS can only be piloted by females. Come to think of it, as far as I know, so far all the staffs as I have seen at the IS Academy are females.So is it really exclusively for women only? Ironically, it’s men who have higher interest in robotics and if not big boys’ toys like cars. So how Ichika really ends up piloting one is really a mystery. I know, it’s for fanservice purpose and speaking of which, don’t get your hopes up for anything very suggestive since they aren’t the kind that would raise any suspicious eyebrows. Unless you’re a first timer of course. However, if you buy the DVD, I’m sure you’ll have some of those tantalizing scenes ‘upgraded’. So yeah, it may be worthwhile if you’re hoping to see more for less. And perhaps somewhere along the deep lines, all males can actually pilot IS machines. Just that the ladies want to keep it an exclusive sport to themselves. But at the rate the development and research it is going, I feel that the IS isn’t just going to be confined to sports. Who can resist not using such powerful potentials? Besides, would you prefer to see fat half-naked men trying to push each other out of a ring or hot babes in hot machines duking it out?