Infinite Stratos 09: Rabbit Ears and Swimsuits

Houki’s sister, Tabane, makes her on-screen debut! She even has a unique greeting to boot. If my memory serves me correctly, didn’t she disappear? If so, why was it so easy, besides the fact that they’re sisters, for Houki to be able to contact her?

A militaristic naive Laura is perfectly fine. The Black Rabbit Squad that backs her up also contrasted Laura’s character pretty well with the fact that practically all German IS officers and personnel wear the same left-eye patch as her. It’s a good thing the Vice Captain is a closet otaku, or else Laura would have wound up in the all-too-common school swimsuit attire like Merry.

Quick, someone give these two empty pots and ladles to stir imaginary soup! Oh, Shuffle!, you’re yandere quirks have sure set the bar.

The Gotanda siblings appear once more! And Ran is still as flustered as ever around Ichika. If the anime ever continues beyond its first season, I’d be thrilled to see Ran join the ranks of the IS academy as Ichika’s junior.

Plus 50 points for Charlotte taking the initiative to corner Ichika into a hot and heavy corner of a ladies fitting room stall just so she could get his opinion on her bathing suit. Minus 25 points for actually getting caught, and another 10 points off for Chifuyu’s involvement in the lecture of adolescence.

I might be a little late in realizing this, but is Charlotte’s choice of swimwear a homage to Charlie Brown? Either that, or she has a fascination with the Flintstones. And on the topic of homages, isn’t Laura’s bath towel shame reminiscent of Soul Eater? I’d have sworn she was a fan of Asura and his skin wraps.

Along with mandatory beach episodes, there always seems to be at least one incident where someone tries playing volleyball with their face instead of their hands and arms. Laura attempts to do this while continuing to be flustered at Ichika’s compliments. This side of her is definitely cute for being a new aspect of her character, but I can see it getting old really fast. I think I want macho, no-nonsense Laura back like everyone else.

“My Older Sister’s Swimsuit Couldn’t Possibly Make Her Look This Cute!” Oh, the possibilities. Ichika getting flustered from seeing Chifuyu in Victoria’s Secret lace her swimsuit was rather awkward to me. So Ichika’s a closet siscon, eh? Charlotte’s instigation couldn’t have been executed any better by anyone else.

Houki’s involvement this week was heavily downplayed and focused on Tabane granting her wish to be on par, combat-wise, with the rest of the IS harem. As I mentioned earlier, most of the story development this week happened in the first and last few minutes of the episode, and having Houki in those few minutes is starting to set her drastically apart from the rest of the girls in both good and bad ways. On the good side, this allows her character to develop beyond the typical jealous fits of harem rage she’s displayed lately. Conversely, we barely get to see her at all on-screen.

Thankfully, we get to see the fruits of Houki’s patience pay off next week, as well as what seems to be the physical return of her sister to the academy.


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