IS Infinite Stratos – 04
「決戦！クラス対抗戦（リーグマッチ）」 (Kessen! Kurasu Taikousen (Riigu Macchi))
“Decisive Battle! The Inter-Class (League) Match”
For a decisive battle, Ichika’s scrimmage with Rin was somewhat unsatisfying since their wager was quickly brushed aside by the latter in the end. However, their short-lived match came with a bit of a twist, in the form of an unknown and unmanned IS that doesn’t use one of the 467 cores out there. While there are still a lot of questions surrounding this unidentified IS, its arrival is a welcome turn of events since it opens the storyline to our cast of characters fighting on the same side, much like we saw in the cold opening of the premiere. Unfortunately, it came with the trade-off of feeling like a sudden and somewhat forced development, which didn’t unfold very naturally when Ichika and Rin were trying to fend it off. I can’t even quite describe my reaction all that well, other than saying there was a lot of action going on but I just wasn’t “feeling” the excitement.
I attribute that partly to how Ichika pulled himself together and became Mr. Dependable during the emergency situation, winning over Rin even more. Most of my attention was on those two instead of the unknown IS attacking them, as Rin continued to hide her true feelings by constantly calling Ichika an idiot. All the while, the “competition” had their panties in a knot over Ichika’s safety and the envious thought on why it wasn’t them out there with him. Okay, not exactly, but it was a lot funnier in my mind to think that way. Similarly, I couldn’t help but notice Rin didn’t have any complaints about where Ichika’s claw was nudging close to. With all that going on, I have no idea how I was supposed to remain focused on the evil IS attacking them. They just looked really cute together even when Rin continued to give Ichika a hard time.
During the battle, it never felt like there was ever a real sense of danger, despite how menacing the other IS looked with its massive arms. Because of that, everyone’s concerns seemed a bit exaggerated when Ichika and Rin seemed to have things under control. Evidently, the characters didn’t feel the same way with Chifuyu showing her nervousness by putting salt in her coffee and Houki rushing to Ichika’s side to give him some words of encouragement. While both of them seemed to be overreacting from my perspective, it did indicate how much they were worried about Ichika, which was particularly surprising in Chifuyu’s case. Seeing the normally calm, cool, and collected Orimura-sensei get a bit flustered because her little brother’s in danger? Priceless.
As for Cecilia, it’s almost unbelievable how hard she’s fallen for Ichika, considering that she’s basically at his beck and call now (…and likes it). I’m still not sure where Ichika’s confidence about her arriving on time came from though, so perhaps deep-down inside he knows she’s always got his back (…in the stalking sense). Whatever the case, her unexpected arrival before the other IS made it into the arena seemed to go unexplained, which is where most of my surprise actually came from. Still, her Blue Tears’ shot was a nice finish that showed she has some teamwork skills, and a fairly flashy one at that. We’ll just have to see how well Cecilia holds up when Charlotte Dunois (Hanazawa Kana) shows up next episode. Apparently everyone thinks he’s a guy and the second male in the world able to pilot an IS. Yeah… I don’t think so, especially not with Kana voicing “him”.
I was expecting Shimoda Asami to be added to SUPER STREAM last week, but it seems like the different ending themes will be a bit more spaced out. My guess is that Hanazawa Kana will be added at episode six at the earliest. In any case, I really like the in-character voices for this song, as Asami makes it pretty clear when it’s Rin singing.