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IS: Infinite Stratos 2 – 08

「オープン・ユア・ハート」 (Oopun Yua Haato)
“Open Your Heart”

Kanzashi goes from angry to deredere in nothing flat, only for it to fall apart.

They’re Not Thinking About Ichika At All

Most of the character-based criticism about this show is leveled at Ichika, and deservedly so, but let’s be fair here – it’s not like the main five girls spent any time really thinking about Ichika’s feelings. Cecilia and Ling spent the whole time being angry and plotting his demise because he dared to not pick them, all without not even thinking to ask him why he’s after Kanzashi or discuss how it makes them feel. I was originally going to say that the other three were better, and it started out looking that way – Char was acting like she just wanted to give Ichika a good fight, and Laura was a angry but quickly seemed to get embarrassed about it, even if it was mostly because she damaged her secret picture of Ichika – but this was quickly lost when they got angry at Ichika too.

Every time the story pulls this jealousy shit the girls go from being strong, interesting characters to caricatures of jealous, petty high school girls. Not even Houki escaped – while her main story focus was elsewhere, she started off training to beat Ichika, and she never asked him what the deal was either. Ichika may be dense, but his haremettes are more focused on their own needs than those of the man they claim to love. They may still be dumb high schoolers, but they better grow out of that before and future relationship can really work.

From Zero to Dere in Nothing Flat

Kanzashi’s characterization turned on a dime. From slapping Ichika to blushing up a storm, Kanzashi-chan went from annoyed to head-over-heels in love waaay too fast. Part of this actually makes sense – she’s at a fragile place, and she seems like the type of person who would fall hard and fast for anyone who shows genuine interest in her. It still felt too abrupt though. There was no time for an emotional payoff, it was more of oh, I guess we’re doing this now. Alright.

Also there’s the fact that she instantly starts changing some of her deeply held beliefs and desires because of a boy. Once again, this fits her personality – fragile place, meek girl, wants a hero, etc. – but I’m not even going to try to hide how much this kind of attitude annoys me. Compared to the other haremettes, who are – when they’re not being flanderized – strong characters who arrived at their love for Ichika for only moderately suspect reasons, Kanzashi just ditches her goal of trying to match up to her onee-san and got help because Ichika suggested it. I mean, it was the smart thing to do, but stand up for yourself girl! It all fits, but I don’t think Kanzashi will turn out to be one of my favorite haremettes, even if she is awfully cute.

Sister Problems

Tatenashi is going after Houki now!? Swiftly approved! Yuri shipping aside, I liked the parallels between Houki’s now more distant relationship with her sister – at least compared to that of the Orimura kyoudai – and that of Tatenashi and her imouto. It was a good way for the two to connect, and it made sense why Tatenashi wanted to partner up with Houki. Also she’s apparently now mad stronk, and has big boobs. So that helps too.

Meddling Onee-sans

It was beyond obvious that Kanzashi would find out about her onee-san’s meddling. I get the whole pressure thing, but it’s a theme so old and tired that it’s not resonating with me, so her angst over her onee-san, you know, caring for her and wanting to help her is…okay, that’s not actually the point. The point is that Ichika, her new hero, appears to have been less than genuine in his reasons for pursuing her, which would certainly hurt. You could ask him what’s up though? Perhaps? Communication is the root of a healthy relationship kids. That’s a cliche, but it’s damned true. Talk to each other you stupid children!

Looking Ahead

I expect Kanzashi will finish falling to Ichika’s irresistible battering ram of dense next episode so that we can get back to that whole Madoka plot line. Ten bucks says we’ll get another interrupted tournament! When are they going to let them actually finish one? I want to know who would win!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Kanzashi falls to Ichika’s “charms”, only to be devastated by her onee-san’s meddling. Also, I’m shipping Tatenashi x Houki now #is_anime 08

Random thoughts:

  • Tatenashi-sempai, you’re analyzing the wron–no no, that’s absolutely the right thing to be focusing on. Russia-tan is amazing.
  • Wait, Tatenashi broke in? Is she not Ichika’s roommate now? I swear, they don’t keep us updated on these roommate changes at all, and they’re kind of important. Oh and also, I want to give Tatenashi a massage-e!
  • Cecilia x Ling, Char x Laura, Tatenashi x Houki…yeah, you can have the King of Dense, Kanzashi. I have better couples to ship.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: On writing fast, writing well, One short story, one week – buzzer beater, Writing challenge – one short story, one week, and Novel update: editing & short stories.

 

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November 22, 2013 at 9:14 pm
53 comments »
  • November 22, 2013 at 9:20 pmTheMoondoggie

    Now let’s look at this week’s ranking!

    0. Chifuyu
    1. Houki
    2. Kanzashi <- New contender
    3. Tatenashi
    3. Charlotte
    4. Laura
    5. Rin
    6. Cecilia

    • November 22, 2013 at 9:24 pmSortedeVaras

      I feel sorry for Kanzashi but this is the season of Tatenashi.

      • November 22, 2013 at 9:35 pmTheMoondoggie

        Oh don’t worry, if the LNs are any clue, Kanzashi’s ranking will go around near Char’s an Laura’s.

        She’s on her own floor of being adorkable.

      • November 22, 2013 at 9:50 pmSortedeVaras

        As long as she doesn’t end up being Rin level. :p

      • November 24, 2013 at 7:39 pmhaseo0408

        Rin Level? Ah! You mean the level under the basemant, at this Rin is a lost cause, eve Cecilia has a better shot than china girl.

    • November 22, 2013 at 10:57 pmcelebrinen

      Still backing Tatenashi, shower scene and the suggestion of yuri=win.

    • November 23, 2013 at 12:07 pmPeTdo

      moondoogie usually i wouldn’t agree with you but by putting Chifuyu on Ranking 0 , we are more alike than i think

  • November 22, 2013 at 9:22 pmhaseo0408

    It´s too early to judge Kanzashi´s personality, her need of a hero is understandable as he sees her sister as the peak of perfection and no matter how much she tris on her own she can´t get close to Tatenashi. That´s where Ichika come in, he migh be a dense idiot but the guy sure tries with all his power to stand up for himself in order to protect the people he loves, this way once Kanzashi dispels the misunderstanding she will learn what it means to stand up for one-self, at least what I think.

  • November 22, 2013 at 9:40 pmjustin

    Dat slap…

    girl hit guy = normal, guy hit girl = violence, douchebag, jerk.

    life’s hard even in anime world. poor him.

    • November 23, 2013 at 10:16 amSK

      While I agree with you to some extent (swords/guns/knives pointed at Ichika is a bit excessive, ladies), guys are generally stronger and thus more likely to do actual damage. And at least its easier to justify this one over than the many unwarranted “Kyaa, ecchi!” *slap* that males face for situations outside their control found in many shows.

  • November 22, 2013 at 11:02 pmtendo

    Tatenashi is the only reason I have seen this starting from ep 7 going backwards to ep 1.
    It is 100% impossible that she will be the chosen girl.
    Probably there will be no ending like in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai or the (obvious) Japanese girl is chosen. If only there be an unexpected ending like in Mashiroiro Symphony where the girl I liked was chosen. That would only happen in a parallel universe.

    • November 22, 2013 at 11:18 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

      Sadly, Mashiro-iro Symphony is an exception to the “rule”, but I wish it was done more often. (And it was done pretty well too, even making me almost cry when Sana broke down with Airi at the park after she sees Miu was chosen.)

      I’m pretty sure that most harem anime tend to be open-ended (or an omnibus style format like Amagami SS or Yosuga no Sora) rather than having any definitive conclusion due to not wanting to alienate viewers who may favor a certain character(s) in being with the center character. Let’s face it, there ARE people out there who do just drop a (harem) anime/manga simply because the love interest they WANTED to be with the main character didn’t for whatever reason.

    • November 23, 2013 at 1:47 amStilts

      First off, for bringing up Mashiroiro Symphony? Love you guys. Best commenters right here y0!

      And the funny thing is that by having the inconclusive ending, they actually make everybody unhappy. It’s always better to pick what you want to do and do it well for those fans who will enjoy it rather than try to satisfy everyone and inevitably fail.

      Side note: Haganai ran straight up to the limit of the source material, so they’re pretty much waiting for more before they even have the option to adapt more. If they get another season in I would be somewhat surprised if we didn’t get a clear-cut final ending, it’s just that the story isn’t over. Gotta remember that at least – when seasons end but the story isn’t over, its silly to expect a shut and close ending. After all, the source hasn’t ended yet.

    • November 23, 2013 at 2:13 amTassadar

      Let’s not forget about Shuffle!, where Asa won in the end (green haired senpai!). Way better than Sia or Nerinae!

      • November 23, 2013 at 12:34 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

        I did hope for Asa or Nerine to win, lol.

    • November 25, 2013 at 8:52 amCJ

      The thing about anime endings like Mashiro and Shuffle is that they were based off of visual novels which normally had multiple routes. Light Novels don’t have that option normally.

      • November 25, 2013 at 9:56 amSK

        The thing is, even VN adaptations tend to be pretty obvious about who’s going to win. While some cases are because a canon route exists (Clannad, among others), it can be pretty easy to predict who wins even in shows adapted from a source with multiple routes.

      • November 26, 2013 at 8:42 amStilts

        Aye, what SK said. It’s not a perfect comparison, but in both cases it’s usually obvious who will win, and not always preferable. It’s nice to see things changed up in a good way sometimes.

  • November 22, 2013 at 11:12 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    “Most of the character-based criticism about this show is leveled at Ichika, and deservedly so, but let’s be fair here – it’s not like the main five girls spent any time really thinking about Ichika’s feelings.”

    Unfortunately, this episode only reminds me of a couple of the flaws in any sort of relationship-based anime/manga besides just harems; lack of communication, as you said, Stilts, if there are any problems, but also that it seems like the one at the center of the relationship(s), usually a guy (not trying to sound sexist, but a majority of anime/manga I’ve seen/read tend to have a guy in the main spotlight), rarely seems to have their feelings considered in many situations (especially in misunderstandings), and it’s all about the girls’ feelings on being happy, sometimes at the expense of the guy.

    I made a similar comment on episode 10 of OreShura too; relationships go BOTH ways, not just towards one or the other. If only one or the other is happy, then there’s no way that relationship could reasonably work, and the lack of communication is certainly not helpful and could easily give off the wrong idea in of itself. All it leaves is fantasy shipping based on who seems cutest/looks best together while whatever happens can come off feeling forced or, usually in harems, is left completely open-ended.

    I’m mostly disappointed in Charlotte acting this way. She even noted in Season 1 (several times, IIRC), and should easily know by now along with everyone else (considering how often it’s happened), that Ichika is a dense idiot who doesn’t easily grasp relationship issues or atmosphere, so giving him the cold shoulder (especially over something he doesn’t even seem to realize is causing such friction to begin with) isn’t going to do anything but confuse him and, given how he’s shown to be, he’ll just leave them alone to “cool off” or something rather than try to ask up front what’s wrong lest they, as they muttered they would, just get even more angry at him.

    • November 23, 2013 at 1:51 amStilts

      The lack of communication is a big problem, but I think it’s also the fact that there’s no good reason why they’re stuck in limbo forever. Compare this to anime like Toradora, Golden Time, or even non-anime shows like The Office (the American one, since that’s the one I watched) – those had GOOD reasons why the main relationships couldn’t progress too quickly and/or they had legitimate problems to work through. When there’s no real reason why Ichika doesn’t just ask one of them out and try the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing, it’s annoying to be in this holding pattern. They have to manufacture conflict instead of it flowing naturally, and that leads to problems like these.

      • November 23, 2013 at 2:12 amHalfDemonInuyasha

        Yeah, after doing some thinking, there are two immediate examples of girls who I can easily respect more than a “typical” girl in such anime/manga by breaking the cliches from things like this, Tsukasa Ayatsuji in Amagami SS (specifically Amagami SS+), and Shizuku in Kampfer.

        Tsukasa since, for those who remember with how the end of episode 1 of Plus and the start of episode 2 went (Junichi being called out by Noriko, Tsukasa’s rival in the student council president elections and trying to hurt Tsukasa by making it look like she stole Junichi from her), in most “typical” anime/manga that have such situations, the girl would probably just look down, hurt, and, whether he presence is revealed or not, walk away, then the (next) episode would have her proceed to give the boy the cold shoulder and the boy either being totally confused as to why (if her presence wasn’t revealed before), or constantly trying to explain his side (if it was), but being totally ignored/unbelieved.

        Not only did Tsukasa not do any of that, but she KNEW it would probably happen (at least a possibility) and didn’t hold it completely against Junichi. She merely scolds him lightly about how HE didn’t also predict it might happen (considering how she brought up before how Noriko was willing to do whatever it took to win the election), and if anything, their communication and NOT jumping to conclusions only brought the two even closer together.

        As for Shizuku, it largely pertains to having to also deal with a(n even bigger) dense idiot in Natsuru. With Akane and Mikoto, they both know, and experience often, first-hand how dense Natsuru can be, but they tend to react in that “typical” fashion (like we’re seeing here with Ichika) of getting unreasonably angry, ignoring him, and just “giving up” (for that time). Shizuku, however, doesn’t do any of that. She continues to persist in trying to get him to realize how she feels (even to the point of all but raping him, lol) and shift his eyes to her, and doesn’t let his denseness set her off in any detrimental way. If anything, she accepts his flaws and tries to work with them. (Though, one flaw early on being her manipulative nature, usually at his expense, but it’s moved on from that mostly.)

        Even going on a whole date together, with Natsuru ALWAYS thinking it was some plan to lure out the White Kampfer, despite Shizuku constantly saying it wasn’t, she STILL more than held her patience with him to the very end when, if it were Akane or Mikoto, they probably would’ve ended up cutting it short by storming off in anger and whatnot.

  • November 23, 2013 at 12:28 amXxVanitasXx

    Alright, Kanzashi is up there now with Laura, Char and Tatenashi. Because girls with glasses are adorable. Akkey approves.

    On the note of other girls, I am bit disappointed how Char acted, like pointed out in the comment above. Char is like one of the only girls who can speak around Ichika normally without getting all angry tsundere on him (While she was disguised as boy in season 1). Which is one of the reasons why I like her more. I think the direction they are taking is that she is acting angry at her, but ultimately wants a good fight.

    • November 23, 2013 at 1:52 amStilts

      I think the direction is they’re hamfistedly handling her character because a reasonable character doesn’t lead to conflict, but that’s just the cynic in my talking. Unfortunately, the cynic is often right :X

  • November 23, 2013 at 12:46 amFafnir

    Tatenashi will forever be no.1 for me. No matter what!!!!

  • November 23, 2013 at 12:52 amlmao

    hahaha this show is so bad, i just watch it to fill some gaps between the better shows on friday. after so many years shounen harem just goes around in a circle.

  • November 23, 2013 at 12:54 amion52

    How many more girls are going to be after his pants?

    • November 23, 2013 at 1:53 amStilts

      All of them. All the girls plus most of the traps. Dense is Sexy, I guess.

    • November 23, 2013 at 2:15 amTheMoondoggie

      Every Character except:

      >Permanent antagonists
      >Dan

    • November 23, 2013 at 2:41 amx

      @TheMoondoggie
      and…
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • November 23, 2013 at 1:01 amGinobi47

    Kanzashi…… though I normally have a soft spot for the megane bishoujo, Kanzashi simply does not have the appeal to hook me in. Maybe it’s too early to put a verdict on Kanzashi, but she isnt living up to the hype that normally comes when a new girl is introduced.

  • November 23, 2013 at 1:03 amOmega

  • November 23, 2013 at 2:41 ambelatkuro

    About Tatenashi “breaking in” the room, yes she’s not his roommate anymore. She actually moved out after that incident with Arachne in episode 4. She was just guarding him for that one attack. I mentioned this back in episode 6.

    • November 23, 2013 at 9:13 amStilts

      Ah, okay. I remembered the she-was-protecting-him part, but not that she actually moved out. Thank you sir~

  • November 23, 2013 at 2:59 amewok40k

    All the “regular” haremettes went a little bit yandere due to Ichika refusing to partner with them, but Laura sharpening knife was truly scary…
    Ichika achieved a new level of density, approaching the black hole that sucks in every hint from the girls. Tatenashi directly asked him to massage her posterior, and he refused!
    I am officially giving up on romance in this series. Ichika is just romance-blind and I just hope for some good IS fights before the season ends.

    • November 23, 2013 at 9:11 amStilts

      I don’t think Ichika is blind to Tatenashi’s allure, I think he knows he won’t be able to stop if he goes too far with their little massages. He mentioned as much earlier in the season. With a body like hers… :3

      • November 23, 2013 at 12:40 pmewok40k

        but WHY would ANYONE want to stop???

      • November 23, 2013 at 2:02 pmTheMoondoggie

        @ewok40k

        Because Ichika is actually a gentleman(which is why most girls tend to fall for), unlike some MC heroes.

      • November 23, 2013 at 6:20 pmewok40k

        Well, part of being gentleman is taking care of woman’s needs…
        I want an MC who is neither too pervert nor too idealistic, someone who would ask the girl “Are you really sure this is what you want?” and when response is positive, go all the way. Of course this is hard to see in harem shows, unless in omnibus format or when there is actually main heroine. Well done this leads to great ending, like Toradora.

      • November 24, 2013 at 1:21 aminanis

        mm one thing is being a gentleman… other is being as dense as a chunk of lead….

  • November 23, 2013 at 4:01 ambaseone

    Meganekko does not disappoint.

  • November 23, 2013 at 4:44 amasker

    Could somebody explain me something? when houki was talking with tatenashi she remembered something , the image is the one after the image of her holding hands with her sister, it looks like some sort of fight with chifuyu. How is that possible? It doesn’t look like madoka because the one in the image has longer hair .

  • November 23, 2013 at 6:33 amAnanas

    Delicious little puddles.

  • November 23, 2013 at 10:29 amMasterDragonKnight

    Looks like my wish from last week was granted. We got to see Honne Nohotoke again in all her cuteness. ^^

    • November 23, 2013 at 9:21 pmSK

      Seems like they cut out the whole Ichika joining the Student Council bit, could have seen more of her and her sister. I think they also cut the explanation as to why Nohohon and Kan-chan seem close, but Honne is a maid for the Sarashikis and Kanzashi’s personal maid in particular.

      • November 24, 2013 at 9:32 pmStilts

        Good to know. It’s a shame they didn’t go into all that, but I guess they didn’t think they had enough time. Whether that’s true or not, I have no idea.

  • November 23, 2013 at 2:41 pmmrdaftpunk

    We all know that it was a misunderstanding and obviously it will be cleared up next episode, but I just feel heartbroken how Kanzashi feels right now thinking Ichika is only friendly with her because Tatenashi put him up to this and is sleeping with her. I just can’t imagine how a girl will feel after seeing and hearing all that.

  • November 23, 2013 at 9:14 pmKF

    This anime has a lot of fanservice. That it is able to make me feel something – emotionally, that’s quite good!

    TQ

  • November 23, 2013 at 10:08 pmDorkus

    I don’t know. From what I remember from high school was that communication wasn’t all that great between crushes.

    • November 24, 2013 at 9:34 pmStilts

      True, but in actual high school it was more of both parties having no idea what the score was or a relationship forming and then imploding shortly thereafter. With this weird holding pattern they’ve got going on, you’d think they’d try something new…but it doesn’t really matter. I still get to call them out on having crappy communication even if it is realistic that they wouldn’t, lol

  • November 24, 2013 at 1:25 aminanis

    mmm

    Tatenashi is still my #1 girl!

    -lol i wanna see the moment she finds out all the other harementtes are jealous because something SHE asked of Ichika… i bet she would laugh at them xD

  • November 24, 2013 at 3:56 amRob

    why is it on animes you can still see the characters eyes and eyebrows when their bangs, fringe etc overlap them?

    • November 24, 2013 at 3:31 pminanis

      either thinner hair, easier to draw ..or cosmetic preference? mebe even a cultural thing.. dunno

    • November 24, 2013 at 9:37 pmStilts

      If the fringes of someone’s bangs are hanging over their eyes you would still be able to see them. Also the real answer is they wanted to convey an expression that was better done with her eyes still showing, because if they were obscured that = scary, but looking down and having her bangs drape over her eyes makes her look shy and embarrassed.

      Oh, and she has light blue hair that is dyed(?) a brighter blue when it goes past her chin, so you probably shouldn’t look for realism in anime hair design. It’s not its strong point, nor would I wish it to be.