「転校生はセカンド幼なじみ」 (Tenkousei wa Sekando Osananajimi)
“The Transfer Student is the Second Childhood Friend”

If an anime is only as good as the sum of its parts, then Infinite Stratos’ formula is pretty sketchy with the inclusion of two childhood friends. What’s more, the recipe seems to go on the assumption that one tsundere isn’t enough, and adds two more for good measure. The setup sounds ridiculously lopsided, but it’s executed well and surprisingly works. Japanese not your thing? How about British? If that doesn’t work for you either, then we have Chinese, along with the stereotypical sweet and sour pork. Why does it always have to be sweet and sour pork when it comes to Chinese food?

While there were some IS training exercises in this episode, including Ichika showing us his “awesome” nosedive, the romantic comedy side of things absolutely stole the show and I was loving every minute of it. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for the full twenty minutes and laughed out loud on four separate occasions. To that end, Ichika deserves all the credit in the world for being a respectable male lead in a paradise full of beautiful girls, where his denseness towards their feelings is a true blessing to me as the viewer. Kicking things off was Cecilia’s complete overnight bipolar turnaround, which was actually cute in its own way because her “Ichika-san” advances backed by Yukana’s voice came off like a girl helplessly in love. What was even better was the fact that she was helplessly in love with some competition, namely Houki, and was only further brushed off to the sidelines when the Chinese representative and Ichika’s second childhood friend, Fan Rinin (Shimoda Asami), made her dramatic entrance.

Shorter than the competition in a petite frame with a spunky attitude, twin-tail hairstyle, fang tooth, and shoulderless uniform, Rin was the fan-service of the episode as far as I was concerned. While all the other girls were trying to determine what sort of a relationship she has with Ichika, Houki and Cecilia peering from the next table over in the cafeteria was inexplicably amusing to me. (lol #1) Thus far, those two girls have made their feelings towards Ichika pretty obvious, yet haven’t resorted to slapping him around because he’s slow to catch on. Because of that, his lunch date with Rin to catch up on things led to a lot of quirky misunderstandings, such as how Ichika’s eaten over at her “place” many times in the past (i.e. her family restaurant). They were subsequently cleared up right away, but hearing Houki counter as the more “senior” childhood friend made that entire scene worthwhile. Cecilia was quickly ignored, while Houki’s reaction to being the first childhood friend set me off laughing. (lol #2) The best part of it is that it goes both ways, with Rin’s misunderstanding about Ichika’s talk about Houki and her using the shower first was just golden. “What does being a childhood friend have to do with showering!?” (lol #3) Last but not least was her marriage implication on treating Ichika to sweet and sour pork every day once her cooking’s good enough, which he clearly didn’t get and it was too embarrassing for her to spell it out for him. (lol #4)

Not to be forgotten, Houki does manage to keep her jealously in check relatively well, and vents her female frustration through some harsh “training” with Ichika. Seeing as there was a fight over who gets to be Ichika’s training partner, I was a bit surprised to see her work in tandem with Cecilia too. Where she draws the line is evidently being his roommate, which of course has the perk of getting Ichika’s hormones pumping when she inadvertently teases him by changing into her sleepwear. (That uniform zipper is scandalous I tell you!) I really like the way she didn’t back down, and didn’t she get flustered when childhood friend #2 tried to take over her space. To me, that level of composure goes a long way in keeping this series from crossing the line where all the girls are just throwing themselves at the main character, and maintains a respectable pretense on both sides of the equation.

Continuing on the thought above, it’s kind of cute how Cecilia has joined Houki in Ichika’s corner now that she’s “let him” become the class representative. I’m also looking forward to the fight against Rin’s Shenlong next time, simply because she’s proven to be a fairly capable pilot with a personal IS of her own, plus she has a wager with Ichika on the line. From their bickering I would imagine that she wants to order him to marry her, though I can’t see her being that forward about her feelings even if she does win. At this point, I’d say it’s unlikely she will win, but either outcome should lead to an interesting scenario since Ichika’s demanding an explanation on the sweet and sour pork thing if he comes out on top. All of the above simply reiterates to me how Infinite Stratos is quickly shaping out to be a harem series done right like I hoped it would be. Not only that, it’s an international harem series done right, with French and German girls still on the way.

* Note: I’ve decided to go with “Rinin” over “Lin Yin” in light of seeing that spelling used in the show. Also, there was no new variation of the ending theme with Shimoda Asami, so we’ll likely see one next episode.




  1. Oh man this series is getting better and better. Loving the art. Can’t download the ep because bro is raging about the connection speed. bah. Oh well, Shinonono in so many different clothes *A*b! Can’t wait for the other countries

    1. I’ve got a bro, a twin bro. yeh we both fight over the internet, especially the speed (he plays wow, hardcore arena fag).

      I still download,you know what I tell him when he rages about the speed….. f*ck off

  2. awesome episode with a second childhood friend… sweet & sour pork FTW
    and lol @ “it’s an international harem series done right”… Ichika is soon kick ass of certain kiss machine and certain galactic pretty boy XD
    I am a bit disappointed though that Houki doesn’t have her personal IS just of yet… want to see the one she uses in the first episode so bad :()
    can’t wait for next episode’s battle, and does the preview indicates that there will be a plot twist?
    ps. Ichika, stop using your double edge sword so early…

      1. my favorite would be chifuyu then laura. XD but yeah, i like cecilia over houki. XDD houki’s just blehhh! the fact that yoko is voicing her is the only thing that keeps me from throwing her to the bin! XDDD

  3. Divine is it Fang, Lin Yin or Fan, Rinin?
    Hearing 1st osananajimi or 2nd really makes me giggle for some reason( guess it a new thing to here in the ear)
    strange that i have nothing more to say but this episode was Good. 8/10. +2 if fighting already began.

  4. I like Houki and her tsundere-ness, but Rin has made my list as well 😀
    So some odd reason I could imagine Hirano Aya voicing her o_O maybe it’s just me …
    Anyway, good episode, and I like that partial materialisation thing that Rin did. So handy and awesome. Looking forward to the promising fight scenes!

    1. That picture with her name written in Chinese is actually read as Huang Ling Yin, not Feng Ling Yin. The first word comes from the phrase 鳳凰 (Feng Huang), which means phoenix in Chinese. Whoever pasted that English romanji name beside the kanji/Chinese name clearly make a mistake there. Anyone knows if that English text comes from a sub or actually inserted by the maker of the show?

    1. Actually, compared to last weeks episode, this one was marginally better. The thing that’s been bugging me is that this series mostly feels like a regular Harem story and they just threw in the ‘Mecha’ part just to cover this up. I was mostly excited because of the Mecha element, but I’m feeling skeptic about this.

  5. Cecilia’s 180° about turn into full dere dere mode feels odd, but I suppose in a 12 episode anime it’s neccessary.

    As far as I can tell:

    Ichika: Gundam Unicorn
    Cecilia: Strike Freedom/Cherudim Gundam
    Rin: Justice Gundam/Musha Gundam
    Houki: Sword Impulse Gundam
    Laura: Seravee Gundam

    Ninja Penguin
      1. A lot of people commented in episode 2 that it resembled a cross between Strike Freedom and Cherudim. Cecilia’s blue and black wings/shoulder things sort of resemble Strike freedom’s wings, and those funnels as well.

        Ninja Penguin
    1. Cecilia is probably Gundam Zabanya.
      Ling Lin is Daizengar
      Laura is probably Aussenseiter Trombe!
      and Houki is w/e…

      Anyone notice how Ichika has a really tight ass?

      Anyone also notice how every chinese girl that is a possible romance option has a marriage agreement with the main guy?

      Suppa Tenko
  6. This is really over the top. We have three potential tsunderes ang good plyed tsunderes, each one with a different nationality and personality. Just two more to go and Ichika’ll know what It feels hell on Earth. On the other side of things, I’m really suprised and amused by the thick skull of his, talk about been in the moon, but my moneay is on Houki, she’s the cutest of the girls.

  7. And the 2nd childhood friend appears, and isn’t quite happy being number 2 to Houki-san. Of all the girls, I like her personality. She does have spunk, and isn’t afraid to stand up against Houki and Cecilia in her little lunch date with Ishika. And i think Houki bringing out the shinai was a little over reacting. If Rin didn’t deploy her partial IS that would have brought around some serious damage. Anyways, the appearance of this little moe packed childhood friend has brought her tied for first with Houki, maybe edging her a bit above. Then, of course, Cecilia is 3rd. Order might change when we get introduced to the other 2; the superhuman that has unfortunate Japanese translations, and then the other with the secret 😉 If they’re both tsunderes this will be a riot, although it was refreshing to see the dere dere side of Cecilia when she was flying and wanted to teach him “alone”, ran towards Ichika when he fell (while bumping Houki out of the way), and calling him Ichika-san. Can’t wait to see the battle, too! The outcome will probably be Ichika since we’ve never seen him win, and I have a disturbing feeling that Rin will give some lame excuse to the sweet and sour pork promise… Great episode, smiling throughout, and can’t wait for next week!

  8. IS is shit. I was expecting far better. After 3 episodes, it’s getting really hard to watch.
    The retarded male lead is a fatal flaw. Given all the fan service, they should have just made it into Strike Witches 21st century.

  9. @anon123
    Don’t tell me you were expecting another wimpy lead character? From the first 3 episodes Ichika seems to be that ‘helpless’ hero who has that unknown hidden powers etc etc. Of course he has, being the only male to be able to pilot an IS. But can they please stop showing more of his wimpy side, like that failure nose dive.

    About Rin, I thought I just saw a mini Hatsune Miku with brown hair get animated.

    The Story You Don't Know
  10. Now, that’s some fun entertainment. Expectations set too high can really screw oneself up, so I thought it would probably be better if I just relax the so-called “standards”, sit back and enjoy. It’s easy to criticise, but it takes some skill to enjoy something so many others consider ‘unoriginal’.

    Now that Shenlong is out, I’m wondering what implications will it have in accordance with one of the scenes in the opening, if anyone knows what I’m talking about.

    First few episodes seem set on introducing all the characters it seems, but really hoping they pull something really interesting plot-wise by building it up slowly in the midst of all this fun romantic comedy.

  11. Hahaha damn this show is a riot. Two awesome childhood friends and so far a harem full of tsunderes. I normally don’t like tsunderes too much since sometimes the tsun part goes overboard and into abuse (I’m looking at you Louise). A pinch of dishonesty is good, but it has to be balanced out by some nice dere. IS is doing it right though. The scene where Houki realizes she was being too ill-tempered and apologized netted her a huge amount of points with me. Can you imagine Louise or Shana or any other generic tsundere apologizing for being too harsh? Plus it doesn’t hurt that she looks great in Japanese clothes.

    Rin was awesome too. I really like the spunky confident attitude and cute character design. Overall all the characters are enjoyable to watch, even if their archtypes are generic.

    Ichika isn’t that bad either. Normally I would be RAGEING at typical harem male lead denseness, but I realize that for a show like this with a massive harem, a degree of personality density is required. If Ichika realized all the girl’s feelings and “picked one” then we wouldn’t get our hilarious harem hijinks and we’d have a shoujo instead. Of course, there’s a limit to being clueless and dense. Too much and you get an annoying fagot like School Day’s Makoto. But too little and the genre changes to shoujo. Ichika is straddling the line pretty well so far.

  12. this episodes had its ups and downs. I feel like the pacing is kinda weird a bit too fast and idk how I feel about the 2 childhood friend things. I feel like they brought it up weird the whole your childhood friend 1 your childhood friend 2 and, I also don’t like how its only episode 3 and he already has 3 girls in love with him where’s the build up to these things.
    But the show is funny at times i do like that he not a stupid pervert but i’m a little annoyed with him being super dense but that’s not really bad i think he should lose this battle because its already obvious that Rin is stronger than him and I still think its to earlier for him to be beating world representatives they already have experience using these things and he still all new to it even he got trained twice its still early

  13. I can’t stand it anymore, this show is just making me feel dirty watching it. Everything is so damn cardboard and artificial about it. This show is the perfect description of what has happened to the anime industry, exactly how Yamamoto Yutaka described it.

  14. I dunno, I’d say this show is almost explicitly trying to shove as many tropes into one episode as humanly possible; it almost contrasts with Madoka which SUBVERTS as many tropes as humanly possible.

    I’m still sticking around for the mech battles, but in all honesty the plot annoys me. Maybe we’ll finally get out of the chain intros and finally get to something a bit more substantial.

    1. I like Madoka too, but why do you care how many tropes are in an anime or not. The question is whether or not you enjoy something not if something can pass as more sophisticated. Frankly, I could care less if its substantial or not, I just want it to be well executed.

  15. That’s what I noticed too. I watched all three episodes today, and while it feels generic and it seems like it’ll follow an “add a girl every two episodes” formula, it’s well executed. There was a harem show like that too that I liked last year (can’t remember which), it may not be innovative and it’s full of tropes but it’s done right. Guess I’ll stick with it now. Also since when I read the synopsis, I just knew it would be more harem than mecha, it was pretty obvious. I don’t really like the mecha design btw, but like I said they’re not focusing that much on it so I’m okay with it. It feels more like a harem-sports anime to me.

    Well I guess the only problem I have with the show is how they stereotypically represent each country girl. They said it’s the only IS school, they could at least have one black girl in here. I’m not usually picky about anime not being faithful to real life ( there’s some people who always points out how in certain shows they use old dated cellphones for example), but that sure ticks me off a bit. Also, I’m already starting to cringe in advance of when they’ll introduce a french girl.

      1. WOah woah WOAH!! Why do i not know this!! I been dying for the next SRW that wasnt on the DS and I wasn’t aware of Z II all this time? I fail as a SRW fan, time to go kill myself.

  16. SHEEEEESH!!!! the whole “slender girl, with waist length hair, with a rag in it” character design IS SOOOOOO DONE ALREADY!!!!! ITS 2011 PEOPLE!!! CAN WE GET SOME NEW CREATIVE CHARACTER DESIGNS PLEASE!?!?!?!

    BROOKLYN otaku
    1. Ever seen the de-motivational poster: “Unique: Just because you’re different, doesn’t mean you are useful.”? Think of it in that context, Rin’s design frankly works perfectly. I’d much rather have her design than say… totally opposite to what you claim to be so done already.

      1. Actually I don’t agree with you and have to agree with BROOKLYN otaku. What we should have is a bald and chubby girl with chest hair. It’s freaking 2011 and we need new creative designs.

        Jokes aside, originality does not always mean good so I whole whole heartedly agree with you. If it’s original but good, then it’s a plus. If it’s not as original but still good, there’s nothing wrong with it.

  17. Three episodes so far and I’m feeling this is a pretty average show. It had promise but mashing together mecha/school/harem all into one is not really working for me. Besides, how clueless can a guy be?

    1. This series is all about entertainment from the get-go: glamorous robot fights, fantasy of being surrounded and adored by pretty girls from all around the world, plenty of cheap laughs… Oh, of course, the hero will no doubt save the day in the grand finale (and probably will still play dumb about the girls). In terms of deep thought, this series is way below average. But in terms of cheap entertainment value, you have to say it is pretty good.

  18. I LOLed at this comment on MC denseness in an unspeakable board. Density in a Harem as a Science.

    Density is how you maintain your harem. Saying something “she’s just a childhood friend” will keep said childhood friend from mounting you in your sleep, and it also keeps the British ojou you just attracted in your harem, hoping she has a chance.

    Density is the key to keeping any harem in orbit. If you favor one girl too much, it all falls apart.

  19. I really like Ichika’s attitude, even if he is a little dense.
    Pretty tsundere childhood friends, good male lead, mecha, and plenty of laughs.
    Some might say it’s cliched, but I’m loving every moment.

    1. Just a /bit/ dense xD
      But atleast dense>pervy. Those are the only way harem animes can go. I’m loving this as well, having a big smile on my face and replaying all the ‘lol’ moments. Mostly at Cecilia’s new dere dere side

  20. I’ve just noticed Rin’s variable height, the animators need to work on that lol.

    If you examine the exact scene where Chifuyu-nee hits Rin on the head, it’s clear Rin only reaches her shoulder. However in the above screencap Rin grows a few inches to reach Chifuyu-nee’s nose.

    Rin then shrinks again and barely reaches Ichika’s chin.

    Later on she grows again lol.

    Ninja Penguin
    1. I don`t think so. Show Spoiler ▼

      Buk Lau
  21. As an animator, I think this series animation kinda suck…especially the fight scenes.

    They use a cg model for the IS suits and draw the character’s head over it.
    Which is why in some frames their necks are either longer or their faces are bigger.

    Nonetheless, after 15 years worth of harem and always ends up without resolving anything, they’re doing quite good job. More like “it’s so cliche, i still wanna watch it” vibe.

  22. Ok, this series is completely built around clichès. They threw in the school setting, the harem plot and the mecha battle. Every scene, I had the impression I had already saw it in another series. Even the characters are pure stereotypes. And I mean, tsundere with long hair tied in a ribbon who is very good at kendo (or has sword skills in general)? That’s the exact copy of Kanzaki from To Aru Majutsu no Index.
    The mech transformation scene in this episode I found extremely naive. It’s a sci-fi series: if you want to be at least minimally serious on the science part, you can’t condensate a whole mech in a bracelet.

    Sorry, I had the urge to complain. I can’t really say the series is unwatchable, though. Sure, it’s not refreshing in any way. But the well-executed harem part is probably what makes it enjoyable enough. There’s still good material to use there, and I can expect some improvement overall. Especially when some kind of antagonist will appear.

  23. Fan Rinin (Shimoda Asami) I like her voice but I just don’t feel like she fits the character, Fan Rinin should sound a bit more childish I say.

    Anyway they really rush this series, They are close to 4/5 of the first novel not to mention they skip out on one of the funnier jokes, where Ichika calling her flat-chested and she exploded.

    To be honest so far from the novel, the girl that I feel whos the closest to Ichika is actually the French girl Charlotte. If you think Fan is fun wait till u met Laura, and about the childhood friend thing, actually I think their is one more a third Childhood friend and that would be his friends sister.


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