「ルームメイトはブロンド貴公子（ジェントル）」 (Ruumumeito wa Burondo Kikoushi (Gentoru))
“Roommate is a Blond Young Noble (Gentleman)”
After all the obvious hints dropped last time, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Charle is in fact Charlotte and not the second male in the world to be able to pilot an IS. What does come as a surprise is how Charlotte was able to conceal her voluptuous bust in that skintight pilot suit, and in ways that completely defy physics. I don’t care how much sarashi she uses or how tightly she binds it, because she just showed us a case of a disappearing bust, much like her disappearing and reappearing IS armor when she was showing Ichika how to fire her rifle.
Once the secret was out in the open for the entire world to see, Ichika’s interactions with Charlotte came off as some of the most “genuine” in the series thus far. I would’ve normally wrote off his sympathy towards her being an unwanted love child when she confessed about coming to IS Academy to spy on him and the other representatives, had Ichika not brought up how him and Chifuyu were abandoned by both their parents. It made it more believable in the sense that he wasn’t just being nice to her because she’s a girl, which tends to be the implicit reason in anime regardless of the context. It’s a subtle difference yet one I found much more agreeable, paving the way for Charlotte to really open up to Ichika by showing her girlish side and having him spoil her a bit. The chemistry they had in light of the awkward moments was really cute, and it only felt a bit odd because Charlotte started off as a “reverse trap”. It was an incredibly refreshing change of pace from Houki, Cecilia, and Rin, who have (unfortunately) fallen into the stereotypical clingy and jealous behavior.
In the series’ defense, it’s probably difficult to avoid falling into that formulaic trap with five heroines, as the focus continually shifts to the next one and pushes all the previous ones to the sidelines for the time being. The other girls are just screaming for attention… and some screen time. However, what did irk me this episode were all the misguided feelings of guilt and hate from Ichika and Laura respectively. In Ichika’s case, I don’t really understand why he’d blame himself for getting kidnapped and Chifuyu choosing to save him instead of defending her championship at the second Mondo Grosso IS tournament. Did he expect himself to be able to fight off his kidnappers? Also, for all he knows, the whole thing may have been staged by the Germans themselves to coax Chifuyu into training their army on how to pilot an IS. It seems rather convenient that Ichika wasn’t harmed, the German army knew exactly where he was, and Chifuyu didn’t run into any resistance rescuing him.
Then there’s Laura, who absolutely idolizes Chifuyu in a personal interest kind of way and hates Ichika because she perceives him as what’s holding Chifuyu back. For whatever reason, she hasn’t considered that returning to Japan may be what Chifuyu wants, nor how she may care about her little brother a lot more than she cares to admit (like we’ve seen). Instead, Laura somehow figures that if she gets rid of “Ichika problem”, Chifuyu will gladly return to Germany with her. It’s probably safe to say she’s unaware about the whole kidnapping part, but even if that’s the case, I don’t see why she’d think that “offing” Ichika would make Chifuyu happy. I respect her firm resolve since she’s in the military, but something’s not right with that line of reasoning. It looks like the next episode should clear things up in that regard, though I suspect it’ll involve Ichika changing her opinion of him rather than him beating some sense into her. I really can’t see Laura being left out of Ichika’s harem of girls, especially when the cold open in premiere already gave us a glimpse of them working together.
The ending sequence sure is getting crowded with Charlotte joining the running (…for Ichika’s heart). It comes with the bonus of seeing her in a female uniform with a skirt, which I doubt we’ll be seeing in the actual show since Ichika promised to keep her true gender a secret.