「ブルー・デイズ／レッド・スイッチ」 (Buruu Deizu / Reddo Suicchi)
“Blue Days / Red Switch”
While the previous episode was about Charle’s coming out for the most part, this most recent one has Laura front and center to really mix things up. Her grudge with just about everyone is a welcomed development to help de-emphasize the harem aspect, which seems to have run away with the series lately. As enjoyable as that’s been, she’s definitely balancing things out for the better. It was also a nice setup for Houki, who’s been forced to watch from the sidelines without a personal-use IS as if her sister Tabane has forsaken her. At first, I didn’t think much of the way she was dwelling on her unsightly past when she used kendo to vent her frustration, but it served as a nice twist once Laura reminded her of that and she ended up being her partner in the inter-class tournament.
What took place in between was the “meat and potatoes” though, starting with Laura stirring the (shit) pot with her overpowered Schwarzer Roegen and its seemingly impenetrable Active Inertia Canceller (AIC) defense system. Now I’m always one for the IS action, especially with the new “grabby” transformation sequences that are mecha magical girl worthy, but the trash talk that followed suit was in a league of its own. Girls can be absolutely vicious to one another, yet in anime it’s oddly amusing to me as I watch (safely) from the sidelines. I even learned a new comeback from our feisty Rin. “What was that? All I heard is ‘Please kick my ass.'” Now those are some fightin’ words. Third-generation IS action was good; trash talk made it better. Ichika and Charles also had their moment to shine by joining the fray, as did Chifuyu and her gigantic katana sans an IS.
Admittedly, I’m developing a real soft spot for Rin as the spunky childhood friend with “bite”. Her triple “baka” in one sentence was amazingly cute, which combined with Cecilia’s advances and Charles’ picking up their feelings with ease, reminded me of how fun it is seeing the girls make an effort to get noticed. Japan’s probably one of the few countries where it’s commonplace for girls to confess to guys and not have it perceived as being desperate, so Ichika’s indifference to them all as a potential girlfriend doesn’t bother me the least bit. For now, Charles is the one to watch for now that she’s become the “roommate with benefits”. Common sense left me wondering why Ichika didn’t just offer to change in the bathroom instead of waiting outside, but I’m okay with it since they revealed the mystery behind Charles’ disappearing bust. Having Ichika somehow strip her of her underwear while falling felt pretty dumb, but at least it led to an opportunity that Charles made good on. She’s truly the dark horse from France.
It’s a shame Cecilia and Rin were bumped from the tournament after seeing them work well as a pair, so the only match worth watching is the one up right away. Question is, should we be more concerned about Houki’s predicament or Ichika’s one with Charles in the bath? I still like Houki’s “assertive bashfulness” a lot, so that’s a hard one for me…