「海に着いたら十一時(オーシャンズ・イレブン)」 (Umi ni Tsuitara Juuichi-ji (Ooshanzu Irebun))
“Arriving at the Ocean at Eleven O’Clock (Oceans Eleven)”

I think I need to add a favorite beach/hot spring episode to the year-end post, because Infinite Stratos’ one reminded me of what it means to have a perfect balance between plot, character development, and fan-service. It also highlighted how cute the series’ female cast is and avoided the pitfall of having a completely senseless battle on the beach for Ichika’s affection. All the girls except Houki had an opportunity to make a daring statement with their swimsuits and the only bit of contention was all in good fun, care of our dejected Cecilia/Rin duo and their love/hate relationship. The last time I enjoyed a romantic comedy with a harem spin this much was in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls and before that, Asu no Yoichi, so I’d recommend checking those two out if you like what you see here.

If I were to try and assess the compatibility rankings this week, I’d say Charlotte’s running away with the lead thanks to her bold changing room move to shake off their followers. That’s on top of being the first to get an affectionate name from Ichika himself. Laura kind of slipped in undetected (…right into Ichika’s bed) and was the first to willingly bare it all, which probably places her second judging from Ichika’s reaction. Cecilia with her seemingly promiscuous ways and enjoyment from taking away Ichika’s first-time experiences would be next, largely in part to her sun oil tactic followed by an inadvertent flashing. Rin on the other hand is swimming pretty deep in the dreaded “friend zone”, so much that even throwing herself at Ichika for incidental contact still doesn’t make Ichika see her as a girl. She’s walking pretty hand-in-hand with Ran, who for the life of her, can’t get him to notice her either.

That was more or less the impression I got, until Chifuyu showed up and took top honors with her lingerie-like bikini. The sister complex in Ichika seems to run strong, so much that even “Char” quickly acknowledged her as competition. It’s funny, because Charlotte didn’t seem to be worried about Laura when she brought her to Ichika so she could show him the swimsuit that fellow compatriot Clarissa Harfouch (Mizusawa Kei) “armed” her with. I guess she knew where she stood in relation and didn’t see Laura as a threat. I wonder if she’d feel the same way after learning about how she slept naked with him, much like Houki got the displeasure of finding out first-hand.

This brings me to Houki herself, who remains the one unknown as far as I’m concerned. As the other childhood friend, she’s pretty much in the same rut as Rin, except she hasn’t really done as much as the other girls to try and get noticed. She made that stipulation for the inter-class tournament, but outside of that she’s been relatively low-key and not clingy nor stalkerish like Cecilia and Rin tend to be. She was noticeably absent in all the antics this time around and instead served as the driving factor in the plot department. Incidentally, her reserved nature is the one subtle aspect of her character that I really like, changing her ever so slightly from our typical tsundere, even though I get the feeling she’s been less inclined to join in because she doesn’t possess a personal IS like the rest of them. It’s like how guys might use their car as a measuring stick to see how well they stack up to the competition, and would feel inferior if they don’t have the same status. Here, it’s girls and their IS.

Of course, that’s all about to change with Tabane (Tamura Yukari) finally showing up and bringing her little sister the Akatsubaki we saw her using in the premiere’s cold open. This felt like an “ask and you shall receive” situation, since I was just talking about Houki’s personal IS in the Retrospective Look for February. Overshadowed by all this is the fact that the next episode will be a continuation of the beach episode, plus how it’ll be about Houki’s birthday. The episode hinted at it, but in case anyone wasn’t sure, July 7th is Houki’s birthday. Tabane probably plans to give her Akatsubaki, so the real question is what Ichika bought her when he went off for a moment without Charlotte. It was a small box and whatever’s inside may just propel Houki up the rankings. 🙂

* There was a very subtle change in the opening sequence. Charlotte now wears a female pilot suit instead of the male one.
* I slaved away a bit on the images this time, putting together some full-length ones that required redrawing, or simply shouldn’t have been put together in the first place because of blurring or lighting effects. See images 04, 11, 15, 17, 21, 23, 30, 32, 34, 37, 39, 42. I even managed a little something special for preview 03. Say no to episode title text.

 

Preview

177 Comments

  1. thanks for the post and pics, Divine!
    I feel bad that Houki was left out for the most part of the episode… for me it is all between her and Char 🙂
    can’t wait to see the over-spec IS!
    and may I say, I love those mechanical bunny ears from the sister :3

    jrj
      1. I think any role/character that Hanazawa Kana plays turns out to be cute. E.g. Tachibana Kanade (Tenshi) from Angel Beats or Zange/Hakua from Kannagi.

        Anyway, another enjoyable episode of IS.

        Aoihoshikage
    1. Makes me think if Ichika wouldn’t go with Char… he’d go the onee-san route? LOL. Though honestly, it wouldn’t be that far of a logical conclusion. I -still- want to say that Ichika is the DENSEST thing known (so far) to man. Like how oblivious could one be?!

      Kyzel
  2. This is how a beach/fanservice episode should be done (unlike Freezing’s last episode -__-)

    Really enjoyed the episode and can’t wait for next week. This is probably my favourite anime this season

    newlife.exe
  3. Was watching this when my mum decided to plonk herself next to me ignorant to the concept of fanservice. She started asking questions like why there were so many close-ups of boobs and why that one girl’s chest suddenly grew so big…

    On another note, still rooting for Char, in the harem meter she still pummels the rest. And omg Laura’s so deredere now.

    Hopefully there’s more plot next week though the only thing we got this week was Houki’s Personal IS thing. Can’t wait to see her older sister, she sounds so cute.

    Saya
  4. First scene with Laura reminded me so much of To Love Ru.
    This episode was good fan service wise and provided a new view to Laura, who as all may know is super deredere now. Now the only thing I have to complain about is how Rin and Cecilia are kinda being repetitive with their attempts to get Ichika. Char on the otherhand is still pretty much the best girl Ichika could pair with. Also the thick headedness of Ichika earns him a spot on my DEATH NOTE, seriously he deserves it X3

    ~Also that one girl on the beacheminded me of Pikachu.

    rasone0104
  5. So Laura is more loli than Rin?! Preposterous! No matter how much you service us with Laura, Charlotte will always automatically be better. She’s got the flavor, maturity, intuition, and overall smoothidity that the other girls don’t have. Charlotte is definitely a candidate for Ichika as opposed to:

    Laura = Fanservice Central
    Rin/Cecilia = Comedy Relief
    Houki/Charlotte = The REAL Main Characters ♥
    New Girl from next Episode = Decoy/Excuse for less Charlotte screentime

    Yeah, that’s right. I said it. -puts on the bulletproof vest-

    1. The episode hinted at it, but in case anyone wasn’t sure, July 7th is Houki’s birthday. Tabane probably plans to give her Akatsubaki, so the real question is what Ichika bought her when he went off for a moment without Charlotte. It was a small box and whatever’s inside may just propel Houki up the rankings. 🙂

      ^ an “item” that will probably boost Houki’s relationship with Ichika to top notch? Eliminating everyone, that’s been chasing him.

      FlamingYu
      1. Well, the item was pretty much hinted when Ichika was staring at the jewelry store. So, it’s a given that Ichika is going to get Houki a necklace and Houki is going to get all blushy and kawaii and all the girls are going to go “ooohh….” *jealous*. 😛

        Nimmy
  6. Do we really need a beach episode, since the female characters essentially wear swimsuits/leotards anyway? Just wondering.

    Anyway, Houki is lucky she has “friends” in high places.

    paulrenzo
  7. Finally we got to see Tabane’s face, and Houki’s own personal machine. And I like the change in the OP, as well.

    Got to see all the girls in swimsuits especially Laura who’s also have twintail hair-style.

    lester
  8. Help me, I can’t stop the bleeding! I don’t want to die this way!
    All nosebleed jokes aside, this was a pretty fun episode. Houki’s facial expressions remain even more epic than the situations they convey (naked wrestling FTW!)
    Clarissa was awesome. An entire military unit devoted to helping Laura get the guy was unexpected but welcome.
    Finally, it appears that the reason Ichika is so oblivious to the girls is because he can’t stop gawking at his sister long enough to notice their affections. WTH hero?

    Bio D
  9. do not underestimate the power of the Siscon…
    lol @ Laura getting misunderstanding after misunderstanding and applying for advice in the swimsuit depatment to her former squadron leader…
    BTW Char in french = tank… another lol for me
    I was wondering about Houki’s sister for a long time, seems shes more in voluntary hiding than captured by some dark forces to produce unregistered IS.
    cyber-bunny ears FTW!

    ewok40k
  10. Have Chifuyu’s hair in deep blue and that woman is practically Xenosaga’s KOS-MOS. No wonder Ichika got royally OWNED by her looks…
    As for the rest of the field, Charlotte is on a league on her own, but I don’t mind Cecilia’s antics or Rin getting the “best of the rest” award (for now). As for Laura, I’m still getting into grips her 260º dere-dere change of attitude, and the fact that she’s the jailbait from the harem.

    SeedStriker
  11. This episode seemed out of place for some reason. If they wouldn’t have put in Laura, they probably could have almost aired this at any time and no one would have noticed. Add watermelon smashing and this could have been any anime’s ‘beach episode’. I dunno the whole ‘beach episode’ ploy has become more or less a cliche, that series use as an excuse for a ‘fan-service episode.’

    However i do agree with you, Divine. On the ‘female protagonists’ standing thus far. Except aside from Charlotte, i really don’t see a ‘second runner’ or a third for that matter. I could go into a bunch of reasons why, but i doubt anyone would read them.

    Though i do hope they don’t do the ‘first girl wins’ rule with this series. Since Houki is probably the least interesting and likable character in the bunch. Right on the grounds of a crying baby on/at an airplane/restaurant.

    -Also am I the only one that didn’t see this ‘sister complex’ mentioned? I mean i saw it as more of Ichika realizing that there is still a person(his sister)under that armor, cold attitude and solid resolve she’s puts up when she’s around people. I dunno, maybe i’m looking too much into it.

    Snicket
  12. FRIGGIN GO CHARLOTTE! Also, screw Ichika for getting her in a changing booth like that. Sonofabitch. Laura’s kinda funny at this point, but also really annoying me with her constant interrupting of Char and Ichika (also, “Char” in a mecha series, ahahahaa)

    Aside from the male lead’s idiocy concerning the awesome French chick, this show has now become for me a reliever series, to bring me back from the emotions “Madoka” puts me through.

    DJd
    1. The personality shift kind of makes sense though. She’s getting relationship advice from Clarissa, who, as shown in this ep, really should not be doing any such thing. Compare Laura’s personality when not around Ichika (still in normal mode, just not super-tsun), and her personality when she’s probably following Clarissa’s advice (super-dere).

      It’s still the same socially awkward Laura, just following some lousy (maybe?) advice.

      Shiden
  13. Wow, i can’t believe how the girls loose their personalities to extreme deres. I mean look at laura from Kuudere to extreme loli-dere.

    Of course, Charlote and Houki are the exceptions. Charlote is pure Dere and Houki maintains her Tsun pretty well.

    banzemanga
  14. Yes! Ran! An appearance, finally. They can’t just mention that she’ll attend IS academy if the anime doesn’t stretch that long D= BOO. I liked her with Ichika (only after Char, of course)
    Char in the change room was so cute! And sparkled! kyaaaaa. Best swimsuit of them all! But seriously, he should just choose her. She’s the only one that doesn’t seem to hate the other girls for liking him, and is also helping them along, such as Laura. Also she likes saying obvious things that Ichika doesn’t get -.- (“sometimes i think you’re doing it on purpose”).
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Evident
  15. Laura and this episode get my HOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOT-seal of approval! I guess Laura is my favorite girl along with “Sharu” A.K.A. Charlotte now. Funny how she’s (at first) the toughest-seeming girl but has the most petite frame and ends up being the most flustered one.

    HenDarou
  16. Divine already said everything I wanted to say when I watched this…

    This is one fanservice episode I enjoyed from beginning to end, couldn’t get enough of it… The characters grew on me so much that I think I fell in love with all of them. lol… damn my 2Dcon got sucked in again.

    thenewhorde
  17. I’m glad older sisters aren’t as tempting as Chifuyu – the world would be in trouble if that was the case…^_^; I also see a bit of brocon in Chifuyu as well – I mean, why would she buy something that risque after seeing Ichika in the changing room with a female cadet, who does not look bad at all?
    http://img683.imageshack.us/i/zerorawsisinfinitestrat.jpg/
    I mean, good lord, the bottom for this bikini has to be outlawed on many public beaches…^^;

    Arakan7
    1. Again, they left this in the anime, but in the LN it’s because Ichika likes it better when she asks for his opinion when choosing a swimsuit to wear. Ichika covers it up by saying he think the other swimsuit is better because he’s afraid when Chifuyu wear that black revealing swimsuit, some strange guy gonna hit on Chifuyu, but Chifuyu can read him like a book and choose the one Ichika likes more anyway.

      aiueo123
  18. This is how beach episodes should always be done, a bit of fan-service but more importantly it was absolutely hilarious what with Laura calling in her team and them yelling at her about the school swim suits not being good enough. If they can come up with a satisfactory ending this can end on a great note.

    I’m still rooting for “Char” though, she is freaking adorable.

    Precise Moment
  19. I think the main difference between Charlotte and the rest of the girls is that she actually understands him somewhat. She at least knows he is dense. I think that is why she wasn’t threatened the least by Laura showing off her bikini as there is simply noway that he will take the hint from that. Charlotte has a huge advantage in realising just how far one has to go for him to notice you. It was also somewhat promising that he had to recite PI decimals to handle the changing room scene.

    Znail
  20. Why are you guys putting down the beach episodes so much? In the summertime when you go to the shore. what do you usaully do? hang out on the beach or chill on the boardwalk so an anime doing this type of sceneriao is pretty normal since we the audience do this in real life.

  21. No matter how far Charlotte is ahead of all the other “girls” there is still one woman there waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of everyone else. Seeing as this whole series is about how Ichika is trying to become stronger to protect onee-san its kind of hard to beat that natural lead she has.

    That being said, I’d love to see more of Chifuyu’s bro-con-ness slip out. Over protective sister acting funny with a straight face please~

    Azuma
  22. Screw Ichika’s’s harem shipping he doesn’t deserve the hotness of this episode. This episode makes me ship the yuri all the way with RinxCecillia, LauraxCharlotte and ChifuyuxMaya. I haven’t found someone to pair with Houki, but my yuri goggles will find one.

    fragb85
  23. This show isn’t going to have any “winning” girl anyway, so “leading” is a totally moot point. But I can say for sure that Laura’s spectacular scenes way outbalance the cute, but painfully mundane Charlotte ones in my eyes. Sorry 😉

    Mentar
  24. If I have a sister like Chifuyu-nee….I would be a bit dense to other girls. I nearly died when nee-san strolled on screen…my blood pressure dropped significantly. God this episode was EPIC….but Char is still one of my top fav..next to Chifuyu

    bakanekokun
  25. I’m tempted to say that Ichika is NOT a sis-con, but that his preference in women is exemplified by Chifyuu.

    Think about it: of all his harem, how many of them actually act like Chifyuu towards him? Aren’t they all either cutesy or forceful? Chifyuu is “strict but kind”.

    Vsin
  26. I firmly belive that Ichika is going to choose between Houki and Charlotte, so I was a little disapointed that Houki didn´t get much screen time this week, but for the other hand Really exited because Char really made some progress with Ichika. By the way, Houki´s expression when she found Ichika with Laura in bed was pure gold.

    haseo0408
    1. Yes, I don’t get why she just didn’t summon her IS to fly out of the water.

      Also, doesn’t anyone think CHARlotte and Ichika are another good duo for Rampaging Ghost? if CHARlotte lends Ichika her assault rifle.

      Suppa Tenko
  27. Am really starting to get worried that Houki will prevail in the end, and that would be too bad because i’ve almost fallen for Charlotte…I hope that i’m wrong though. Anyway, mostly a pointless episode, i’m ok with fanservice as long as it goes in hand with a genuine plot development, and we did not see that

    prejsu
  28. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Level E but am I the only one who keeps on thinking…

    COLOR RANGERS!

    Houki: Red
    Cecilia: Blue
    Rin: Yellow
    Charlotte: White
    Laura: Black

    I mean…it’s absolutely PERFECT!

    Pieprsn
  29. Really good review on this episode. Houki’s sister, Tabane, wasn’t what I was expecting at all. My imagination perceived her as a hard core scientist but seems like she’s a carefree girl with the tone of her voice and bunny ears. Houki finally receiving her personnal IS will move this plot along quite nicely as it means we’re nearing the battle seen in the very first episode. Also wanted to point out that Laura is smaller than she looks. She’s probably second smallest with Rin being the shortest. During this swimsuit episode I was expecting something that’d make her look cuter but I’ve gotta say, pretty disappointed. Anyways, good episode with some nice fan-service.

    Zangkin
    1. Yeah, that really surprised me. I think it’s those big pants that make her seem larger than she is. And re: her swimsuit, I think it’s part of her charm that she’s not naturally cute, even in a swimsuit 😛

  30. dude was it just me or they turned Laura from a cold angry serious girl into an innocent loli-esq one? D: while I do prefer this one the change is too sudden DX

    gawrshness
  31. Oh dear god, finally some more Cecilia. I was having seriously haughty-British-girl withdrawl. And next week in a kimono…

    Did anybody else notice Rin’s vanishing bracelet when she was drowning? As much as I am absolutely loving this series, animation consistency seems to be a problem for them. At 15:22, her IS bracelet is on her right arm… Gone in the next scene at 15:25, and still gone at 15:34, but now at 15:45 it’s suddenly back. It vanishes again at 15:52, and stays off for the rest of the scene.

  32. I laughed so hard when Ichika named Charlotte the “CHAR!” It fits her perfectly since Rafale Revive=Alt Eisen=Char machine.

    and yeah, Laura’s voice has changed when she shifted from the cold personality to innocent loli… though I must say, Chifuyu and Laura must be violating some sort of public indecency law with those swim suits.

    IchikaxChifuyu=wincest :3

    Suppa Tenko
  33. Charlotte! I know Ichika probably won’t end up with any of them but Charlotte is the best! I don’t get how he can be THAT dense. Seriously,if you find yourself getting armbarred by a naked woman or one who undresses in front of you, there is a chance that they think fondly of you

    andrew
    1. uhhhh…

      maybe he’s just innocent and sees them all as friends?

      dunno, i don’t think i would’ve been able to catch any of those drifts or hints either if i was ever in his shoes.

      thenewhorde
  34. Laura was like an whole other person this episode. And I find it a little weird that she’s embarrassed to show Ichika the bikini she’s wearing after she just lies naked in his bed xD

    Pera
  35. Ok its official, Chifuyu wins hands down as the best female in the series/?harem?, in both sex appeal (swim suit) and personality/abilities.

    I approve of Sis-con for Chifuyu~!

    Charlotte was pretty moe this episode too. I’m liking her personality more and more too. She’s actually trying to help Laura with guy problems unlike the other 2 stalker clowns.

    YanDaMan
  36. i never thought i’d say this,but, i kinda felt bad for houki. LOL. she’s supposed to lead here,eh? but she doesn’t. Char’s appeal extremely toppled her. and i felt sad for her since her character was sortof downplayed. poor she…

    anyhow, MYGOLLY! chifuyu-nee-sama’s just so f’n drool-worthy..oh dear… I LOVE HER TO PIECES!! XD

    CHIFUYU FTFW!

    keiOnDaisuki
  37. Hopefully we won’t get a crappy ending like Shuffle!, when Rin choose Asa from nowhere, when that bitch didn’t do a thing to impress him until the very end out of the blue. So this time I’ll be glad with an end when Ichika doesn’t pick anyone and keeps the doubt on us.

    Syaoran Li
  38. If that redhead girl, Ran was it, were to get a personal IS you just know it would have some insane kicking attack! Was a little disappointed in Charlote’s patience disappearing along with her pants. Patience and humour is her strong suit above the others.

    Breedo
  39. Well, well, well.I see what they did there, first they let Chifuyu win the battle in this episode, so next episode or the one after we can prepare to see Char’s Counterattack.Everytime I see Ran and her brother I keep thinking of Zelos Wylder from Tales of Symphonia :/

    anishuma
  40. To those who noticed any animation inconsistencies: they are present due to the production team’s blowing the entire budget on Charlotte’s swimsuit-reveal scene. I kid you not

    Djd
  41. With the way things are IS will end with Ichika either being a completely obvlivious bastard or an indecisive pussy like the majority of male harem leads out there. <_<

    In any case this beach episode was quite enjoyable.

    MartianMage
  42. hmm…looks like Houki getting her Akatsubaki and thus like the sis say its on par with Byakushiki…will Byakushiki getting an upgrade since the cold opening design is differ from the current as we seen

    crav3
  43. On this episode:

    1 – Ichika is a idiot

    2 – Charlotte is intelligent, smart, sensitive, beautiful and knows how to shoot guns and rifles, if she knows cooking I marry her!!

    3 – Interesting tactics to calculate pi to concentrate, I’ll try it someday ..

    Selpheed
    1. Also on this episode:

      1 – ZOMG! Is that the brains of the IS? And Houki’s sister?

      2 – How can Laura change personalities after just one episode?

      3 – Best. Episode. Ever.

      Razgriz
  44. As cute as Laura was this episode, it’s a little sad to see her assertive personality dissolve so thoroughly. Jumping into bed with Ichika reeks of desperation, and one overheard conversation about swimsuits (from two absolute stranger) completely shatters her confidence:

    “We have to do our best in choosing our swimsuits!”
    “Yeah, if we wear swimsuits that don’t suit us, our boyfriends will hate us!”
    “Even if we’re perfect in other areas, everything will be for naught if our swimsuits are ugly!”

    Oh you poor, brainwashed little girls …

    CypherDS
  45. Actually, I really want to know is the screenshot with Chifuyu-nee’s 2 hands behind her back making some kind of pose. What is the meaning of it? I understand the rest of the shots are volleyball shots, but the underwear/hand shot of Chifuyu-nee doesn’t really clue me in on what she’s doing.

    thenewhorde
      1. I thought it was kinda awkward for Chifuyu-nee to do that though, since she doesn’t seem like the type to be a tease.

        Plus her fingers were pointing down, I thought it was some kind of special signaling in volleyball like baseball signals to the pitcher.

        thenewhorde
  46. Ichika is nothing like Sousuke, the only thing they have in common is similar density levels.That’s it.Besides, if Sousuke was in Infinite Stratos, expect everyone to have their asses handed to them with the new Al IS lol.An IS with a Lambda Driver, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaax!

    anishuma
    1. Of course! Sagara Souske had years of experienced so what can we expect from Ichika when he’s just starting out. I’m sure Ichika will become stronger but just not when he’s starting out.

      Silver
      1. Argh, now i can’t unsee a crossover fanfic, Sousuke would’ve pulled out his gun on Laura multiple times if he was in Infinite Stratos.Probably would’ve started tailing (stalking) her lol.

        anishuma
  47. I think people don’t realize that Chifu ne definitely had a Bro-complex. If you notice when he was caught with Charlotte in the dressing room she was like “What are you doing?” in a icy manner. But when they cut back to her, she was blushing maybe a bit jealous. Then she showed up and looked at him directly and was pleased with his reaction.

    Duzz
  48. First thing I must say is that Laura is really cute now than compared to when she first appeared, great improvement. Also the girls that I favor for Ichika are Charlotte, Rin and Laura, though I would not mind him getting a harem ending.

    magixiii

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