「ラブリー・スタイル」 (Raburii Sutairu)
This show is bad for my health. The amount of fanservice in this episode was near toxic levels – and I loved it!
Separation of Fanservice and Plot
Some shows are very good about mixing fanservice, comedy, and plot – Hataraku Maou-sama was one, though it had far less fanservice to mix in. Infinite Stratos has more of a mixed record in this. Its mecha stylings are still better than the non-harem aspects we get in most other harem stories, but it doesn’t weave it with comedy and fanservice as well as other series, at least this season (I only remember the broad outlines of Season 1 at this point, so I can’t directly compare). That’s why their decision to almost completely separate the fanservice and plot in this episode actually worked out really well. The–well, the majority of the episode was all fanservice all the time, and it was amazing. Then they switched over fully to plot with the reveal at the end, and the seriousness of the scene wasn’t polluted by any fanservice or humor. I respect stories that can seamlessly mix these tones a lot, but I also respect those stories that realize they can’t (or shouldn’t) mix them and keeps them separate. It’s not the ideal, but it gets the job done.
All The Contenders Show Their Stuff
It’s official – Ichika is a boob man. I mean holy heck, that fanservice! When Houki came out with the kitsune miko and Ichika was totally enraptured by her we’ll say ears, I was about to call the competition for Houki, but then Cecilia came out. If we’re just going by oppai, don’t count England out, especially since that’s not the only place she’s packing heat. I was especially impressed how her choice in billiards allowed her to snuggle up to Ichika with a good excuse, so extra points there…that is, until Charlotte came out with her french poodle outfit (DAMN!), and I instantly lost three-quarters of the blood in my body. That attempted kiss and that accidental oppai cookie–!! OH MY France-tan is still best tan!
If I had to put someone on the bottom of the pile (hur hur hur), it would be Ling, who didn’t even really get her turn after it was snatched away by Russia. Speaking of, Tatenashi-sempai oh damn! I just…that says it all. As for Laura, she had a surprisingly weak showing, though I did laugh at the swimsuit bit. And then meido Chifuyu-nee–!! The other fourth of my blood is gone. It’s official – death by moe. I’m typing this as a ghost. Someone get me a defibrillator with Char’s voice before the reaper gets here. Hurry, I see a light.
I feel it’s worth repeating – the reason this episode worked is because it knew exactly what it wanted to be, and it did that. It was a fanservice episode 1000%, and though that’s indulgent and lowbrow and any number of other charges you might level against it, it didn’t try to pretend to be something it’s not. At its best art is, honestly, not indulgent at all – I probably should call this indulgent narrative if nothing else. Even so, I still respect shows (like High School DxD) that know what they want to be and are shameless about it. They’re not high art, but they can be damn fun.
Ichika Is Such a Siscon
Of course, this episode wouldn’t be complete without dense Ichika. Ever since I first realized that every third line of his is “Huh?” I’ve been noticing it more and more, and more than the rest of his idiocy that’s really bugging me now, AGH! Oh well, no one to blame but myself. Anyway, he was actually pretty good throughout most of the episode, because it was clear that he knew the girls were coming onto him, and since he probably didn’t want to die a horrible, terrible death he was wisely trying to resist them.
Then he decides that the best girl is Chifuyu-nee. Mind you, if she were wearing a meido outfit and serving me ice cream I wouldn’t disagree – actually, can I get a nurse Chifuyu-nee to go along with that defib? Thanks – but in that situation you apologize and say you can’t decide because they were all so great and thank them again for making your birthday so special! Come on Ichika, this is minor league stuff – short of the final “I choose _____” moment, you either constantly pick a favorite (the Keitaro or Keiichi method) or never pick one. Just don’t take the question at face value – that’ll get you killed!
Looking Ahead – Mecha Shoujo Orimura Madoka
So M–sorry, Orimura Madoka (Kayano Ai) says “I am you, Orimura Ichika”, so the smart money is now on clone. (Hide and label those spoilers, source readers). The tension of the gunshot did ring hollow because Infinite Stratos is just not the kind of show where someone gets shot…uh, ever. I’d love to be surprised though, because A) it would be an interesting development and B) Ichika deserves to get shot after all of his luck this episode. Haha, I’m just kidding…but no seriously, if I ever met him I would beat him to death with half a brick and that bottle Houki was holding. Lucky bastard.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Multiple levels of fanservice, followed by fanservice, then more fanservice, & Ichika is a siscon. Also a gunshot. & fanservice #is_anime 05
- Houki truly is a master of embarrassed moe. Like Segawa Izumi, she leads a life of shame. I promise you Hayate fans found that to be hilarious. Probably.
- Cecilia really knows how to work a stick, ufufu~! I’d really like to hit some balls into her pockets wait no that doesn’t make sense I’ll stop now.
- Ever noticed how much of a young wife / mother vibe Char puts out? And then accidental oppai cookie. I don’t think that has any bearing on my point, I just wanted to say it again. Related: “Accidental Oppai Cookie” would be a great name for a Houkago Tea Time competitor. Someone make this happen.
- I can accept how good Cecilia is at billiards, but both Laura and Ichika getting bullseyes at darts? Hax! It’s harder than that dammit! Though I guess they’re sober, so that helps.
- You’re stepping on a minefield there, Maya-sensei. Though at least it’s not a straight on a mine like Ichika.
- I can’t judge Ichika for forgetting his own birthday, considering how I routinely forget my own until a day or two beforehand. He’s a little young for that though. He’s still not to the drinking age yet! Come on Ichika, birthdays are still useful to you. You have many years to look forward to where birthdays mean nothing more than another marker on the inexorable slide down to your inevitable and probably embarrassing death. Yes, I just ended a fanservice episode post with a depressing comment about our mutual impending doom. I don’t play by the rules, bitches!
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: My stance on piracy, The three main rules of storytelling, I’ve never regretted any of them, and Great stories make you stop…and just feel.
ED: 「BEAUTIFUL SKY」