「シスターズ」 (Shisutaazu)

Houki is deredere, Madoka is angry, and Sarashiki imouto is finally here.

Houki’s Principles

Oh Houki, your principles are so flexible. I enjoyed how quickly she abandoned her supposed principles – though I think it was more of being embarrassed, not seeing the point, and not giving a fuck – in order to get a daito with Ichika. A maiden in love, eh? (Though Golden Time proves this can cut both ways). Better yet was how thoroughly delusional she was. Ichika wants to protect his nakama, and she mentally inserts her own name? Of course he does mean her as well, but you’re getting ahead of yourself, Houki-chan. Well, maybe…

What the photo shoot drove home to me is that Ichika really only reacts to Houki. (Bonus points for whoever guesses the manga I stole that line from. No worries if no one gets it, it’s a bit obscure). Maybe this is just Friday margaritas talking, but I don’t remember Ichika ever reacting to any girl – no, not even Char or Laura, though Char comes closest – as much as he does with Houki. He gets flustered by the ecchi, sure, but it never feels romantic unless it’s with Houki.

Now this may surprise you, but Houki being ahead actually doesn’t annoy me. I don’t hate her – she’s very cute when she goes into deredere mode, and I love how strong she is – I just prefer Char myself. It’s hard to escape the fact that Ichika seems to prefer Houki though. Not a bad choice, even if he’s passing up the frankly superior Char (fight me, other ships!!). One gripe though: her suddenly falling asleep and basically sleep-confessing to Ichika? So convenient. What high schooler falls asleep that quickly while being carried on he crush’s back? Mind the details, storytellers. They’re important.

Delusional Haremettes

It’s not just Houki, but all these girls are delusional. They know that at least five girls are angling for Ichika (and if you add in Tatenashi and, you know, the rest of the student body, the number shoots higher), but they all assume Ichika is going to pick them? Even had Tatenashi not thrown a wrench in things I don’t even think current favorite Houki should have expected to get the nod. Honestly I would have put my money on Laura, who if Tatenasi didn’t beat her to the punch would probably be Ichika’s partner now. You really ought to lay off on the pointless yandere antics though, Laura. Chifuyu doesn’t want a baka onna as a sister-in-law.

Special points do go to Char and Rin for trying to go after Ichika via his stomache. Even as a guy who can cook quite well and does so frequently, I can tell you that a woman cooking for me is very much appreciated, because not only will it probably be delicious (or I’m going to damn well say it does! The first few times, at least) but it shows they’re putting in time and effort for me. How great is that? They just screwed up when they didn’t ask Ichika to be their partner right then. The thing I liked was how believable the scene was constructed – it seemed natural that Char would wait until Ichika had enjoyed her food a bit, and also that Rin would intrude during their short lunch period. Uncommonly good storytelling for this series, that. You’ve gotta make a move, girls!

P.S. You’re still at the bottom of the rankings, Cecilia. Keep dreaming.

Sarashiki Imouto Appears

So Sarashiki Kanzashi (Mimori Suzuko) has finally been officially introduced, and she’s a mixed bag for me so far. First of all I like that she’s an obviously socially awkward introvert who likes to watch anime, because that’s something familiar to a lot of us, plus the show she was watching made me think of Samumenco, which is appreciated. What I didn’t like is that she’s passively waiting for a hero. I understand that passive women are attractive to a lot of guys and maybe in Japanese culture at large, but sitting around hoping someone will save her is not something I like. If this weren’t a harem story there’d be no one coming to save you. Save yourself, girl!

While I’m not sure how Tatenashi expects her imouto to not figure out she sent Ichika when he’s, you know, her roommate, what I liked is there actually being a reason for Kanzashi to be annoyed at Ichika. Sure, it’s not really his fault that building Byakushiki knocked her personal IS behind on development – it’s not like Ichika maliciously decided to screw her over – but it’s both reasonable and there’s finally a girl who’s not instantly smitten with the King of Dense. I’m sure she’ll get over that though. They all do. Lucky bastard.

Tournament Arcs

This is half a sidebar, but I love tournament arcs. I’m not sure if I’ve ever written a post on this alone – though if so I need to – but what I like about both tournament arcs and sports anime is that the protagonists can lose. Unlike the main plot, where the stakes are often too high and defeat means death or worse, with a good tournament the protagonists can easily lose, and in fact a lot of them are required to lose since only one (or in this tag team tournament, two) can win. To me the quintessential tournament arc – or really just the one that made me love them so much – comes from the Negima manga. I’ll enclose my thoughts in spoilers since this is so tangential, and also awesome.

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Looking Ahead – M Is For Medicine

So clearly it’s the upcoming tag team tournament that has me most excited. There is that whole thing with Madoka though, particularly those pill cases she had around her bed. That combined with Chifuyu-nee’s very specific reply to Ichika’s question and the physical similarity scream “clone” even louder to me. We’ll see, though hopefully after some tournament shenanigans!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Houki ship gets a boost as Sarashiki imouto finally enters the stage #is_anime 07

Random thoughts:

  • The interviewer/camerawoman was awesome. Sure, I would have preferred Char, but she put Ichika and Houki in some delicious poses. At least someone is pushing one of these relationships forward!
  • You want someone quick-witted, Char? So then not Ichika I guess. If Houki is going to win the harem express, I guess I oughta just start shipping Char with Laura instead. Franco-German relations go!
  • I haven’t referred to this since it came out, but the promised Infinite Stratos 2 OVA has been released, and I have seen it. I’m not going to be making a special post on it because frankly I can’t be bothered, but here are my impressions in short: Cheaters never prosper Cecilia; Ichika got to hold & grope Char, DIE!; Houki is more manly than Ichika, and yet so womanly; Char feeding Houki!? HNG~; Laura is so kawaii when she’s happy about her prize; and the Ep1 preview of Tatenashi giggling is still amazing. Best preview ever. There, the OVA (really just an extension of Ep1) is commented upon! Feel free to join me in the comments and give your thoughts.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Writing challenge – one short story, one week, Novel update: editing & short stories, My stance on piracy, and The three main rules of storytelling.

Full-length images: 11.




    1. The reason why Houki is always in the lead compared to other girls storyline wise, (Other then Chifuyu of course, since Ichika is a siscon) is the fact that the author himself clearly likes Houki as a character. She always gets an attention and a story arc or her role is different then the others.

      Of course, the fans themselves are kinda different. There are plenty of Houki fans, but if you consider the popularity poll or just plain merchandise, it’s always England and France at top. (France a bit more, but that’s because the anime team likes France the best, at least that’s what I’ve heard)

      1. What matters here is that Houki is japanese and like all japanese girls in this story (Chifuyu, Tatenashi, Kanzashi, Tabane…) she has Yumizuru’s nationalism to back her up. Why do you think Rin is the black sheep on the gang?

  1. Stilts is being so mean at Cecilia. Although you have to admit, she’s not really fleshed out just as much as Laura, Char, Houki and Tatenashi.

    Ranking should be like so:

    1st place: Houki, Chifuyu
    2nd place: Char, Laura, Tatenashi
    3rd place: Cecilia, Rin

    1. I’m being honest. I like her fine – especially how she was acting two episodes ago – but calling her a darkhorse is being kind. She really doesn’t have a shot. She’s better off forming a comedy duo with Rin.

      1. I’d agree that they don’t have any chance … right now, in this anime. But what if we are to have a season 3, and the author decided to do a Cecilia and Rin-centric volumes before the last arc/volume?

        Just don’t count them out yet.

      2. You know, I think Rin and Cecilia could have been a really good comedy duo if they had had the chance.

        I’ve read two canon short stories, each with one of them as the protagonist. They can be surprisingly fleshed-out characters. Alas, no chances for that.

    2. I hate to admit it, but this ranking is just about right. My beloved Laura is forever going to be second place to Houki and Chifuyu (not that the two loses in terms of overall charm)

    3. I actually like Cecilia fine. She has her cute moments as well, being the socially awkward type from her higher-class upbringing. In fact, I would place her above Rin on my ranking, who is much more prone to attack without reason and display yandere tendencies.

      But compared to Houki, Char, and Laura, unfortunately she does not stand a chance.

    4. I think Charlotte edges Laura and Tatenashi in 2nd place. To me, she and Ichika have that sort of bond where both are very comfortable around the other (despite some awkward moments), and that strong partnership that developed during their short time as roommates. Rin will be friend-zoned, so I think Cecilia edges her in the bottom tier. If you want to be more broad with the rankings, I think it looks like this:

      1. Houki (and Chifuyu)
      2. Charlotte
      3. Laura, Tatenashi
      4. Cecilia
      5. Rin

      Though Charlotte is my favourite gal, I actually like the Houki shipping. I think it was just “meant to be”.

    5. Houki has been in the lead since the end of last season. She almost kissed him in the last episode (before the rest of the girls attacked them). Obvious chemistry when they’re alone too, though I expected him to react when she was riding on his back with her breasts pressed against him.

      Laura being shot down by Chiafuyu was both hilarious and sad at the same time. But then Chifuyu wants Ichika for herself!

  2. Surprisingly, Ichika is not as dense as usual in this episode. He actually took charge a couple times, carrying Houki when she sprained her ankle and promising to help Kanzashi.

    On another note, what is this fictional show within a show? It stars Hiyama Nobuyuki as a super sentai! They have to make it, because I will watch the hell out of it!

    1. Not sure what’s so surprising about Ichika carrying Houki. That has nothing to do with being dense, and everything to do with being a nice guy. He knows that she will try to tough anything out, but she was clearly in pain so he stepped up to carry her.

  3. @Stilts: On some levels, Chifuyu-nee is in the lead by wide margin, but since this isn’t that type of show (right?), I have agree with you. I like Houki so I’m fine with “first girl wins”, though IMO she, along with the others, needs to take a tip from Char and not beat the crap out of Ichika every time they get embarrassed, etc. Less tsun, more dere. While Houki may be “in the lead”, IMO Laura’s made huge progress this season – from dark horse to challenging for the lead. She’s been just great IMO – providing a lot of this seasons funny, entertaining moments.

    We finally get Kanzashi on the scene which is a mixed blessing for me. Similar to Stilts I like the tournament story line (those usually are fun), but Kanzashi is my least favorite haremette. I can understand Tatenashi wanting to help her sister, but I’d rather she figure it out on her own than drag Ichika into it. More time Ichika spends with Kanzashi, the less screen time for the rest of the girls. Again, it’s not so much that she’s a horrible character, but rather I prefer the others. Well, maybe not Cecilia – have to think about that one.

    I wish Chifuyu-nee didn’t give such a ridiculously precise reply. I was hoping for some tangible information about Modoko. :/ Guess I have to wait on that.

    1. Personally, I wish Chifuyu just outright lied. Fictional characters do this “technical truth” bullshit too much. If it’s deceptive then it’s a lie in my book, so if you’re going to deceive or dodge then just woman up and lie, Chifuyu-nee!

      Or give us information, of course. That’ll come later though, I hope.

      1. Yeah, that is a very “lawyer” BS type answer. Technically it’s not a lie, but in essence it’s either a lie or really says nothing at all. Even though I know what to expect,or perhaps rather more accurately what not to expect, from Ichika, it’s been frustrating to watch him ponder about Modoko when clearly he should just talk to Chifuyu-nee about her.

        So I was happy to see him FINALLY ask Chifuyu-nee about what Modoko said (even if Ichika did it such obtuse manner). LOL – then Chiyufu-nee trolls me with her “non answer”, and of course Ichika just leaves it at that. >_<. Yeah, no point in bother to figure out who's trying to kill you or anything. Ichika's denseness knows no bounds…

  4. I was really happy they finally did the photo shoot scene between Houki and Ichika because it was one of big romantic moments so far in the light novel series between the two. I was sad that they left out dinner scene as well as the birthday scene between houki and Ichika so far this season as i think those were both really sweet and a bit romantic. I agree with stilts that the point of this scene was to drive the point home that Ichika really only reacts to houki. If you read the light novel this is taken up to 11.

    Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Can you tell me how to get the spoiler tag so i don’t make the mistake again. While I am at it I want to say sorry to everyone if i spoiled you. I wrote Spoiler in capital letters because i didn’t know about the spoiler tag function. I hope that you guys can forgive me.

  5. Houki: Doing things just for show goes against my principles!.

    Mayazumi-san: if you do it I´ll give you tickets for a restaurant, just for couples.

    Houki: We´ll do it!.

    What happened to your principles Houki-chan!. XD

  6. ** Please use Show Spoiler ▼

    around any major spoilers. **

    Spoiler tags. What an idea! Why not USE THEM?

    Ah, if every episode of IS could end with Ichika being humiliated or insulted, then it would be the best I could hope for. Go go Sarashi imouto, be mean to him!

    I’m still sailing on the Laura ship, but I fear the Laura ship will share the fate of the Bismarck. Houki is First Girl after all. *sigh* (But Laura is Best Girl!)

  7. Houki has always had First Girl rights to Ichika, as far as I’m concerned. Best girl doesn’t even enter into it: none of the other girls actually have any claim here unless Houki chooses to give up hers.

  8. (Ups, I think I repeated myself in the above comment).

    Surprisingly good storytelling. Can we forget the previous episode existed? This is what I was expecting after Madoka’s revelation: Ichika thinking about it and asking his sister, Madoka making more plans…

    And the characters are less dense than usual. I suspected something when Rin showed her modeling photos to him and he didn’t mess things up, but then he complimented Houki and helped her, then managed to compliment both Char and Rin for their cooking skills without putting one above the other. That scene with Char and Rin was surprisingly natural, and when one of them tried to retort to violence Chifuyu remembered she’s a teacher as well as a big sister and stopped it. Tatenashi was humble enough to ask for a favour and Ichika tried his best.

    No, seriously, did the screenwriters eat some vitamins or what? Or is it just that the light novel improves at this point?

  9. The whole segment with Houki was cute, and that’s why she’s gaining several points in the ranking: seeing her this cute is an almost impossible task! Now, I hope Ichika is not the kind of guy (aka: @$$) who just don’t want to notice his haremette’s affection over him (cough*Haganai’s Kodaka*cough). While I’m still on Charlotte’s side, Houki have gained a massive advantage, and seeing her so… girly has increased her points with me.

    Before I start ranting about the Sarashiki sisters, how much time is needed to made an IS? Because this is the reason why Kansashi hates Ichika. After the whole S1 and up to now onto S2, Kansashi’s unit isn’t completed? That’s BS! Now, you know what I think about Tatenashi, but her little sister takes the cake. Baseless hate, chu2, neet, is a walking trope!

    As for the Not-Celestial Being, at least we’re being updated on that, but Madoka having Gundam Seed’s Rau Le Creuset and GSD’s Rey Za Burrel weak point is a let down.

  10. Char, if you’re looking for someone quick witted, you got the WRONG guy!
    He caught surprisingly fast that Sarashiki-imouto and council president are not on good terms. Which means either he has a blind spot for love only, or he is Obfuscating Stupidity (T!)
    quote:and there’s finally a girl who’s not instantly smitten with the King of Dense.
    This, along with her being closet otaku, meagnekko, and socially awkward made me love her from first sight. Too bad Ichika is actually a hero she needs!

    1. Putting my bets on just having a blind spot for love, caused by his siscon nature. He’s actually smart if he puts his mind and will into it. He’s just not the type to think that a girl is a potential mate unless her initials are O.C. and she has black hair and is a relative.

    1. I haven’t referred to this since it came out, but the promised Infinite Stratos 2 OVA has been released, and I have seen it. I’m not going to be making a special post on it because frankly I can’t be bothered, but here are my impressions in short: Cheaters never prosper Cecilia; Ichika got to hold & grope Char, DIE!; Houki is more manly than Ichika, and yet so womanly; Char feeding Houki!? HNG~; Laura is so kawaii when she’s happy about her prize; and the Ep1 preview of Tatenashi giggling is still amazing. Best preview ever. There, the OVA (really just an extension of Ep1) is commented upon! Feel free to join me in the comments and give your thoughts.

      1. Well, I understand that making a second updated post would be a drag. but I would love the read the poster’s comment about these misadventures. Especially the Ichika got to hold & grope Char part. By your comment I’d say you should kick the author’s nuts (or the studios head directors) for this action.


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