Infinite Stratos – 5

A good stiff breeze would blow this show away, but as flimsy as it is it’s still fun. No cliche goes untapped, but it’s all done with such shameless enthusiasm and lack of conceit that it’s hard for me not to like.

This episode introduced what may be the most unconvincing trap – reverse or otherwise – in many a season of anime. Charles Dunois is a “boy” from France who shows up at school one day and is accepted as the second male who can pilot a Gundam Eva IS, without so much as a blink of an eye. He ends up being selected to room with Ichika, which pisses off Houki to no end. For the record, this is not a spoiler as I haven’t read the source material – it’s just that this isn’t very convincing, even without the endless hints we’re given. I can’t honestly think anyone in the audience is supposed to be fooled – we’re just in on the joke.

Along with Charles, Yamada-sensei (yes, another green-haired Yamada) gets in on the fun this week. She squares off against Rin and Cecilia in a practice match, and thoroughly kicks their butts. This was apparently Orimura-nee’s way of teaching the kids some humility by showing them that even a clumsy, bespectacled sensei can whup them. But the most fun in the episode is watching all of the various suitors looking daggers at each other while trying to get Ichika to eat their bentos during the rooftop lunch. This is definitely a harem where the chasers – even the tsunderes – are pretty overt in their intentions. And Cecilia’s English cooking is still terrible. For me, that stereotype is a bit overrated – plenty of good food in England the times I visited – but it’s good for a laugh.

No mention of that drone that caused such a kerfuffle last week, and by the look of the PV things seem to still be more or less in slice-of-life mode next episode. I had thought maybe things were going to start getting whatever passes for serious in this show, but it looks like that’s still a ways off.


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