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Houki Shinonono (篠ノ之 箒, Shinonono Houki) is a 1st year student at the IS Academy in Class One and the 1st childhood friend of Ichika Orimura. She is the 1st heroine to be introduced in the Infinite Stratos series.
Houki is a teenage girl with dark blue eyes, long black hair in a ponytail tied with a green and black ribbon (in episode 12 a white and red ribbon). She usually wears her IS Academy uniform with high stockings that creates a Zettai Ryouiki. She is also seen wearing a kendo uniform. At first her IS training uniform matched the standard one that all other female students used but after gaining Akatsubaki she changed to one that is predominantly white with a black neckline and black edges on the legs.
In the light novel, it states that she is very well-endowed, as she was once complaining about the size of her breasts being too big, only to think to herself that maybe Ichika likes that. Tabane also comments on her growth in that area (earning her a hit on the head with a bokken).
Having been raised in a shrine, her personality is of discipline and temperateness. As such, she had a hard time socializing with other kids (other boys made fun of her for being boyish) so she had virtually no friends (until she went to the IS Academy), except for Ichika who thought of her as a cute girl and helped her out by chasing those boys away whenever she was being mocked. She also has a serious emotional problem, not being able to suppress her temper and often resorting to violence. Although she has been training kendo (which emphasizes obtaining self-control as with most other forms of martial arts) she is somewhat emotionally unstable, often resorting to be controlled by her own strength rather than controlling it herself, especially when she gains a new power. Therefore she has an admiration for Ichika who shows a steadfast sense of what's right and wrong, regardless of his strength, which goes through a drastic change.
Ichika says "She's pure evil." at times, this is because she is too prideful and stubborn to agree with others or admit when she's wrong. Ichika even notes that this is what leads her to make mistakes and have self-destructive behaviour, as a result. She usually comes to regret her actions afterwards when someone points out what she has done. She usually wants to be scorned or punished for her mistakes and feels worse when she isn't. This was seen shortly after the battle with the Silver Gospel, in which Ichika sustained several critical injuries for which she blamed herself. Ichika was quick to forgive her, but she did not accept his kindness because she thought that he forgave that easily. She does want to change these tendenciess, but she hasn't managed to make any changes regardless. Houki can be calmed down or cheered up if Ichika were to compliment her.
She has very little confidence in her looks and being feminine. She always feels uncomfortable when she has to wear revealing and/or feminine clothes like dresses (a fact she's well aware of). She also becomes quite shy when Ichika looks at her or compliments her (once even thinking she was dreaming after Ichika called her pretty). She also likes seeing Ichika in suits, to the point where can lose all her rage in a instant and finds it troublesome just trying to look at him directly.
- Ichika Orimura - Her childhood friend. Although they have not seen each other for six years, Houki still harbors strong feelings for Ichika as her continuing practice of kendo was her only link to him. She was his first roommate at their dorms prior to Charles' arrival and tends to get jealous when other girls are around him. Although she tends to take her anger out of him despite the fact that he doesn't like it himself. She would likewise become happy when Ichika notice her in postives way, such as a her habits, looks, and/or cooking.
- Tabane Shinonono - Her older sister. Houki hates her for moving her away from Ichika six years ago and because the day of the tournament was also the day the IS were introduced to the world. It is implied in Volume 7, that in the past, out of anger or hatred, Houki had done something greatly to hurt Tabane, but she took it with a smile & never blames Houki, so due to her strong sense of responsibility & guilt can't bring herself to face Tabane & is uneasy to talk to her making it seem like she hates her.
- Cecilia Alcott - They are rivals over Ichika and would often fight for training him. They started getting along with each other when their not fighting over Ichika.
- Lingyin Huang - The 2nd childhood friend of Ichika. Houki is uncomfortable that Lingyin is also a childhood of Ichika even if she is 2nd to her and they would often fight for him.
- Charlotte Dunois - At the beginning when Charlotte was thought to be a male, Houki was indifferent. After learning her true gender, Houki started to see her as a rival and a strong one as well (even fearing one wrong move on her end can put her behind Charlotte).
- Laura Bodewig - Houki hates her for stealing all the good parts with Ichika, such as kissing him and sleeping naked with him.They do get along well nonetheless, although Houki finds it troubling when it comes to Laura incorrect knownlegde of Japanese culture.
- Shizune Takatsuki - Her classmate in Class One and roommate (in Volume 6).
- Chifuyu Orimura - Ichika's older sister. Since Tabane is a close friend of Chifuyu, she has an intimate relationship with Chifuyu, sometimes secretly sharing information with her about Tabane. Also she thinks of Chifuyu as "Chifuyu-nee". But like the other girl, she would question the relationship between her and Ichika.
- Ran Gotanda - She feels she is a rival. Houki met her in Volume 4 and the OVA.
- Tatenashi Sarashiki - She asked Houki to be her partner during a tournament at the IS Academy. Tatenashi starts to develop interest in Houki due to the fact that they both have sisters they cannot understand (Tabane and Kanzashi Sarashiki). Houki seem to act differently to Tatenashi than she does others (such as not attacking her after talk about her breast when she attack Tabane for it). She even question herself why she does. This may come from the fact that Tatenashi reminds her of how she was towards Tabane in the past.
Infinite Stratos & Abilities
She is particularly skilled in the art of Kendo, having won the national tournament a year prior to the story. Her fighting style is decidedly offensive, as in the past she has always won her competitions with pure power, and she had issues defending against Charlotte during the Grade Level Tournament.
Her knowledge in IS is particularly limited, as Ichika often thought that he has absolutely no idea what she is trying to say with her punches and sound effects. In the novel, it is stated she is a C-Rank user, most likely due to her strong emotions towards her older sister that affects her ability. However, sometime during Volume 7, her IS compatibility rank increases to S-Rank, dumbfounding Tatenashi Sarashiki. Tatenashi suspect this was done due to Houki being the younger sister of Tabane than anything else.
Houki has initially piloted the Uchigane, a training IS, during her training with Ichika. Later she gets Akatsubaki from her sister, Tabane. Although the unit has the highest specs out of the whole series, the level is brought down due to her skills, thus putting her at the same level as the other heroines.
She also seems to have some form of abnormal strength, as seen when she dented a small locker when thinking about Ichika where she twisted the words on him wanting to defend his comrades (his original words), to wanting to defend her instead during their interview. However this may have just been for comedic purposes of the show. She does uses this strength with her swordmenship.
Prior to the start of the main series, she was a childhood friend of Ichika. Her place of residence is home to a kendo dojo and she has been interested in kendo since she was young. Houki even competes in kendo competitions at a national level and was the winner of the national tournament that was hosted one year before the story of Infinite Stratos began. Her older sister, Tabane, is the creator of the IS yet Houki hates her because six years ago, Ichika agreed to become her boyfriend if she could win the national kendo tournament of their grade. However, the day of the tournament was also the day the IS were introduced to the world. Because of their links to Tabane, Houki's family was placed under government protection and Houki was forced to withdraw from the kendo tournament. Since that incident, Houki has hated her sister for moving her away from the boy she loves and abandoning their family.
Episode 1: "My Classmates are All Girls"
Houki is introduced to the main series as one of Ichika's classmates. The scene shows that he is the only male in the class, and the only male in school. He glanced nervously at his childhood friend Houki but the latter looked away, making Ichika feel awkward, asking how she's treating him after meeting him for the first time after 6 years.
At the break, while everyone's talking about Ichika, Houki asked for a moment with Ichika at the school's rooftop. Houki is shy, blushing and giving short answers to Ichika's questions. He congratulates her for winning the National Kendo Tournament last year, much to her surprise. Ichika then tells her that he's glad to see her again and that he still recognize her even though it's been 6 years. He compliments on how her hair is the same too, making Houki blush even more and start playing with her hair.
In the afternoon, Ichika walks toward his dormitory and searched for his assigned room 1025. While he is stunned about the room's luxury design, he hears somebody finishing her shower. A female voice starts introducing herself and Ichika gets nervous, when the girl got out of the bathroom wearing a towel, Ichika sees it was Houki. Shocked, Houki tells Ichika to look away. Ichika starts by explaining that he is assigned to this room and they might be roommates. Surprised, Houki takes her shinai out and starts attacking Ichika but he saves himself by getting out of the room and closing the door. Houki pierces through the door multiple times and Ichika trips. As he protests against Houki, other girls wearing revealing pajamas get out of their rooms and start gathering around him. Freaked out, Ichika begs Houki to be let into the room.
Later, Houki asks why are they roommates, which Ichika doesn't know. She starts blushing and asked if it's because Ichika asked the school staff for him to be assigned to the same room as her. When Ichika says Houki isn't serious, she starts attacking him again but when the other girls opened the door to peek into the room, Houki stops and closes it. She starts talking about room rules, mostly about bathroom hours. When Ichika says he'll use the public bathroom and starts thinking about the fact that only female attend the IS Academy, Houki calls him a pervert. As she's preparing herself to punish him with her shinai, Ichika grabs another one and start swinging it but a bra was stuck at its edge, making him ask "What is this?", shocked, Houki snatches it. When Ichika says that she's at "that age" now, she hits him on the head with her shinai and knocks him unconscious.
The next morning at the cafeteria, Houki is in a cranky mood and tells Ichika to call her "Shinonono-san", not Houki. When 3 other students (Honne Nohotoke and her friends) came to sit down besides Ichika and start talking to him, Houki leaves. They asked about Ichika's relationship with Houki, which he tells them that she's a childhood friend and that they went to the same Kendo Dojo when they were in 1st grade. Chifuyu her hand and tells everybody to eat quickly. She reveals that she's the 1st Year Dorm Supervisor and that she'll make anybody run 10 laps around the training ground if they're late.
Houki is present to witness Cecilia challenge Ichika to a duel.
Episode 2: "Class Representative Runoff!"
Ichika is told by Chifuyu that he will be provided with his own personal IS for his match against Cecilia, a rarity since there are only 467 IS Cores that were created by Tabane Shinonono before she disappeared. Relieved, Cecilia says it wouldn't be fair if she fought with her personal unit and that Ichika were stuck with a training one. A classmate then asks Chifuyu if Dr. Shinonono is related to Houki, which the teacher answers they are sisters. As the whole class is shocked and starts bombing Houki with questions, the latter snapped back by saying that Tabane has nothing to with her and that she has nothing to tell the class about her sister.
During the lunch break, Ichika proposes Houki to go grab some lunch but she says she doesn't feel like it. He even invites Honne and her 2 friends to come along. When Ichika grabbed Houki's arm, the latter pushed him and he trips on the floor, much to her surprise on how weak Ichika is. Scared, the 3 friends fades out saying that they'll pass. Ichika stands up and decides to pull Houki by her hand anyway to go grab lunch. Houki blushes looking at their hands.
In the cafeteria, Ichika explains that he tries to be considerate because it's Houki: her family took care of him in the past, they've been friends since they were kids and even went to the same dojo. He wants Houki to let him at least do this much for her. As they eat, Ichika asks if Houki can help him about the IS and that he's going to lose horribly against Cecilia like that. She replies (in a denying manner) that's because he let Cecilia provoke him. A 3rd year student comes and proposes to help Ichika for the IS training but Houki replies that she'll train him instead, much to Ichika's surprise. The senior student says Houki's just a first year and that she, a 3rd year would be more suited to teach him. Houki snaps back that she's Tabane Shinonono's younger sister, shocking the senior student as she leaves.
In the IS Academy's dojo, Houki easily defeats Ichika. She asks angrily why Ichika became so weak after 6 years. Houki decides to train him 3 hours every day after school to fix it before he can pilot an IS. In the locker room, Houki isn't sure if she was too harsh on Ichika, but is sure that he hasn't touched a sword in at least a year. Upon thinking that she'll be alone with Ichika after school, she blushes but shakes her head and tells herself she wasn't thinking of "that".
One week later, in the battle arena's waiting room, while Ichika and Houki are arguing about the past week's Kendo training, Maya announces to them that Ichika's IS has arrived, the Byakushiki. She then explains the IS's Absolute Barrier system which puts the IS pilot's safety at first priority. Upon touching the Byakushiki, Ichika gets the same feeling of "understanding the machine without studying it" as back in the time at the IS entrance exam. He then flies out to the arena.
Cecilia is waiting for him in the air with her Blue Tears, saying that if he apologizes now, she might consider forgiving him, but he refuses. As Ichika's shield is being destroyed by Cecilia's sniper, he takes off a blade and makes his way towards his opponent all while dodging her shots. While they're fighting, Maya comments on how amazing Ichika can operate an IS even if it's his first time. Upon Chifuyu's observation about Ichika's habit to clench his left hand, she remarks it means he'll make simple mistakes, which Maya comments on Chifuyu's observation as an older sister.
When Cecilia tricks Ichika that she has more than 4 weapon and fires 2 bombs, he can't dodge and gets hit. Everyone gets worried but Chifuyu says that he got saved by his unit. Everyone gets shocked to see Ichika's IS in another form, the 1st Shift. While Cecilia is surprised that he's been fighting with the default settings the whole time, Ichika discovers his weapon, the Yukihira Type 2, the same sword his sister Chifuyu used. Praising his sister, Ichika decides that it's time to stop being the one who gets protected and that from now one, he'll be the one protecting his family. As he easily dodge and cuts down Cecilia's bombs and was on the verge to strikes her, the match announcer declares Cecilia the winner, much to everybody's surprise.
Later, after Ichika incomprehensibly lost against Cecilia, Maya explains that Ichika lost because his shield energy is depleted and that a barrier-neutralizing attack deals damage at the cost of his shield. She then says that Ichika's IS is currently on standby, but he can deploy it any time he summons it, giving him an IS practice book.
During the walk back at their dormitories, Houki asks Ichika if it's okay that she trains him. He replies that it's easier than having another girl teach him, and since Houki is Tabane's sister, she knows more about anybody else. Houki blushes and tells Ichika to clear his schedule starting from tomorrow onward, all while giggling by herself which Ichika doesn't understand.
Episode 3: " The Transfer Student is my Second Childhood Friend"
Episode 4: "Showdown! The Class League Match"
Episode 5: "Boy Meets Boy"
Episode 6: "My Roommate is a Young, Blonde Nobleman"
Episode 7: "Blue Days ~ Red Switch"
Episode 8: "Find Out My Mind"
The fight has started and Ichika immediately went on to strike first at Laura Bodewig, but is stopped by her AIC. As Laura prepares to shoot Ichika while he's paralyzed, Charles appears behind Ichika and counter-attacks Laura with her Rapid Switch but Houki interfers stating that she won't have them forget about her. Laura felt that Houki was in her way so she used her tentacles to remove her out of her business against the boys. While Ichika and Laura fought, Charles defeats Houki first and resumed his battle against Laura.
During the fight, they discover the AIC's weakness: Laura can only focus on stopping one enemy per time. They then use different "sacrifice-and-attack" combos to slowly defeat her. Ichika gets his energy shield exhausted and Laura takes advantage to pin him down to the ground but Charles keeps protecting him with her Ignition Boost, stating that it's the first time he's using it. Charles then uses his Shield Pierce weapon to brutally punch Laura's shield multiple times and exhausting her armor. Laura, fainting, is suddenly consumed by her IS and transforms into a large dark mech that matches Chifuyu's fighting style. Angry about this, Ichika decides to fight against it but Houki holds him back telling him that he doesn't have to do anything and the matter will be resolved by the instructors troop. Ichika still refuses and Charles offers him enough energy to manifest his sword, making him promise that if he loses, he'll have to wear a female uniform to school starting the next day, embarrassing Ichika and Houki. After Ichika gets enough energy, he goes to cut through the mech and save Laura.
Later while Ichika and Charles are discussing about the match in the evening at the cafeteria, they see Houki observing them with a worried face. Ichika then goes to her and says he'll go on a date, making Houki all excited but stated that shopping was nothing, angering Houki to punch him in the face, kick him in the stomach and leave.
The next day, Charles introduced herself to the class under the name of "Charlotte" Dunois, shocking the whole class. As everyone knew Ichika and Charlotte used the Boys' Bath the night before, Lingyin charges into the class with her IS to jealously attack Ichika, probably jealous that he bathed with another girl than her, but is stopped by Laura's AIC. Ichika thanks her but is suddenly pulled over by Laura as she French kisses him in front of the whole class, shocking Cecilia, Lingyin, Houki and all the girls. Laura states that Ichika will be her "Wife", it is final and that she won't hear any objections. Ichika and the girls are once again shocked.
Episode 9: "Ocean's Eleven!"
The night before seaside school, Houki secretly calls her sister, Tabane. The latter teases her, pissing Houki off and as she is about to hang up, Tabane tells her to not. She then reveals that she has done designing a personal IS for her: Akatsubaki.
The next morning, Ichika wakes up and feels another pair of legs. Shocked, he pulls off the blanket and discovers Laura sleeping naked. As Ichika screams, Laura wakes up and exposes the rest of her body, prompting Ichika to tell her to hide "those". Laura says that spouses shouldn't hide anything from each other and she thought in Japan you'd call someone you like as "My wife" (ore no yome) or "My wife" (jibun wo). Realizing that Laura misunderstands the Japanese culture, he points at her and asks who's the idiot feeding her false information, prompting Laura to grab his arm and pin him down. She then changes topic saying that she should train Ichika in pinning techniques and that it's not like she won't help him. Ichika, struggling, asks why Laura's blushing. Meanwhile, Houki knocks at the door telling Ichika it's time for morning practice and that it's not because it's Sunday that he can slack off. As she walks in and see Ichika and the naked Laura on the bed, she froze in a shocked/speechless manner, dropping her shinai. Seeing Houki, Laura comments how rude she is for invading the bedroom of a married couple. Pissed and shocked, Houki takes her shinai and punish Ichika with her Heaven Punishment move.
Later at sunset, it is revealed that Houki skipped the whole seaside school event(although she wore a swimsuit). Chifuyu joins her and asks if it's about Tabane that troubles her mind, she hesitates. Chifuyu then tells Houki that tomorrow's the 7th of July, a date where Tabane usually shows up.
Episode 10: "Thin Red Line"
Episode 11: "Get Ready"
Episode 12: "Your Name Is"
OVA: "A Sextet Yearning for Love"
This OVA can be separated into two parts
- All the girls visiting Ichika. Obviously, an attempt to get closer to Ichika.
- The summer festival which is shows Ichika, Houki and Ran.
All the girls arrive at Ichika's house at different times. All the girls see Ichika-Chifuyu acting like a couple, but Ichika, still oblivious, thinks this is a normal sibling relationship.
At the end, Houki confesses to Ichika that she loves him but the fireworks begin as she confesses muting her "I love you".
- Ichika: "Is that a new obi?"
Houki: "Y...You have a sharp eye"
Ichika:"Nah, I just noticed since the color and design's different, since I see you everyday."
Houki: "T...That's right! We see each other everyday...I see...!"
- Houki and Ichika's night talk in room 1025 (Manga Chapter 4)
- Houki: "I-I have something to tell you."
Ichika: "What? You seem so serious."
Houki: "About the grade level individual tournament next month...I-If I become the champion...Y-You'll go out with me!"
- Houki to Ichika after they've been separated as roommates (Episode 5)
- Houki is the first character to confess her feelings to Ichika (second one being Kanzashi). However, the first time she did so, her confession was rendered inaudible by the fireworks. The second time she did, she was asleep when she said it, but Ichika didn't hear her well and quickly noticed she fell asleep while carrying her.
- Houki's name in kanji means "broom" (houki, 箒).
- Houki's IS unit Akatsubaki and its swords are a tribute to the MBF-P02 Astray Red Frame from Gundam SEED Astray . Both Akatsubaki and Astray Red Frame are close combat units that uses katanas as main weapons. Its inactive sillhouette, foot blades, and colors are all reminiscent of the ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice from Gundam SEED Destiny .
- Aside from Ichika, she respects and admires her father, Ryuuin Shinonono.
- The name of Houki's IS, Akatsubaki (紅椿), translates to "Red Camellia". Camellias are flowers native to eastern and southern Asia.
- Houki is the only known main female character that isn't a representative of any nation or country due to her being the younger sister of the creator of IS and being the only person who possess a 4th Generation IS that does not belong to any country or organization.
- Houki's IS, Akatsubaki, has a resemblance of a cat, judging on what's on her head when her IS is deployed.
- In episode 2, when Houki's in the changing room, she's seen wearing a duster. After the few seconds of flashback, she's seen wearing the school uniform.
- As shown in Volume 8, Houki's ideal world is where she still lives in her family shrine, with Ichika still practicing kendo there and is stronger than her. This is most likely the reason why she always wants Ichika to train harder in kendo. This also show the reason why she talks down to Ichika most of the time, as she wants him to be stronger than her.
- Unlike the other 4 girls, Houki's Ichika didn't act or show any lewd behavior. It unknown if this is based on what Chloe Chronicle said about the world purge effects being weaker, or possibly because Houki doesn't want Ichika to act indecent (ironically, Houki only realized everything was fake when the real Ichika grabbed her breast), Strangely, while Houki was angry at Ichika about it, she thought to herself how much more happier she was then than when she was in her dream world.
- She has a similar appearance to Momotaros.