Houki Shinonono (篠ノ之 箒, Shinonono Houki) is a 1st year student at the IS Academy. She's in Class One, and she's also the first childhood friend of Ichika Orimura. She is the first heroine to be introduced in the Infinite Stratos series.
Houki is a beautiful teenage girl of average height with long brown hair that she keeps in a slightly messy ponytail (that seems to be divided into two sections) with a green and black ribbon. She has dark blue eyes and a slim, curvaceous body with no trace of fat on her. She usually wears her IS Academy uniform, with high stockings and black knee-high boots that have white soles. After the battle with the Silver Gospel, she replaces her green ribbon with a red-and-white ribbon that Ichika bought her for her birthday.
Her initial IS training uniform matched the standard ones worn by all other female students, but after gaining Akatsubaki, she changed into one (a uniform) that is predominantly white with a black neckline, and black edges on the legs.
For sleeping, Houki worn a pink kimono with a sash.
In the light novel and rebooted manga, it is stated that she is very well-endowed for her age and has the largest bust size among the main heroines, including the older Chifuyu Orimura and Tatenashi Sarashiki, who are very voluptuous themselves. She even complains about the size of her breasts being too big and how they just keep getting bigger, only to think to herself that maybe Ichika likes that.
Having been raised in a shrine, Houki possesses a stern, disciplined personality. As such, she had a hard time socializing with other kids, so she had virtually no friends, with the exception of Ichika. Ichika thought of Houki as a cute girl, and he helped her out by chasing the bullies away whenever they mocked her. Even as a child, Houki had trouble expressing her feelings for Ichika, and shortly after they first met, she asked him to use her first name, but then she justified it by saying that there were three other Shinononos (her father, her mother, and her sister). Since her place of residence is a kendo dojo, Houki had been interested in kendo ever since she was young. After being forced to move away from Ichika, Houki continued practicing kendo, as it was the only connection she had left with him.
As a result of the separation, Houki has a serious emotional problem. Although she has been training in kendo, which emphasizes obtaining self-control as with most other forms of martial arts, she is very emotionally unstable, often resorting to violence first, and is quite prone to jumping to conclusions without taking the time to understand. Whenever Houki gains a new power, it doesn't take long for it to go to her head, causing her do and say things that she would later regret.
Ichika says that Houki is vile at times. This is because she's too prideful and stubborn to agree with others or admit her mistakes whenever she's wrong. Ichika even notes that this is what leads her to make mistakes as a result. She usually wants to be punished for her mistakes, and feels worse when she isn't. Ichika was quick to forgive her, but she did accept his kindness because she thought that she shouldn't be forgiven that easily, and often feels that she doesn't deserve someone as kind as him. She does want to change these tendencies, but still hasn't managed to make any changes regardless of that. Houki also has a habit of constantly frowning, as noted by Ichika. Sometimes, her stubbornness even leads her to be hypocritical (such as not wanting people to bring up the fact that she is Tabane Shinonono's sister, but taking advantage of the fact that she is, in order to gain her own personal IS). Often, however, Houki can be cheered up if Ichika compliments her.
Despite her rather gruff attitude, Houki is actually a pretty kind girl. Although she initially acts strict towards Ichika upon their reunion to the point of not allowing him to use her first name, as well as have a tendency to act quite mean to him sometimes, it's largely out of a desire for him to see her as a woman, and she soon drops the facade and treats him much nicer, though she still isn't above hitting him when he makes her really angry or is about to do something stupid. She's also shown to get along well with Charlotte, Laura, Kanzashi, Tatenashi, Rin, and Cecilia, considering them friends, despite their rivalry for Ichika's affection, and often watching their backs in combat.
Houki has very little confidence in her looks and in being feminine, likely a result of being bullied in her past for being a tomboy. She always feels uncomfortable when she has to wear revealing and/or feminine clothes like dresses or bikinis (a fact that she's well aware of). She also becomes quite shy when Ichika looks at her or compliments her. She also likes seeing Ichika in suits, to the point that in one instance, she finds it troublesome just trying to look at him directly. Notably, when the girls end up in fantasies about their ideal future with Ichika, caused by the program "World Purge", Houki is shown viewing him as an equal, in contrast to the superficial image the other girls (including the kind-hearted Charlotte) have of him.
Houki seems to have some complex thoughts when it comes to using sex appeal to get Ichika's attention. She usually gets angry when she see any of the other girls getting to physically close to Ichika, calling it indecent. Sometimes however, Houki has considered the idea of using her body to attract Ichika, even thinking that Ichika might be attracted to her large bust. However, she still gets easily nervous about actually do so, such as buying a revealing bikini to attract Ichika at the beach, but was to embarrassed to show herself wearing it to him until the last day. In the reboot manga, she tried to show him on the first day, but she felt so outclassed by how sexy Chifuyu was in her bikini that she ran away before she could.
- 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 Dunois' arrival and tends to get jealous when other girls are around him. Houki tends to take her anger out on the girls, despite the fact that he doesn't like it himself. She would likewise become happy when Ichika notices her in positive ways, such as her habits, looks, and/or cooking. She has an admiration for Ichikas' steadfast sense of what's right and wrong, regardless of his strength, which goes through a drastic change.
- Tabane Shinonono - Her sister. Houki dislikes her for moving her away from Ichika six years ago, because the day of the tournament was also the day the IS were introduced to the world, and Ichika agreed to become her boyfriend if she could win the national kendo tournament of their grade. It is implied in Volume 7 that Houki had done something terrible behind Tabane's back, but she forgave her and never blamed Houki, and due to her strong sense of responsibility and guilt, can't bring herself to face Tabane.
- Cecilia Alcott - Houki and Cecilia are rivals over Ichika's love, and both of them would often fight over training him. They started getting along with each other when they're not fighting over Ichika.
- Lingyin Huang - The 2nd childhood friend of Ichika. Houki is uncomfortable that Lingyin is also a childhood of Ichika because ichika has very few friends. Outside of that, the two have a lot in common, giving them a good understanding of each other.
- 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's incorrect knowledge of love and 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. She also refers to Chifuyu as "Chifuyu-nee". But like the other girl, she has questioned the relationship between her and Ichika. She was even worried that Ichika has a sister complex towards Chifuyu since they were kids. In the reboot manga, Houki sometimes feels that she is inferior to Chifuyu when it comes to looks and body, only having slightly bigger breast than her.
- Ran Gotanda - She feels she is a rival. Houki meets 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 an interest in Houki due to the fact that they both have sisters they cannot understand (Tabane Shinonono and Kanzashi Sarashiki). Houki seems to act differently toward Tatenashi than she does towards others (such as not attacking her after talking about her breasts, whereas she attacks Tabane for it). She even questions herself on why she does it. This may come from the fact that Tatenashi reminds her of how Tabane was towards Houki in the past. Despite this, Houki doesn't like it when Tatenashi gets better treatment from Ichika because she's their senior.
Infinite Stratos & AbilitiesEdit
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 Dunois 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. In the novel, it is stated she is a C-Rank user, most likely due to her strong emotions towards Tabane Shinonono that affect her ability. However, sometime during Volume 7, her IS compatibility rank increases to S-Rank, dumbfounding Tatenashi Sarashiki, who suspects this was done due to Houki being the sister of Tabane more than anything else.
Houki has initially piloted the Uchigane, a training IS, during her training with Ichika. Later, she gets the 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, which is seen when she dented a small locker when thinking about Ichika, where she twisted the words about 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 swordsmanship. Houki was able to break through Laura's AIC (while partially deployed) with nothing more than a regular sword and pure brute force.
Outside of her combat related skills, Houki is a talented cook. Ichika has also said that Houki is a good swimmer.
Prior to the start of the main series, she was a childhood friend of Ichika. Her place of residence was home to a kendo dojo and she has been interested in kendo since she was young. Houki even competed 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 sister, Tabane, is the creator of the IS, yet Houki dislikes 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 disliked her sister for moving her away from the boy she loves and abandoning their family.
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 glances nervously at his childhood friend Houki, but the latter looks away, making Ichika feel awkward, asking how she's treating him after meeting him for the first time after 6 years.
During break, while everyone's talking about Ichika, Houki asks for a moment with Ichika on 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 recognizes 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 searches for his assigned room 1025. While he is stunned about the room's luxury design, he hears somebody finishing their shower. A female voice starts introducing herself and Ichika gets nervous, when the girl comes 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 come 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 asks 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 open 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 females 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 is 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, in the cafeteria, Houki is in a cranky mood and tells Ichika to call her "Shinonono-san", not Houki. When three other students (Honne Nohotoke and her friends) come to sit down besides Ichika and start talking to him, Houki leaves. They ask 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 reveals that she's the 1st Year Dorm Supervisor and that she'll make anybody run ten laps around the training ground if they're late. Houki is present to witness Cecilia challenging Ichika.
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 if Ichika was 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 snaps 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 asks Houki to go grab some lunch, but she says she doesn't feel like it. He even invites Honne and her two friends to come along. When Ichika grabs Houki's arm, the latter pushes him and he trips on the floor, much to her surprise on how weak Ichika is. Scared, the three friends fade 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 they 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 with the IS and that he's going to lose horribly against Cecilia like that. She replies (in a denying manner) that it's because he let Cecilia provoke him. A 3rd year student comes by 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, saying that she's Tabane Shinonono's 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 six years. Houki decides to train him three 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 he did during 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 four weapons and fires two 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 is on the verge of striking 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 was 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.
The fight has started and Ichika immediately goes 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 interferes, stating that she won't have them forget about her. While Ichika and Laura fight, Charles defeats Houki first and resumes 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 cuts through the mech and saves 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.
The next day, Charles introduces herself to the class under the name of "Charlotte" Dunois, shocking the whole class, including Houki. As everyone knew Ichika and Charlotte used the Boys' Bath the night before, Lingyin charges into the class with her IS to attack Ichika, probably jealous that he bathed with another girl, but is stopped by Laura's AIC. Ichika thanks her, but is suddenly grabbed by Laura as she kisses him in front of the whole class, shocking Cecilia, Lingyin, Houki, and all of the other girls. Laura states that Ichika will be her "bride," stating that it is final and she won't hear any objections from. Ichika and the girls are once again shocked.
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 not to. She then reveals that she has finished designing a personal IS for her: the 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. Realizing that Laura misunderstands love, 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 just because it's Sunday, that does not mean he can slack off. As she walks in and see Ichika and the naked Laura on the bed, she freezes 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 punishes Laura.
Later at sunset, it is revealed that Houki skipped the whole seaside school event(although she wore a swimsuit). When 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.
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 good 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.
- 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 who isn't a representative of any nation or country due to her being the 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.
- 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 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 annoyed at Ichika about it, she thought to herself how much more happier she was then.
- She has a similar appearance to Momotaros
- Houki Shinonono's Japanese and English voice actors both play Erica Blandelli in Campione!.
Houki_Shinonono on the Heroes wiki.