There are some interesting concepts running through Arpeggio of Blue Steel, and the combat sequences are generally well handled.
Chihaya Gunzou has been convincingly presented as a sneaky tactician, and is generally interesting to watch in action. Iona, the mental model of the Blue Steel, is also starting to become an interesting character in her own right.
However the Defeat Means Friendship trope is definitely in play, and is now leading the story firmly towards harem anime territory. Sometimes there simply is not enough face palm in the world to handle things like this.
Despite that, I’m still enjoying the show and wondering where it will head next.
I’ll keep watching for the moment but this is definitely the guilty pleasure of the Fall 2013 season.
Speaking of guilty pleasures, here’s the music video for Blue Field by Trident (a vocal unit made up from three of the voice actresses, the video has them in character):