Infinite Stratos (IS) was one of the many series that had be sitting on my “to watch list” for a very long time. A lot of the series I watch are a result of a spur of the moment thing; I may see someone saying they really enjoyed the series, see some awesome artwork on pixiv, or perhaps stumble upon some music from the series and decide to start the series as a result. I think this time it was a combination of seeing some Infinite Stratos figure posts on reddit and stumbling upon the opening song while browsing music covers on Youtube.
With the knowledge that the series had something to do with cute girls fighting in mech suits, I expected to enjoy it just as much as Strike Witches; one of my favorite series. As a result, I started the show with really high expectations.
The story revolves around Orimura Ichika and his life at the Infinite Stratos pliot training school. Normally only women can operate the powered exosuits known as “Infinite Stratos” (IS), however Ichika is found to be an exception to the case when he stumbles upon an IS that responds to his touch after getting lost on his way to a school’s entrance exam.
Originally, I thought they’d be fighting aliens or something along those lines, but most of the show revolves around battles between Ichika and the other girls. While there is an underlying mystery that emerges after several episodes, the majority of the show is spent focusing on each girl for a few episodes, providing you with their back story, and the “competition” for Ichika that erupts between them. On a side note, I think this is the first harem series that I’ve seen where EVERY (yes, every single girl in the school) wants to be with Ichika.
For the most part, I found all of the main characters to be very likeable. The only problem I had with Ichika was the fact that he was one of those “oblivious to everything around him” characters. I’ve seen so many series with these kind of main main characters, and as Ninety mentioned in this blog post, it begins to get boring (sometimes annoying) after a while. I like to see the girls end up happy in the end, so it always annoys me when the main character doesn’t know that a girl likes him, even though it’s incredibly obvious.
I also found Houki be somewhat annoying as the series progressed. I don’t usually have a problem with tsunderes, but I found it annoying that she felt useless for basically the whole series and felt entitled to Ichika just because she was his childhood friend. I guess I also prefer when tsunderes are more pro-active in trying to get a guy to like them, whereas Houki seemed to stand on the sidelines while the other girls fought over him.
I thought the pacing of the show was good; they didn’t spend too much time focusing on one girl and the story never stalled (unlike what Shingeki has been doing recently….). They also didn’t flood it with too many battle scenes, focusing more on the story aspect. The battle scenes that did occur were a good length (not overly drawn out) and provided the kind of action I was hoping for.
In terms of animation and music, I would say they’re both average. The only thing I found slightly annoying about the animation was the 3D they mixed into the battle scenes; I never like it when it’s really obvious that they mix 2D and 3D (on some shows it’s worked in so well that I don’t even notice it unless someone points it out).
While I didn’t like it nearly as much as Strike Witches, I definitely enjoyed watching Infinite Stratos. Don’t expect the show to amazing or anything; I’d say it’s your average show that employs a lot of the overused themes like most shows being produced nowadays. Although it wasn’t anything really memorable, I’m looking forward to watching season 2 in the fall season.