Anime Review: Infinite Stratos

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Score: 7/10

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7 responses to “Anime Review: Infinite Stratos

  1. Hmmm that Harem element irritates me quite a bit in many shows. Where girls are overly liking the guy and it is too obvious. The guy on the hand having a sort of phobia for the opposite sex. I wonder where that logic comes from. Is it a message to the target market that is not correct to engage in sexual relationships at a young age? Is it to make it more appealing for guys, that women like them too and not the other way around? Interesting case:p

    I’m not a fan of mech centered anime. I find uncredible that mankind has resolved to mechs and not more drone-like weaponry. Well that’s me.

    Also the character designs also look a tad retro, resembling something of an eroge. Maybe it fits the theme you described.

    Tip for your review: maybe reread it a few times, let it sink in. Not all senteces were as fluent. There were words too many or a word was missing. Other than that, nice review about the series. It was not too long and told the core aspects of the series.

    • Thank you! I have no idea why so many series follow the concept of the oblivious/dense main guy; I find it quite annoying. As for mechs, I’ve never been super into mech series like some people, but I generally enjoy them as long as there’s not constant action and the show has a decent plot.

      Admittedly, I sort of rushed this post compared to my other ones since I wanted to post something that day. I’m not very good at putting my thoughts into words a lot of the time, which is actually one of the reasons I started this blog. Plus, my brain was really tired that day….

  2. I watched IS just because of the cool mecha exoskeletons. The harem part was… very annoying. Unlike Mashiro-iro Symphony, where the protagonist actually HAD a love interest and they (spoiler alert)…

    end up together,

    Infinite Stratos portrays harem school life at its lowest point. Sure Ichika is the only boy in school, but that doesn’t mean ALL of the females have to go nuts over him. And Ichika is an idiot due to his oblivious nature that rivals Hasegawa Kodaka in Haganai.

    In my opinion, the battle scenes were quite nice, and yes, they were at a decent length (remember Dragon Ball fight scenes?). The artwork of the mechas were nice, the characters… so-so. I can’t complain about Lingyin though, she’s mine! 😀

    A review nicely done, man. Kudos.

    • Thank you! Haha, that’s exactly what I was thinking when watching IS; this guy is as dense as Kodaka.

      I never watched Dragon Ball, but whenever I flipped the channel, or saw my cousin watching it, all I ever saw was them floating in the air for countless episodes….

      The problem with harem series is that they all follow the exact same character types, themes, etc. Most of the time the writer doesn’t even try to get creative and think outside the box. Pretty much all of them are average and forgettable after a while in my opinion.

      As for me, I’ll take Laura! :3

      • Sigh… the moe phenomenon was really dulled the creativity of today’s anime artists… they only make female characters to appeal to the fetishes of creepy otaku.

        It’s like every harem anime is built on the same foundation: 1 boy, 3-5 girls with multiple personalities, 1 best friend (optional), and a school. Take “Date A Live!” for example; I dropped that series because it was basically the same story they’ve been doing for years. The only harem that I liked was “Hayate no Gotoku” because of the funny parodies and because the protagonist was unlucky as hell (unlike today’s harem protagonists, who are given panties and boobies on a daily basis).

        I find that harem series become more attractive when the protagonist actually has something he stands or fights for. That’s why I’m still waiting for the return of harem anime in a fantasy world setting. Schools and cities are getting pretty boring. Where are the swords and dragons and magick?

        • The whole entertainment industry now-a-days lacks a great deal of creativity. They find a formula that is popular and makes a lot of money, and they decide to stick with it and milk it for all it’s work. It’s much quicker and easier than coming up with some more original ideas. You know what, I think I now know what my next article will be about.

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