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IS – Infinite Stratos April 28, 2011

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Manga.
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Infinite Stratos is a harem, mecha anime that includes action and (romantic) comedy.

Here’s a quick summary of IS – Infinite Stratos (from Wikipedia):

“In the near future, a Japanese scientist engineers a powered exoskeleton called “Infinite Stratos” (IS). Possessing technology and combat capabilities far more advanced than any other weapon system, the IS threatens to destabilize the world. Faced with such an overpowering weapon, the nations of the world enact the “Alaska Treaty”, which states that IS will never be used for military combat and that existing IS technology must be equally distributed to all nations, to prevent any one nation from dominating the others. The introduction of the IS does however have a major effect on society. As IS can only be operated by women, the power balance between men and women is broken, with women coming to dominate society over men.

Ten years after the first IS were introduced, the world has entered a new age of peace. The peace is shattered, however, by an unexpected discovery. A 15 years old Japanese boy, named Ichika Orimura, is discovered to be capable of operating an IS. Realizing the potential, Ichika is forced by the Japanese government to attend the prestigious Infinite Stratos Academy, an international academy where IS pilots from all over the world are trained. Thus his busy school life surrounded by girls begins.”

This was a pretty enjoyable anime, despite it being a bit cliche as a harem anime; that’s what I noticed as an experienced anime watcher. However I can imagine people who are newer to anime watching to have less expectations of the anime to enjoy it more. (What got me interested in non-mainstream anime in the first place was the harem thing from Negima! First anime series, which I know now is horrible when compared to the manga.) I gave it an 8 out of 10 on MAL.net, for it’s comedy, action, and art. Fan service is also mixed with the mecha theme so expect camera angles to be in strange positions. Story is not so good, and it lags starting at the episode 9 with the standard beach episode, which has loads of fan service as well.

The characters of Infinite Stratos are all fun to watch. Ichika Orimura, the main protagonist of the series basically has that standard “clueless about the girls around him” personality and is of course also the one who wants to help everyone. It’s still funny to watch the problems that ensue with Ichika because any clueless boy around an array of beautiful loving girls always has it’s awkward moments, which we the viewers love to see.

All the girls in Infinite Stratos are great in their own way, but my favorite IS girl overall would probably be Charlotte Dunoa, the IS cadet representative of France. Unlike the other girls who have that more clumsy hyper funny way in getting Ichika, she is a bit more assertive and level headed, like how she keeps on reminding him of their relationship from when she was pretending to be a male for the reasons she had, instead of plotting amongst one another who will get him. She is very supportive in battle with Ichika, like during the battle against Laura. Charlotte is also cute but not overly endowed and over active like how the other girls are. She is voiced by the seiyuu Kana Hanazawa who is known for being the voice of Kanade Tachibana from Angel Beats!, Kuroneko/Ruri Gokou from Oreimo, and Shiori Shiomiya from The World God Only Knows.

Charlotte being cute.

Photo from one-precinct.com

The other girls in the series are more random, with their antics and likely hood to hit Ichika when appropriate. Houki Shinonono, one of the childhood friends of Ichika and a IS cadet representative of Japan, was one of the characters I wasn’t too fond of. She is the standard childhood friend who acts a bit tsundere to hide her feelings, but it’s so obvious that her tsundereness seems forced on her, if not for the background story that supports her character. Her type of character is way too common, even more so was the fact that her seiyuu was Hikasa Yoko who has done quite a few anime characters I’ve seen with similar personalities. Her sister, Tabane, creator of the IS, is the complete opposite in terms of personality, hyper, childish, but also a genius who created the world’s strongest weapon systems. She doesn’t appear too much in the series because she is usually under hiding due to her being a wanted person for her IS weapon system research. Not too much to say about the other girls, but I’ll acknowledge Laura Bodewig, the IS cadet representative of Germany, for her badass personality in the beginning of the series who aims to be ruthless IS pilot, to becoming a girl who faints from being called cute and becomes embarrassed in certain situations. Her personality seemed to change drastically from start to end of the anime series, only because she fell in love with Ichika because he saved her. Most of the other girls are the same as well, falling in love with the main character just because he either helped them with their problems or saved them from getting seriously hurt. (Why can’t it be like that in real life? Of course the answer is because the 2D and 3D worlds are separate and should not be mixed, but we can always fantasize right? )

Overall I enjoyed it due to it’s comedy and action scenes, but the addition of all that fan service and weak plot brought it down. What I found especially annoying were the plot devices used in the series, such as Ichika’s Golden Power up thing from being shot in the back, to Houki’s IS ability of restoring energy to any IS she wants to, to Ichika’s second shift upgrade which was sudden and seemed to be just another main character power up aimed towards giving a happy ending. I can imagine younger audiences enjoying this anime without problems due to that they would not analyze the show as if they were doing a research paper, but I like to cover as much as I can about the anime in my opinion.

I’ve covered everything I wanted to cover about IS – Infinite Stratos in this post, but it doesn’t mean I covered everything about IS. In my anime review posts I aim to give general info about the series, talk about some of the characters, discuss any notable things from the anime, and anything else I want to. Basically my anime posts are my experiences and opinions with the series, not meant to be used for accurate references. If you want more info about any anime series, you can always Google it, or use Wikipedia.

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