Infinite Stratos 4

If I had to describe the first third of IS, I think the most fitting word would be “tiresome”. After this episode, I’m fairly convinced watching the final two thirds will be a waste of time. There’s finally a decent battle, first between Ichika and Rin, then with the two of them fighting an unmanned drone, but slick action alone does not a watchable anime make.

And frankly, there’s nothing else interesting about this anime. The fact that three girls are competing for him is simply ridiculous, especially when it’s clear he has no romantic designs on any of them and is your typical dense dude who is the target of nearly all women around him. This has been done before, and it has been done before better.

While the battles are quick, fluid, and well-animated, I feel I’ve seen all of it as well, in better series like Macross and Gundam, which are augmented by interesting characters and plot lines. This is just a school in an awesome-looking futuristic city that we’ve yet to see any of, where the first thing remotely resembling an enemy didn’t show up until the fourth episode. This show seems to want to spend most of its time on the silly love polygons; I’m better off spending time watching other things. Rating: 2 (dropped)

Infinite Stratos 3

Infinite Stratos is wearing a bit thin. It isn’t enough that the entire school full of girls is in love with him in addition to the pompous Brit whose character completely changed, and the childhood friend who doesn’t know what she wants. Somebody thought it would be a good idea if Ichika had another attractive childhood friend, accompanied by her own Chinese-style theme music.

In the episode, Ichika actually refers to Houka as his “First Childhood Friend” and to Rin as his “Second Childhood Friend”. In Engrish. More than once. There’s just something really stupid about that. And of course, she’s an incredibly skilled IS pilot too, because why not?

So all of these girls are falling over themselves to get close to Ichika because…well, because he’s the only guy around, I guess. This episode might have been partially saved by some kind of epic aerial battle, but alas, all we get is Rin lunging at the camera and the end credits (which are also lame). Stop being pointless and boring, damnit! Rating: 2

Infinite Stratos 2

Infinite Stratos definitely has its flaws: all-too-nebulous protagonist who needs more personality; the childhood friend who can’t make up her mind; the annoyingly brash foreign rival, and the constant reminder that Ichika is the only male in the school, essentially making it a superharem. It already seems like way too many girls will be smitten with him throughout the course of this series, much like Leyfon in Chrome Shelled Regios.

Ichika brought a knife to a gun fight, but he soon finds a weakness in Cecila’s sniper IS with support bits (a la Gundam) and his IS soon formats to his specifications. The fact that Cecilia had a technical victory rather than pounding him into submission didn’t deal the blow to Ichika’s public image as I had hoped. Infinite Stratos may not excel at characters or realistic social situations (Houka’s sister just happens to have invented the core of the IS? That’s a handy Coincidence!), but there is at least one thing it does do well: aerial macha battles.

It is here where he finally shows that he can do something. Though his little speech about ending his need to be protected was kind of silly and obvious, the battle itself was kinetic and fun. The backgrounds and music were also noticably decent. IS isn’t deep, but so far its pros are standing up to its cons. This second episode was also better in almost every way than the first, which is encouraging. Rating: 3

Infinite Stratos – First Impressions

Infinite Stratos or “IS” looks to be a mecha series, though it isn’t immediately certain who the enemies are. So far it’s the story of Ichika, the only guy in an all-girls school; though in this case he’s the only male period who can pilot IS. He’s also in the same class and shares a dorm with his childhood friend Houki (voiced by Occult Academy’s Maya, Yoko Hikasa,) who he hasn’t seen in six years. He also has to deal with his older sister, who’s a teacher and RA.

Not surprisingly, being the only male nets him a lot of attention from the ladies. They all admire his sister deeply, and so his presence there must mean he isn’t a total schlump. He does, however, seem to lack a certain urgency or motivation to meet his potential. It takes a conceited English classmate to insult Japan and challenge him to a duel for him to get going. The harem-ness will grow tiring if overused.

After a sweet, action-y prologue, this was basically just an introductory episode that had Ichika settling into his odd new surroundings. There should be more action with the duel, when we see exactly what he can do. For what it’s worth, I liked the futuristic setting and the chemistry between Ichika and Houki. I want to learn a bit more and see more action now. Rating: 3

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