Title: Infinite Stratos
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-fi
Summary: Japan engineered an armed powered exoskeleton “Infinite Stratos” (IS) and it became the mainstream of weapons. Since only women can operate IS, women dominate the society over men. Orimura Ichika is a 15 year old boy and accidentally touches an IS placed in the IS pilot training school. He is found to be the only man who can operate IS and forced to enter the training school. Ichika’s busy school life surrounded by girls has begun.
Review: Oh Infinite Stratoshow you fell so far from your amazing opening and cool mech battles. Why did you have to turn into the stereotypical harem that we could find anywhere? What caused you to take such a turn for the worst? While I admit of all the harem I have seen you probably were one of the best for your likeable girl characters, I still wish you at least tried to make an effort for a story. I saw pieces scattered throughout the episodes, but the hassle of pick them up wasn’t worth it.
Infinite Stratos excelled most in art style. The combination of drawn and CG was nearly perfect. There were some spotty times when it was obviously CG, but for the most part it was a smooth transition. I absolutely loved watching the battles between the Infinite Stratos pilots because of the variety of weapons and smooth movement. The anime did a great job to have intense fighting and beautiful visual effects. Even after watching the same IS fighting multiple times I was still never bored. The creators and choreographers took old fighting moves and made them fresh, or came out with new techniques for every fight. Since now I’ve only been praising the art in the fight scenes, but I assure you the other parts areas of art were equally as good. The bold lines and detailed backgrounds made for a great scene setter. My complaint is the anime didn’t have much in terms of varying scenes. Many of the scenes took place in the area, classroom, or bedroom. While there were some small changes, it still felt repetitive. Toward the end of the anime they did make a couple changes and move the anime to a new location, which turned into new repetitive scenes. Unfortunately this was the extent to the anime’s good points.
Infinite Stratos lost points big time because of its story. The reason the story was never appealing to me was because there never really was one. Most of the episodes were mini-competitions between the endless number of girls to get Ichika’s attention. The dense Ichika of course not understanding the situation and going on his merry way. One thing that I will praise Ichika for was his ability to keep a level head. While many main leads get flustered, turn cherry red, and make the situation worse, he managed to at least try to lower the sexual tension. The typical awkward moments of seeing a girl naked or accidentally undoing her bra were all present. The anime didn’t even do a good job with comedy because they used the same old cliché material from day one. Despite liking some of the females fighting for his affection, I couldn’t help but lose interest. A female lead can only do so much when the male is basically unresponsive. It doesn’t matter how hot a girl looks talking to a wall, she is still just talking to a wall. Nothing’s going to happen. I mentioned previously that Infinite Stratos had a story brewing that fell short. I forgave the authors for not using the IS as a military weapon. I forgave the authors for not having more than a handful of characters with personal IS. However, I will not forgive them for making a horrible twist ending. It wasn’t so much a twist rather than a quick fix to fill plot holes and ensure there will not be a second season. The final three episodes seemed like a scramble to throw something together and create a half-way decent plot. However, the twist even made that little effort blow away in the wind. The only reason the anime was created was to show off cute girls that can kind-of-sort-of fight.
The soundtrack was a typical J-pop opening and ending. It was a little clever seeing the girls running with Ichika in the ending, slowly adding more and more. It was kind of like a quick check to see which one of them has fallen for him. The background music wasn’t too bad. It didn’t improve the anime all that much though.
Final statements: A rather short review, but I think it gets the point across. There isn’t much to say about Infinite Stratos other than that it is a typical harem anime. The one thing I did notice that separated it from its harem brothers was the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you will still pick this up after the avoid watch warning, but he does pick one of the many girls chasing after him. I bumped up the score for that alone since it is quite a rare sighting.