Into the Infinite Stratos!
In a word: formulaic. Honestly, if I could name a series as being the most ‘average’ so far this year, Infinite Stratos would take the cake. And it’s strange, really, because it has no glaring drawbacks. It’s just that it never really picks up and there doesn’t seem to be much of a point in watching it other than seeing the day-to-day interactions between Ichika and his harem.
Even the harem setup is generic. Orimura Ichika is the only male in the entire world capable of piloting Infinite Stratos, a specialized mecha exoskeleton that specially tailor themselves to their user. The technology is new, so many schools around the world specialize in training IS pilots. But nothing like the Infinite Stratos Academy, where most of the story takes place. This international school trains pilots from all over the world. Ichika soon finds himself surrounded by beautiful joshikousei from several countries. Ichika’s older sister, Chifuyu, who had been missing from Ichika’s past for several years, ends up being an instructor at the school. As expected, Ichika is a dim-witted slacker than has no textbook knowledge of how an IS works, but is innately gifted at operating them.
The characters are all well-designed and the art is gorgeous. Each girl shares the spotlight pretty equally, and it’s hard to dislike any of them. In most other harems I’d be rooting for one or two characters in particular but in Infinite Stratos I would’ve been satisfied with any pairing. Not that you should really expect definitive closure in a comedy harem.
The primary draw of this series is definitely fanservice and comedy, and it succeeds very well in that regard. The problem is that it tries to inject a bit of story into it, when there just isn’t any reason to do so. It would’ve done just as well if it was an episode-by-episode romp through the academy without ever trying to take itself seriously. I’ll commend the effort, but it never really blooms in the short amount of time the production house had. It’s too bad, since the last few episodes that were spent trying to quickly build up a plot could’ve been spent featuring other characters that joined the cast late (Laura’s rationalized dere and Lingying’s slooooow dip into yandere territory are some points of interest).
Since Infinite Stratos is based on a light novel series and this was only released this year, I expect a few spin-offs or maybe a second season. I don’t think it’s really deserving of one but, then again, it’s not undeserving of one, either.
A lesson in total mediocrity. Not that it’s a bad thing.
Character Ranking – Infinite Stratos
- Charlotte Dunois
- Huang Lingying
- Orimura Chifuyu
- Laura Bodewig
- Shinonono Houki
- Shinonono Tabane
- Orimura Ichika
- Cecilia Alcott
- Yamada Maya