Infinite Stratos: First Impressions

If you’ve ever watched the Simpsons, there was a time (maybe they still do it now, I don’t know because I haven’t watched it in like 7 years) where something inopportune would happen and a character would grab his collar, shake it, make a sheepish grin and let out a groan that sort of sounded like “iiiiggggg.” I remember this, because they did it once in one season, and it was amusing for that first time. But then they started doing it all the time. Multiple times an episode. This is about the time that the Simpsons started sucking, so I’m going to say somewhere around season 9 or 10. I only mention this because that’s the first thing I thought about doing once I started watching Infinite Stratos.

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If you squint real hard... you might see some mechas in there

The episode starts off by tossing you right into the middle of a random battle. Exciting deshou? Eh, unfortunately, it’s better in concept than reality, because the action scene wasn’t terribly interesting, nor impressive from an animation/visuals standpoint. Lack of detail, lots of incredibly wide angle shots, just a surprising lack of flow from a director that handled the supposedly pretty well received Macross Frontier movie. Sadly, this mediocre start would be the best it gets, because the show goes straight down the harem hole afterwards.

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Why do harem girls always keep a sword closer to them than their underwear? It's like they're waiting to be peeked on.

Coming in to the show, I was a little worried by the harem-by-the-numbers setup: the one magical boy somehow has special abilities that lets him enter, train and live in a school full of girls (no truth to the rumor that Infinite Stratos was originally called Starry Day). I figured, that’s just the setup, if they can do something interesting with it, maybe have some interesting characters, it could still be entertaining. Well, the first girl we meet is our main man, Ichika’s long-lost tsundere childhood friend. I seriously grew up in the wrong country, because apparently the only thing more plentiful than the long-lost tsundere childhood friend in Japan, is the domineering,  alpha sister/mother figure – specifically, Ichika’s older, mysterious sister, who no doubt likes taking the S role. The next character we meet is the haughty ojousama from Brittania Britain, Cecilia who challenges Ichika to a dual (clearly unaware that she’s not only going to lose… but also be stripped naked through some circumstance or another). Cecilia’s also unaware that Britain does have terrible food. But she was the best part of the show, only because I loved hearing Yukana’s Tessa voice again. For all the great roles she’s had, Yukana does not get enough cred in the seiyuu world.

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UGH! GIRLS! COOTIES! KIMO!

Well, what about our main man, Ichika? I like that he seems to be confident about battling. I hate that he has the typical harem lead mindset of “oh, I’m the only male in a schoolful of girls who all seem to want to jump my bones… WHAT A DRAG!” Next he’ll be talking about how all he wants is the peaceful life.

So stereotypical characters, weak action, harem-by-the-numbers story, and add to that some pretty awful animation throughout: inconsistent character models, long static pans… it’s a really bad sign for a first episode.

I wanted to like Infinite Stratos. I was pretty confident that this would be one of the few shows I’d watch this season. I hoped that it’d be a less ambitious, fanservice-heavier Macross style show. Instead the top two comparisons that come to mind are: Asu no Yoichi (mediocre) and Princess Lover (terrible). So sadly IS is getting the boot. I want to try to be really picky this season so I can focus on my more interesting backlog.

19 Replies to “Infinite Stratos: First Impressions”

  1. If I hadn’t already downloaded the first episode I’d just skip it. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll still take a look at it, but having heard from you how bad it is I won’t feel bad about dropping it part way through the episode. Which seems bound to happen.

    1. My guess is that you’re going to really dislike the show, since I think I have a much longer fanservice fuse, but let me know if you thought otherwise.

  2. Tsundere haremettes always have a sword on them because they WANT to be peeked at while in the shower/changing/etc…

    And yes, Yukana needs moar loev… after so many years in the industry she still doesn’t get enough respect…

      1. I’m not sure whether it’s because of THAT incident involving the Z Gundam movies, even though it’s been proved untrue, or it’s because of “generational change” which some seiyuu from the same age group tweeted about…

    1. That’s… funny you ask actually. For some reason, my one post about Ichiban gets an unusual amount of traffic. And there have been people leaving positive comments about the show throughout the past year. So I was actually planning to go back and rewatch the rest of eps sometime soon. My recollection of it was that it seemed better done than IS – definitely funnier – but pretty similar setup story-wise.

  3. I feel like I’ve seen those mechs before… ah that’s right, those are all rehashes from other series. Kallen’s radiation arm anyone? 🙄 I would have liked for a good mecha series this season but this doesn’t look to be it.

  4. Well I actually liked it, despite the boring stereotypical harem shit. And I thought the animation was nice. Then again, I haven’t seen that many good mecha animes (Code Geass and Evangelion 1.0/2.0 being the only ones actually) and this /has/ led me to watching Macross Frontier which seems a million times better so I guess either way I’ve gained something lol.

  5. I like it so far. I’ve gotten up to episode 9 and been satisfied so far. You just KNOW it’s going to get worse though. The best character in the anime by far (in my opinion) is Charles who comes in around episode 4 or 5 or something. Charles added more to the series so far than anyone else has from a non-1-dimensional level, but then Charles goes back to falling into a 1-trick pony. I don’t imagine this anime will be as epic as it could have been, but I have a patience level that rivals golf analysts. SOOOO I’ll let you know how it ends and if it was worth my time haha

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