Monday, September 15, 2014

Infinite Stratos Review

Infinite Stratos Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

This show has been on my mind, and in my head ever since Laura was in a Top Model cycle that one of my friends had. (Well, it was his fourth). My friend played clips of the English dub on ITunes, Fast forward 6 months later, and I'm cracking up to Hollow Of Dawn's review of the show. 2 months later, his reaction videos to Season 2, and it's upcoming review in February also made me laugh so hard until my sides started hurting. 

So Season 2 wasn't on my To Watch list, Season 1 still was, and now it was my turn to try and find a time where I could watch it.

The time finally came after I dropped Date A Live 2, I wanted another robotic show, perhaps with some more interesting aspects. So then, it was finally time for this show to make its way into my watching limelight. And overall, I kind of liked it.

The show does provide interesting characters, and a good story. However, if you came to the series specifically looking for robots, you are going to be disappointed.

The show mainly amps up to 11 in it's harem aspects, and doesn't truly shine with the IS's until the battles step into first base. All of this, concluded with a FANTASTIC musical score, great animation, and a somewhat engaging side story line, I can find even the lowest of harem fans might find something good in this series.


In the future (not sure how many years), an inventor named Tabane Shinonono invents a machine known as the IS, or Infinite Stratos. This machine possess more technology and combat than anything else in the world, resulting in common fear from the public of it's danger. Thus, some of the countries team up to create the Alaska Treaty, stating that the IS will never be used for military combat, and that the technology must be distributed equally between all nations. (Score!) This also creates a new dominance in society, letting women triumph over men, as women are the only one who can use this machine.

However, this changes 10 years later when Ichika Orimura activates the machine during a entrance exam. This leads to the Japanese government shipping him off to IS Academy, believing they have solid gold on there hands. Though, Ichika must deal with the fact that he's the only male in the entire academy, so it's a big gigantic harem, well at least until you meet the main love interests.

So what's the main part of the story you ask?

The harem.

WHUT? But what about the IS and its development on how it came it be?

Yeah, that basically isn't developed as much, as it seems the writer wanted to just over-empathize the harem aspect of this series as much as possible.

And that's a bit disappointing, since the backstory sound so promising. Oh, and it isn't even explained in the show, besides the creation of it. Other than that, zero zilch.

We do get some interesting fight scenes between IS's, and we also get some possibly of some controlled unites. However, the show doesn't know when to explore this set territory, causing for some weakened plot elements, and overall disappointment.

But still, other elements don't overall downgrade the show. Let's talk about a plus:


The characters in Infinite Stratos all range from somewhat unique to cliched stereotypes. However, maybe through all of this, the creative aspects will shine?

Let's start off with Ichika, our main protagonist:

Ichika is a first year student at the academy, and is perhaps a miracle worker because he's the only male at the school. Well, at least, according to the girls. Beside that, Ichika is the younger brother of a IS prodigy, his big sister named Chifuyu, who also happens to be his teacher. Ouch, awkward.

When he was young, he was captured by Phantom Task during a competition that Chifuyu was in ,forcing her to drop out to find him, which she does successfully. This makes him regret about a strong enough younger brother, and you'll see this story is connected to another character, but more on that later.

As he is the first male IS pilot EVAR, he has a great reputation with the ladies who feel that it's necessary to get to know him ASAP. Although, his personality is as dense as a brick, leading to him saying something stupid, causing that girl to get made at him. (Mainly Houki if this happens) However, he has some kindness to him, as he often will go on to achieve great lengths to protect others

While Ichika is perhaps another ordinary male protagonist, he does have some qualities that help him out in my opinion. For one, he doesn't mean to be an asshole, so I put accidental before it. Also, he seems to drift between each girl, not knowing who he will choose. Hmm, I wonder who?

Houki's up next:

Without her back-story, Houki is the typical anime tsundere. The one who constantly acts cold, admits to liking said main character in private, and often results in hitting or punching him when she gets mad.

Houki is the younger sister of the inventor of the IS, and blames her sister for Ichika's and her separation, because she was dropped from a kendo tournament that if she won, she could date Ichika. Wow, dating at a young age isn't pretty. But the reason why she had to drop was because that IS was introduced to the world.

Of course, this doesn't stop admitting to herself that she likes Ichika for that long, but she never admits to his face. When he normally doesn't take her sentences seriously, she often gets mad at him. But then again, shouldn't that be obvious by now?

So yeah, typical tsundere, yada yada. I like Houki, but her typical tsundere box cut-outs defer her from being the best character in the show.

Good news, she's the only bad character.

Cecilia's turn:

Do you see this? We have our first international girl to talk about.

Cecilia Alcott is the Representative from the United Kingdom, and like the others, is a first year at the IS Academy. She is a bit posh, and swears on her life to never marry a weak man. At first seeing Ichika, she doesn't seem to like him, due to him being dense, and that he has nothing to offer.

She then challenges him to a duel for class representative, and she wins due to Ichika having a technicality, though later cedes this position to him. During the fight, she develops feelings for him, thinking that now he is a true man.

So basically, it went from: "OHMYGOSHIHATEYOUSOMUCH!" to:

Wow, that accelerated pretty fast.

One of the main reasons why I like Cecilia so much is that she adds a bit of humor into the show. Her funny moments often brighten up the show, and I found myself chuckling every single time these came on. I also like her voice because it has a nice airy tone to it that sort of wrapped around my finger. I understand that some people would find her voice annoying, but that for me would go to Ikki Tousen,

Next is Lingyin:

Lingyin is the representative from China, and is the class representative in her own class. Oh, and she is another one of Ichika's childhood friends. Long ago, she asked him to make a promise that he will eat all of the sweet & sour pork that she makes when she is a better cook. However, when Ichika re-hears this promise, he doesn't take it that Lingyin has been in love with him since childhood has well. Gee, who would have thought?

Lingyin is more interesting than Houki surely because she has a better personality. She isn't a stock cut-out, but actually does tend to have a personality of her own, with a few yandere qualities. However, she isn't the most interesting character in the anime, though her rivalry with Houki is reasonable, as they were Ichika's childhood friends.

Now onto Charles or Charlotte:

Charlotte is the IS representative from France, and at first enters the school as another male IS pilot named Charles. The reason behind this is because her father wanted her to spy on him to get more information on why he can pilot a IS. Eventually, one they are roomed up because they're "both guys", Ichika eventually discovers her real gender, not if every single time he toke his shirt embarrassed her enough to catch onto.

After Charlotte tells Ichika about her father's mission and the real reason why she is at the academy, Ichika swears to protect her, and when Charlotte brings up leaving the academy because Ichika discovered her gender, Ichika tells her to stay, and not to worry about what happens at home. Thus the main reason why Charlotte falls in love with him, and this works well.

Charlotte isn't a signature shy character, and her actual gender identity is a good plot twist in some sorts, although might be a bit obvious. She then later conjures the bravery to confirm her actual gender in Episode 8. thus re-introducing herself.

The best news is...... Charlotte didn't start off liking/hating Ichika. GASP

Other than that, I can see several people liking Charlotte due to her personality, and her overall charm and stability.

Last girl up, Laura Bodewig:

And thus goes my award to best girl, as Laura clearly is the best character in the series. But then again, that's my opinion.

Laura is actually a creation of human DNA, and the name given to her is actually a codename. She served in the German IS force, which she is the captain of. She also holds Chifuyu is a high regard, due to her helping out when she was still new, and thanks her for the person she is today. However, she can say the complete opposite for Ichika, because Chifuyu had to abandon the competition that she was in (back in Ichika's storyline) to go rescue him. She feels that Ichika makes Chifuyu a completely different person, thus, the reason why she transfers into the IS academy to plot her revenge.

But during the tournament that takes place in Episode 8, in which she struggles to defeat Ichika and Charlotte with Houki, her inner VT-System plays into action. This cause her powers to go berserk, thus getting covered in a Inter-IS, which basically models and has the same abilities as Chifuyu does. During in which Ichika rescues her, Laura soon realizes what his older sister sees in him, thus letting her heart flutter away, and be Ichika's wife.

On this topic:

Her mis-understanding of the Japanese culture thus causes Ichika to be her bride.

So once again, we go from "OMGIHATEYOU!" to:

This is much better than Cecillia's however.

One of the main reasons I like Laura is due to the fact that she has this hidden strength that I like about her. she isn't necessarily reckless when she first appears, and her hatred towards Ichika is very clear. When she starts to have feelings towards Ichika, it isn't forced, and later seems to blend in somewhat well, as all of them have the same way.

Let's just see if her personality is screwed over in season 2,

Other characters include Ichika's older sister, the substitute teacher, the inventor of the IS, Ichika's best friend, and his younger sister.

Some of the side characters don't necessarily get development, such as Ichika's friend. and I find that reasonable, his sister doesn't need to get caught up in the harem anyway. But since we don't really get a villain, I'm drawing lots for Tabane as the main antagonist. *cough*


The animation was done by studio 8-Bit, who is also known for animating the Macross Frontier movie, teaming up with Statelight for Aquarion Evol, and Tokyo Ravens.

The IS all look very modern and slick, and the character designs all seem to be very well polished, and don't look cluttered with extra baggage.

The animation isn't jaw-dropping amazing, but the machines do look pretty cool. But then again, this anime isn't trying to push any boundaries. I still do like the animation though, but then again, I like it every series.


The score for this series was composed by Masumi Ito, who goes under the pen name of Hikaru Nanase, who has also composed scores for animes such as Chrono Cursade, Scrapped Princess, and Canaan.

OHMYGOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This score was just............UGH! 

From some of the light bouncy tracks, to the more heavy battle music, you can tell how much effort was poured into the score, and how much it makes the anime better in some regards. Sometimes a score can be memorable, but not have that extra kick. This series though, does, and has it soar with such flair that it's enjoyable on all regards.

The opening for this series was sung by Minami Kuribayashi, who before hand, did sing one of my favorite openings for the  Devil Is A Part Timer. This opening packs as much punch as the first, leading me and perhaps future viewers bobbing there heads up and now, jamming to the music. The ending, which is first sung by Yoko Hikasa, and then joined by all of the other girls in Ichika's harem party, is a bit cheesy. But really, it might be better just to hear this as a separate version. Marina Inoue! *sparkly eyes*

The show's original Japanese isn't a jump start waiting for awards, but I did have a fun time watching it, as the actors did put enough effort into there characters to make each likable. The English so far on the other hand, is a mixed bag.

Over the use of accents in English dubs, I'm fine with it. In Black Butler it didn't really bother me. (Minus the Making Of OVA, where it's HEAVILY inconsistent) The accents for Cecillia and Laura are done well, besides Laura's name getting a bit too heavy pronunciation. Charlotte's on the other hand, isn't as good, and sounds a bit too forced.

Also, the quality between different character's lines is a bit inconsistent. For example, when I hear the conversation between Ichika and Laura in Episode 7, I can tell there's a slight difference in quality. and without headphones too.

Finally, let's talk about the OVERUSE of voice actors from the main cast as background characters. I understand this can happen in every anime, and in Bleach, I don't think it's a serious problem. (Though, I have noticed two situations in which characters of the same voice actor are talking to each other, or fighting one another) But when you use Britney Karbowski for FOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUND VOICES IN EPISODE 2 ALONE, you know that some people are going to notice.

Highlights in the original Japanese are Koki Uchiyama, Yukana, Asami Shimoda, Kana Hanazawa, Marina Inoue, Megumi Toyoguchi, Noriko Shitaya, and Yukari Tamura.

Highlights in the English dub so far are Josh Grelle, Brittney Karbowski, Hillary Haag, Tiffany Grant, and Luci Christian.


All in all, I did like this show. But on the other hand, there were some problems that I just couldn't help but talk about.

If your looking for a anime with some cool robots and lots of action, you might need to look further. But however, if you're looking for a harem, or trying to find some way to cure your boredom on a Saturday night, look no further.

I recommend this show to fans of harems, and who might see some of there favorite seiyuus get into play.

Score: 7/10


Unique story.

Characters aren't too annoying.

Good animation.

AMAZING score.


Show doesn't develop IS's enough.

Majority of Houki's personality.

At some parts, show doesn't push itself as much as it could have.

English dub issues.

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