|YOU MISSED!!!||2 out of 2 users found this review helpful.|
The thing about bad anime is that more often than not it gets your blood boiling. You hate the characters, you hate the art, or whatever it is you hate about it that sticks out in your mind and gets your blood boiling for having to experience it. Sometimes though you come across an anime, and you know you should be absolutely fuming, but for some reason you can’t. You’re left feeling indifferent or not sure if you liked what your saw or not. You just feel empty, slightly used, and there’s even sometimes the vague feeling of wasted time. So guess what anime fits that category? That’s right, you guessed it! Today, we will be talking about Infinite Stratos!
To start things off I believe we should explain just what Infinite Stratos is. Infinite Stratos is a Harem anime with mechs. Yep you heard me right. It’s a harem high school anime with mechs. A little bit of backstory is given for infinite stratos, and that prior to the start of the anime the world’s most powerful weapon, a mechanized armor simply known as the IS was developed. After the IS development a treaty was signed by all countries of the world simply stating that the IS would not be used for military warfare. So the next step might be something like space exploration right? Nope, you would be wrong, because the obvious answer is sports! That’s right the most powerful weapon in the world is used as a sporting instrument, because that makes perfect sense right!
Now staring off we have our main character Ichika Orimura, who is the first male IS operator, because prior to this for reasons never explained only females could operate an IS, and Ichika has to transfer to IS academy so he can learn how to use an IS properly. The only problem with that is that Ichika is the first male IS pilot, and everyone at the academy is women. As the result of this…OVARIES EXPLODE!!! Ichika instantly becomes the object of affection and the estrogen fuelled vultures of IS academy do all they can to get him. So where does it go from there? Well no where to be honest. It stops about right there leaving us with pretty much a high school drama where nothing happens.
The weakest element of this entire anime is its plot, or lack thereof. The rest of the anime focuses solely on the female characters trying to win over the affections of Ichika. This is in all sense a harem anime, but there’s no story or motivation to back up the idea of that harem, and the biggest flaw there starts with the main character, Ichika himself.
Ichika sets himself up from the get go as a complete and utter rookie, and has absolutely no idea what he’s doing when it comes to operating an IS. The problem though is that this never really changes throughout the rest of the anime. Ichika has absolutely zero motivation disguised as the cliché “I won’t let my sister down” or “I’ll protect my friends”. Now those motivations can be good for a characters personality, but they do not move the plot along, and since Ichika has no plot motivation it leaves you wondering just why the heck he’s there. Not to mention his rookie status could be forgiven if he would manage to get better, but he doesn’t get any better as an IS pilot and throughout the entire anime he hardly ever lands a single attack on his opponents.
The supporting cast of Infinite Stratos, a.k.a Ichika’s harem, suffers greatly from the harem aspect. The characters start out as strong and capable female character, but as a result of Ichika either defeating them in battle or managing to help them in some way they lose all sense of their fighting capability and become almost as useless as Ichika is. Cecilia Alcott who started out as the prideful, yet capable European contender that actually despises Ichika’s presence, does a complete 180 after nearly losing a match against Ichika, and does all she can to seduce him. Fan Rinin, who is a childhood friend practically hands Ichika’s ass to him in a match, but afterwards she becomes completely incapable of landing a single hit in combat. Then finally there is Laura Bodewig, who starts out as an antagonist and shows how powerful she is by taking on both Cecilia and Rin at once and easily humiliates them. After she loses a match to Ichika and is then rescued from a beserk form. She instantly decides to start attempting to seduce him by kissing him in front of the class, calling him “her bride”, and showing up in his bed the next morning completely naked. Gone is the sadistic combatant and instead she is reduced to a bumbling mess when Ichika says she looks cute in a bathing suit.
The only two characters who don’t entirely suffer from the series are Houki Shinonono, Charlotte Dunois, and Chifuyu Orimura. Houki is Ichika’s childhood friend who has a passion for Kendo, and has a slight crush on Ichika, but unlike the other’s it’s not obsessive like the other girls. She focuses on wanting to become stronger, and out of everyone in the story she develops the most. Charlotte, who initially appeared as a boy at IS academy, but was revealed to be a girl later on in a plot twist you could see coming from a mile away. Charlotte comes off as a cute girl who is clumsy at times, and a bit shy, but when it comes to operating an IS she is one of the most capable operators there is if not more than any of them, and to make her even more awesome she does this in an IS that is older than the ones used by the others. Chifuyu is Ichika’s older sibling who was once a great IS operator turned teacher. She is a no nonsense instructor, who keeps her cool in all situations. She serves as a mentor to everyone else, and the only off putting thing about her is there is a small hint of sexual tension between her and her brother.
The one thing that Infinite Stratos does have is a strong character base, and the character sometimes come off as funny or even awesome (except for Ichika himself), but that all fails because of one simple fact. THIS ANIME IS BORING! Seriously despite the characters nothing ever happens to make you want to care for them. There is no goal they are fighting toward and the girl’s pursuit of Ichika is barely something to consider as such. The anime attempts to introduce a sub-plot by adding a mysterious type of enemy at the middle and beginning, but they lack any real sense of urgency due to the fact that these enemies have on motivation either, and don’t really do anything unless provoked.
The action sequences of Infinite Stratos lack any real impact to them, because the art ranges from decent too bad with the most decent being the IS CGI designs which honestly isn’t saying very much, and the music is so plain that it fails to emphasize the epicness that mech battles are supposed to be all about. I felt so underwhelmed by the final battle that I honestly I didn’t care that Ichika had defeated the IS he was fighting against. Compared to a lot of other mech battles from different anime, this was just extremely subpar. The only surprising thing about the artistic direction of the film is that the fan service was not all that bad here. Though it had it's fair share of panty shots and gratuitous nudity, but it wasn't constantly thrown out there as it is in many harem anime, and the female characters most of the time didn't have bust sizes larger than their heads.
Overall, infinite Stratos is an anime that falls flat on its face. It has a half decent concept that should have been used better than it was, it lacks any real sense of plot, the characters remain either inconsistent or lack any real development, the animation is just average, and the music is practically not there. I was truly disappointed; because I wanted this anime to be something that I should have realized from the get go that it never would be.
The final verdict for Infinite Stratos is 2.5 missed shots out of 5.