IS: infinite stratos

Saw this show in a magazine and was smitten by the drawing so I thought I’d give this show a try. I started watching it a couple of weeks back and after innumerable Internet problems, academic papers and hiatuses, finally got to finish it. As it turns out, Infinite Stratos wasn’t that half-bad. If only Orimura Ichika wasn’t that dense.

Protagonist Orimura Ichika and Shinonono Houki. Houki~ :3

Infinite Stratos, or simply IS, are exoskeletal machines (or armor, if you prefer the non-complicated terms) that can only be operated by females. However, through some twist of fate, Orimura Ichika, who’s a dude, gets an IS to respond, thus transforming him from your regular guy to the first and only male IS pilot. He is then enrolled in an IS academy and instantly turns into a celebrity – he’s the only male in that school after all. From here on out, his new and exciting (not to mention exhausting) life as an IS pilot begins.

Shinonono Houki's IS, Akatsubaki. Look at that beauty. O_O

Well, for what it’s worth, I think Infinite Stratos could’ve aired for more than 12 episodes. As a series, it holds water but one has to admit that it’s still full of holes. Plus, Tabane has so little exposure! I think it possessed a lot of untapped potential since almost everything seemed to be taken halfway. There wasn’t that much character development – or plot development, for that matter. They just put in those unmanned IS drones (which are supposedly still under development) in order for the story to show some semblance of progress. They could push through with a second season and add in some real story.

To make up for that fact, however, the staff did put a lot of love in the art. I’d have to commend the drawing for this show since they looked wonderful. Mech designs were amazing, I’d have to say, and the battle scenes here and there are well animated. I would’ve wanted to see Chifuyu-nee in battle gear, though.

Cecilia Alcott and her Blue Tears.

I’d also like to commend the fact that this is probably the only show where I had (and still have, actually) a hard time choosing a character bias. First up was Shinonono Houki. I like her because her character’s real cute and the surprising fact that she was voiced by Hikasa Yoko (Mio’s seiyuu). And then I ran into Orimura Chifuyu who’s real cool and bad-ass that I was torn between the two. Then Charlotte Dunois just had to arrive bearing Hanazawa Kana (who’s one of my favorites) as her seiyuu. And finally, Houki-Chifuyu hybrid Laura Bodewig arrives. Ooh, the dilemma.

As it's a harem, here are the girls of Infinite Stratos. (L-R) Laura Bodewig, Cecilia Alcott, Shinonono Houki, Lin Yin Fang & Charlotte Dunois.

Anyhow, if you love harem-mecha crosses, Infinite Stratos would be a nice addition to your list. Just be careful not to hurl that keyboard at Ichika’s obliviousness. Although that ending was just…it’s so annoying they had to arrive at that moment. Although the story’s all over the place, there’s the art to make up for it. The concept of a simple exoskeleton – and not a full-blown machine that’s a gazillion times bigger than its owner – is quite interesting in itself so you might want to take a look at this show.


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A shy and quiet person who loves anime, books and Japanese food.

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