I’m not a harem kinda gal, not even a reverse harem, but given the right circumstances–good humor, intriguing story, likable characters–I’ll overlook the serious flaws that encumber these kinds of shows. IS: Infinite Stratos does nothing new, but it does so in an average, yet good, mindless fun way.
Exoskeleton suit? Check! Shiny guns? Check! Colorful gun effects? Check!
I’m only 1 minute into the first episode of IS: Infinite Stratos and the titillating action has me hopeful for more to come in the near future. The animation sequences are very smooth and the colors, as you can see, promote warmth and provide excellent contrast to the cool colors of the IS machines and weapon effects. The IS machines clash against one another and female faces flash on the screen: calm and collected, mischievous, devilish, a chockful of woman goodness.
What follows after this fast-paced opening is nothing more or less than your typical high school harem, with a few substitutions. Instead of a pretty building along a sakura-lined hill, we have a futuristic institution that schools the future pilots of the Infinite Stratos machines, powered suits with extreme power and capability for combat. However, due to this world’s treaties, the current machines are used solely for competitive sport. Obviously, this won’t always be the case. For this show to gain any momentum past the high school harem theme, they will need to rumble this Alaska peace treaty and provide some true bloody combat.
Enter Orimura Ichika, typical-harem regular guy, and the only male capable of piloting an IS. Neither he, nor the audience, has any clue as to why. I hope this is explained at some point along the show, or I will be very perturbed. As he’s the only guy enrolled at this boarding school, and the little brother of Orimura Chifuyu-sensei, he attracts a lot of attention–FEMALE attention. Despite the odds for his layability, there’s a lot of masochistic, yuri comments from the student female population! Beat me up (but play nice sometimes)!
Shall we preview some future love candidates?
Shinonono Houki is introduced in the role of the childhood friend. So of course, she’ll be the girl who pulls our heartstrings and reawakens the protagonist’s forgotten memories. I’m unsure as to why she avoids Ichika’s eyes in the classroom, and what her whole awkward deal is with him on the school rooftop, but I do like her. She’s pretty, wears an irresistible ponytail, and I’m a sucker for tsunderes. This episode provides quite a few of her different faces, and much more besides…
Here’s where I groaned. Sure, I’m quite aware that this is a harem anime, but given the quality of the initial action sequence and the interesting school premise, did they really have to introduce boobie fan service this early? To make the relationship between Houki and Ichika even more troubled, they find out that they’re roommates. Now, isn’t there something a bit more socially appropriate that a high-tech school like this can arrange for its only male student? Apparently funds are so tight that they have to confine un-related male and female students in the same living space, that or the school enjoys fan service even more than Infinite Stratos‘ audience does. Perhaps they believe their students are above such lowly conduct, or maybe it’s a test of Ichika’s morals and place in their institution. Rational thinking would suggest that coed living is detrimental to studies. Rational thinking? What’s that? Regardless, we have many more awkward roommate situations to look forward to!
A school anime wouldn’t be complete without its ojou-sama (now we just need the ojou-sama laugh). Cecilia Alcott is our draw for episode two, a promise of a duel between the only two students who defeated instructors in the entrance exam. Listening to her voice was difficult since I find characters like her quite annoying–as is their intention–but I also found myself tilting my head and trying to place that voice. Yukana, VA for FMP’s Tessa Testarossa (also known for her work as Code Geass’ C.C.), hasn’t quite impressed me as Cecilia yet, but maybe after a snooty laugh or two I’ll change my mind. I loved her as Tessa, and hopefully I’ll love her here, too.
Here’s to an epic 2nd episode!