Episodes: 12 episodes (English-subbed version)
Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, Harem, Romance, Science Fiction, Mecha, Sports, School Life
Years ago, I heard chatter on the interwebs about a mecha series called Infinite Stratos. It looked like it could be a good fighting anime. My interested was perked but I have only just got around to watching the series. It turned it to quite a bit different than I imagined.
In the future, a machine originally meant for war becomes subject for the world’s most popular sport. These exoskeletons bond to their athlete and can then be summoned through an object worn on the individual. They can also only be used by female pilots. Or at least, that is what everyone thought…
[Off-Screen: After getting lost whilst trying to find a room for a test, Ichika Okimura finds a room with an IS unit in it and his curious enough to touch it. It activates and he is given the ability to take an entrance exam to the prestigious Infinite Stratos training academy.]
When Ichika arrives at the academy, he is surrounded by a bunch of females, including his childhood friend Houki (her sister also invented the machines and makes the cores). He is also taught by his taskmaster older sister, a woman that went from world-class athlete to teaching students how to use the units after he was kidnapped during an international meet. As he is surrounded by more and more female admirers, will he survive the first year at Infinite Stratos?
This series is not terrible, but it isn’t great either. The promotional pictures suggest a mecha action series but this really doesn’t reflect the content. Instead, it is an at-times confusing ecchi comedy masquerading as a mecha sports and romance series. And yet, it was somehow entertaining. Entertaining garbage, certainly, but entertaining nonetheless.
The character designs are good even if the faces were a bit pointy, with each character being notably different from the rest. The exoskeletons were visually interesting as well, even if a bit weird “scientifically”. The story was, however, oddly absent of cats. Why do I mention cats? Well, felines are a staple in anime and manga. They are cute, get up to mischief and are often the tool by which we can see other things that are happening in the background. Come to think of it, I think the only animals that we did see are birds… Perhaps the artist didn’t like the idea of putting animals in harm’s way.
The voice acting was hilariously bad, with deliberately bad stereotypes. It was not meant to be taken seriously in any regard but might be deemed “racist” or “sexist” in today’s political environment. The anime cliches were out in the open for all to see. Back to the voice cast, there is a bunch of familiar faces, such as Monica Rial as Houki, Shannon Emerick as Charlotte, and Josh Grelle as Ichika.
The conflicts in this story are a bit contrived as a whole. It rarely makes sense but it is predominantly used as a delivery tool for fan service. It is a weird series that should in no way be taken seriously. It also feels at times like the author was mocking numerous genres. I might, however, be wrong about that. Whilst I will unlikely be watching the second season, I can say that watching the first season wasn’t a complete waste of time.
If you are looking for a series featuring lots of fan service, then Infinite Stratos might be an option. Just note that the story is not the best and the faces are a bit pointy.