NOTE: THIS REVIEW WAS MADE AFTER WATCHING THE FIRST EPISODE, ALL OPINIONS CAN AND WILL CHANGE AS FUTURE EPISODES ARE RELEASED.
After watching the first episode I though I should write this review.
Story: The whole "The MC is the only male capable of piloting a mech that only females can pilot" is so cliche that it hurts. Opens the series up for a obvious harem feel (I hope it does not become a harem anime).
Animation: From the first episode it looks pretty good, the CG in the opening IS battle seemed flowing and well animated. As of the first episode I have not seen any of the lazy animation tactics that have been used in other anime.
Characters: Not enough time has been spent with character development. But there are the chiche characters that make it into almost every anime; the Childhood Friend (been away for 6 years instead of the stereotypical 5), the stuck-up elitest with the blond hair (With a twist, she is from the UK and not America), and the strict teacher (she is also the MC's sister). The MC is not the pervert that many would expect from the only guy in an entire school, when he is out in the hall of the dorms with about 25 girls in pajamas(not too revealing, but it is enough) our guy begs for his room-mate (The Childhood Friend) to let him back into the room; also when trying to defend himself from the CHF(ChildHood Friend) he uses the CHF's Shinai it accednetly picks up one of her bras and the MC asks "What is this?" and makes the statement that the CHF has started wearing a bra.
Overall I can see this becoming a favorite series of mine, the ranking all depends on the amount of fanservice in future episodes as well as if the series becomes the typical harem anime that it looks like it is going to be.
I am not typically a huge harem/ecchi comedy fan, but after I watch a serious anime, I like to "dive" into these guys to try and loosen myself back up. Luckily, Infinite Stratos (IS) was exactly what I needed. A lighthearted comedy that didn't try to be anything other than what it was: A harem comedy revolving around the use of mecha.
Story: 5 out of 10
Story was perhaps the most average I could possibly think of (in terms of harem/ecchi comedy). A boy ends up in an all girls school for being able to pilot an IS mech. This has never happened for a boy before, so of course he is a big deal, and every girl on the base wants a hard @*$%, so they relentlessly pursue him. He, of course, is too naive, or perhaps even daft to realize this (in typical H/E C fashion), so he is constantly rejecting the advances of beautiful girls.
He then starts training in the IS, and follow after his legendary sister in terms of combat, and through his "strong, kind heart" he is basically a champion now. Outside of these things, the story really only playfully dabbles in other aspects, and fails in a few.
Fortunately, none of it matters, because this show isn't meant to be taken from a serious technical aspect and reviewed by some snob. It's supposed to entertain you (as with all forms of cinematic and televised art, yes yes), and be lighthearted and fun, and much to that end, they accomplished it. I enjoyed myself, and will probably watch the second season if it ever becomes developed.
Animation: 8 out of 10
I suppose it isn't fair to judge the series so high based on how beautiful the mecha looks, but here I am. I think the mecha in this series is a healthy mix of realistic metal, and organic magic I suppose (organic magic? Sounds like a bad infomercial item). "Energy wings" and the like will spout from different IS' from time to time, taking away from the cold, boring pseudo-realistic feeling mecha can sometimes present, and instead adding a fantastic flare into the mix.
Sound: 3 out of 10
Sound failed quite thoroughly. Forgettable OP and ED songs, and very little background music. Very much a softer show in terms of sound.
Characters: 7 out of 10
Charatcers should be getting a 5 from me, since they are all archetype harem characters, but I can't help but feel attached to the character of Charlotte (Char, or Charles). A new character for me as a viewer, Char was a girl who secretly pretended to be a boy in order to gain media hype for her cruel father's business. Through the kindness of Ichika's heart (wah wah), she decided to "come out" of the cross-dresser closet, if you will, and openly tell everyone she was a woman.
I know this sounds peculiar for me to say, but they quite masterfully balanced sexual tension and confusion between Char and Ichika before Ichika found out (hilariously) about the truth. The character Char turns into though, is the true treat to me. She becomes almost his right hand, as he holds a much closer bond with her than the others at the time (being that he was willing to keep such a huge secret safe, just because he cared for her and had a kind heart), and for awhile, I was really hoping that they would fall in love. It is unfortunate, and the only hint at who he "picks" is obvious at the end, and predictable. No fun.
Overall: 6.5 out of 10
Overall, like I said in previous paragraphs, Infinite Stratos is exactly what it's supposed to be: Bots, Boobs, and Blaughing. Watch this series looking for something to casually laugh with, and half-heartedly cheer for, and you'll have a pleasant experience.
Just finished episode 9 of IS; ratings are based purely on what's been released so far. I may update this review after the show is finished or dropped.
People are calling IS a mecha anime, which is misleading: it is really a harem anime where the characters occasionally do mecha cosplay. When viewed in this context, IS is a solid piece of genre work. It is a bit playful -- though certainly not daring -- with its genre conventions. For instance, there are TWO childhood friends, and at one point the MC actually calls them First Childhood Friend and Second Childhood Friend (well, give me the gory details, Son Number One). Also, since the hardsuits are all portably miniaturized, Harem Punch is generally a shot of a partially-manifested hardsuit arm or leg.
As usual for harem, the male MC is a bit tabula rasa, and most of the development is focused on the haremettes. We have tsundere and genki osananajimi, haughty blonde, dire tsundere, and clumsy bigtitted teacher. There's also the [extremely obvious] reverse trap who manages to be far more likeable than her competition, by virtue of actually appearing to have some motivations beyond finding p0nos (though I'm sure she'll forget all of them eventually). To top it all off, the MC seems to have a bit of a complex for his reliable older sister and head instructor. Then there are the other girls who either weren't introduced or they are so random I forgot their introductions.
This is one of the harem settings that is extra-contrived to the point where it's actually impossible for there to be any other men in his position, by virtue of ... science or ... something. It is also of the variety where the MC is totally oblivlous rather than extremely pervy.
IS looks absolutely fantastic in 720p. Really clean lines, and a lot of detail in the fight animation. Unfortunately so far there hasn't been much tension to push into fight scenes, and the show has focused on harem tropes instead. The comedy has built up to a pretty decent level (relative to the extremely mediocre harem humor baseline), but I think they will need to get into some actual-stakes conflict to drive past more than three or four more episodes retaining any entertainment value.
The story for IS is mediocre, which is a pity because there was a lot of promise. Not in the plot itself (there has been no actual plot as of yet, merely a few things after another to lead to either another adition to the MC's harem and mech battles, nothing interesting), but rather because of the characters they introduced, and the way they did so. Really, it looked to be quite an interesting anime, but they dispensed of any depth and possible character development, so unless they back-peddle, this anime won't get very far. Though this isn't necesarily a bad thing, it is a harem anime after all, so plot isn't a major point. Still, slightly disappointing
The animation is good, but not excellent. It seems to be about par for the course with modern anime, but that's not really saying much, with modern anime the animation is actually really good, but they all seem to be on the same platoe, not getting better or worse, just staying still. It gets 8 because it's good, but not exceptional. It works, but it doesn't try to style the animation to exentuate the story or atmosphere. In short, it's average
The sound was ok, but not excellent. Pretty much the same deal as the animation. The sound blends in to the background, but unlike other anime I've been watching, it doesn't enhance the anime, it merely serves to fill background noise in a way that doesn't distract. True, the choices were appropriate for the genre, but it was hardly great
Now, at the beginning of this review I stated that the story had some real promise to start with, but dispensed of it to help build the harem. Let me explain. We had the rich, priviledged, talented girl who was full of herself and lorded it over everybody. With this character, the anime could have established a rivalry, or an inferiority complex like in Evangelion, but she got put into her place and immediately turned into a shy little girl who just swoons over the MC
Then they introduced a second child hood friend into the story, and the MC even refers to her as "Second Childhood Friend" and the other as "First". Right there, we could have had bitterness and harbored gate (I'm thinking of how well Shuffle! played out), but she just instantly became Meek and swooning
Finally, we have a silent warrior from Germany who's holding a grudge against the MC for some mysterious reason. Turns out it's because she's just getting less atention than he is... and as soon as she gets put into her place, yup you guessed it, shy, meek, swooning. Nevermind the fact that she was once at the point where I woulnd't have been surprised if she murdered the MC, let's get rid of anything that made her interesting and turn her into a love-struck girl
Ofcourse each of these girls represent a different stereo-type of the genre, but that's irrelevant. There was some potential, and it was lost. The anime now lasts solely on it's Comedy (mediocre), Situation (also Mediocre) and maybe the setting (interesting, but not unique).
Average for a Harem Anime, nothing to recomend, but not entirely bad either. Worth a watch if you're bored or aren't looking for anything suitably interesting story-wise
Hello fellow anime viewers. It's another review from RandomRedneck. Seeing as its April fools day, I'm reviewing a show so stuffed full of cliche and uninteresting...stuff that it could count as a joke itself. I speak of IS: Infinite Stratos. A show that tries the old method of "Mix harem plot with X" and falls well short. Let's begin, shall we? Warning. Some spoilers ahead.
Whoever wrote this apparently just threw some darts at the board of typical anime story types, and threw it in here. This show can't make up its mind. Is it a harem high school show? Mech fighting show? Enjoy trying to figure it out. See those fancy armor suits? Yeah, you can count the times they matter in an episode on one hand. The story is so reliant on the same old thing, you can see the jokes coming a mile away. And I'm not even getting into the idiocy of the last three episodes, which include at least three deus ex machina powers, and some legendary character never mentioned until episode 11 suddenly becoming important.
Now I will give credit where credit is due. The animation is actually pretty good. The characters all look pretty good, and the scenes involving the IS units are pretty well animated. Though the CGI used for them is a little conspicuous at times.
Another subject where I'll be kind of nice. The music is all right. The score is passable, and the ending theme is damn catchy in my opinion. Opening theme? Not so much.
Characters. Oh boy, I was waiting to get to this part. The characters in this show are some of the most insufferable group of harem characters I've ever seen. With the exception of Charles/Charlotte, who I liked, as did many others for some reason, you're not gonna get award winning characters here. We have Ichika. Our "hero" and the typical clueless protagonist of a show like this. Five girls want a piece of him, and of course, he barely notices them. He fills out the annoying roles you'd expect. The super special teenager, save everybody guy. He is such a bad lead, that I feel like smacking him. Next we have his main love interest, Houki. Can you guess what she is? Yup, the childhood friend, now tsundere character. She isn't really that captivating. Tsun-tsun here, dere-dere there, exactly what you expect. And yes, even though we don't get much lead up, she is the one Ichika picks. Shocker huh? We have three other girls, Cecilia, Rin, and Laura, but they pretty much exist to take up space, and crave Ichika's c**k. Seriously, Cecilia and Laura have potential when they are introduced. Cecilia is the rich bitch, Laura just a regular bitch. After losing a fight to Ichika? They lost all traces of characterization, and become members of the drooling fan club for the moron. Rin...is just there. Characters are one of this shows BIG flaws.
Save yourself the time and avoid Infinite Stratos. If you don't mind the typical story and characters this show has, you probably won't mind this show. Hate that sort of thing? Steer clear. Thank you.