Strain: Strategic Armored Infantry

Alt title: Soukou no Strain

TV (13 eps)
2006 - 2007
Fall 2006
3.571 out of 5 from 1,776 votes
Rank #3,131

In the future, mankind is divided between two powers: Union, and Deague. For the young Sarah Werec, watching her dearest brother Ralph depart for the front lines of the war was a fate worse than death; for even if he were to survive, the 130 light year distance between them dictates that even if he were to return, she would be long since deceased. Thus, in an effort to see her brother again, Sarah sets out to become a pilot of the Strain – Union’s mecha force; but on the eve of reaching the first step to her goal, her only chance to succeed is stripped from her. Haunted by the many ghosts of her memories, Sarah must now endure an endless series of sacrifices as she struggles to discover the truth about her brother...

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 A mecha space adventure that's better than the average mecha out there, though nowhere near as good as some of the better mecha anime. Featuring decent characters, decent storyline and decent action, this show is definetely decent, but not much better than that. Story: 6 Sarah Werec has joined the Strain (Strategic Armored Infantry) academy in order to chase after her brother a famous Strain pilot. While things seem to be going well for her, the academy is hit by a surprise attack led by her brother! The rest of the anime is about Sarah joining a space fleet and trying to figure out what made her brother betray everyone in the union. The motivations and intentions of the original enemy, the Deague, is never explained. Being only 13 episodes, the storyline to this show is not very intricate. After her brother attacks her academy Sarah becomes kind of a melancholic loner. The only thing that brings her any joy is a doll that also happens to be a key component to her new strain. This doll also happens to be consequential in the storyline. Overall, not a bad storyline, but not a very consistent one either. Animation: 7 For a space mecha anime, Strain does a pretty decent job with the action sequences. A lot more exciting than several other space mecha counterparts. The strains have cool designs and the battles are fun to watch. Nevertheless the anime isn't anything too far out of the ordinary and nothing too spectacular. Sound: 7 The opening is average and somewhat forgetable and the closing is even more so. The voice actors did a pretty good job and several of the characters were made more interesting by good voice acting. Characters: 7 The characters are kind of a mixed bag. Some characters you'll like, some you'll hate, and some will annoy the hell out of you. Our heroine, Sarah Werec, has a one track mind that stays focussed on her brother throughout the anime, with the exception of the time she spends talking to her doll. She seemed like she was going to be an interesting character in the first episode, but she was a let down. Several characters have limited personalities and Sarah's would be boyfriends don't really have much of a chance for character developement in this show. As such none of the male characters ever have a chance for full character development, not even Sarah's revenge obsessed brother, Ralph Werec. I enjoyed the performance of most of the other strain pilots, including Lottie, who was the only initial character that tried to snap Sarah out of her perpetual funk. She goes through similar experiences as Sarah, but doesn't become introverted like Sarah does. Overall: 6.4 This show is fun to watch, had interesting characters and decent fight scenes. The story didn't have much of an impact, however. It seemed to only exist in order to create conflict between Sarah and her brother. While this show does have it's faults I'd say it's still better than half the other mecha anime out there, but only half. <div id="_dyhb23rg4374"> </div>


Well I just finished Strain: Strategic Armored Infantry and heres my review on the whole thing ~ Story: The story I felt was terribly weak, it felt like I've seen this sort of storyline before and I wasnt that impressed with it at all.  Not to mention that the story was flippin slow and for only being 12 episodes I feel an anime with that small amount of storytime left should get kicked off right away (take Puella Magi Madoka Magica for instance).  Animation: Aside from poor story quality I felt that the animation was pretty good overall, the animation almost looked 3Dish with the strain models and the fight scenes were pretty interesting overall.  it was probably the one thing in the anime that satisfied me. Sound: Ugh. Sound.  I thought was the worst out of the entire thing.  First of all the opening song: "Message" by Yoko I thought was WAY TOO SLOW to be worthy of being called an opening for an anime, it felt like a song meant for an ending or not meant for this anime in paticular, I can see this as something else.  The ending song "Umi no Opal" by Semma was also slow (but thats to be expected by an ending) but I thought the images were ick...(its just Sara and Emily walking down a beach the entire damn time...).  The final song in the anime is used only in the last episode (name I cant remember) and it wasnt that bad... Characters: Main character Sara Werec I thought was weak sauce (yes I said sauce), she was too into her "revenge" thing which is fine but she was a little too into it...if you know what I mean.  Her brother Ralph is too much of a psycho and I thought that they made it too quick from making him into a kind caring older brother to a sadistic crazy psycho.  The character Emily is one of my favorites (probably SHE DOESNT TALK THROUGHT THE SERIES!!!) and the character I liked the most was Lotti I thought she shouldve been the main character and I found myself wanting more of Lotti rather that Sara...which isnt a good thing people... (above) Lotti Overall: Overall ick ick ick.  Thats all I have to say on that. Hope you enjoyed ~


Strain looks common and cliched in many ways but it utilizes many of them in much better ways than the usual mecha type anime.  In the first episode, you can already see how common the setting, theme, and basic story are.  Yet even though it is a pretty common story, it successfully pulls you in enough to want to see more.  The drama might not be the best in every way, however, it is good enough to spark interest and keep that spark ignited over successive episodes.  Sara captures viewer attention and keeps them in her world through out the series.  You can sense her pain and torment after her traumatic past turned her into the cold dispassionate person she is now.   There are a few major inconsistancies and serious logic errors though such as the Deague ship that can launch thousands of AI bot ships to no apparent end.  No matter how many they lose they never seem to run out.  Some scenes have ship bulkheads exposed to open space but there is no vacuum, freezing temperatures, nor anyone getting sucked out.  Sara suffers at least one major flaw in how unemotionally she seems to ignore all the friends including best friends and boy friends she's lost to the murderous traitor.  That unfortunately does alot to undermine all the good work and positive ascpects spent in developing her character.  The fact they totally forget perhaps the single biggest thing about her past altogether and how it seems to have no impact or effect on her or her new friends is just mindboggling.  Not even when she finally discloses her past does what happened to her friends and her school come into play.  It would have sharpened the bond with the queen character and her new crew but it was a massive lost opportunity.  Instead if feels as if the show created a monster of an enemy character and tried to foolishly back track all his misdeeds by downplaying the horror and the pain he caused to Sara at the school and later at the supply station.  Bad form.  Though Sara does mention some of these loses breifly in the last episode but, that is a classic case of "too little, too late" because at that point it has no impact.  She is so casual and breif about it even though she is screaming like in pain, it just doesn't sound genuine at that point.  In a way, it makes the fact she never discloses the full story to any of her new friends even more pronounced how strongly a great missed chance it was to have done so.  Sadly, I have to deduct several points after seeing this miserable display and lost chances despite having initiallly rated it fairly highly from its many good points.  These serious gigantic flaws are too severe to let pass however so I must drop the score. The ending is a bit lame and tacky.   Ralph as a character as a few flaws of his own such as the reason he did the things he did sort of condradict why he was motivated to do them consideirng his background and the emotional flashbacks that clearly indicated who he was thinking of when he wanted to save the girls he found.  His reasons were never that profound or strong either given how long ago much of it happened and the fact that most he saw as responsible had no knowledge of it whatsoever.  It makes him look like a complete fool.  This is shown more so when talking to the ones he wanted to save and their response and reaction to his actions.  There isn't really enough backstory or emotional draw or connection to establish any kind of strong understanding or attachment to his character.  Nor do I find sufficient comprehensible within light of the full story as to why he ends up doing the things he does.  Queen has an even breifer backstory but a connection to her is far stronger and more understandable than Ralph's and almost as much as Sara's since despite all her backstory not all of it is used wisely within the story to fully take advantage of her complex past and role in her present.  Carris was used to establish a new connection to Sara's current life and friends but was underused and his part of the story was concluded before a much more dramatic connection could even be established which would have made her more emotionally invested in her current life.  You see a vague half hearted attempt at showing this but since he wasn't utilzed as properly as he could have been it is another lost opportunity. The situation with Emily while very dramatic and painful in it's own right is so quickly run through with so little emotional or dramatic of a pull, that it fails to fully demonstrate what kind of an effect a feedback of her memories would have caused.  This in turn lessens the impact and understanding why the main enemy took the path taken.  Another and perhaps the single worst lost opportunity or exploit of a character is what happens to Isabella, I did not even know her fate until nearly an episode or two later.  I would say Sara's connection to other characters is flat but it isn't even as good as flat.  Her character and dramatically traumatic introduciton is more than enough to link her with the viewers and pull you into the story but her distance from others is too heavily played on so that when she finally does begin to open you, you won't feel anything since so many chances to really establish how powerful of an influence all that was is mostly a collection of lost shots to do so. Strain is worth watching at least once. You may miss out on the full story because of how poorly so many side stories and chances to create a powerful emotional story failed to be exploited for the great additions they all could have been.

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