Anime Review · DVD Review

Infinite Stratos (Season 1)

Headline: Entertaining and Hilarious, but not as good as I thought it’d be

3/5 Stars

Originally posted July 25, 2014

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Infinite Stratos is one of those animes that I decided to buy on Amazon, because the product description made the story sound interesting. The idea of females being the dominant gender in the near future, because they are the only ones capable of controlling IS combat machines was an intriguing concept, and I was interested to see what kind of society would be portrayed in a world like that.
I only gave this series 3/5 stars, because whilst it was enjoyable overall, I felt it didn’t meet my expectations as much as I thought it would. For instance, the fact that women are more powerful than men in the near future is expressed, but it’s not portrayed as often you’d think. In fact, other than the fact that most of the characters are female, there’s nothing to suggest too heavily that there’s been a major change in society. With the exception of the IS Units, it feels no different to modern-day.
Another thing to mention is the characters. I really enjoy how the main characters are portrayed, and how each of the girls represents a different nation; Japan, China, France, German and Great Britain. However, the series doesn’t spend a lot of time getting to know their backstories and most of the time it’s just about the girls trying to win over the affections of Ichika (the only male student in their IS academy). Being only 13 episodes long (including one OVA) I knew there wouldn’t be a whole lot of time for character development. But things in the series are so fast-paced, it gets to the point where somebody can be a ruthless and aggressive enemy in one episode, and then a friendly and blushing comrade in the next. It almost makes you think, “wow, that was a sudden change of heart?!”
As for the series overall, the main focus is really about Ichika reacting to different girls and their personalities. Half the season is spent introducing new characters, having them get closer to Ichika, and that making the other characters jealous in the process. Also, whilst there is the science-fiction element of the IS Units, they almost feel like unnecessary filler, because there’s no real threat that requires their use. Even when some kind of threat does turn up in the series, it doesn’t feel world-threatening and it’s quickly resolved, so that the focus can return to the relationships of the characters. If the science-fiction elements were removed, and you just had Ichika attending a high school that was mostly attended by girls, then it would still be the same story.
The last thing to mention is the humour. Like many animes, Infinite Stratos deploys ‘fan service’ to give fans “exactly what they want [to see and hear]”. A lot of the jokes are extremely hilarious, but they do occasionally get more and more inappropriate. It’s okay to have them on occasion to lighten the mood of things, but doing it too often makes the series rely too heavily on them and it takes away from the story. As far as Infinite Stratos goes, I think they go a little bit overboard.
If you’re a fan humour, mecha-anime or harem, then I’d recommend buying this series. It’s not the best I’ve ever seen and you shouldn’t expect anything too serious or threatening, but it’s definitely something that can appeal to both male and female fans of Japanese animation.

A month after Sword Art Online, I reviewed Infinite Stratos. It was my first time reviewing a DVD that contained an entire series rather than part of one. This gave me the freedom to discuss the whole anime right from the get go. However, I was surprised to find I didn’t have much to talk about – other than my opinions on fan-service and harem. It might’ve had something to do with the standard set by Sword Art Online, but the story and characters just didn’t feel very fleshed-out or exciting to me. I almost felt underwhelmed by Infinite Stratos, which is why this review doesn’t sound too passionate. It’s rather ironic really, since – when I bought them together – I thought I’d enjoy Infinite Stratos  more than Sword Art Online. Yet now, I consider the latter to be my favourite anime of all time.
There’s honestly nothing I can think of adding to this review that would improve it. Except maybe a better description of the characters and the series concept.
You’ll also notice from this point onwards, I structure my reviews better by using paragraphs – although some of my other writing skills aren’t quite up to standard yet.

Let me know what you thought of this review in the comments below. Also, see my reviews of Sword Art Online Parts 1-4.

I apologise for the slight delay of these releases – I had a lot of unexpected work to do this week. I will continue my format of posting 4 or 5 reviews at a time, but I don’t know what my scheduling will be like. If I can’t do it once a week, I’ll try to have a new set released every fortnight. It’ll depend on how busy I get. Nevertheless, you can look forward to a lot more reviews on this blog soon. I promise they’ll get longer and my opening comments will get shorter.

If you have the time, see my other blog (https://georgeharvey2015.wordpress.com/). And as always, stay tuned.

(Image courtesy of https://skycellblogs.com/2013/09/08/anime-review-infinite-stratos/)

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