A harem is that one genre that somehow makes its way into every Anime (In my opinion). It’s a subtle one if you have seen enough Anime even if it’s not labeled as a ‘Harem’ you can basically tell when it is.
So, if you love a good ol’ Harem, then without a doubt you’ll like Infinite Stratos. I mean, enough people did because it did get a second season 😉
Infinite Stratos introduces itself by giving us a heads-up on what’s going on in their world: mecha suits called Infinite Stratos (or IS for short) are the latest in technological innovations, but only females can control them. A worldwide pact was made to prevent the use of these suits for war; instead, the suits are used for sport, and a school off the coast of mainland Japan teaches students how to use them. Obviously, the school would be an all-girls school, with a peculiar exception of a student: Orimura Ichika, the only male in the world who can pilot an IS.
The show manages to compress all this in one episode, which was good. The bad part was that they didn’t follow it up. They didn’t give so much as an amply descriptive story behind why Orimura is the only male who can control an IS (they tried it near the end of the series, and even by then it was still largely vague). Also, for some magical reason, only females can pilot the suits. No explanation was given. It’s probably just a plot device to maintain the “harem” status of the series, but it doesn’t help the story at all besides giving the viewers girls and more girls.
The 12 episodes of this series are roughly about class competitions, a single person’s flashback, and one mission that was supposed to be a climactic ending but certainly fails to do so. If Infinite Stratos is bad at something, it’s the story.
Here Infinite Stratos tries to redeem itself (and at least in my case the redemption effort works). Art in this show is clean and fluid–just the way I like it. People are drawn quite well, and nothing is left without detail. Even the GUIs of the students’ work desk and the classroom screens are well-made. Mechas are presented in 3D when in combat, and in 2D when in static frames. I think this is a plus since the 3D action scenes are certainly eye-catching (I mean, with all those lasers and boosters and all that). Color schemes for the mechas aren’t really stellar, but at least they match the mood of the show. Also, if you’re going to do a mecha show, you have to pay attention to the mecha designs. Luckily, Infinite Stratos does this well, and the mechas certainly look great.
Environment-wise, it’s pretty much standard. You won’t expect any vivid settings from a school that’s pretty much isolated at sea, but at least they try their best to give it a futuristic feel. Personally, I liked the art direction of this series.
I suppose animation goes here as well, and the fight scenes are well-done. Not the type of fight scenes you’d expect from a 12-episode harem series, but still well-done.
Here’s something Infinite Stratos is definitely good at. The sound in this show is quite excellent; the quality of BGMs on battle scenes are at a level that probably won’t match the storytelling. Opening and ending themes are also well-done. Look, if you want to get a general feel of Infinite Stratos without watching it, then go look for its OST tracks. You pretty much get all the good points of Infinite Stratos by listening to the OST alone. (There’s no harem in OSTs, right?)
The only reason I didn’t give this a score lower than 5 is that of a certain French girl (this statement also happens to be a weird Titanic reference). The rest of the characters are pretty much shallow; actually, they’re just “pretty.” Not even the lead character stands out. Our lead Orimura is just a dense boy with a strange admiration for his older sister (no worries, it isn’t incestuous); his childhood friend is the usual tsundere; the English girl is just simply arrogant and aggressive (but she’s not annoying, though.
I did like her at one point); the Chinese girl is also a tsundere (surprise, surprise); the French girl is the only character that has an actual backstory worthy of being called a “backstory;” the German girl is the one with a weird obsession for both Orimura and his sister (this is the kind of obsession you should worry about). I’ve pretty much described the other 4 characters. I’d really like to do defense on the French girl, but she comes out near the middle of the series, so I’ll leave it for you guys to watch and find out.
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