Anime Review: Infinite Stratos
by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
It’s probably fair to say that most adolescent men, at some point in their middle/high school career, had wished they were the only guy on campus so they could have a shot with any girl of their choosing. It’s probably also fair to say that at some point, a good majority of men wished they could pilot their own mech like Rick Hunter did in Robotech or Shinji in Evangelion. It’s 100% guaranteed that neither of the above scenarios happened for any man alive. Well gentlemen, if you’d like to see what that life could have been like, look no further than Infinite Stratos.
As it turns out, only women are known to pilot the infamous IS (Infinite Stratos) mechs. In order to become better skilled as a pilot and warrior, these teens attend the Infinite Stratos Academy designed specifically for that purpose. However, Ichika Orimura happens to be the only male capable of piloting an IS in the world, and thus, he attends the Infinite Stratos Academy as well. This is a boon for some of the female attendees who, as high school goes, would love a boyfriend. It is also a threat to other female students who want to prove that females are superior to males and the IS academy is no place for a man…or high school boy. So it’s up to other pilots to challenge Ichika to show him his place at the academy and he must step up in a world of women to prove that he belongs as an Infinite Stratos pilot.
If Infinite Stratos sounds like a harem anime, that’s probably because it is. Not only is a school full of women not enough, but it feels like every episode a new female character is introduced with the sole purpose of challenging Ichika to a duel between their respective IS. And following that duel, they take a liking to him and tension arises as each woman fights to gain the affections of Ichika. And this pretty much sums up the entirety of the series. A new student arrives, a duel is set up between IS, some conclusion follows after the battle, rinse and repeat. Infinite Stratos brings nothing new to anime or the harem genre. The characters are superficial and stereotypical, which leads to little to no character growth or desire to invest needed energy or compassion in them. Should one of them get injured on the battle field; eh, what was her name again? But then character growth and deep story elements are not necessarily the point of the harem genre of anime, is it?
Lack of character growth, minimal plot and storyline–are there any redeeming characteristics for this anime? It’s hard to come up with anything really worthwhile. Although most of the characters are stereotypes, some of their interactions are enjoyable to watch, especially when they are plotting/fighting for the affections of Ichika. Ichika, on the other hand, seems rather oblivious to the fact that these women “want” him and takes the high ground by being a gentleman. And if you were hoping for extra fan service with this harem anime, you’ll have to look elsewhere. With so many other anime to watch, it’s really not worth spending time on Infinite Stratos. Unless you’re just a true hardcore otaku, then give it a watch. Otherwise, I’d recommend re-watching Evangelion.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars