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Feb 042011
 

Episode 05 – Boy Meets Boy – ボーイ・ミーツ・ボーイ (boi meetsu boi)

Well, at least Ichika is no longer the only guy in this show. But seriously, the newly introduced guy Charles is as feminine as it gets. I actually thought Charles was cross dressing or something, especially with all his blushing throughout parts of the episode. Nothing really happens this episode except for the introduction of Charles and the continuance of Ichika’s harem, but we do get another new character introduced towards the end. In all honesty, though, this episode was practically all filler in terms of story.

We get absolutely no info on the anomaly in the last episode, and instead we get a standard training episode. That being said, Ichika’s harem with Houki, Lin, and Cecilia continue their bickering over his attention, which although gets entertaining at times, will definitely get old rather quickly. There was a bit of mech fighting here and there, but it all ended rather quickly, and not to mention the fight itself wasn’t terribly interesting.

That being said, the newly introduced character Charles (another guy IS pilot) isn’t really that much better. He is your generic gender-confused trap, or at least he certainly seems gender confused. The fact that he was blushing when Ichika held his hand, or when he saw Ichika get changed into his IS outfit, just screams “feminine”. I do wonder whether he’ll turn out to be an important character, but as of now he kind of feels like a useless add on. Then again, this might just be my bias kicking in against characters that kind of don’t make sense.

Either ways, this episode was mildly entertaining with it’s cliche harem moments (such as the classic “guy has lunch with girl” scene), but besides that this episode was rather boring. Nothing really happens, and there wasn’t even any buildup towards the main plot we were hinted at last episode. At least we get a new girl (whom I suspect will fall victim to Ichika too) who seems to be rather serious, with her eyepatch and all. Next week there will probably be a IS fight involving Ichika and the new girl in some way or form, which has been the trend so far. Woo predictability.

Overall Enjoyment: 3.4/5

Screenshots are later in the post.

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Jan 282011
 

Episode 04 – Decisive Battle! The Class League Match – 決戦!クラス対抗戦 (Kessen! Kurasu taikou-sen)

Hmm, well this episode turned out differently from what I expected. While Ichika continues to build up his little harem of girls, we actual got some hints at an actual main plot, with the inclusion of an unknown and hostile Infinite Stratos machine. The action this episode was decent, with much less of the slice of life and comedy that has been more common to this show so far. While the actual enemy here was really lacking in details (as in, we learn virtually nothing about it), it still did spice up the story a bit. While the story is still generic as hell, this episode was actually a rather entertaining watch.

Lingyin in her Infinite Stratos suit seems to actually be a rather competent fighter (or, at least, her IS seems rather powerful). That being said, any “skill” she had certainly didn’t show when the unknown mech entered the scene. From then on, she pretty much just played sidekick to Ichika, and not to mention, she does very little in helping defeat the intruder. Seriously, all she did was act as a battery pack for Ichika’s energy-lacking mech.

There was quite a bit of action though, and while not all of the action was well choreographed, the fights were actually a good watch. I did get a little skeptical at times with certain aspects of the fights, and the barrier thing kept popping up too much. I do appreciate how the creators placed an actual operational time limit on these IS machines through the “barrier” system, which does make the fights a bit more tactical at times.

On a side note, I did get a few laughs out of the generic harem interactions/jealousy between Lin, Houki, and Cecilia. I guess I haven’t seen a generic non-fanservice harem in such a long time that I’m actually kind of entertained by them, though Infinite Stratos definitely is not the best comedy this season by any means. That being said, the characters themselves don’t really get much development. Lin does get some backstory to her, which was actually somewhat serious in tone, and definitely improves my impressions of her to a degree.

Either ways, this episode was probably the best of Infinite Stratos so far, though the characterization is still weak and the plot is painfully predictable. Seeing where the story goes from here on out with the new enemy could prove to be interesting, though I’m kind of worried the “new enemy” will end up being really stereotypical. I guess I’m just nitpicking at little points here, though.

Overall Enjoyment: 3.6/5

Screenshots are later in the post.

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Jan 222011
 

Episode 03 – The Transfer Student is a Second Childhood friend – 転校生はセカンド幼なじみ(tenkousei wa sekando osananajimi)

Well, talk about generic cast of main characters. Ichika aside, the rest of the main cast are all girls who fit the stereotypical tsundere, ojou-sama, or other common archetypes to anime. Well, that being said, this show is pretty much meant to be entertainment, and in that sense Infinite stratos manages to do fine. The typical tsun and dere moments here do keep you entertained, with Ichika’s developing harem starting to get jealous over him (and causing quite a few rather amusing scenes). I’ll admit that most of the humor is uninspired, but IS does have the mech fights here and there to change things up.

After seeing Cecilia go into blush mode in episode 02, I had suspected that she had fallen in love with Ichika, but dang, I never expected her to go into full loveydovey mode right away. Seeing her bouts of jealousy involving both of his childhood friends did turn out rather entertaining, though I did think her change in personality was too sudden for my liking. She does get rather annoying at times, though that’s probably due to her “British” lineage (I’m sorry if this offends any Britons out there, no harm intended).

The story itself goes virtually nowhere excluding the intro of the new transfer student (who just happens to be Ichika’s childhood friend and also is part of his growing harem). That being said, I do consider this show as currently being in the “introducing the characters” phase, especially if you think about how there is at least one more character not yet introduced that was shown in the opening theme. The story for the intro of each character (aside from Houki) looks like it’ll follow a typical pattern; Ichika meets girl –> girl gets angry at him –> girl challenges Ichika to IS match –> somehow the match improves their relationship.

Watching the Infinite Stratos themselves is rather interesting at times, but in the end there wasn’t really anything too interesting about this episode. There was a ton of uninspired, cliche humor that anyone who has watched a harem anime probably would know about. Perhaps I’m enjoying this show because of how it reminds me of some older harem shows I watched (you know, back when Harems had much less fanservice and were much more entertaining…). Aside from entertainment value, though, this show is really 120% generic. But hey, at least the mech fights are worth watching :P

Overall Enjoyment: 2.9/5

Screenshots are later in the post.

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Jan 132011
 

Episode 02 – The Battle to Decide the Class Representative – クラス代表決定戦 (Kurasu daihyou ketteisen)

This week’s episode of Infinite Stratos was certainly better than the first one from last week. The action scene this episode was actually pretty cool, even if the outcome was kind of predictable. I’m still wary about the harem feeling to this show, especially with the British girl from this episode seemingly blushing after thinking about Ichika, which might be a bad sign. The story hasn’t really gone anywhere yet, but considering this show seems to be in the “introducing the characters” phase, nothing notable will probably happen for a while.

I’m liking how Ichika, our main character, isn’t a complete wimp and actually has a backbone, which is a nice change in comparison to most male leads in recent times. He takes initiative, which certainly makes him one of the more assertive, competent characters of this show. Though, that being said, I can’t say this childhood friend Houki is a pushover either. Ichika and Houki do have the typical “male and tsundere” relationship, but it’s still rather fun to watch at times.

Ichika’s relationship with Cecilia changes up quite a bit this episode too, with Ichika’s surprise loss to Cecilia after his shields ran out. It’s pretty obvious that Cecilia feels that she didn’t properly win her battle, which is why she seemed so flustered at the end (either that, or she’s blushing because she’s interested in him). Either ways, the fight itself was pretty cool with a fast paced, swift mech battle.

The battle itself was a little predictable, but the battle itself did reveal quite a bit about the Infinite Stratos machines themselves. Nevertheless, nothing much happened this episode in terms of main plot. Instead, we get more information about the actual setting, as well as a bit of character introduction and development. From what I can tell, this will probably go on for the next two females that are part of the main cast (or so the opening theme suggests) before anything really major happens. Next week’s preview is showing us another childhood friend for Ichika (I think), and I bet it’s going to spark jealousy in the air.

Overall Enjoyment: 3.6/5

Screenshots are later in the post.

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Jan 062011
 


Episode 01 – My Classmates are All Girls – クラスメイトは全員女 (Kurasumeito wa Zenin Onna)

For a first episode, this episode was pretty weak. I mean, we do get a glimpse at the mech fighting in the beginning of the episode (which looks like it could turn out rather interesting to see) but the rest of the episode completely kills much of the interest I had in the show. I mean, we get a main character thrown into an all girls school, with the typical ojou-sama and tsundere archetypes characterizing the two introduced heroines. I’m expecting two more heroines (based on the opening scene), but as of now I am not expecting a great (or at least unique) cast of characters.

That being said, there isn’t anything really particularly bad either. This episode just had bland interactions between our main character, Ichika, and the rest of the girls in his school. There is a tiny bit of fanservice here and there, but what really makes this episode rather bland is how nothing important really happens until the last 30 seconds or so of the episode. We do get a nice cliffhanger there, which means I’ll probably be seeing at least the next few episodes to this series.

Ichika’s interactions with his childhood friend, Houki, was rather entertaining at times, but in the end she seems to be a typical tsundere. The other girl introduced this episode, Cecilia, is the princess “ojou-sama” type that just screams arrogant/prideful. Both heroines were a little boring, and nothing terribly out of the ordinary.

The only remotely interesting character would be, surprisingly, our main character Ichika. His characterization, although a little generic, does keep you interesting in what happens to him. He’s not particularly annoying, and is actually rather competent in some ways, unlike other main characters from anime (sure surprised me), so seeing what he does from here could make things more fun to watch.

While I am curious about why Ichika is the only male that can pilot the Infinite Stratos (and why is it that only females can pilot them), this episode brings us a slow start to the Infinite Stratos series. While I don’t particularly hate this episode, it hasn’t really captured my attention either. Considering this show is supposed to be focused on mech fights, I’ll definitely be waiting it out to see if the mech fights next episode can keep my interest.

First Impressions: 6.5/10

Screenshots OP, and ED themes are later in the post.

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