Review: IS: Infinite Stratos

snap1

Anime: IS: Infinite Stratos
Animation Studio: 8bit
Number of Episodes: 12
Length per Episode: Approximately 24

And now it’s time for the real review. This most likely won’t be a long one, but I won’t guarantee that, seeing as how I love to ramble.


I could make this a quick plot review and say “The show is about people in mech suits beating the crap out of each other,” but I have a better idea. I’m going to completely skip the plot review, and get straight to the normal review, starting with talking about the main gals of the series (in order of appearance). It’s also a harem show, so the main girls play a heavy part in determining the score, ya know.snap2

First up we have Houki. She’s pretty much an ultra-tsundere (I still laugh at the “WHY WOULD YOU READ A NEWSPAPER?!” line), and she’s Ichika’s chilhood friend. The show starts to favor her near the end.

There really isn’t anything else important to add to that. Oh, except that she has the largest boobs out of all the girls.snap3

Cecilia is the IS representative from England, if the picture wasn’t already enough of an indication. She gets the hots for Ichika after he almost slices her in half during their match.

I sense a masochist.snap4

Rin is the IS representative from China. Like Houki, she is also a childhood friend of Ichika’s. Her bark is infinitely larger than her bite. I don’t think she won a single match in the show. Then again, one or two of them were interrupted, so maybe that’s an unfair judgement.

According to the animation, she can change her height at will. Her height can be anywhere between Ichika’s shoulders to his eyes.snap5

AWW YEAH TIME FOR SOME TL;DR! I was actually going to save this little rant for my opinion on the show as a whole, but screw that; now is the perfect time to explain how amazing Charlotte is.

Charlotte is the IS representative from France. She also has Mighty Morphin Boob powers, because she poses as a guy for a few episodes, and she looks completely flat. She is actually well-endowed enough that this feat would leave physicists shaking their heads in confusion.

Charlotte is the best girl in the show, and probably harem anime as a whole. This is non-negotiable. Mainly, if for anything, because she’s really the only one with a legitimate reason for falling in love with Ichika. Her secret gets found out, she explains her sad backstory about essentially being used, and Ichika is the first person to tell her think for herself, and make her feel like she finally has someone that depends on her.

That’s just a basic reason though. Charlotte and Ichika also make an awesome team, both on the battlefield and off. As a team, they manage to beat Laura, the person who had so far been presented as unbeatable. Off the battlefield, they’re the only ones that can do things together and not have it look awkward as shit, or seem completely one-sided. Possibly because Charlotte is the only one who doesn’t beat the crap out of Ichika on a daily basis. There was that one scene where she kicked him, but if you’ve seen the scene, you’d know she kinda had a legitimate reason to do so.

What I like most about Charlotte though is that she deals with the cards she’s dealt. At first she’s a bit subtle with Ichika, like the other girls, but after realizing he’s as dense as a rock, she adjusts herself accordingly.
For example, there’s the scene with Rin where Ichika misunderstands their promise. She gets pissed at him, which is fair, but then when Ichika asks her to clarify it since he’s wrong, she just gets angrier and refuses to explain. Two dimwits don’t make developments, just more misunderstandings and frustration.
But Charlotte, on the other hand, just gets more direct with him to adjust to his density level. Remember the holding hands scene? Sure, Ichika misinterpreted that too, but she was fine with it regardless. You could say she’s really the only character who understands Ichika. Hell, she helps Laura with Ichika on the beach episode because she knows he’s too dense to actually make any progress with the indirect girls.

TL;DR = Charlotte is the only girl with common sense and isn’t an indirect, easily pissed off idiot. She’s also voiced by Kana Hanazawa so fuck yeah.snap6

Laura is the IS representative from Germany. The show turned her from a badass into a moeblob/deredere girl with the beach episode.

She also wears an eye-patch.

If anything, this show had some awesome mech battles. Well, technically they’re robot suits, but whatever. They’re all in CG except for the slower bits that usually involve talking. It works really well, since CG is much smoother than animation.

The show had a few animation blurbs, but it was honestly to be expected due to all the CG that was used that ate up the budget. Overall the animation was extremely impressive, especially given that the only other animation work that 8bit has done were the two Macross Frontier movies. Yeah, this is only their third work. They hit the jackpot with it, too.

The ending was kind of… bleh. At first there was a lot of asspull going around, but then they turned it into a deus ex machina at the last minute by having Byakushiki (Ichika’s IS) being some kind of super (SOOPAH SOOPAH STREAM) model since it’s the first one ever made or something. It’s also a plot point I don’t get with a lot of shows. Why do people think the first of anything made is the best? That doesn’t make sense, especially with technology.

Honestly, the main thing holding back the show was lack of any real plot. I know, I know, “Hurr durr, plot in a harem (and possibly slife-of-life) show.” But the world of IS is so fitting for a good plot, it isn’t even funny. I normally don’t get upset over a show not having something, but this just felt like it was being dangled in front of my face the whole time.

It’s very easy to put up with any mishaps the show could throw at you given Charlotte, though. Hell, I’d sit through Rio: Rainbow Gate! again if it promised me more Charlotte at the end.

Basically, watch the show for the fights, and for Charlotte.

By the way, after the show started, thousands of each volume of the IS light novel were sold nearly every week. And the DVDs/BDs? According to Amazon.jp, they’re higher on the pre-order list than Madoka Magica.

So get ready for season 2.

EDIT: Sup guys, told you this shit was gonna sell like hotcakes.

RATING: 8 out of 10.

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5 Comments on “Review: IS: Infinite Stratos”

  1. Marina says:

    Ah, I was hoping no one would voice the possibility of a second season after the lameness of story and character in the first season, but you just had to go ahead and do it… :p

    Animation definitely ate up all the focus of this show, what with all the fancy IS fights and feats of impossibility with the girls’ constantly changing bodies. If only they had cared so much about the story itself. For the whole ridiculous situation with the rogue IS to be possibly concocted by Tabane seemed utterly stupid. But whatever, sisterly love.

    Oh, and A+ for the Charlotte preference. She wins with her non-stupidity and lack of awkwardness. It helps that she’s also very, very cute.

    • Riyoga says:

      Of course I had to kill the mood, I’m a pro at it. You should see me at social gatherings.
      Though something I forgot to mention in the review was that light novel readers said that there’s actually a reason every girl in the universe wants Ichika’s manhood. That’s enough of a reason for me to watch another season. I wanna know what his secret is.

      It did the trick, though. The fights were always fun to watch.
      And we all know Tabane’s just secretly yandere for Houki. <3

      I am about to order the shit out of this Charlotte rubber strap:
      http://www.amiami.jp/shop/?set=english&vgForm=ProductInfo&sku=CGD2-07087&template=default/product/e_display.html

      WHY IS IT SO CUTE.

      • Marina says:

        Forgive my ignorance, but what’s the rubber strap for? A key chain? A phone strap?

        Chibi Charlotte: Daaaawwwwwww.

        • Riyoga says:

          I’m pretty sure they’re those straps you sometimes see characters have on their phones/bags.

          Though I think they come with one of those loop chains that can be used to attach to pretty much anything. Keychain, phone, etc.

  2. Gespenst says:

    Did you watch the second season yet? I watched it and thought it was terrible, but I’m curious as to what you think of it :P


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