It’s always good to get yourself a healthy daily dose of anime. Today here at Cafe Daifuuku!~ We are serving up a light breakfast composed of comedy, science fiction and romance, with a side dish of harem (which will be more than a side dish to come). Now, let’s immerse ourselves in the fresh taste of this new anime.
Infinite Stratos OP:「Straight Jet」by Minami Kuribayashi
One word – Epic. The captivating music mixes perfectly with the smooth animation that shows off all the mecha, the main characters, and the beautiful setting of the anime, which is the academy. The panning angles, pretty character designs and the music just hooks you in like a fish in a lake. What I’m not so crazy about is the sudden change in emotion from the moving characters to their respective freeze frame state, it just feels too unnatural.
Episode 1 – Classmates are All Girls!
Before the OP cues, we start with a scene of all our main characters in beautiful mecha engaging in a battle, which acts as a foreshadow for a significant episode later in the anime.
Considering that this is a harem anime, obviously the first issue that the main character would address is the fact that he’s the only student with a Y chromosome in the entire school. We are introduced to Ichika Orimura (voiced by Kōki Uchiyama), a typical high school boy in every way, except for the fact that he is the only male that can operate an IS, or Infinite Stratos, a mechanical fighting machine that only women can operate.
This entire story takes place in a world of the future where society is dominated by women (girl power!) because of their ability to operate the IS, and thus a lack of in men. So, Ichika, as the special one of his gender, is immediately enrolled into the the Infinite Stratos academy, the world’s only educational institution with the objective to train IS pilots. The visual of the structures and building of the academy is great. Heck, if the story is 3/4 as good as the animation, I’ll be as happy as a little kid on christmas.
Ichika, as the typical nice guy he is, struggles to fit in because of , of course, his gender and his awkwardness. I’m actually relieved that the main character is normal instead of a hentai, because that would be a serious waste of my time to watch a guy chasing around a bunch of girls. As opposed to the other harem show of this season, Starry Sky, this anime for one has more of a realistic school setting than the astronomy school of Starry Sky’s and for one, actually has a reason why the harem occurs. Anyways, you would think that the only male who can use the IS would be the smartest of the smart, and keenest of the keen, but in fact, he’s the laziest of the lazy. He didn’t even read the manual (which is compulsory) that was given to him after he was accepted to this school because he accidentally threw it away. Being in a school full of ambitious young woman just push the severity of his laziness up 10 notches.
As the episode progresses, we are introduced to a number of different characters. First one is Maya Yamada, (Noriko Shitaya) the co-constructor of the Ichika’s class along with Ichika’s much more successful and disciplined older sister, Chifuyu Orimura. (Megumi Toyoguchi) Maya, according to her bust size & outer wear, shall become one of the sources of fan service in this anime, which is, thank god, at an appropriate amount that doesn’t quite choke you on intake. Chifuyu is not only the sister and instructor of Ichika, but also a first generation IS operator, winner of the first IS Olympics AND a committed dorm advisor to the first years. Because of this, she has been absent in Ichika’s life for the past few years.She is very popular among the IS girls and if I didn’t know that she was female, I would have thought that she was someone like the president of the Zuka club in Ouran High School Host Club. She’s a firm leader, and someone who doesn’t hesitate to break the skull of her younger brother.
We then meet Houki Shinonono (Yōko Hikasa) , a close childhood friend of Ichika’s who trained in the same Kendo dojo as him and has not seen him for 6 years. She is the younger sister of the inventor of the IS, Tabane Shinonono, and judging from her remarks about her sibling, has a sister complex. Most importantly, Houki Shinonono is a huge tsundere and it is very clear, from both her blushes, expressions and reactions express in front of Ichika that she is going to be part of the harem that shall show itself over the series. Ichika, as the cool guy he is, tries to rekindle the old friendship with Houki and is coldly and firmly rejected by Houki’s hostility to make any social interactions. The reason for Houki’s tsundereness must be something that happened in the past, or the crush she obviously has on Ichika won’t be given away right off the bat. Her character design, along with all other characters, are well executed and visually pleasing – something that just made the first encounter of the two childhood friend after their separation even more cuter. D’aww~
After this brief encounter between two childhood friends, Cecilia Alcott (Yukana), Britain’s elite IS representative presents her self-centered and cocky self to Ichika. The two’s encounter was quite comedic – the nonchalant attitude of Ichika just counterattacks every thing Cecilia was blabbing on about – whether it was beating her instructor at the entrance exam, or how great her country is. The fact that Ichika has also beat his instructor in battle struck Cecilia like an arrow, without any time to ask questions, they return to their seats for class.
Now for one of the comedic scenes of the episode! After class, Ichika soon finds his (shared) dorm and just happened to walk in to his roommate, Houki, coming out of the showers, dressed in only a bath towel. Then begins the release of Houki’s strong kendo powers followed by a string of fanservice after he gets chased to the hall filled with teenage girls in skimpy pajamas.
The next day in class, Ichika, as the popular guy (and the only guy) that he is, gets nominated by others to be the class representative, who is required to fulfill a long list of duties, like attending council meetings and compete in the year-end inter-class IS competition. Cecilia Alcott challenges Ichika to an IS duel, claiming that having a male for a class representative is ridiculous and that she, as the ELITE REPRESENTATIVE OF ENGLAND, can’t bear the shame of that for an entire year. A clash happens between the two over who should give the other a handicap in the competition. Ichika’s witty comebacks to Cecilia’s comments makes me like him even more (i.e. questioning the status of her country of origin by stating that England has won the annual worst cuisine award many times).
Battle details are:
- Shall take place in the 3rd arena
- Is next monday
- Between Alcott and Orimura
- We shall be watching
IS Infinite Stratos wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. An introduction to a plot that makes sense, animation that flows, voice acting that works, and pretty character designs are enough to keep watching for at least 5 episodes. The visual aspect of this anime looks promising – the movements are smooth, the uniforms look cool, the academy looks great, and the characters themselves look nice too. I’ve officially established Houki as my favourite because 1) Her tsundere expressions are absolutely adorable, 2) Her being roomates with a guy would be a source of good comedy 3) She has the greatest chance of ending up with Ichika considering she is the closest childhood friend (implied spoil) and 4) the only other shipping to go with is Cecilia Alcott, and I don’t like her.
This episode was mainly about introducing the main characters and the plot. Though, the comedic aspect of the episode had been a bit lacking for me. It could be that Cecilia and Houki’s characters are very over-played, or that there wasn’t much comedy in this episode to begin with, but I didn’t even snicker at scenes other than Cecilia’s introduction and the dorm scene. If the comedy keeps going on the angle with Ichika’s stupidity, they should mix it up a bit. So far as I can tell, Houki will definitely be involved the harem centered around Ichika, and probably Cecilia too (it’s just a matter of when and how). At this point in the anime, the characters are still in their one-dimensional form and are not developed yet, so we shall see what things that can blossom out of this setting and these characters. It’s just a matter of time before the romance starts inflating like a hot air balloon and more and more girls gets thrown into the mix our Shinonono-san is currently in right now. At the moment, Chifuyu Orimura is my favourite character for she was the only one that was introduced that really gave me some entertainment value. She left a bigger impact than the other characters – her back story was interesting, and so was her attitude. For a first episode, this was pretty nice, but I would have preferred something more captivating, but this is a mecha-battle-romantic-comedy, so I shouldn’t really expect it.
ED:「SUPER∞STREAM」 by Hikasa Youko
Catchy song, but the visuals are just the two main characters running into the darkness. Kind of pointless, I would have liked to seen something less repetitive than this. I WANTED THEM TO SHOW OFF THE PRETTY ANIMATION! It’s just too simple! I won’t accept it!
Fun with captions