[Review] IS: Infinite Stratos

Didn’t you know? Wannabe lolis are scary.

HAI ppl

Today, we are going to discuss the amazing life lessons that the fantastic world of IS teaches. (In case you were wondering, something fabulous will come soon xD) You are probably wondering how the show with one of the most generic starting shonen storylines could come up with something so deep and meaningful. Well, look no further. IS is here and ready to show you how deep harems can be. Whethere I’m sarcastic or not, I’ll leave you to decide xD

What is an IS?

This is probably the first question you might have about the series. Basically, it is a personalized mech unit. If you are having trouble imagining it, take the striker units from Strike Witches, extend the unit so that it covers your back, your arms, and the back in your head (notice that the fanservice parts are not covered), and last off, add wings, guns, and swords. There you have an IS. Before I forget, the only people who can use an IS are females, well at least until Ichika comes along, and that leads us directly into the “plot.”

Plot:

Ichika, a typical dense high school male, was able to activate an IS. As a result, he is sent off to IS academy to “learn about ISs” while getting a harem. *Typical Harem plot from here on out*

Poachers and bulles...What shall we ever do?

What about all those life lessons though? Well, the lesson you must take home from IS is that poachers can lead to the death of the harem lead (a tragic scene for all members of the harem). I am pretty sure you are sitting there asking why, poachers are criminals, but if you are using that train of thought, you don’t know harem leads well enough. First off, like most harem leads, Ichika is incredibly dense, so common sense does not prevail in these scenarios. Second and more importantly, harem leads like Ichika have an incredible sense of justice and trust which leads them to value every human life. If a human can be saved, then the harem lead will save them. If a human can’t be saved, then the harem lead will keep on trying until he finds a way.

I ranted a lot on the philosophy of a harem lead, but what in the world does this have to do with harem lead’s life. Well, what happens when something attacks the harem lead and he realizes that the poaching ship might be caught in the crossfire? He protects it obviously, but as a harem member, you become jealous and drop your guard, resulting in you being attacked. Of course the harem lead is always looking out for everyone, but is too busy protecting the ship to get into a good position to save you. As a result, the harem lead, being heroic and all, jumps in the line of fire and protects you with his body, ending up with a harem lead lead in critical condition, a terrible price for your jealousy.

As you can see the morale of the story is that to avoid your harem lead from getting hurt, you must get rid of poachers! Just remember, this is only one lesson IS taught. There is a plethora of other things to learn from IS, just make sure to pay attention.

Animation:

Following the formula for Strike Witches success, this show basically needed only a few things to succeed in this department, fanservice and action, and luckily it did just that. Infinite Stratos has both beach and hotspring episodes done in the detail and art style you would expect of today’s animation, nothing special.  On the other hand, the action scenes are great with very detailed mechs and fluid actions, but with each episode averaging 1-2 minutes of action, many episodes will leave you with an unsatisfying taste.

Before I forget, IS sometimes attempts to include scenery, but it seems to reuse the same landscapes too much at times. For example, high quality sand close ups used multiple times in one episode. The return of high quality sand……

Enjoyment:

In the end, you can put what you like about IS in 3 categories: fanservice, action, and life lessons, a winning shonen formula (liking the show for how bad it did in certain areas doesn’t count xD) Sadly despite winning in more ways than one, IS falls short of being a good series because of its generic harem plot and very short action scenes. Unless you like learning about the relationship between fishing boats, harems, and harem leads, the only thing reason to watch the show is for fanservice… Regardless, great lessons are fabulous things to learn xD.

Technical Rating: 5/10
Personal Rating 5/10

Notes: If you want to sample this show, the first episode gives you a pretty good idea of what you are getting yourself into. If you only like the first ninety seconds of the first episode, then just go through all the episodes looking for the action scenes, since there is no real need to understand the plot for this series.

If you don’t want to scan through the series but still want action, the last episode provides quite a few great aerial combat scenes, so it is fairly entertaining to watch.

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