Infinite Stratos : Generic Harem #237 (plus mecha). Ichika goes to an all-girls school for IS (mecha) pilots and becomes a pimp. Infinite Stratos has quite literally the most generic harem plot you can imagine. In the first episode, Ichika moves to an all girls school. He meets his long-lost childhood friend, Houki. And what a surprise, Ichika discovers that they are roommates when he walks in on Houki in the shower! The first episode was so terrible that I thought it was a parody. Unfortunately, I was being much too generous.
Basically everything that Hourou Musuko did right, Infinite Stratos did wrong. The characters were boring, cliched and inconsistent. We have a straight-laced Japanese childhood friend who practices Kendo, a snobby British girl, a Chinese girl whose family runs a ramen shop and who is also a childhood friend, a cross-dressing French girl (this character was actually decent), and a militaristic German girl who makes a sudden and unexplained transformation into a defenseless moeblob.
But even worse than the vapid characters is the fact that the creators focus on one character for a couple episodes, and then proceed to push them into the background and forget about them. Houki showed up for the first episode and the last two but basically didn’t do anything in the middle. The same can be said of all the other characters as well: they have their two episodes in the spotlight and are discarded, hidden in the recesses of Ichika’s harem.
The creators also decided to go for a dramatic, meaningful and deep psychological ending with everyone joining their power to protect their comrades. With the desire to protect their comrades, the inherent powers of their IS awaken and they power up to defeat the enemy! (my explanation isn’t quite all there is to the ending… for one thing, it makes much more sense than the actual show) This was seriously one of the cheesiest endings I’ve seen in a while. I wish that the creators of shows like this could accept that they don’t have any deep meaning, and trying to make it look otherwise isn’t fooling anyone, only inducing pain and suffering for the viewers. The only reason anyone watches this show is for the stupid harem hijinks, and it’s better to just continue with that than to try to make the final episodes of the show into something it’s not and fail miserably.
There were some good points to this show though. For one, the arc with the French girl, Charles, was actually pretty decent. But my standards may have been set pretty low because of the rest of the show. Also, the animation and choreography of the battles was generally well done, but it would have been more effective had I actually cared about the characters in the fights…
- Plot / Script – 5 / 10 – About as generic as it gets.
- Characters – 5 / 10 – Poorly developed and quickly discarded.
- Production – 7 / 10 – Good fight scenes and consistent animation, but otherwise does nothing to stand out.
- Overall – D
Recommendations – Isekai no Seikish Monogatari, Love Hina, Zero no Tsukaima, etc…. if you like this kind of thing, there are a million ones that are better.