Fightin’ Round The World in mai IS


bankai in three days or is it three hours


Where's that damn phoenix
Harem lead not as retarded as he's acting
Even France-tan's patience has limits

So Infinite Stratos is finally over, and boy, that finale summed up the show to a T. Full of nonsense and asspulls all the way down, all the Bleach-isms with the inner world stuff, 2nd level random powers up the wazoo and Ichika doing his best Shounen Jump impression when Houki wakes up just exacerbates the problems I.S has been having all season. The camera work also suffered as compared to ep11, and it degnerated into the unimaginative wide angle shots of two blobs ramming each other as Gundam is wont to. Good tracking shots were far and few in between. Also, considering they have one fast brawler and many ranged speciality I.Ses attacking a solitary target, they did a pretty poor job of pinning the opponent down with multiple fields of fire. They just tended to stagger their attacks neatly, which didn’t work at all against a much faster target.

We do get some interesting background on what Houki’s near-psychopathic (at least anywhere in the real world, that is) kawaiiko sister has been up to, which would act as a hook for the 2nd season if there is one (and supposedly there seems to be enough material in the light novels to do so). Now I haven’t read any of the LNs, and I can’t be sure if the show is suffering from Adaptation Decay, but in any case, I don’t have any hopes any additional material would be better in quality.

Taken as a whole, the final episode serves as a microcosm of the series in itself. That groan-worthy final scene just sums it up…..this is a show of two halves and the combat focus suffers from having to share airtime with the harem inanities. The action scenes are decently set up and animated, but the material (or the production team, or both) just doesn’t have the imagination to allow the fights to wind down in a logical fashion. Almost every one of them has to be concluded by an improbable plot development, which is really painfully obvious when the show doesn’t have the escalating duel format of a standard shounen series. Tactics also tend to get thrown out of the window in terms of winning fights, which is all the more unforgivable given that they’re paid attention to for most of the encounters. All in all, Infinite Stratos is a show where you watch if you’re an obsessive follower of the Strike Witches/Gundam formula, otherwise one should only try it if you have absolutely nothing going on.

Infinite Stratos 02: Haven’t I seen this before six years ago?

I heard you like beam spam“We meet again Kira Yamato….now *I* am the master…”

So against all better judgement, here I am writing about Infinite Stratos part Deux. To be fair to the series, it does get better once they get SkyMio’s (predictably trite) antics over with and get to the duel proper, which is generally well animated unless you really squint and pick bones out of your CGI egg. Setting aside the anime fetish of once again bringing a sword to a gunfight, we get the over the top action we expect from a less pantsu oriented version of Strike Witches, down to the usual hewing down of projectiles as if they were redneck beer cans and even a “Shaving off my life by putting my energies into my attack!” attack, which would have elicited a groan from me if I hadn’t used it on the unwelcome Gundam Seed memories this fight brought back.

We also get a bit of backstory on her Mio-ness and her sister, who is chief boffin behind the mysterious IS system, complete with DUM-DUM-DUM a black box of a core. The sister (who I see is voiced by her petite Shiro Akuma-ness), is either a wanderer or has gone missing, and the two are estranged. All this I guess is meant to set the stage for later Shocking Developments(tm) where their WHOOSH WHOOSH battle-armour is not as simple as it seems to their young users.

The harem aspects kick in hard again at the end of the show (once the duel ends and Cecilia starts to feel the ramifications of that inconclusive encounter), and I’m still shaking my head at the preview, which promises YET ANOTHER osananajimi, unbelievably presented as a fang-tan twintail from CHINA. This is going to be one of those anime of two halves, and in the scenario of liking one and disliking the other, how much of the disliked portion you can stomach.