Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Isaac1
Reluctant Anime Reviews: Infinite Stratos
We here at The Website of DOOM pride ourselves on being at the cutting edge of pop culture. Our staff handpicks and laboriously crafts the quality content that reaches your computer monitor. However, researchers in the lab have found we have a deficiency in anime-focused content. This is mostly because a lot of anime is creepy, and nobody at DOOM wants to go near it. Fortunately, “want” has nothing to do with our new project. We drafted (read: forced) resident hermit, and part-time artist Isaac to watch anime. The programs will be selected at random using a highly sophisticated process, and he will be forced to watch them from beginning to end, no matter how weird they are, how uncomfortable they make him feel, or how likely it is the police will show up at his door. After his viewings, he will provide us with an article reviewing the program he just watched.
This is a series we like to call… RELUCTANT ANIME REVIEWS
Infinite Stratos broke me. I thought I had a strong will, able to endure a good amount of psychological torture. But Infinite Stratos destroyed my brain. It launched a constant barrage of nonsense at me, straining my resolve to the breaking point. Infinite Stratos is disgusting- That is the only word I can find to describe it. It is offensive, stupid, and lacking any decency.
As seems to be the trend, Infinite Stratos is another “Harem” anime. But this one has robot suits, so that’s cool, I guess. In the near future, humanity invents robotic supersuits called IS. (Infinite Stratos. What’s the plural? Stratosi? Stratoses? Stratosen?) These suits fly through the air with the greatest of ease, sport powerful weaponry, and quickly spawn a new sport of gladiatorial combat. The catch? It seems that only women have the ability to pilot the IS. Soon, an academy for IS pilots is built, and everything is fine… Until a BOY named Ichika Orimura finds out he can pilot IS, and enrolls in the IS Academy! WHAAAAAA?!?
Because this is a poorly written anime, every girl in the school is automatically attracted to Ichika for no other reason than he has a wang. Soon, the major love interests are revealed- and are, predictably, dumb and uninspired characters. In his first few days, he reunites with his childhood friend Houki Shinonono; meets the official IS representative from England Cecilia Alcott; and later an old friend of Ichika’s (who happens to be the representative from China) named Huang Lingyin transfers into the school. Soon after, a boy from France named Charles Dunois enrolls in the academy, but is soon revealed to be a girl named Charlotte, forced to spy on Ichika by her father.
After this, the representative from Germany, named Laura Bodewig transfers to the school, and attempts to kill Ichika, but fails, and falls in love with him. The series then revolves around all the girls fighting for Ichika’s affection, although he doesn’t realize they love him. Oh, and I guess there are some robosuit fights.
Infinite Stratos is dumb. Very, very, very dumb. It pelts the viewer with literally every cliché it can shoehorn into the story. There is no originality here: it’s just recycling things other horrible shows have already done. The harem genre works like a Human Centipede, except sewn into a giant, perverted, misogynistic circle.
The jokes in Infinite Stratos aren’t funny. In, fact, there are only three jokes in the entire series, used ad nauseam.
Joke #1: Ichika accidentally gets into vaguely sexual situation with lady. Other ladies see this. Other ladies hit Ichika while he asks what he did wrong.
Joke #2: Lady thinks Ichika is being romantic. Ichika isn’t, just being dumb and nice. Lady hits Ichika.
Joke #3: Ladies fight to be alone with Ichika. Ichika doesn’t notice. Ladies hit Ichika.
On paper, none of those are funny, and in practice, they provoke a sensation of active hatred and anti-entertainment. In no world do I see these situations being amusing to anyone. They are just excuses to show half naked women in compromising positions. It’s Twilight for guys: shallow and masturbatory in every conceivable manner.
Which brings me to my next point: Infinite Stratos has some serious problems with women. To begin with, the show’s message can be crudely, but aptly be summed up as “All girls go nuts for the D.” None of these characters have any depth outside of vaguely tragic pasts that -shockingly- Ichika magically makes them feel better about, causing them to fall in love with him. It’s the fantasy of a 13-year-old boy who can’t talk to a girl like she’s a human being. They’re dolls made for the fantasies of men. But that’s only just what’s on the surface.
At the beginning of the series, there is a real tone of “putting women in their place.” When Ichika arrives at the school, the main players all treat him like garbage. That is until he proves his prowess with his manly spirit, of course. Then, the women begin to act only in ways that is best for Ichika, even having a contest to see who can make him the happiest. All the female characters lose all personality when met with the immense power of the dong.
There was something I forgot about… what was it? Oh yeah. The IS fights. See I forgot about them because they serve no purpose at all, rather to provide more eye candy. The action scenes of Infinite Stratos are completely pointless and the entire IS premise is only there to provide a different backdrop for the same tired story that’s been done over and over again. However, that being said, the action is visually exciting, and the IS designs are interesting and unique; although, even the cool mech action can’t be left alone by the icy tendrils of sleaze known as fan service. Far too often there are crotch shots of the female pilots, excessive boob jiggle, and a pilot suit that epitomizes “not technically naked.”
Now: an admission. Infinite Stratos beat me. Between seasons, the writing degenerated to what can only be described as “A man furiously smashing his erection on a keyboard.” The fanservice in season 2 reaches near-pornographic levels. After a promising start, what with the introduction of The Plot™, I thought the worst was behind me. I was wrong. So, sooo wrong.
I can pinpoint the exact location Infinite Stratos took a permanent toll on my sanity. I can even show it to you. In the aforementioned “Contest to Please Ichika,” the ladies dress up in various sexy animal costumes. A teacher dresses up like a sexy cow, Houki dresses up like a sexy fox priestess, Cecilia dresses up as a sexy bunny, and Charlotte dresses up as… a sexy French Poodle? (Warning: mildly NSFW)
I couldn’t handle anymore after that. I could not force myself to watch a show that would stoop to such lows any longer. I just couldn’t. So, for a few days, I backed away, vowing never to watch any more of this garbage. But I knew I had an obligation to you, dear reader. My pain is your pleasure.
So I continued watching, and I was honestly glad I did. Not because the show gets better- dear god no. Viewed in the right mindset, the horrible writing and characters begin to take a turn to “So bad it’s good,” a la The Room. I entered a fugue state where the mental pain drifted away, and just laughed at how terrible Infinite Stratos was.
Thinking about it, what hurts me most about Infinite Stratos is that there’s a decent premise here, but all the terrible harem scenarios kill it dead. The show would actually be good if it got rid of all that. Just make it a basic romance between two people who have to pilot these things. Add some unique jokes, better characters, maybe even a moral or two, and you’d have a pretty good show! Oh… wait… that’s just Eureka Seven.
I’m Isaac, and this has been a Reluctant Anime Review. May God have mercy on my soul.