IS (Infinite Stratos) – Ep01Posted: January 9, 2011
This has to be one of the most convoluted ways to justify a harem setting I have ever seen. Some time in the near future Japanese scientists create a powerful exoskeleton called Infinite Stratos (IS). It’s combat capabilities are so immense that world peace breaks out almost immediately (Don’t ask me how, every country in the world just agrees on not using the IS as a weapon.) and the technology is distributed equally throughout the world. There is one little quirk to the IS though: it can only be operated by females. This has the effect of making women dominant in society (wouldn’t they seek equality?), with men as the weaker sex.
Now, enter main character Orimura Ichika:
15 years old, and the only man in the world capable of piloting IS. Because of that he is sent to the famous Infinite Stratos Academy, a school training IS pilots and that, by the nature of IS, only has female students. And that’s where he meets his harem.
Now, I shouldn’t say too much since I’ve only watched the first episode, but unless something extraordinary happens further on in the story this is going to be a cliché-ridden time-waster at best. I’d be happy if they focused a bit on how the female-dominated society works and how it is being a man under those circumstances, but…it feels like the harem plot will be central, accompanied by mecha battles. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just that something fresh would be nice from time to time.
The girls mostly seem to be of the strong, dominant type (I don’t hate it…), maybe with the exception of Ichika’s childhood friend Houki, who acts just like her archetype dictates. Then there is Cecilia from England, who just seems to be a snobby aristocrat who holds herself higher than everybody else. It seems clear though, that they will all fall for Ichika, who to his defence doesn’t seem like the typical weak main character of a harem series.
The mecha scenes look pretty, with lots of action, so if that is your thing I’d say go for it.
So, to sum it up: Is it a masterpiece? Most likely not. Is it worth watching? Yeah, as long as some kind of more involving plot shows up before too long. It sure does look pretty, and if they don’t overplay the harem aspect it’ll work just fine.
On the language front, it is science fiction, so a lot of technical and pseudo-scientifical vocabulary is used. Also, since the women are dominating they talk more like stereotypical men, to varying degrees. Add to that Cecilia, who sounds almost unbearably arrogant and snobby. Her use of わたくし (watakushi) to refer to herself is a big warning sign for non-standard language.