Infinite Stratos 2 is the anime equivalent of a lobotomy. An anime so insipid, so devoid of intelligent thought that a trip to the garbage can would likely yield something more interesting. Maybe you'll feel dirty afterwards, but hey, at least you won't receive brain damage for it.
I struggle to think of a single good thing to say when describing Infinite Stratos 2. Even the absolute worst of the medium (from the infamous Mars of Destruction to the nonsensical Cipher) can at least be laughed at in their awfulness. Not Infinite Stratos. It is everything wrong with the harem genre and the anime industry as a whole, assembled into one cretinous pile of filth. You would need standards so low that they pass the Earth's core and leave the other side of the planet in order to appreciate this trash. Nothing went right. Everything went wrong. Hell, this is awful even by the first season's standards.
Allow me to describe one of Infinite Stratos' most asinine scenes. In the sixth episode, Charlotte finds herself in a situation where her panties have magically disappeared. Rather than simply tell Ichika the situation like any sensible person would, she convinces herself that lifting her skirt and directly showing him is the only way to get her point across. Ichika does as she asks and looks. Her response? "Pervert!"
Another scene involves Ichika being forced to take body measurements of all the girls in the school (which every single one of them is happy about for some incomprehensible reason). He closes his eyes, so embarrassed by female cleavage, thinking to himself that a measuring tape does not require eyes to see. His complete lack of understanding about human anatomy results in him fondling the girl. Every single member of his harem then appears out of thin-air and catches him in the act, screaming and assaulting him as the camera pans away.
Even from the very first episode, we know that a trainwreck awaits. The antagonist walks down a dark corridor and meets five soldiers armed with assault rifles. They open fire... and all the bullets somehow manage to land in front of her feet or behind her. She jumps into the air, pulls out two pistols and shoots them all with perfect accuracy. Yep. Even the most brainless of Hollywood blockbusters aim for better than this, but I suppose Infinite Stratos never cared for quality in the first place.
The final episode is the most brain-damaging of all. The antagonist's sidekick willingly reveals to one of the girls the location of a hidden bomb, and the main antagonist then unleashes a laser attack on thirty or forty armed mech soldiers, annihilating them all instantly. Of course Ichika (the most worthless soldier in the entire school) and the members of his harem can take her on in a one-on-one fight, however. As the final insult to the audience's intelligence, a deus ex machina unfolds, placed in direct sight of the enemy at the most convenient time possible. They then escape, and the story ends with a random onsen scene wherein Ichika passes out in the girl's bath. OK.
I do not know how a show so stupid could have ever been produced. Even putting aside the abysmal writing, the harem aspect (the anime's sole appeal) fares no better. The two new additions to his harem (Tatenashi and Kanzashi) suddenly fall in love with Ichika for no bloody reason at all. In the case of Kanzashi, all Ichika ever had to do was smile a lot and play the white knight role once for her to be head over heels for him. There are so many damn members to his harem that you may as well just throw in the entire school at this point. What do they even see in Ichika, anyway? He is one of the most insipid protagonists ever created, absent of any personality. The animators should have just drawn a rock instead - at least that way there would be one less thing to infuriate the audience.
Aside from having the intellect of a toddler, Ichika has the maturity of one, too. He is so adverse to any female contact (even visibly cringing in one scene where a girl's breasts rub against his arm) that you would ordinarily assume he is a homosexual. The fact that he has seven girls blatantly chasing after him and does not recognise it is a testament to how dreadful his characterisation is. A decent harem series would have the protagonist aware long before this point, if not already actively pursuing one of the girls. Future harem anime should take notes from Sora no Otoshimono and HenNeko, and treat Infinite Stratos like the plague that it is.
Unsurprisingly, the female characters are just as bad. Even the two with a brain (Houki and Charlotte) inevitably fall victim to the show's abysmal writing. The most obnoxious is by far Cecilia, her voice so excruciating that it would be more appropriate in the 9 Circles of Hell. Lin on the other hand has about as much presence as a shadow while Kanzashi lacks any sort of personality or defining feature except "has glasses".
Infinite Stratos 2 is terrible even from a technical perspective. All of the action scenes are rendered in low-budget CG and many times the characters' faces will look as if they were drawn by a 10-year-old with a cheap "How to Draw Manga" textbook. The soundtrack is also rubbish and comprises mainly of elevator music and a tuba endlessly making the same two-three notes. During the action scenes, the music is so turgid and over-dramatic that it almost becomes hilarious when combined with the infantile dialogue.
It is rare to find an anime as bad as Infinite Stratos. It is the exact kind of tripe that gives anime such a bad image in mainstream society. Regardless of whether you enjoy the harem genre or despise it, absolutely nothing of value will be found here. Even as mindless entertainment it fails miserably. Avoid it like the plague, or better yet, convince yourself that it doesn't even exist. You will save yourself some sanity that way.
If this is the future of the anime industry, then god help us. read more
There was once a time in the early years of the 2000s where Harem shows were one of the more popular genres of anime even in a few parts of the western world with titles such as Tenchi Muyo and Love Hina. Though the former wasn’t loved because of this specific trope, the latter show had indeed put the genre more focus on the anime community at large with its quirky cast of characters. Nowadays the harem genre isn’t as it once was, not really in terms of merit but in popularity so to speak. Once in a while we get one that does try to put different ideas in how to view the genre in terms of parody, comedy, and character development. But there are some that don’t try to do anything unique to the genre as a whole and most likely felt like could’ve been a lost harem idea back in say, 2002 at most.
Now we have the 2nd season of Infinite Stratos. The continuation of a series that the majority of people, even fans of Harem, show no restraint in voicing their own hatred of it. Yet somehow, it has gone to sell like hotcakes despite its lack of authenticity of being anything more than drab and generic. Now, even with all of this in mind, the one thing that makes me question on this whole thing is: Why is this show getting all of the attention from people buying up all the OVAs and BDs when there are better harem shows out there and are even still continuing to this day?
Some that come to mind are Hentai Ouji, Sora no Otoshimono, To Love Ru Darkness, Kore wa Zombie, and Haganai. All of which have the infinite amount of personality and creativity to their own comedic writing and overall creative charisma that the series could ever have in its own little world. But, of course, I’d have to explain why I think of Infinite Stratos this way but the only reason I bring this whole comparison thing up is just because…there really isn’t that much to say about this next installment in the franchise, other than the fact that it pales in comparison to shows like it.
There are certainly some awful characteristics to be made public about the 2nd season. It’s quite obvious to see how badly written the story is for something like Infinite Stratos, but what makes it even more perplexing is just how there’s so little plot to begin with. What little serious drama that they do make comes across as muddled and overly not well-paced at all. All it is is just the characters going through separate kinds of problems that typically might involve Ichika to help them that eventually leads to him in a suggestive situation involving him getting kicked or beaten to a bloody pulp for accidentally peaking on them changing or saying something that made them blush. From what you could get out of from this description I made, you might think of it as a good thing that they’re sacrificing plot in order to put more emphasis on comedy that can succeed. Unfortunately this sacrifice only provided a lukewarm reception in all aspects.
The way to describe the comedy in Infinite Stratos in one word is “haphazard.” There’s hardly any clever gags to most of the jokes to the point where it’s almost as if the writers just copy-and-pasted the jokes on the scene in question and prayed that the audience would get a laugh from it. A few do garner a little chuckle here and there but the vast majority don’t even deserve a snicker in the slightest. We’ve all seen the typical Onsen and accidental peeking scene in every harem show in existence, so why keep milking it to the people who are already tired of it? I’m sure there are many people who don’t mind that kind of humor but there comes a time when they need to at least inject new kind of life into these kinds of jokes or else it’s going to be the equivalent of getting your face getting passively slapped multiple times by the people who come up with this day after day.
Not only do the writers not put in any new effort into the jokes themselves, but even the jokes that they wrote are so muddled and confused on its own reason for existing in the first place. One prime example is when Charlotte forgot to wear her panties and she’s too embarrassed to tell it to Ichika, for some reason that is never explained. When she finds out later that they are back on, after being noted by Laura, she pulls up her skirt and even tells Ichika to look at them even though he didn’t want to. Despite this, she still feels embarrassed and calls him a pervert, even though beforehand she had no problem to tell him to look. It’s almost as if the one of the writers forgot what the punchline was supposed to be and, what I assume in a desperate attempt at trying to be clever, just with the generic route of letting Charlotte call him a pervert for no reason. Good job on that one guys…
With the writing automatically becoming a one trick pony, the overall character cast don’t provide better reception but there are a few that do get some laughs. The new character Sarashiki is quite humorous in her attempts on being sneaky and conniving in messing with Ichika and his romances, even with her muddled reasoning for liking Ichika in the first place. But the charms pretty much stops there in the 2nd half when her appearances are only brief and we have to sit through her sister who just doesn’t have anything going for her other than that she’s there to fill out the 2nd to last arc that hardly amounts to anything other than her being Ichika’s next girl in his harem. As for the rest, they don’t really improve on from the 1st season nor do they really decline in quality either since they weren’t even that strong to being with other than being cute girls. Strangely enough, Lingyin hardly makes an impression in this season, which might indicate that she might have been the least popular of the girls, even though personally Cecilla would’ve been the more reasonable choice.
Then we have Ichika, the main protagonist, who is just about the by-the-book harem protagonist that you could ever find out of the entire catalog of dense male protagonists. It’s safe to say that Ichika represents what most otaku love to see, a poor guy that acts so brainless to his own male hormones that he can’t even muster up the courage to express his true emotions so that they can feel better about themselves. Here’s a pretty unique idea: How about a strong male protagonist who actually acts like how an actual male at his age would do at that typical scenario? Now I’m not saying that being a total pervert openly is a good thing nor does this indicate that we need more protagonist to think of females as nothing but sex objects. But when you’re like me and you constantly see someone like Ichika that does the same shtick where he always acts like he doesn’t have any interest in any of the girls yet somehow later on does and he can’t find the courage to admit it openly, you’d think that we would be tired of this kind of thing around 2005, but nope.
The technical prowess of the show aren’t of any special value because of the generic designs of the mechs, the really average attempts on CG, and the average character designs; though admittedly the girl designs are definitely colorful and nice to look at. Not to mention the opening and ending animation is almost like they recycled some of the animation that we saw in the previous ones in the first season. Then we have the ensemble cast, to which I must ask how in the name of all that is good and decent did these talented seiyuus signed up again for this? I mean granted Kana Hanazawa is in every show that comes out these days, but actresses like Yoko Hikasa, Chiwa Saito, and Inoue Marina really deserved better to be in something else than this. They do their best attempts at trying to be charming as usual, but even with those in mind it doesn’t really dull out the pain of going through mediocrity.
This could’ve been an attempt at trying to pull out a full-blown rant into tearing this show apart like some of my colleagues are willing to do but in all honesty, as far as harems go, you could sit through way worse. You could probably dig deeper into the lost collection of thrown out harem shows that have even been dumped by the studios themselves in the past and see how so much worse they can be. However, since Infinite Stratos is headed by a well-known studio as of now, it can definitely be seen as a high-profile failure in trying to reboot the series for a second season that was in dire straits of regaining some merit, if there was ever one to be found to begin with. Not something that I would ever in my life ever watch fully again, maybe only a few amusing clips of it, but as I said before, I’ve seen way worse.
Chances are that if you are plan on watching Infinite Stratos 2, you probably want to see how the story goes on between Ichika and the friends he has made at IS Academy in this brand new adventure. After all, season 1 didn’t end with an exactly a high note with its indecisive conclusion. Yes, I’m talking about Ichika and his dense mind along with the irrational decisions he makes. The story itself only had some moments that shined while others fell under the typical harem tropes with little development. Unfortunately, Infinite Stratos 2 doesn’t get any better. In fact, it went backwards and became even worse. It’s a continuation of a story that set itself on a time bomb ticking away at its destruction.
Infinite Stratos 2 is the sequel of the first season based off of the light novel in the same name written by Izuru Yumizuru. The series continues directly from season 1 with a young man named Orimura Ichika. To refresh some memory, Ichika is the first male pilot of the exoskeleton mech known as the IS (Infinite Stratos). Because the system was designed for female pilots, Ichika becomes the first user of the technology. The government obviously has plans for him and sent him directly to the world famous IS Academy. That means it’s a paradise for him because he is set to an academy where everywhere around him is: girls.
Like I mentioned previously, this series begins exactly where the first season left off. Ichika is still the talk of the academy because of his status and kindness. It’s no surprise that girls are interested in him in some way because most if not all of them came from a girls-only school previously. Among these girls include the return of the five female protagonists known as Houki, Cecilia, Ling, Charlotte, and Laura. Although most of them had some spotlights in season 1, this sequel puts them to shame. Their development is in ashes because the a big chunk of the series concentrates on some nonsense where everyone tries to get Ichika’s attention. Unfortunately, Ichika is dense as ever and hardly understands any of the girls’ attempts. In fact, he seems them a sign of gratitude while all the while being ignorant of its intentions. This comes early in the series in many shapes and sizes. These include the typical pool episode, absurd cosplays, surprise party extravaganza with absurd gags, and even an entire episode dedicated to a pair of panties plying around the lost & found game. While all this seems to fun at first, it quickly grows old because of the lack of depth in its fun.The comedy is also killed thanks to Ichika’s dense personality.
On more a directional side, the series does contain a story that expands further somewhat. Even in harem series like this, there is a story because the concept is serious with the IS being part of the system. In this sequel, the story introduces two new characters - one of them with an authoritative control, skill of a pilot, and ability to flirt with Ichika like no tomorrow. There’s some problems wrong with her character though. For one thing, she seems almost too perfect. Furthermore, Ichika is confused throughout the series as to her true intentions. Her smile often seems to be a like a mask that hides her purpose as a facade. But behind that smile also lies a girl whose skills is unrivaled in IS combat. To make matter worse for the girls though, she seems to be also possesses the skill to tame all of Ichika’s harem. Initially, she stands out as the boss of the series, like a game that the girls must overcome.
On the other hand, there is also another character that represents the opposite of her. It’s quite odd seeing Ichika interact with her as someone that hardly gives him any attention. In many ways, she represents the opposite of the typical girls in this harem anime.
To say that Infinite Stratos 2 completely sicks under the ocean with no chance of salvage is also an exaggeration though. Despite the lack of development or engaging storyline, the sequel does expand on a more darker side as the characters learns the existence of an organization. Their purpose stands for what terrorism is and their actions speaks louder than words. In fact, this organization declares war against IS Academy along with Ichika and his friends. There is also some mystery related to one particular member of this organization whom bares a strikingly similar appearance to another character from the series. Calling herself by a name that shocks Ichika, she becomes a pivotal antagonist that brings out the dark side of IS.
Action wise, Infinite Stratos surprisingly has some decent movements with its mechanics. The system itself is designed to fight efficiently in almost any circumstances. Also depending on the skill of the user, each IS has its own specialization or customized weapon that can inflict additional damage. In this sequel, new models are introduced with even more devastating abilities. The new models also gives them an impressive look from its exterior with its threatening design. Even with the harem tropes all over the place, the IS does stand in as a prominent factor as each time they are shown on screen, the camera angles focus exclusively on them with a more detailed look.
Unfortunately, that’s not where the only place where the camera points to...
The fanservice is all over the place in this sequel. It shouldn’t surprise viewers considering the way season one was handled. However, the show goes on with even from the beginning such as Laura crawling into Ichika’s bed or the swimsuits coming off just because. Cosplay also seems to make its way into this sequel because the show wants to try out some new ideas to cover all the field of a harem anime. This includes the form of odd animal outfits with skin bearing. There’s a hidden reason behind this but is definitely one that Ichika is not pleased with. Even when he doesn’t try it, Ichika is the center of attention just because of who he is. There’s almost no credibility in any of the characters’ attachment to Ichika in this sequel either thanks to a lack of exploration in their past/histories with Ichika. The characterization is shallow and doesn’t get anywhere. Even when there’s some hope, there are those moment killers (thanks to our new characters) that ruins the fun for Ichika; if he even depicts as fun in the first place. It’s absurd, idiotic, and a disgrace to the main story.
Artwork wise, the series maintain the same style as the original. What that means is the characters all retain their generic designs. Most of them retain the way they still look while new characters make their way with their flashy introductions. The new threat that is presented in this sequel does bring out a dangerous outlook but also confusion as one of the characters has a familiar outlook. Unfortunately, her character is never really explained at all so you’ll be guessing who she is towards the end. Our main male protagonist Ichika doesn’t even change an inch in either his outer or inner appearance. There’s little to in depth with any of the designs besides the Infinite Stratos models. Luckily, the backgrounds of the series is rich enough to give the feeling of a high level technology environment. The way both the inner and outer exterior of Infinite Stratos Academy is designed stays true to its terms by standards of high level technology. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really mean much with its generic traits that is thrown almost everywhere artistically.
The standards of its soundtrack has a so-so presentation judging by the OST. Most of the action scenes contains an explosive tone thanks to its intensity. Like mentioned before, the primary concept of IS means serious business so the series portrays it seriously with its standards. The OP song True Blue Traveler foreshadows some ideas of what to expect from season 2 while at the same time throws generic concepts all over the place. Kouki Uchiyama also returns as the voice actor of Ichika whom surprisingly has a decent acting ability that portrays the typical harem lead well. New characters voiced by Chiwa Sato and Suzuko Mimori also represents their characters well despite their opposite personalities. To say the least, the soundtrack department isn’t half bad but honestly, that isn’t saying much.
Finishing this series should only be a priority if you want to see how the franchise concludes rather than expecting greatness from it. There’s nothing really great about this sequel considering its lack of characterization, poorly constructed plot clustered with fan service , generic subplots, and weak progression. This adaptation also omits some parts from the light novel that could have enhanced the comedic side of the sequel. Unfortunately, it backfires in the end. There’s no doubt some fans will be disappointed at how this show turned out to be. Infinite Stratos 2 is a perfect example of an adaptation gone wrong with no redemption. There might not of been infinite possibilities to expand this continuation. However, the excuse of its story is beyond miserable. So if you plan to watch this series, I’d recommend you to hit the fast forward to save some time. Time for you isn’t infinite after all… read more
Sometimes at night when I'm having trouble sleeping, I find myself wondering; if you could shove in as many dere heroines as possible (with individual fanservice, of course) into an anime, what would it look like? My highly philosophical questions of utter importance have been answered: IS 2. In a way, I'm genuinely impressed. How did they think of this? Or rather, how did they not think of anything else than stereotypical characters falling in love with the main character which, coincidentally, has the stereotypical brain that consists of concrete. Is he supposed to be portrayed as stupid? If so, apologize to the stupid people, as they (the whole population of idiots) have been portrayed faultly.
I had somewhat high hopes for the first season of IS, since it sounded cool for a 16-year-old me, and they even managed to get me to watch through it without smashing my head into a wall. Impressive. Now, with a critical eye to it as well, I'm disappointed in the 16-year-old me. This entire series has been nothing but a disgrace. The first season of IS did indeed try to progress, albeit slowly, but there was without a doubt some progress. The second season just seems like the producers gave up and threw girls at the fans. Yay, sex and stuff. Although I'm used to fanservice taking place more and more in anime (which, by the way, is not a good thing), IS 2 is on a whole new level. As I said, it feels like they simply threw the storyboard away and let everything happen as it happened. Like they didn't give a shit.
If there's anything good (or rather, something to not really complain about) in IS 2, it ought to be the animation. It would literally be better if the whole series were the fighting scenes combined into one long (not really) fight. But noooooooo, the producers chose to draw figure-8's and got a brilliant idea.
I give IS2 the final rating suicidal tendencies out of 10. read more
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