With the dawn of the second season, I think it's time to revisit an old friend. In this review, I will attempt to describe IS: Infinite Stratos and it's components, then give you it's worth as a series.
The basic premise of Infinite Stratos is set in a world where armored mecha suit, the Infinite Stratos is invented, thus rendering all other technology obsolete. One catch, this suit can only be worn by women.
While this was an interesting premise, the setting itself just attracts questions. Why can only women wear it? What has the effects of this technology had on society? What happened to the political relations of the world after this technology? What governments has used it?
Sadly, none of these questions are satisfyingly answered, because the next portion of the premise is going to make the TRUE premise apparent. While the original premise demanded world-exploration and examination, none of that is shown because the series basically only sets in one place: IS Academy. The place where Students aspiring to learn the techniques of IS from all over the world, where the armor/suit is used as an entertainment device(I will get to this later).
Our Main Character is Ichika Orimura, an average High School student and the only male on the planet so far to discovered to have had the capability to use Infinite Stratos. And because of circumstances, he has to head to IS Academy, a place where he will be the only man.
And because of this setup, the show faithfully follows the route to harem, where 90% of the girls wants the Main Character's D, otherwise is interested(and certainly the main protagonists). Since it sets itself up as a Harem series, what is should do is explore the characters who are complex and makes us care for them, let's see the components of this series:
Coherency/Continunity: While the series sets itself up as a series that begs exploration of the world's politics and what happened in the world after the invention of IS, this is merely a setup where the main character can have a school full of girls all to himself.
The idea that women started to dominate the world is hardly ever shown, since the show secludes itself in the IS Academy. Where contrary to common sense, depicts females just about every other Harem series does! I will get into the characters later. The main point is, the social/political changes is shown without any changes!
And the fact that IS is a weapon(more powerful than any, mind you) begs the question on why has it not been used militarily? A weapon this powerful would have the government SCRAMBLING for it, and certainly not only used as an entertainment device(LOLWUT?). The idea if that if it is women who controls it would lead to world peace is completely illogical and is given as a fact. Any person has the power to commit evil, and being a part of a gender does not exclude you.
Characters: The worst aspect of the series are the characters. Virtually all but one of the female cast is depicted as a Tsundere, and often violent too and nothing outside her stereotype. Rin the Chinese girl and Houki the Japanese girl are basically the same in terms of personality. While Cecilia the British girl have nothing really defines her other than "Ojou-sama" type of character. The only one that is not depicted as a Tsundere is Charlotte, whom is wonderful.
And the main character? About as generic as you get, and so dense that you can't even find it on the periodic table. Ichika is a self-insert character that has to deal with the woes of "GIRLS ALL AROUND ME! OH NOEZ!!" Difficult to achieve an level of empathy to and overall a dumbass to peoples' feelings to an unrealistic degree.
Production: The production of the series is relative above average. By no means is it bad. but the sound is rather generic and nothing I could remember to write home about, although the opening song was somewhat memorable. The character designs are generic by today's standards, again, nothing to write to home about. Although there are several prominent Seiyuus acting in the characters, such as Kana Hanazawa. But obvious incoherencies is show, such as one episode, a character fights the main character but is somehow stopped by Chifuyu's sword... Out of nowhere
Being a mecha anime, there are also fight-scenes featuring the Infinite Stratos'. Probably the best part of the series, unfortunately, are short, insignificant, and CGI-animated
Plot: Wait, what? Oh, the plot. Simply put, there isn't much other than a string of events that puts Ichika in various situations where the main characters fall in love with him. Infinite Stratos, as well as the expected consequences of it existing, is not a part of the plot. A random IS does show up and destroy stuff, but next episode, that is no longer a worry.
If you are here looking for a good plot that maps out the consequences of it's premise, turn around. If you are here looking for an above average harem story with quality characters, go elsewhere. Truthfully, without the ridiculously unnecessarily armored IS, this series is just a generic RomCom Harem series that is barely funny at all.
There are bunch of holes in the plot and story. If you are looking for fanservice and cute girls(relatively) or Charlotte Dunois with a splash of CGI-animated Mecha fighting, come right in.
If there's one thing thats also great about this series, it's that the series does not pretend to be deep or anything that it is not, making it far less cringeworthy for some viewers to enjoy.