The insensitive main male protagonist.
As mentioned in the previous post, the audition for the first holder of this blog ‘Anime of the Year 2011’ starts today with the high-priority mecha anime titled Infinite Stratos. With the overdose of slice-of-life titles in Japan nowadays, a mecha anime title sure sounds like a breath of fresh air. Or is it really the case?
It would be good for the main male protagonist if he does this ‘thinking’ thing more often, for his own sake.
In an alternative version of our futuristic world, the usage of mobile suit system called Infinite Stratos (abbreviated as IS from now on) is prevalent for many purposes. Unfortunately for men across the planet, only women has the ability to use those shiny useful gadgets. Adding to their jealousy, apparently our main MALE protagonist can also pilot one of those things. Therefore because of that, he was enrolled in a special school specializing in training IS pilots. And of course, the school is full with girls…
With this anime's two main premises ripped off directly from Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure (which is an Evangelion rip off itself), the story in this anime is not only unoriginal, but pretty much predictable. The fact that whoever wrote the story seems to intentionally refused to flesh out the storyline more doesn’t help either, withholding some of the promising potential I’ve glimpsed a couple of times throughout the series. Too much emphasis was put upon the harem aspect of this anime, unlike other mecha anime titles with harems like Dual! itself and Kurogane no Linebarrels (the harem in this title is pretty much understated). While the pacing is OK, storyline development is terrible with this anime’s propensity to skimp on events (like the main protagonist first IS training), or skipping them entirely (read more about this on character development commentary below).
The comic relief of this anime.
Character development in this anime is weird and uneven. The best character in this anime, which is the main male protagonist, has arguably the best natural character progression throughout the series. You cannot say the same thing about at least a couple of characters here though. For example, that girl from Britain – Cecilia ‘Comic Relief’ Alcott. After her IS duel with the main male protagonist in episode 2, then in the very next episode (episode 3 to be exact), she suddenly become lovey-dovey with him. And this happened without any supporting intermediate events whatsoever. I actually try to check whether I have screwed the episode numbering or something like that, thinking that the episode 3 is actually episode 4, but the result is in the negative. Then I also checked whether there will be things like episode 2.5 in Blu-ray or DVD releases, and it seems that there will be no such thing either.
What happened with Cecilia’s character development strategy is basically the same thing that happened with the social club president in Princess Lover!, except that Cecilia’s case is worse. But what happened with her pales in comparison with what you can see with that transfer student girl from Germany that hates the main male protagonist. I know anime girls can be unreasonable, but THAT UNREASONABLE?
Misty-eyed one-eye girl: Instructor, why are you so strong?
Melancholic Instructor: I have a younger brother…
Misty-eyed one-eye girl turned spastic: ROARRRR WARGGGHHHHH I HATE YOU YOUNGER BROTHER!!!!!
Here I initially thought she hates him because he caused his sister to lose the world tournament (or he rapes her or something like that), but it turned out the reason is so flimsy I don’t even know what to say about it. Her saving grace is that her entry into the main male protagonist harem is much saner than what you can see from Cecilia’s.
Deus ex machina moments like this one makes the predictable ending even worse.
The ending is full with clichés, and just as predictable like the rest of the preceding storyline is. The ending doesn’t seem to be written to accommodate a second season, and I have not heard news for one either. I will not be surprised if there is a sequel though, although the writer really need to cut down on the harem aspect and flesh out the storyline more.
At this point of the anime, I started to wonder how much further the writer will abuse the ‘transfer student’ literary device in his/her writing, after seeing this for the umpteenth time.
Character designs in this anime is excellent, especially for the female characters. Hair colors can be colorful, but there is a fair share of black hairs in this anime. A positive aspect for this anime.
Meanwhile, voice acting in this anime is patchy in quality. The main male protagonist is average in this regard, while Cecilia has done very well. The latter is definitely the outstanding performer in this anime.
The frustrated main female protagonist a.k.a. childhood friend #1.
The OST is good, but I will not say the same thing for the OP/ED themes.
Just like last year audition, the first title in this year audition also use the damaging blurry animation technique last seen in Katanagatari mostly in fast-paced scenes. A point docked from the final evaluation because of this. To prevent a consecutive reviews containing these kind of animation techniques (the previous audition first three titles has them), the next title I will watch is going to be the Highschool of the Dead OVA (its predecessor doesn’t have it).
Otherwise, the animation quality in this anime is good overall, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography in action scenes is just average though. The director really balls-up with the flow of the plot and also character developments.
Another member of the harem: childhood friend #2 and also transfer student #1.
5 out of 10. Not a good start for this audition. The next review, the one that would be the 200th post in this blog, is going to be for the single-episode Highschool of the Dead OVA. I can only watch them it next week though, so the review will come a little bit later after that.
Transfer students #9001 & #9002. One of them even have the temerity to transfer in TWICE! A second season really need to cut down on this ‘transfer student’ crap.