November 18, 2011

Infinite Stratos -- rewatch

Well, it isn't exactly a "rewatch" because I  didn't exactly watch it the first time. I've been all the way through the series once, but I was "watching" with the sound turned off, and doing a lot of skipping. I was there looking for top rotation candidates, and not so much interested in the show itself.

But this time I really am watching. I just finished ep 7.

And while I won't say it's great I can say that it isn't really too awful. I'm enjoying it, and it isn't quite as dreadful as mecha shows so often are.

It's really quite middle-tier in pretty much every regard, except that the CGI is quite well done.

Of course, one thing that otaku will always argue about is which of the girls in a harem show really should win. For me there isn't any contest: it's Charlotte.

Cecilia is arrogant and obnoxious. So is Rin. Houki is too screwed up and angsty. Laura is a psychopath. Charlotte is kind, gentle, trying hard, and quite frankly is the best looking of the bunch. (Even in drag.) And though her backstory is among the more sad, she isn't sunk in self-pity.

But I think they're rather overdoing the "everyone has a sad past" business. We haven't seen one for Cecilia yet, though I have no doubt it's coming. But Houki's life was upended by her sister becoming so important. Ichika and his sister were "thrown out by their parents" for some unknown reason. Laura's past is a nightmare. Charlotte has only spent an hour with her father in her lifetime. Rin's got her own problems.

In terms of storytelling, the harem is too big. Based on all the harem shows I've seen, I think the ideal harem size is 3. If it's only 2, then there's a winner and a loser. With three, the story telling possibilities are much richer. But when it's larger, you get bogged down in introduction stories -- and with 5 in this series, that's what's happening. Plus with that many characters some will inevitably get neglected. (In this series, it's Cecilia.)

I vaguely remember that things got a lot better when Tabane showed up. For one thing, she's the only one who can get under Chifuyu's skin, and Chifuyu is badly in need of being taken down a couple of notches.

For another thing, Tabane delivered a personal IS to Houki, which lowered her angst level a bunch.

I have a vague memory that the ending didn't really resolve much. It'll be interesting to see what the OVA holds for us. It's due out in about a week.

UPDATE: Another thing I'm finding annoying is all the "Your Kung Fu is no match for my Aardvark-Style" etc. In this case, there's a lot of "Ha! You think you can defeat my 3rd Generation IS with your puny 2nd Generation IS?" Laura probably does more of that than anyone, but Cecilia does a fair amount of it, too.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 11:31 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 It is indeed quite an enjoyable series to watch. The end lets it down somewhat; it seems too far-fetched.

I agree that the harem is too big though. And that Charlotte is the best girl (although I do like Houki as well, I have a bit of a weak spot for the "childhood friend" role).

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at November 18, 2011 01:00 PM (AJZdn)

2 If we were to judge by doujins, Charlotte wins handily, with Cecilia second.  Laura gets a lot of play, but Houki brings up the rear. 

Rin?  Who's that?  And in some ways, the show treats her the same. And you know, about the only thing I'd do is flip Houki and Laura in that list if it were me.  Post-new-IS Houki might beat out Cecilia, if she'd just tone down the violence to the occasional head slap.

And given that the OVA is set at a beach, I'm expecting fanservice and not much else. 

Posted by: ubu at November 18, 2011 05:00 PM (GfCSm)

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 18, 2011 07:08 PM (2YMZG)


Aardvark-style Kung Fu is taught only at a secret Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Madagascar. It is reputed to be the strongest form of Kung Fu there is.

...or something like that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 18, 2011 08:52 PM (+rSRq)

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