I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to watching this series, because since I saw the last few trailers some few months or weeks ago, I managed to alienate myself from the previous season’s final ending batches; the next few weekends will be my friends as I marathon these lot.
Harem/comedy/romance usually gets the job done to hook me in, since I’m a sucker for the genre pairs, which would probably explain why often times I’d bellow out my disappointment if X does not end up with Y, or why X didn’t end up with anyone at all, which seems to be happening a lot recently. Given that context, I came to anticipate this show, and during the break in-between seasons, I managed to dig up some materials of the same content in different versions to try and keep me sane while waiting through spoilers.
That being said, onwards to the first episode impressions!
We start out with a short battle scene between a party of six against a single IS pilot, where three of the characters from the said party are introduced in the remaining length of the episode. It ends with everyone else unable to do anything worthwhile and Ichika having to play the hero-of-the-day by bum rushing the single IS pilot. 6 VS 1. Hardly a fair fight and guess who’s already having trouble keeping up.
Time warp back into the beginning of the story, at least supposedly. In a room full of…
Girls. Typical anime male lead reaction ensues, which isn’t really surprising anymore given the amount of shows released recently that illustrated the same board draft action. One thing about Ichika though, which I think is a good character quality for any male protagonist, is that he doesn’t really mope around trying to comprehend the heavenly mess he’s in. Unlike Muneakira (Hyakka Ryouran), it doesn’t take him the entire episode to man up to the situation he’s in, while being surrounded by girls, who, in the future, will eventually be fawning over and stalking him. If given the chance and with the right set-up, it’ll only take a single episode to turn every girl in that class into mindless yandere stalkers, which raises the potential of having multiple nice boat endings by an exponential amount. It’s School Days in a larger scale.
The story starts off mentioning that Ichika is the only male capable of piloting an IS. Quite the sentiment for the world since until he showed up, IS suits only responded to women. Where does that leave us?
Another thing I’m pleased about is the nice character introduction from the get-go for Ichika’s sister, Orimura Chifuyu. The episode informs us that she’s the first generation IS pilot that represented Japan in an IS competition some years back, but due to unknown (then) circumstances, she retired as an IS pilot, disappeared, and is then later revealed that she became an instructor and first-year dorm leader at IS Academy.
Of course everyone else knows how famous she is… The situation looks grim for Ichika as he competes with his sister for the perfect harem ending.
It is also revealed that the IS suit is in fact designed for use in outer space, but due to several unexplained reasons, development in that area was stopped. Luckily enough, the suits were prevented from being used in the military, and in turn, are now instead an object used for sports purposes.
Shinonono Houki (voiced by Hikasa Yoko from K-On!‘s Akiyama Mio and Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin‘s Kumashiro Maya), Ichika’s osananajimi, is a lovely character, despite being generic. I don’t really mind it though since I’ve always liked these types of styles, which in this case, puts her above all the other girls in my favor. Excluding Chifuyu. She’s already at the top.
The second half of the episode deals heavily with Cecilia Alcott (voiced by Yukana from Full Metal Panic‘s Teletha “Tessa” Testarosa, Sekirei‘s Kazehana, and Amagami SS‘ Nanasaki Ai) and her antics about her position of great achievement. Given by her looks, her words speak on the same wavelength as her appearance. Character-wise, we’ve already seen a lot of the type, and almost always those characters end up as supporting roles at best. However, I’m not quick to judge given that this is only the first episode. I am optimistic that 8-bit, despite being relatively new, will do a good job in giving her a nicer and edgier character definition–in relation to the novel (and manga…at least). I hope.
And of course, the obligatory fan service for this episode… you get a Houki! And some other girl. The scene was rather bland in my opinion, and only until Houki started destroying the door did things got a tad interesting.
Well, for a first episode, I personally liked it. Despite being generic, it had something to offer at the very least. As per my anime schedule, I haven’t really worked out a definite one due to classes, but there’s a good chance I’ll be blogging an episode impression for Infinite Stratos every week.
ED theme: SUPER∞STREAM by Hikasa Yoko
Last but not the least, many thanks to Ayako Fansubs for picking up this series (although they already planned to prior its start). It’s very comforting to know that there’s a great dedicated group for this show.