Infinite Stratos – 2

So here’s where things stand fr me after two episodes of Infinite Stratos. I like the series a lot. It’s probably the kind of show I’m never going to love because it breaks no new ground whatsoever. It’s easy to appreciate though – a show that knows exactly what it wants to be. It sticks to what it does and does it well, and doesn’t worry about anything else.

Episode two focused mostly on Ichika’s class rep battle with stuck-up Cecilia Olcott. Turns out she’s not only a killer student but also the British international representative and owner of one of only 467 personal IS in the entire gigaverse. But then, so is Ichika by the first commercial break – the government is preparing a personal machine for him instead of the training machines the other freshman use. Even so Ichika figures he’s meat in his confrontation with Cecilia, so he begs Houki to help him study the IS system. Not only is she his childhood friend but also the younger sister of the reclusive doctor who has the distinction of being the only person who can create the cores at the heart of every IS. So both our main protagonists appear to have sister complexes.

The combat sequences are done awfully well. Again, nothing groundbreaking whatsoever – just good, solid mecha combat well-animated and choreographed. Ichika has a bit of a learning curve, but once he figures out the machine enough to get it working on personalized rather than default settings his IS is about to crush Cecilia’s when he’s disqualified for using up all his shield energy. Cecilia is nominally the winner, but it’s obvious to all involved that Ichika was about to give her a spanking she’d never forget. Which, judging by the fact that she all but masturbates in the shower later while thinking of him, doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to her.

As good as the combat scenes where, the dialogue is pretty sharp too. Ichika is already insulating himself from the drearily predictable “spineless male lead” charges – he’s quite forceful and assertive with Houki, and his speech about protecting his family’s honor just before he almost whupped Cecilia was almost Kamina quality. Houki is a classic tsundere, of course, but as with most of its cliches this series offers an attractive take on this one – she’s no Louise, that’s for sure. We also met a senior who seemed quite interested in Ichika – everyone in this all-girls school is – and next week, yet another osananajimi apparently appears, this one from China (love rival!). I also enjoyed the dialogue in the scene where Ichika first asked, then demanded Houki have lunch with him – the three girls in the background were quite funny in their reactions.

Not everything has to challenge the viewer to be good, I guess. A nice take on a safe, classic genre can be awfully fun – especially when it’s one that’s been fairly underrepresented of late. Infinite Stratos is happy playing it safe and as long as it accomplishes that as well as it has for two episodes, I’ll be watching.

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