The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Infinite Stratos²- The Memory of a Summer

We’re back, baby!

I’m now quite glad I finished Infinite Stratos during the summer, just in time for Infinite Stratos². Season two marks the return of one of the more entertaining series I’ve seen, even though Infinite Stratos offers next to nothing in the way of story or realism. Infinite Stratos puts style over substance, forgoing anything serious in favour of an entertaining romance comedy and mecha known as IS. Infinite Stratos² kicks off somewhere in the summer with Ichika experiencing a dream, and following some misadventures between Charlotte and Laura, depicts the mysterious M (not Judi Dench’s M) and her hitherto unidentified mission to secure an IS. This episode also presents a typical summer outing involving all of Ichika, Houki, Cecelia, Rin, Charlotte and Laura that made me immensely thankful to be watching it on an iPad away from prying eyes.

  • The opening scene makes no sense to me, but it doesn’t have to. I’m sure the writers will find a way to integrate it into the story later. I view Infinite Stratos as a romance comedy with mecha, not a mecha series with romance elements and as such, enjoy it for what it is, not what I think it should be.

  • Laura wears the classic anime-pouty expression while shopping for clothes with Charlotte. Since season one, her super-soldier personality has given way to a much more shy and hesitant one.

  • While this scene wasn’t in any way relevant to the plot, but it was fairly entertaining to watch. There’s no particular context to why terrorists would randomly hold up a cafe, or how Laura and Charlotte could get jobs there so quickly.

  • I have a feeling that yuri elements will become more prevalent in season two: although I’ve built up a somewhat unhealthy tolerance of it and won’t be quick to drop an anime should I see yuri elements, I still believe that gratuitous yuri won’t add anything substantial to a series.

  • As is plainly obvious, I’m having a little bit of difficulty in coming up with ten figure captions for the first episode because so little has happened. However, this is the halfway point to the post, and I should have a few more things to say about the images below.

  • There’s a brief interlude from the main story: in a military facility somewhere, an individual named M effortlessly takes down anything in her path as she tries to reach a hangar holding an IS. The significance of this particular scene will remain unknown until we go a little ways into the season, but if the blatant fanservice and comical love story isn’t working, then this mystery may make sticking around worthwhile, right?

  • Apparently, M’s physical body is augmented by nanomachines, in a manner not dissimilar to that of the Innovades from Gundam 00 or the Nanosuit 2.0 from Crysis 2. I foresee an antagonist faction coveting whatever she’s after, although that probably won’t be a significant element until the finale.

  • In general, I invite a spread of people to events just so no one gets the wrong idea. Things only get interesting when the number of people actually in attendance drops down to one or two. The next few scenes are aesthetically pleasing: do I need more reason than that to watch this show? I think not.

  • The montage of Ichika and the girls’ last day of summer is set to some voice overs which don’t seem to relate with what’s happening on screen. However, the visuals in this scene compensate for that. While I typically distance myself from the so-called “shipping wars” (they’ve got nothing to do with conflicts over the sea-faring vessels’s routes in a harbour), in Infinite Stratos, I have an inclination towards Houki.

  • If a reader goes back and counts the number of anime I have depicting summer festivals, I’m sure that number will be non-trivially large. I get it: a lot of series I watch are slice-of-life and nearly all of them feature a quintessential summer festival with Yukata, fireworks and goldfish scooping. My first exposure to these events were back in Azumanga Daioh.

Infinite Stratos² has not depicted any character growth since the first season: Ichika is still as blissfully unaware of the girls’ feelings for him as he was in the first season, and some of the things in the episode don’t make that much sense, but that’s hardly relevant. Infinite Stratos has always struck me as a fun anime, and in this department, it excels. Between all of the visuals and predicaments the characters end up in, I feel that the entertainment value of something so over-the-top shunts aside the ill-developed enigmatic and serious moments. In other words, Infinite Stratos doesn’t need to provoke thoughts or invoke emotions in its viewers to be successful because it isn’t an anime of that sort. Infinite Stratos² succeeds at bringing back the fun atmosphere, no matter how serious things appear to get, meaning I’ll be following it simply because of the casual air surrounding this anime. I’ll return at the halfway point to give my midseason impressions in due course, but for the next month, gaming posts and the first of the Five Centimetres per Second post should begin appearing.

One response to “Infinite Stratos²- The Memory of a Summer

  1. Zeon_Two_Six November 7, 2013 at 05:15

    Aloo, just bumped into your anime site via TvTropes, and from looking at this article, I’d say nearly everything you said was spot on. Apart from the fact that the bit in the first ep regarding the festival bit was more of a quick passing (which was later elaborated with the second OVA.)

    My observation on the Anime version is that it has somehow dumped a bit more irrelevant bits from the Light Novels, particularly the supposedly brief interactions with Ran (the fiery redhead introduced in season 1 ep 5, methinks). I just hope some bits of the LN don’t get axed in the same manner as what the producers did with TWGOK season 3. (I know it’s a completely irrelevant anime to the above, but do bear with me,)

    P.S. As much as I like Charlotte’s moe-is french character, I join ye in choosing Houki. So far, she’s apparently mellowed out the most (albeit covertly, but not to the point of being the least aggressive) compared to the rest of the clingy jealous ones…😄

    Like

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