The Infinite Zenith

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

Infinite Stratos²- Final reflection

I’m now finished Infinite Stratos², and thus, as promised, I’m here to deliver a final reflection on the second half, as well as the entire season as a whole. The second half sees more sporadic appearances by Phantom Task, though their current objectives and aims are still ambiguous (for all we know, they could be the good guys, with the little exposition they’ve had) and as such, it’s hard to take them seriously as any real threat. Creating the Infinite Stratos universe could be quite a world-building exercise, exploring how these weapons could be applied, although the IS themselves are treated to be as iPads rather than military hardware. In this sense, Infinite Stratos² tries to play both sides of the fence, introducing a seemingly sinister organisation to disrupt the balance, but on the other hand, the script remains glued to the formula that made season one so entertaining. This conflicting directionality means that Infinite Stratos² falls short when things are supposed to be serious, but on the other side of the coin, the humour aspect remains with this series, and things remain strongest where Ichika is entangled in the uncomfortable scenarios that can only arise in Infinite Stratos.

  • Kanzashi Sarashiki is Tatenashi’s younger sister and the IS Representative of Japan, but lacks a personal IS. her resentment towards Ichika is initially a consequence of her getting the shaft when the Byakushiki was developed, but Ichika eventually helps her gain a newfound sense of confidence. On the preview of things that are yet to be, I’ve got a Battlefield 3 and Non non biyori post lined up for Christmas Eve. Beyond that, I’m going back and porting the Gundam 00: Awakening of the Trailblazer talk here by December 30.

  • Kanzashi’s impressions of Ichika change rapidly over the course of two episodes, although because Tatenashi requested that her role in this be kept quiet, much misunderstanding occurs.

  • The Uchigane Nishiki was custom-built, but where it got its core from is never mentioned. Its equipped with a variety of weapons, typically physical rounds and missiles.

  • I refer to the situation in Infinite Stratos as a “love tesseract”, a four-dimensional cube analogue. While we cannot readily visualise n-dimensional space, mathematics have allowed us to abstract it as an n-tuple of coordinates. Even then, the complexity of love rather outstrips those of mathematics and physics.

  • Previously, I noted that the girls were relatively uncoordinated in their combat patterns., although by episodes seven and later, they do work with one another quite well. From a personal outlook, the notion of “shield energy” on an IS can be seen as a reminder that IS are probably more similar to sport machines rather than war machines.

  • I say this because the IS have an inferior operational time compared to actual war machines, such as nuclear submarines and air-superiority fighters. I prefer modern military equipment and Gundams for a reason. These limitations aside, the combat sequences in Infinite Stratos are flashy and engaging to watch.

  • Kanzashi is able to get her IS working and eventually reconciles with Tatenashi, although I admit that I do grow weary of unknown parties interfering with competitions. I am doubly weary of the fact that external organisations somehow lack the skill to hold effectively against high school students.

  • I am interested in food beyond basic sustenance requirements, and have mentioned to friends that the best way to enjoy a culture is to experience their cuisine. Ichika is treated to a Japanese-style bento (Houki), sweet and sour pork (Rin) and pot-au-feu (Charlotte), leading Cecelia to lament the fact that she isn’t pro at cooking.

  • In the present age, men should be equally as capable as a breadwinner as they are at household chores and child-care. Ichika decides to teach Cecilia how to be more pro at cooking.

  • Tabane makes a return and exhibits combat capacities similar to that of a Nanosuit wielder.

With the dust from the final episode’s battle settling now, the series rapidly returns to its old equilibrium, although Yamada and Chifuyu do note that their ‘ace pilots’ are becoming more confident as a team. Indeed, by the final episode, the girls do exhibit signs of improvement in their combat awareness and work together better as a team now than they did back during season one. This element represents a sort of character growth that requires a careful eye to catch, and is subtle enough so most viewers might not be able to catch immediately. Of course, the performance means that Ichika and company are now better equipped to take on enemies. However, I do note that I’ve yet to see this series deliver a proper, compete tournament that isn’t cut short by external forces. In the meantime, I’m hearing people proposing some theories about the series that push the envelope: these individuals have no idea how cloning or meiosis works, of course. At least one person believes that meiosis involves gene transfer prior to the union of an ovum and sperm. In actuality, meiosis produces four haploid cells from a single diploid cell, and chromosomal crossover creates the variability: there is no gene transfer in meiosis in itself. However, this lack of knowledge on their part is hardly surprising, as one can surmise that such individuals spend more time on forums than they do with more relevant pursuits.

  • Houki reacts to a bad hand in a card game supposedly to determine who will be in Ichika’s group. Sorry, Houki, but the house limit is three do-overs. Strangely enough, Coppelion has an episode releasing on Christmas Day, but I’m not going to watch it then.

  • Ichika gets trampled by a crowd of excited girls at their hotel. Here’s something I’m wondering: what kind of job markets await IS Academy graduates?

  • Charlotte rapidly capitalises on the moment and drags Ichika along to explore Kyoto. This trip is one of those cliché in anime: I’ve seen Kyoto trips in K-On! and even Yuru Yuri. The exception seems to be Azumanga Daioh, which sees the primary cast take a trip to Okinawa, where my martial arts style was developed.

  • If I am fortunate enough to visit Japan, I will prioritise the Kyoto region, which was the capital of Japan from the Heian period right up to the Momoyama-Azuchi period. There is a lot of history here, and of course, I would need to visit the Ginkakuji and Kinkakuji. Because Kyoto was spared from the strategic bombing campaigns in WWII, it retains much of its historical structures and therefore is one of the most worthwhile cities to visit. After that comes Hakodate on Hokkaido, simply on account of having some of the freshest seafood in the world.

  • If life is like this, I’m rage-quitting so fast. Life is an injective function (i.e. ∀x,y ∈ A, f(a) = f(b) → a = b), meaning there shouldn’t be any misunderstandings like this. In short, to make things explicitly clear, Ichika should ask out one of them and save us the trouble, although I’m willing to bet that he’s unwilling to do so simply because of events like these.

  • Ichika is played like a cheap harpsichord by the girls: they seem to forgive his ‘sins’ easily after he buys them snacks.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed Laura’s reaction to the bunny-shaped confectionery. There are cases where some food items are made with such craftsmanship that it is difficult to eat them.

  • Infinite Stratos² will leave all viewers looking to get any pairing disappointed, but the battle scenes won’t. The love story has been a point of contention since season one, and the status quo is maintained by the end of season two, so this is (from a personal standpoint) the second weakest aspect about the second season.

  • The final episode is entertaining and showcases some of the cooler aspects about the IS, as well as how far the girls and Ichika have come since season one. The members of Phantom Task show up for a surprise terrorist attack, with the aim of taking out Chifuyu, leading to three separate battles that converge near the end.

  • Ultimately, Phantom Task appears to be the weakest link in Infinite Stratos², but that could be remedied with a little bit more exposition, specifically dealing with their intentions and origins. Two strikes against Infinite Stratos², however, doesn’t mean that the anime was terrible. A show is terrible if it can’t entertain me, and since Infinite Stratos² was entertaining to me, it can’t be terrible.

At the end of the day, the final episode leaves open the possibility of a third season, or perhaps a movie. Infinite Stratos² is a little more difficult to assess compared to the first season: at present, those who enjoyed the comedic elements from the first season will continue to find them here, although the interruptions from Phantom Task may prove to be more of a nuisance rather than a threat to take seriously, and as such, Infinite Stratos² might be a little more difficult to enjoy to the same extent as the first season. I’ll cut straight to the chase and say that Infinite Stratos is a little like the Call of Duty franchise. It was entertaining the first time around, but subsequent iterations proved to be essentially the same as their predecessor with minor differences.  This isn’t necessarily to say that I found that Infinite Stratos² to be unwatchable, but some elements do raise more questions than answers. Armed with solid animation and humour in places, but taking hits for limited exposition and the unresolved love tesseract, Infinite Stratos² isn’t a series for everyone: fans of the previous season with an open mind and lower expectations (especially with respect to the story-side), however, will find some enjoyment in this installment.

7 responses to “Infinite Stratos²- Final reflection

  1. Zephuros December 28, 2013 at 09:30

    Wha? new character (glasses girl) again?
    Boy, I have to go back and watch IS o_O”! (left it out after doing Coppelion wiki, had to ditch about half of the anime this season, including IS since it was starting to be really boring and a really bad adaptation of the LN…..)
    Your review made me want to go back and see what happens to the rest of the 2nd season lol (and i wanna see that new mecha in action too, since the mecha is what started me to follow this series anyways ^^)

    Like

    • infinitezenith December 30, 2013 at 16:47

      The light novels are in a bit of an interesting situation at this point in time, so I’m wondering if that’s why Infinite Stratos² was less spectacular than it could have been. I never really saw Infinite Stratos as a mecha anime, since the anime seemed to de-emphasise that in favour of putting Ichika in uncomfortable situations. Of course, for fiction the sort where one protagonist has multiple potential suitors, I imagine it would be quite difficult for an author to direct the story in a direction of their choosing without invoking the scorn of an unfriendly fan base, and this is reflected in Ichika’s seeming ignorance of the fact that he’s got at least seven potential suitors.

      Like

      • Zephuros December 31, 2013 at 11:38

        Yeah (about the author directly), absolutely… there’s been a lot of problems with these in adapting animations (in which I find it annoying but oh well.. can’t help it? Just enjoy what it has for me then lols). I’m just done with Code Geass today… and probably won’t have time for Eureka Seven and 20+ more old anime on my list :/”
        Anyways, have you watched Code Geass yet? If not..you HAVE TO….. I’ll be talking more on why you have to, if you haven’t yet xD”

        Like

        • infinitezenith December 31, 2013 at 11:43

          Strangely enough, I never finished Code Geass or Code Geass R2: back when it first aired, I was in high school and it didn’t seem to be my cup of tea, as it were. I am quite willing to give it a shot, although as with you, my schedule is gradually filling with applications for various things. I watch anime at a terribly slow pace for that reason😛

          Like

          • Zephuros December 31, 2013 at 19:26

            plz plz plz plz plz finish it! I guarantee you with my name/alias(???) that this anime’s definitely awesome! And someone like YOU really have to watch it!
            Yeah, I didn’t watch any of the CG eps back then because it was made by Sunrise (I tend to think Sunrise does most series to sell their plastic model kits…), the mecha’s designs doesn’t grasp me at all, and the characters are not attractant for me. But after knowing a Kouhai in which she reads alot and seems to have a variety and widen interest for manga/anime like the current me, she recommends me this anime (just like when she did recommend Coppelion and other seinen/psychological mangas in which i love like now) and I just definitely like the story. If I have not played Ever17 and some other certain games, it might currently have the best/complete story as of now ^^
            Don’t worry, we have stuffs we have to do, right xD? (I can’t possibly finish 24-26 episodes of anime in one day like my friend too, since I tend to pause and search for definitions since it’s not every word that I understand for English, even in the anime subs lols, and since I’m more of a gamer, I can’t tend to sit and read/watch manga/anime 24/7, unlike games lolololols).
            We also have other lives (as in other activities/things we need to do) as well, it’s normal for us, at least med-related students, isn’t it?

            Like

            • infinitezenith January 2, 2014 at 17:24

              There won’t be any promises about Code Geass and Code Geass R2 for the present, but we’ll let time dictate whether or not I’ll get around to it. I watch anime at a slow rate for the reasons you’ve noted, and 2014 will probably see a considerable decline in time for personal hobbies once the spring arrives.

              Like

              • Zephuros January 2, 2014 at 21:32

                No need to rush…..lols
                Just be sure you watch it…within this life :D” (I mean it….)
                it’s like how I want people to play/read Ever17 if possible in their life time..
                I know that, yeah I feel the same,
                this year will be the last year I can have my time on my hobbies, it will be reduced 90-95% after my third year starts… and dhem I’ll have to endure at least four more years (unless something unexpecting again and it’ll increase the years) before I can resume to my hobbies =___=.. sigh life >_>

                Like

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