The Infinite Zenith

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

Infinite Stratos²- The Memory of a Summer Extended Edition and a Personal Reflection on Summer 2014

“The end-of-summer winds make people restless.” —Sebastian Faulks, Engleby

This post may be titled after Infinite Stratos², but the actual contents aren’t a review of the extended episode that released a while back. It’s a reflection of summer 2014, which has finally come to an end. Tomorrow, block week begins on campus, and while it ordinarily means that I have an extra week before lectures formally begin, this year, things are different; I get to attend a pair of TA sessions, which will allow me to sign up for the tutorial sessions I will be overseeing, learn policies surrounding the TA program and so forth, before beginning my graduate studies. However, in the final moments before summer 2014 ends, and term starts, it is worth mentioning that a great deal has happened this summer, starting with the Giant Walkthrough Brain. Originally Joseph Bogen’s brainchild, the Giant Walkthrough Brain became the focus of the summer, after I was tasked with assembling all of the components needed to make it work. Over the course of this summer, I learnt Unity3D, as well as C# and the Mono Develop IDE to put the project together. Featuring an automatic on-rails ride through the brain, an integrated slideshow and movie viewer and a minimap to orient the viewers, the Giant Walkthrough Brain was built to be used in conjunction with a science talk/musical performance from Jay Ingram and his band. The performance at the Banff Center was greatly successful, and over the past month, I’ve been fine-tuning the project to eliminate some glaring bugs, as well as improving the model’s performance and visual aspects. It’s very nearly ready for performance at the Telus Spark Science Center come September for Beakerhead; during a trial run, we found that the software ran without any difficulty on the planetarium screen, and I was happy that there would be no need to implement a special camera in Unity to work on the dome screen. The performance will open on September 12 and also run on September 13, a week into lectures, and represents a culmination of what is essentially four months of solid experience in Unity3D. Of course, this means I can now say on my resume that I’ve got working knowledge of Unity3D, and C#, plus a bit of the .NET framework. Aside from the Giant Walkthrough Brain, I’ve also found some time to flesh out my Master’s Thesis project, and spent the final two weeks of August performing the necessary literature review to see what exists and what pathways can be explored.

  • I was being partially dishonest; the main body of the post is a reflection on the summer itself, but the image captions will mostly concern Infinite Stratos²; at the end of the second season last year, I admit that things fell short of expectation, and the introduction of Phantom Task was not adequately capitalised upon. The release of an extended episode felt unnecessary, but after watching it in its entirety, it seems that this is the episodes viewers should’ve gotten from the start.

  • Compared to the original episode, the extended episode confers more time in which things can be depicted, and as a result, things make a lot more sense. I’ve decided to forgo screenshots from the earlier part of the episode, since this is the same episode, and I have already discussed those moments as fully as is possible for such a series.

  • This Infinite Stratos re-release brings to mind the Lord of The Rings Extended Edition, which featured scenes that were cut from the theatrical edition. The theatrical edition has a running time of 558 minutes, while the extended edition clocks in at 681 minutes and the Blu-Ray extended edition runs for a total of 726 minutes. By comparison, the  Infinite Stratos is about 15 minutes longer, although proportionally, this roughly doubles the episode’s length, and the extended edition of Lord of The Rings only increases the triology’s run by around twenty-two percent.

  • As a summer post, this pseudo-talk features a disproportionate number of images depicting the various girls of Infinite Stratos in swim attire, which should completely offset the more personal, reflective elements within the post’s main body. My spidey sense tells me that readers arriving from anime news aggregators might be quite disappointed to know that this post really isn’t about the extended episode, but there are anime screenshots and figure captions that are largely relevant to the episode: this counts as half an anime post.

  • While most probably would not have bothered to go back and watch what is pretty much the same episode (it’s kind of like building the HGUC Unicorn Gundam in Destroy Mode, then going and building the HGUC Full Armour Unicorn Gundam in Destroy Mode), I find that sometimes, it’s worthwhile to watch (or build) such re-releases, since going back does allow one to experience things from what could be a different perspective. When I wrote the initial impressions to Infinite Stratos² during autumn last year while term was under way, this year, I watched the extended episode while summer is still going and still are in summer mode, so to speak.

  • Similarly, when I first built the HGUC Unicorn Gundam in Destroy Mode, it was 2011; I bought the model after skipping out on Otafest (having spent the previous day in Banff), and built the model while I was watching Sora no Woto. Three years later, the HGUC Full Armour Unicorn Gundam in Destroy Mode was released, and I bought the model during Otafest. In building the model, I found myself impressed with the design elements all over again, and this time, I had the added bonus of new weapons that really gave the Gundam a “ready for battle” feel to it.

  • Even though season two of Infinite Stratos was disappointing, viewers maintain their own hopes that Ichika will eventually pick someone from Houki, Cecilia, Charlotte, Rin and Laura. I’m in the faction that believes Houki is the best match for Ichika, and even after a year since watching Infinite Stratos, my opinions have not changed at all. Now, this is strictly a matter of personal preference, and I don’t see the need to engage in flame wars to decide who’s best.

  • Because my previous post was deficient of moments during the summer Ichika attends with the others, this post will have three time as many images of the summer festival compared to the last one. This may sound impressive on paper, but when one considers that the original post only had one image, and this one has three, it’s not too much of a difference.

  • The next proper  Infinite Stratos² OVA is titled “World Purge-hen”, which is set to air on November 26, 2014 and will be about the “World Purge” software that produces a sort of virtual reality for each of the girls that simulates their ideal fantasies. At fifty minutes long, the previews suggest that it’s going to be largely fanservice oriented, being an adaptation of the eighth volume of the light novel. This only means one thing: I’ll have to exercise due caution when watching this, since things could get dicey real fast. A cursory glance suggests this is something I’ll skip, but I’m going to choose to watch it just for completeness’ sake. Besides…there’s nothing wrong with a bit of fanservice every now and then.

  • Now that I’ve actually had Takoyaki, I can check off one of the things I’ve always wished to eat. I recall that in my earlier Battlefield 4 post, I was going to do talks on the multiplayer next, followed by a talk on Titanfall after. When I think about it, Titanfall allowed me to play a game featuring more gritty, realistic versions of the IS that were quite cool in their own regard. Titanfall is quite the opposite of Infinite Stratos from a conceptual perspective, allowing both makes and females to pilot the eponymous Titans and is significantly more serious in mood. With that said, the two really cannot be compared, and I’ve enjoyed both for their own unique points.

Besides the more academic things, summer 2014 proved to be an incredible adventure as I explored the attractions and events in my backyard, so to speak. I promised, in my SoniAni post back in February, that I would focus on visiting local attractions in the area, given that I knew Summer 2014 would not see any international travel. The end results were quite positive, and although I never did get around to visiting the Heritage Park or the Telus Spark Science Center (as a guest, rather than on business), there were many new things I experienced this summer, plus what I would consider to be re-mastered things from last year. Otafest 2014 was phenomenal, and I had a chance to visit the Japanese Omatsuri festival. I also attended the Chinatown festival too, and spent many evenings with friends at pubs, movies and so forth. Some of these evenings were laid-back; I recall one June evening where I brought my sketchbook to a teashop and drew out Girls und Panzer’s Hana Izusu while sipping a mint tea, and another evening where I dug through a pound of wings and a plate of Irish Nachos while chatting with friends about games. An enjoyable summer does seem to be about initiative, and this year, it seems that through taking the initiative to do more stuff, I also was able to relax more. With the graduate studies program kicking off, I am refreshed and ready to pursue my research interests while continuing to learn how to become a more effective software developer. I recall TheRadBrad saying via Twitter that Summer 2014 is essentially a remastered Summer 2013: I understand that he’s refering to games, but for me, it could just as easily refer to a renewed take on things, and that happiness can be found even in the smaller things within a bus ride or short drive within the city. This year, as autumn approaches and the days shorten, I resolve to make the most of that, too.

2 responses to “Infinite Stratos²- The Memory of a Summer Extended Edition and a Personal Reflection on Summer 2014

  1. vimitsu September 3, 2014 at 13:59

    Coincidentally, I was considering using this OVA as a basis for an end-of-summer post, but I never really got around to it.

    Like

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