The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Huang Lingyin (Rin)

Infinite Stratos² OVA: World Purge-Hen (Screenshots, Reflection and Commentary)

“You can’t fool the ever-vigilant eye of Pronin. I saw right through that ruse.” —Cr1t1kal in Captain Pronin The Talented

Here it is, the (mostly) long-awaited OVA to Infinite Stratos²; the original TV series finished airing a year ago, and when it concluded, the second season left a weaker impression than its predecessor, advancing neither the character-driven aspects (i.e. Ichika’s lack of awareness that there’s a veritable army of girls after his heart) or the world-building behind the IS platforms themselves, as well as what Phantom Task’s affiliation and objectives were. While these caveats broke the series for some viewers, I still found it to be passable, and upon hearing that there was another OVA for the second season, decided to check that out. The premise was seemingly simple: the OVA would be about a “program called “World Purge” [that] sends illusions to all the girls about their ideal fantasies”. While this sounds like an excuse to maximise exposure (pun deliberate) to each of the girls, it turns out that there is something else driving everything: a hacking attempt from Tabane and a simultaneous intrusion from an unidentified American unit prompts Chifuyu and Maya to stop the hostiles, while ordering the girls into their school’s network via a virtual reality uplink to restore the school’s processes. Of course, this is easier said than done, and through Chloe Chronicle’s interference, the girls’ fantasies turn into nightmares.

This seemingly-frivolous OVA was full of surprises, and while it was advertised for its supposedly-frequent depiction of anime-style human anatomy in HD glory, the actual OVA itself manages to be a fine balance between showcasing the extent of Tatenashi’s and Chifuyu’s combat capabilities and making use of the virtual reality system to depict how Rin, Cecilia, Charlotte, Laura and Houki view Ichika. In particular, even though the dialogue is minimal during each of the simulated moments, the use of environments and visuals conveys how each girl views Ichika. Because Rin’s VR shows her and Ichika as middle school students, Rin seems to be longing to have spent more time with Ichika prior to enrolling at the IS academy. In Cecilia’s fantasy, Ichika is someone working under her, suggesting that despite being very much in love with Ichika, she seems to subconsciously view him as being of a lower social status. Conversely, Charlotte sees Ichika as a guardian of sorts and as such, is his maid in her virtual reality. Laura’s fantasy shows her being happily married to Ichika; of all the girls, she jumps straight to the conclusion that marriage follows after falling in love, and this fantasy reflects on her naïveté with regards to Japanese culture. The fact that each of their simulated realities succumbs to external influence from Chloe suggests that they desire to be close to him for less nobel reasons compared to Houki: in Houki’s case, her ideal fantasy is to find an equal sparring partner who shares her love of Kendo and will marry into her family through a traditional Japanese wedding. Contrasting the other girls, Houki’s ideal is one of proper love and happiness, and as such, does not succumb to the woes that everyone else experiences. The OVA seems to reinforce that of everyone, Houki’s love for Ichika seems to be the strongest, beyond the comparatively superficial reasons the other girls seem to convey.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This puny collection of screenshots only numbers twenty-five. and while it’s not really enough to really convey the sort of stuff that happens in the OVA, there were two facts influencing the number of screenshots. First, some moments in this OVA are, unsurprisingly, not suitable for all audiences. The second is that I don’t think I can come up with enough figure captions for thirty images, and twenty isn’t enough to fully capture the OVA’s spirit, so I settled for a nice compromise. The page quote comes from Cr1t1kal’s Captain Pronin The Talented, and was inspired by the OVA’s unexpected, but welcomed, performance.

  • Despite being presented as an energetic, cheerful individual, Tabane is directly responsible for almost everything that’s happened in Infinite Stratos. The OVA’s introduction sees her provide one Chloe Chronicle with instructions on a package delivery. I believe last time, I mentioned that Tabane’s aura had a Chobits-like feel to it, and then noted that I’d never actually watched Chobits before. At this point in time, I’ve finished, and found it to be surprisingly good.

  • Charlotte and Rin relax during their downtime, with Rin’s obvious longing for Ichika noticed by the former. However, this peace is broken when an unknown faction compromises the systems at the Infinite Stratos academy and forces each of the girls to enter the network in an attempt to fix it. This makes absolutely no sense from a technical perspective: if the tactical network went down, it would require the attention of IT specialists rather than the special forces to fix.

  • Hikaruno Kagaribi is introduced as the director of the Kuromochi Research Center; her role is the repair and analysis of IS frames, and here, she expresses an unwholesome keenness in doing things to Ichika, which is unsuitable for further discussion here. The World Purge-hen is supposed to be a condensation of the entire eighth volume of the light novel into forty-five minutes: there are nine volumes, and with writing suspended, a third season is probably not going to be a reality any time soon. I might just check out the light novels, but that remains something to be decided in the future.

  • The IS themselves bear a strong resemblance to Gundams, and I find that the Byakushiki greatly resembles the 00 Raiser. I started noticing an increase in the search terms “Infinite Stratos” somewhere back in 2009, and initially though that people were looking up “Lockon Stratos” and “Infinite Zenith”. It may be arrogant of me to presume thus, but I’m quite tempted to believe that, because the light novels were written in 2009, Izuru Yumizuru somehow came across the Infinite Zenith and created Infinite Stratos from a portmanteau of the two terms.

  • It seems that virtual realities are all the range in anime at present: in a afternoon break a few days ago, I was discussing this with several members of the lab, and it’s not improbable that the science-fiction novel series by Tad Williams, Otherland, likely inspired many of the things that we see today in anime, including a world where the technology remains largely familiar save the presence of highly-evolved virtual reality systems.

  • World Purge-hen itself is on-par with Upotte! and the first Infinite Stratos OVA as far as questionable contents go (only being out-done by Yosuga no Sora), and I’ve exercised due caution here to ensure that I am not including fanservice-type images that are downright unacceptable.

  • Subtle use of angling in the simulated Ichika’s eyes suggests that things are slightly off. While the OVA’s premise was “fantasies”, the promotions was actually a clever disguise that betrayed none of the other things that were going to occur within World Purge-hen. As noted in the discussions above, each “fantasy” world is built upon how each girl views Ichika. I’ll just note that after the simulated Ichikas begin going Turbo and the girls find themselves saved by the original Ichika, the network problems just magically go away.

  • Now that I’m actually here writing about things, it’s actually quite tough to come up with witticisms for the different virtual reality scenes, save for the fact that I watched the OVA with my back to a wall to prevent any misunderstandings from happening.

  • While the girls are trying to restore their computer grid (and failing), Chifuyu and Tatenashi intercept the intruders; specified as Americans, the OVA leaves ambiguous their exact intents and objectives, along with their relationship with Tabane’s attack on the school’s network. The novel will be required here to clarify things. Despite finding herself up against a full IS, Chifuyu manages to fight it to a standstill in the school’s service tunnels.

  • Back in the Matrix, Charlotte’s vision has Ichika propose to her. There’ve been claims that the simulated segments feel like something that came out of a particularly ill-conceived fanfiction, and for the most part, this is not an inaccurate assessment: the imagery and choices of fantasy for each girl appear to be deliberately crafted to maximise the number of superficial moments so that the so-called ‘shippers’ can be satisfied. Take note, this is not how to build things in general.

  • While the VR segments might be a little hard on the eyes and mind, the combat sequences retain all of their glory from the original TV anime, and while the incursions appear as an excuse to give the girls a reason to enter the virtual reality environment, they are nonetheless quite well done. In particular, it was entertaining to see Chifuyu hold off against an IS with nothing more than a quartet of swords.

  • Laura’s simulated world seems the most normal, and although things begin well enough, her ideal Ichika soon deteriorates into perversion, as well. Disappointed viewers have noticed that Houki seems to have a reduced presence in World Purge-hen, but that’s probably because they’d forgotten about the first OVA, which gave her a fair bit of alone time with Ichika at the episode’s end.

  • How Ichika manages to sense that the others were in trouble is never explained: Ichika, though voiced by Kōki Uchiyama (who is better known for his role as Gundam Unicorn‘s Banagher Links), does not have any Newtype powers to speak of, so it comes across as being a little crazy that this moment could be worked in. I’m sure the light novels worked something out, but if we suspend this, we are treated to the real Ichika dispensing the hurt on the simulated variants, returning everyone back to reality.

  • For the present, one must assume that the network probably did internal diagnostics and fixed itself after Ichika defeated all of the Doppelgängers of himself are wiped out. Alternatively, once the source of the intrusion was removed, Kanzashi and the others would have worked towards repairing things. Either way, the “World purge” aspect ends here, and while there are a couple of questionable moments in the simulations, things remain quite restrained in their reality.

  • Cecelia and Rin react moderately well after Ichika recovers them from the simulated worlds, but Charlotte gives Icika the old-fashioned eye poke. Despite being a virtual world, there must be plugins or components for pain simulation, although one would wonder what would happen if anyone had actually died inside the simulated environment. In The Matrix, death is final.

  • According to the novel, the American forces were operating independently of Tabane and Chloe; their intentions were to recapture hidden IS cores that were present at the academy. After using an IS with a quad Gatling-style gun, Maya and Chifuyu decide to let the American forces go, but not before the IS pilot and Chifuyu exchange contact information.

  • The reason Houki’s simulated realities didn’t have anything unusual happening is probably a direct consequence of how she sees Ichika: whereas the other girls have more risqué interpretations, Houki’s ideal is one of purity: of all the girls, she sees Ichika as an equal, someone who is suited to accompany her through life and time. The other girls have a much more superficial interest in Ichika, accounting for why Houki alone experiences a simulation that is more normal.

  • I’m going to light fuse, run away, when I say that World Purge-hen implies that Houki is the best match for Ichika: this point was a part of the previous OVA, and I say it is thus only because as far as personalities go, Ichika seems to be the yang for Houki’s yin. I’m rocking a solid explanation for why I feel this to be the case…I am quite curious to hear the rationale from those who support other pairings.

  • As with my Utopia post from back in September, I can say with total conviction that this is the only World Purge-hen talk out there on the internet. From a semantics perspective, this hold true because this post is reasonably detailed concerning the OVA. From a technical perspective, there is another site (with an orange triangle for its logo) that got a talk out ahead of me, but because their entire discussion was only fifty-three words in length (and because the site’s authors are uncultured, incompetent writers), it doesn’t count as a post on World Purge-hen, let alone one that’s worth reading.

  • Goaded past endurance, Rin lines up a kick against Kanzashi, but instead, bounces off Chifuyu harmlessly after she appears. The first episode to Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow was released today, and as per usual, the folks at the orange triangle have a photo-post out ahead of everyone else. I will try to have a proper discussion drafted out before Christmas Eve by the latest, and failing that, the framework for the post (that is, the discussion paragraphs and the screenshots).

  • I’m actually quite surprised that a prima facie fanservice-laden OVA could have actually lent itself to the discussion that it did, and that the OVA turned out to be a remarkably focused, self-contained story that was executed with more finesse than the second season. After everyone is pulled from the school’s network, the remainder of the OVA takes on a more light-hearted tone, with one minor exception at the end that leads to the question of whether or not a continuation will be made.

  • Tatenashi, despite not given any screentime in the virtual reality environment, manages to create a few interesting moments of her own. Compared to the others (except maybe Laura), Tatenashi is very forwards to Ichika and often messes with him for the sake of messing with him. She reveals her real name to Ichika, and although this is significant (especially given the cultural context of given names in Japan), the implications of this won’t be explored in the foreseeable future.

  • With the OVA now over, and the post reaching its terminus, I’ll do my usual “what’s next” spiel. Readers may have noticed that posting frequency has gone up, but this is temporary: with lectures and tutorials over, I have a little bit of extra time I can direct towards blogging, and for one reason or another, there’s been a lot of OVAs and bonus materials released over the past while. The next two posts I do will be the first  Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow episode and Tari Tari‘s 7-minute short. Circumstances may force me to do partial posts for them, but should that happen, I will return before the end of mid-January to finish the commentary that accompanies the screenshots.

  • The ending of World Purge-hen has Chifuyu display a fearsome level of combat prowess, even managing to intimidate Chloe into withdrawing her efforts to take down the former. Chloe Chronicle’s identity and relationship with Tabane is unexplored, and in an OVA that does a fine job with the established characters, the addition of elements that demand future exploration is a move of questionable value: on one hand, it could elevate anticipation, but we also know that the anime has caught up to the Infinite Stratos light novels, which are on hiatus. The significance of the new characters, and Tabane’s intentions are going to be something for the future, although this is probably something that viewers may have to buckle down and wait for.

In conjunction with the fight scenes, and the implication that Tabane is playing the world for fools, the World Purge-hen OVA proved to be quite enjoyable that managed to fit all of the different pieces together neatly. There are limitations, such as the dramatic transitions between the serious and the comedic, and some characters (who’ve I’ve only seen for the first time) will necessitate additional exploration. Moreover, the justification for having a virtual reality environment may be dubious. However, the effects ties in well with the cause (Tabane’s actions and the coincidental arrival of an unknown infiltrator), and the end result is an OVA that manages to tell a concise story for the World Purge-hen volume in the light novels. and surprisingly, was remarkably restrained with respect to fanservice. Granted, there are a few scenes that would immediate make the OVA R-rated, but these are only short moments and do not appear with the same forwardness as moments in something like Yosuga no Sora. As such, rather than being 45 minutes of watching anatomy getting shoved in one’s face, World Purge-hen succeeds in telling a self-contained story that bears the style unique to Infinite Stratos. Of course, the presence of new plot points (specifically, dealing with Tabane and Chloe) now leads to the question of whether or not there will be a future continuation, and provided that the light novel has run into considerable difficulty, the only possible conclusion is that the anime will reach a stop for the present.

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.

Infinite Stratos OVA Reflection- A sextet yearns to be in love

On a hot day of summer vacation, Charlotte’s plan to spend time alone with Ichika at his house is somewhat ruined when Cecilia gets the same idea, later followed by Houki, Lingyin and Laura. They spend the afternoon playing games and cooking. The next day, Houki helps out at a summer festival being held at her family’s shrine and is surprised when Ichika shows up. Her time alone with Ichika, though, is soon ruined by the appearance of Ran Gotanda, who momentarily has been separated by her brother Dan Gotanda. Later, Houki attempts to confess her feelings to Ichika, but is instead drowned out by the fireworks.

  • If one has five applications lined up for five equally good opportunities in career, scholarships or education, and all of them succeed, then, assuming that one is only permitted to hold one at a time, the decision would be to pick the one with one or two unique points that make it more meaningful than the others. Of course, this analogy doesn’t hold up so well in Infinite Stratos, since Ichika’s tendencies means he would miss the acceptance deadlines.

  • My place usually doesn’t see that many visitors, so I don’t have any in-house activities planned for this number of non-family guests. Of course, if everyone were to bring a laptop, I could probably host League of Legends or Team Fortress 2 matches, since I have a powerful router, or the guests could watch movies in HD, surround-sound glory. A better option would be to walk around the local pathways: all other hang-out spots require a car or city transit to reach.

  • Now that Infinite Stratos is over, I doubt I’d draw a substantial amount of flak for voicing my preferences: I think Houki’s elemental fire is the best counterbalance of Ichika’s elemental water in terms of personality. The two seem to compliment the other nicely as far as a couple goes.

  • I’m not even sure what Laura conjured up here, although the girls’ cooking does bring to mind Pro at Cooking, a spinoff of Pure Pwnage. During season two, there was an episode that featured all of the girls trying to teach Cecelia how to cook, with hilarious results. An Infinite Stratos variant of Pro at Cooking could be an interesting possibility given the setup, although I know that if Ichika is hosting, he would definitely not abuse the assistants as Dave does in his show.

  • After Houki, Rin and Charlotte tie for second place with respect to compatibility with Ichika. I can’t quite put into words why I believe this is the case, but given what we’ve seen in the TV series, this is just a feeling that I get from observing Ichika’s interactions with them throughout the series.

  • Charlotte and Laura develop a closer friendship come the second season, but the second season fails to explore the IS themselves further and the implications their universe brings. If a nation or organisation were to develop technology like this, regardless of how much of a genius Tabane is, a superpower could eventually work things out and find a way to counteract the IS.

  • This scene feels like it’s taken straight out of a visual novel with its colour and setup. Now, if there is a third season to Infinite Stratos, would I follow it? This time, I will probably wait until three episodes have aired, watch those, and then decide whether or not things will progress (both with Ichika’s decision to date one of the girls and the more technical details around the IS ): if things seem deadlocked in a status quo and won’t break out, I’ll probably leave the series alone.

  • I included this image just so I could complain about how they disabled the steam layer in my copy of the OVA, which makes me immensely grateful to the fact that I’m wise to their game and will only watch OVAs where I am assured some privacy. Part of the reason why Houki is a fun character (from my eyes) is the fact that she shares a voice actor with K-On!‘s Mio Akiyama, so I can’t help but get Mio Akiyama vibes whenever I hear her speak. Moreover, like Mio, Houki is probably the hottest of the cast in their respective series.

  • A while back, I heard there was some some sort of controversy surrounding the release of the light novels: I’m not quite sure whether or not that has been resolved yet. Before I go ahead and decide whether or not season three should be on my watch-list, I should take a look at the light novels and ascertain as to what is likely to happen in season three.

  • Houki’s love confession is shut down by fireworks during the summer festival, but after an episode of trying to find time to spend with Ichika, I’d say she’s succeeded, although knowing what happens in  Infinite Stratos² does tend to dampen things a little. Despite a weaker showing from  Infinite Stratos², it seems like there will be an OVA for that, too, due for release somewhere later this year. The fact an OVA is being made suggests the show is doing sufficiently well in Japan. 

I wonder if readers remember my old Infinte Stratos season reflection during the summer? Before all this, before Infinite Stratos²? I had spent much of the summer at the research lab, building a simulation that had different components that could be run over a network. It was late August when I finally got around to watching Infinite Stratos, and the lab was empty for most of the morning and early afternoon. This respite allowed me to watch Infinite Stratos without eliciting questions. Indeed, I found the first season to be highly entertaining: back during 2011, I was about to give it a try, but the lack of mobile suits led me to rage-quit. I decided to give the series another shot during August 2013, and finished the story on short order. However, I skated over the OVA set between seasons one and two, and so, I decided that, for completeness’ sake, I would finish it. Now that I’ve done so, I can conclude that I’ve seen everything there is to see in the anime adaptation of Infinite Stratos. The OVA itself has the same tone and atmospherics as pretty much every OVA I’ve watched over the past few months, being highly laid-back and relaxed compared to their respective series. However, this would be an over-generalisation: in Infinite Stratos, the comedy from the OVA comes from the subtle conflicts arising when Charlotte, Cecelia, Rin, Laura and Houki show up at Ichika’s residence in the hopes of spending more time with him, but the others’ presence preclude this possibility. While this mechanic prevalent throughout the OVA, Ichika and Houki do get a few moments together away from everyone else under the summer festival’s fireworks.

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.

Infinite Stratos²- At the halfway point

It’s no secret that I lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to things like anime and games, so it shouldn’t be unexpected that I’ve only gotten around to writing this post for the halfway point in Infinite Stratos². By this point, I see an anime that is, for all intents and purposes, a continuation of its predecessor, armed with similar jokes and situations. As such, today’s talk is shorter than usual, because I don’t have many remarks I can say about Ichika’s situation. I can, however, talk briefly  about the introduction of at least two new characters, Tatenashi Sarashiki, the school council president and Madoka Orimura, Ichika’s sister who is part of the so-called Phantom Task organisation. The former adds a bit of complexity to the number of individuals out for Ichika’s heart, while the latter’s organisation is strikingly disorganised and appears to have no further purpose beyond stealing IS. Previously, I noted that Infinite Stratos‘ strength lay within its humour, while more serious moments tended to lose their weight. Infinite Stratos² appears to be continuing in its predecessor’s direction; while Phantom Task’s appearance does not fit well with the rest of the series, I’m continuing to derive enjoyment from seeing Ichika presented with a bewildering array of uncomfortable situations no matter where he goes.

  • Every conceivable high school cliché is given a unique twist in Infinite Stratos, being exaggerated by the presence of funding coming from international sources, thereby making them unique and entertaining. The first few episodes in the season are largely driven by daily life at the IS Academy. From a personal perspective, life at the IS Academy for a guy would be pretty chaotic, since there’d be no way to study or relax in peace without some form of distraction.

  • I’m not becoming lazy: the reason my current posts have ten screenshots as opposed to the twenty (for most halfway-point talks) or thirty (seen in most movies) is a consequence of the time elapses between when I first finished the series and when I found time to write. Late November was pretty much a firestorm as far as coursework was concerned, hence my lack of time in posting. While I enjoy blogging, other obligations come first.

  • Tatenashi operates the Mysterious Lady and is the most capable IS pilot at the academy: the title of Student Council President is assigned on this basis. It seems that skill with an individual IS forms the basis for the amplitude system at the IS academy, which is ranked by a letter grade.

  • The combat sequences remain colourful, exhilarating and oftentimes, too short.  Infinite Stratos² is technically more of a romance-comedy than it is a mecha series, so anyone coming in looking for Gundam battles would be disappointed. On the other hand, the presence of mecha add a certain amount of flair to the girls’ constant bickering about who would be best suited for courting Ichika.

  • I’m not sure how often it is that one can forget it’s their own birthday, although I’m probably not one to talk, since my birthday lies in the depths of summer, away from exams, grant proposals and papers. However, in the present era, there’s actually no excuse in forgetting one’s own birthday, since their Facebook profile would see a surge in activity then. The exception to this is where an individual doesn’t use Facebook, but even then, birthdays cannot be that easily forgotten.

  • Admittedly, episode five was the most entertaining insofar, and of the ‘service’ viewers are presented to, I found Houki and Cecelia’s to be the most entertaining. In Houki’s presentation, Ichika expresses an interest in messing with her fox ear ornaments, leading to some humour. Cecelia pushes the envelope for what is technically permissible when trying to teach Ichika how to play nine-ball billiards by pushing her assets against Ichika, much to Houki’s chagrin. This entire episode was amusing to watch, and given its contents, I’m thankful I do have time and space to peruse this series in peace.

  • Insofar, those with personal IS display disappointing combat capacities, relying on brute force to get things done in place of strategies for the most part. The main exception to that is whenever Charlotte and Ichika fight as a team: they are able to capitalise on their IS’ capabilities to effectively control the battlefield in ranged and melee combat.

  • I was speaking with a friend the other day about so-called “mooks” (i.e. standard forces) in any given form of media and their tendency to be shot down without any effort, implying that they are untrained or incompetent. We both enjoy a show considerably when mass production units (such as Jeagans, ReZELs, GN-X IV) perform as expected for a trained armed forces and fight aces to a standstill. This has been noted somewhere else before, probably the Strike Witches Movie review, where I surmise the reason for this is to make for a more interesting story.

  • Because this blog is supposed to be reasonably safe, I make it a point to minimise unflattering images to the best of my ability. There are exceptions, of course, as I do field such images sparingly for the sake of discussion. In the case of Infinite Stratos, I cut back and choose safer images simply because the more unflattering moments could probably get me into a bit of a situation.

  • The image above is precisely why the addition of mecha-like implements makes Infinite Stratos unique. Apparently, all of the IS personal units are derived off a Gundam of some sort. A non-exhaustive list is as follows: the Byakushiki bears a resemblance to the GN-0000 00 Raiser with its wing binders; its primary armament resembles the GN Sword III. Blue Tears is a sniper-type with funnels, similar to the GN-006 Cherudim Gundam, and there is a green jewel present on Cecilia’s hairband that is reminiscent of Dynames’ Sniper Mode camera. Akatsubaki has foot-mounted blades that are similar to the hidden beam sabres in the GNW-20000 Arche Gundam, while Shenlong has similar shoulders as the Gadessa-line, Rafale Revive Custom II has some structural similarities to the GN-007 Arios and its successors. The Schwarzer Regen is similar to the  GNW-001 Throne Eins, GAT-X102AS Duel Gundam Assault Shroud and the GAT-X105E+AQM/E-X09S Strike Noir Gundam.

The contents within Infinite Stratos² make me incredibly thankful that I can watch this on a mobile device away from other observers: Infinite Stratos in general does not initially appear to be something I would willingly watch, but its use of anatomy lessons to drive the humour ends up being one of the more entertaining aspects of season two. Of course, I’ve heard much talk concerning Ichika’s incapacity to really decipher what is going on around him, but if I were to add my two cents, I would tend to believe that Ichika is deliberately feigning ignorance to continue with life at the IS Academy without breaking the hearts of six out of seven individuals. I’ve noted that I’m predisposed to seeing Houki getting together with Ichika in the end, although rumour has reached me that the light novels are suspended right now over a dispute around overseas distribution. I’m not sure what impact this will have on the anime, so for the present, I’ll continue rolling along and draft out a final impressions post once the finale airs, for better or for worse. I will retain my promise that I won’t go Behind the Nihon Review-style and use jargon to shred Infinite Stratos for not being thought-provoking, because sometimes, excessive fanservice can be entertaining.