IS: Infinite Stratos – Episode 1


Covered by InstraClassic

Hello, and welcome to the start of the anime winter season! To boost off the delicious line-up of winter anime, comes IS: Infinite Stratos. Basically everything you’d expect in a typical season: girls… and mecha. All goes well ends well, right? Well, not exactly. Let’s just say this episode started and ended with a bang.

Ahh, so peaceful ~

NEVERMIND.

Right of the bat, it seems as if a fight of somewhat foreshadowing commences in the beginning, involving the main characters of the story. It also seems like they’re fighting a loli with twin-tails. Perhaps the antagonist? Perhaps a character who turns out to be a classmate of theirs and they’re trying to kill her because of some rumor or subplot revolving her and the character they’re fighting actually turns out to be a good little girl? Wait, wrong anime.

What appears to be a loli antagonist. Why is that not surprising?

As the rather intense fight continues, the girls are scurrying to try and protect each other, whilst moving towards their target. When it seems like they will be defeated, our protagonist, Ichika, comes to save the day! And possibly create some some sort of massive damage towards nearby landmass.

If there's anything I've learned from anime: Yes, she will escape.

Oooor maybe not.

And now for something completely different: the opening comes into place! I find the opening actually rather nostalgic with the up-beat tone and victorious execution. Almost as if it’s combining Star Driver‘s justice vocal-ism with Strike Witches‘s spunky sound with a touch of happy techno thrown in to example the sheer awesome might of the IS and the fights that ensue with them. It’s a song I instantly got used to and it’s a tune that deserves a spot on your iPod.

The opening is also chock full of foreshadowing, which has me immensely interested into the series’ future episodes. Might I also add that the animation is spectacular, even when it’s mixing the CGI and 2D animation together? Simply fantastic for a production company {8-Bit} I have never heard of.

Did I forgot to mention that the mechas they use (the IS) can only be controlled by girls? Yeeeeeeeeah.

Our protagonist, Ichika Orimura, is attending an academy built specifically for training young women into becoming pilots of the IS. However, the IS aren’t exactly used for the purpose you might previously had been thinking. The IS are actually used for the sole purpose of sport and competition. As I said before, the IS can only be piloted by girls… but Ichika is one exception.

In the midst of Ichika’s tenseness, he looks over to his classmate, Houki (above), whom is his childhood friend of 6 years. Though, she quickly turns away from Ichika. I can’t tell if Houki is tsundere or just spontaneous. I’m swaying towards tsundere, and you’ll see why. I have a feeling I’m going to like her character either way.

So, as with every Japanese anime with the class just beginning, there have to be self-introductions! Here is the beginning of a tally list I’d like to create called Wacky Moments with Ichika Orimura. I have a feeling that this series is going to have a ton of absolutely crazy, comedic moments; so, why not keep a tally for shits-and-giggles? And here comes tally number 1! Ichika has to introduce himself first! But the introduction is quickly made awkward.

Gotta stay cool! GOTTA STAY COOL!

Yep, our protagonist would perfectly be defined as… a dork. But that’s okay! We always need some comic relief in a series that is bound to be serious. You decide for yourself whether that was sarcasm or not.

What’s that in the horizon? Why, I think that’s a relative! Oh, what jo–

Uh-huh. Of course.

Of course. Ichika's big sister, Chifuyu Orimura.

As you may suspect, Chifuyu would like to be called “Orimura-sensei” at school, instead of her big sister suffix. And is it just me… or am I getting a strange vibe from Chifuyu? I mean, take a look at the opening again. This character may look completely different in some aspects, but I can’t help but get this strange vibe from both Chifuyu and this anonymous character. Just a hunch.

After Chifuyu’s over-exaggerated introduction, every lesbian within a ten meter radius begins to admit their feelings towards Chifuyu. Well, that’s over-exaggerated in itself, haha. It turns out a majority of the students admire Chifuyu and want to become her students to the fact that Chifuyu was the first generation IS representative of Japan. Now, what is a representative? A representative is defined as an olympic figure, but instead of a team of olympic members, the representative is only one person representing an entire nation. In other words, Chifuyu is a pretty big deal.

Yet like every athletically perfect olympic figure, they retire and become a teacher of the subject they had professed in.

BUT LET’S IGNORE CHIFUYU FOR NOW, it’s explanation time!

The second-hand homeroom teacher, Maya, begins to explain the basic of the IS, or Infinite Stratos in full. Believe it or not, development on the IS took nearly 10 years to fully develop. Faster than you would’ve expected, huh? The IS were initially going to be used to explore space, yet for some reason, the study has halted. Remember when I said that the IS were only used for sport? Well, due to a treaty {called the Alaska Treaty}, the IS are forbidden to be used by the military.

The IS Academy is also the only institution in the world to train young women {or giiiiirls} into becoming IS pilots. Now, lemme take a moment to ask a question: the IS is only used for sport and competition, and yet there is a worldwide renowned institution based simply on that sort of task? You don’t see that everyday.

Back on track, Ichika begins to bring up AGAAAAIN that the IS can only be piloted by females. However, Ichika is the only male in the world to be able to pilot the IS. McTricky and myself have been waiting for this question to be answered to us! Why is Ichika an exception? Is there some sort of chromosome fuck-up? Is it a disease? What is i —

You've got to be kidding me.

So, the reason is unknown, okay. That’s understandable as it may be an extraordinarily complex reason! I just hope this doesn’t become a plot-hole and we get some fucking explaining. Because oh boy, there’s a whole bunch of explainin’ to do.

Despite the fact all the girls are impressed by the feat that Ichika can operate the IS and are cradling him with love and awe, he finds himself with his cheek in his hand, asking to get out of the situation. Something is definitely wrong with our protagonist here, but at least he’s not rubbing it in everyone’s faces and gloating about it like SOMEONE WE KNOW.

Houki breaks Ichika out of his trance by asking him for a moment of his time, leading to an adorable scene up on the roof.

I told you she was tsundere! I TOLD YOU.

So, it turns out Houki and Ichika haven’t seen each other for six years. Even so, Ichika says he instantly remembered Houki for her hair, as it was the same when they were kids.

AWWWWWWW ~

I have to admit, Houki and Ichika would make a wonderful couple. Ichika doesn’t even get flustered talking to her! And he’s a smooth-talker! I’m already loving our protagonist; he’s not a wimp like the thousands that have come out from Japan’s ass and handed to us on a rusty platter.

Definitely a highlight scene in the anime. Just beautiful and sweet cinematography ~

But the scene is cut short as the school bell rings, disappointing the eavesdropping students. That’s another thing, the eavesdropping students. Are we going to go through a Star Driver phase? Or are we going to play a little game called “We’ve hidden these eavesdropping students in a tree! See if you can find them”? But what do you expect? The only male in the world who can pilot an IS. Talk about boss. I’m surprised nobody’s tried to assassinate Ichika yet.

Moving along, Ichika returns to class, learning about the parts that make up an IS. Though, he’s having a little trouble. Okay, a lot of trouble. Turns out Ichika was supposed to read a reference book that was given to him prior to his enrollment. Turns out Ichika also threw it away. Siiiiiiiiigh. So, Chifuyu’s strict curriculum is put to use as she orders Ichika to read a substitute reference book… in a week.

Now then, let’s take the recess transition to greet a main character! She simply walks up to Ichika, and asks for a moment of his time. When Ichika turns around, uninterested might I add… welllll…

Just so you know, she represents England. Literally.

Meet Cecilia Alcott, one of Ichika’s classmates from England. Your typical “I-gloat-about-this, I-gloat-about-that” personality, and immediately is shocked by Ichika’s “response” due to her honor and prestige. But why is she so honorable, you may be asking? She is the representative contender student of England and a supposed valedictorian of the entrance exam. Ichika and yourself might be asking yet another question: what is a representative contender student?

Well, excuse yourself for a second as Cecilia takes her time to completely degrade the male gender in saying that they have little to no knowledge. Someone might be confusing North Korea with Japan. Now, back on track, the representative contender student is one person out of a group of elite IS pilots to represent the country of their respective, well… countries.

After some spectacular acting from Yukana and a monologue that would drive any man {or woman for that matter} into sighs and facepalms, Ichika handled this bitch like a true man and doesn’t get into it, like so:

Gotta admit, Ichika is unintentionally boss. So, a lecture unfolds with Cecilia saying that Ichika will never been number one in the class {or school for that matter} with an attitude like his. After all, he is the only male in the world who can pilot an IS and expectations are high! But, Cecilia carries on her own little attitude.

ICHIKA has an attitude? Giiiirl, you best check yo'self before you wreck yo'self.

Blah blah blah, Cecilia keeps gloating, blah blah blaaaah. Oh wait! Cecilia beat an instructor! Judging from her tone of voice, that must be a pretty big deal! Color me surprised, so Cecilia is more than a bitc —

Nope, just a bitch.

Cecilia begins to spaz out realizing that someone else but her defeated an instructor, and the fact that a man was the person who did as well! Now, I have no objections, but you know Cecilia and all. But here’s the thing: Ichika must also be a badass, right? Perfect protagonist, I’m seriously beginning to love this gu —

:C

HE’S STILL A BADASS, OKAY? OKAY.

Looks like Ichika has crossed upon a complicated acquaintance towards Cecilia. The bell rings, and Cecilia is sent off, but that doesn’t stop her! Well… she exits the room and says she’ll see him later. Of course. The scene skips on over to the dorm that Ichika will be staying in.

Quite luxurious, no?

Just like the tenacity of Cecilia, the Wacky Moments with Ichika Orimura doesn’t stop where we left off! Ichika’s roommate begins to get out from her shower, driving Ichika into a nervous wreck, trying to find out what to do. But here she comes! She’s walking out of the bathroom!

Uh-oh

UH OH.

FUCK FUCK FUCK

Gotta stay cool... Gotta stay --

OH FUCK.

Oh fuck...

OH FUCK.

Afraid for his penis, Ichika begs for Houki to let him into the room or bad results will come out of letting him stay outside. Houki opens the door and allows him to come inside (SHUT UP). However, Houki has got some questions on her mind. She begins asking Ichika if he asked to be roommates with her or has something up his sleeve. After confirming it was just a coincidence, both of them begin to state the obvious in that 15-year-old kids sleeping in the same room is different from 9-year-old kids sleeping in the same room.

You don't say.

And of course, Houki gets flustered.

Awwwww ~

The subject of who is using the bathroom at what specfic times randomly starts to pop up in their conversation, and Ichika begins to object. But like a good little boy, he agrees to use the bathroom after Houki. In all honesty, I don’t feel like covering that portion with pictures because that scene is just plain silly … Oh fuck it:

And onto the next day! With Houki and Ichika eating breakfast and random girls coming up to Ichika and saying he eats a lot! … Wait, what? Am I supposed to cover this? God, this blog is longer than it should be. Skipping ahead, Chifuyu brings up the fact that the class needs a representative. The immediate vote is swaying towards Ichika as their class representative, but our representative bitch, Cecilia, has an objection!

Okay, now she's just starting to piss me off.

Then, Ichika begins to retaliate.

Not the best retaliation, but it'll do.

LIES AND SLANDER.

Due to the anger building up inside her, Cecilia then requests a duel with Ichika, where he immediately accepts. However, a debate towards handicaps then come into place. Ichika begins to wonder how many handicaps, where Cecilia confuses this as a favor for Ichika’s sake. However:

I don’t care if the class started to laugh, that is how you handle a couple of no-good bitches. An additional note: the class said that since the IS were invented that if men and women were to go to war, it wouldn’t even last 3 days. BUT GUESS WHAT? ICHIKA IS A MAN AND HE AIN’T GOING TO TAKE YOUR SHIT.

Ichika is pissed. AWWWW YEAH.

A classmate begins to push Ichika into backing down, as he may be underestimating too much. BUT ICHIKA IS LIKE “BITCH PLEASE” AND IS READY TO FIGHT THE POWER.

The battle is next Monday? Well, that's moderately disappointing.

So, what did I think of the first episode? It was splendid, to be honest. The opening brought in a feel of what the action will be like, the characters have excellent chemistry in battle, and the main character is a fuckin’ boss. The opening song is a tune that doesn’t get stuck in your head, but shouldn’t be an underestimated song; it’s actually very good and brings back some nostalgia of anime from the early 2000’s that used that kind of approach to music (ex: 11Eyes). The animation is especially superb, combining 3D and 2D animation ever so fluidly and I must say I’m heavily impressed for a first episode. Keep them comin’, 8-Bit!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my cover blog on Wolverine, Episode 1!

About InstraClassic

Erik Jorgensen is an aspiring actor - whom you may know as InstraClassic - who finds himself blogging due to a fiery love he has for it. And he's also kind of bored.

Posted on January 7, 2011, in Anime, IS: Infinite Stratos. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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