Infinite Stratos Episode #04 (

By:Mark Thomas
Review Date: Monday, January 31, 2011
Release Date: Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bring on the clichés!

What They Say:

Infinite Stratos (or IS for short) has quickly become at once the greatest tool and deadliest enemy during world conflicts. Unique for the IS, however, is it's limitations: only women are able to pilot them. Enter Ichika Orimura, brother of one of the greatest IS pilots in history, and after coming in contact with an IS at 15, oddly capable of piloting one himself. This strange occurrence opens up new worlds for him, and he is immediately enrolled in a school that specializes in IS pilot training. A school...of just girls. Is this a dream come true, or a nightmare come to life? The greatest ride of your life awaits you, as comic mischief and daring dogfights combine in INFINITE STRATOS!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the last episode ended, Ichika and Rin made a bet based on the outcome of a duel at the Inter-Class IS Tournament: the loser has to do anything the winner demands. As this episode begins, the tournament has begun and the two are getting ready to square off. While Rin toys with Ichika through most of the fight, he is able to stay alive long enough to remember the training given to him by his sister about the ultimate attack of his personal IS, the Byakushiki. But just as he is about to turn the tide, their battle is interrupted by a rogue IS that has broken through the school's defenses and forced Ichika and Rin to work together for the first time.

After the first three episodes, I felt that Infinite Stratos was very unoriginal but was likable despite that. This episode has done nothing to change those feelings. Nothing about the plot so far has been shocking or even particularly creative; even the big twist in this episode was phoned in from so far away that we might have to start charging long distance rates. But you know what? I do not care. The cast is definitely likable (even Ichika who is not so much of a wet blanket as to be irritating) and the action is good. And while the plot might not be unique, it is still decent. Four episodes in, Infinite Stratos might be fluff, but at least it is entertaining fluff.

In Summary:
Nothing Infinite Stratos has done so far has blown me away, but I remain amused by it. It certainly is not the most original anime I have ever seen, but it paints-by-the-numbers well. As long as it does not try to do too much with what it has going for it, we should be in for a fairly enjoyable ride. Mildly recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: The Anime Network
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Infinite Stratos