So, we are in the second season of “Infinite Stratos”. For those who may have forgotten, in this future world, there are these power suits (not really giant fighting robots; more like body enhancement armor). The trick is, only girls can use them…..until Ichika Orimura shows up as the only male who has ever been able to make it work. However, his training and understanding of the suit is well behind the curve and he is in catch-up mode for such a long time, he should change his name to “Heinz 57”.
The second season carries on with both his training to defeat the evil forces out there and his romantic encounters with the evil forces down here (the rest of the squad). They are beset by an anti-IS group called Phantom Task, whose main goal is to destroy all the IS units, but to also take Ichika into custody. I mean, a guy who can pilot this equipment is really rare, and he just needs to be taken out of the mix, so our plans of world domination can be fully employed.
Oh, I guess I should introduce the rest of the players, following behind Ichika:
These ladies were practically born and bred to be pilots and they understand the working and idiosyncrasies of their suits, so they are always beating poor Ichika like a tough steak. They may like him away from the arena and practice, but once the suit goes on, it’s Game Day. Nothing personal, it’s all business. CRACK BOOM BAM!
The problem with the second season is that we get more focused on the relationships that Ichika has with all of these ladies, each one determined to make him a husband. It’s almost as if his training is secondary to the romantic encounters with these five ladies (oh, and his older sister. Don’t worry; his sister is a teacher at the school and flattens him out with great regularity for being a slacker and lacking motivation) and how many embarrassing situation he can be placed in to generate all those awkward moments as you try and explain why you are hovering over a near naked woman or why you are looking at someone’s undergarments.
It’s just the arrival of an opposing force doesn’t really spring anyone into action. They are viewed more like an annoyance, as when you find a line of ants in your kitchen, than anything requiring greater vigilance and better security. It’s as though the series kind of morphed into a romantic comedy, but without the romance or the comedy and all the battles are a gift to those fight fans, who want to see some titanium tush kicked. And the conclusion was unsatisfactory to the point where you smell a third season that (hopefully) will wrap this all up.
I felt some really good plot opportunities were missed or passed by in order to fall into what is basically a swing season. Whenever you make a trilogy, the middle film suffers, as you can’t really conclude things, it is tough to introduce new complications, and you merely transport the story from one location to another, much like a conduit. I just felt the balance between crises and kisses wasn’t maintained and you never really got into things as well as you should have. Much like an Ironing Movie, it’s something to have on in the background while you do other work, but you aren’t going to miss anything of real value.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (It is all assembled very well)
Plot 5 (Gets held at arm’s length)
Pacing 6 (Battle sequences work well; not for the rest)
Effectiveness 6 (Not certain what it wants to be)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 6 (No new territory uncovered)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Remember to pace yourself.