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Inifinite Stratos Collection [DVD]
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The complete first series of the Japanese anime set in a future where powered armour suits known as Infinite Stratos (IS) have been invented. The IS are distributed evenly throughout the world and a peace treaty is put in place to ensure no country will use the powerful technology in war. Meanwhile, since only females are able to operate the suits, a social change has taken place with women becoming the more dominant gender. However, teenager Ichika Orimura (voice of Josh Grelle) becomes the first boy with the ability to control the IS and he is sent by the government to train at the Infinite Stratos Academy where his fellow students are all girls. The episodes are: 'All My Classmate Are Female', 'Class Representative Selection Match!', 'The Transfer Student Is the Second Childhood Friend', 'The Class League Match', 'Boy Meets Boy', 'My Roommate Is a Young, Blonde Nobleman', 'Blue Days - Red Switch', 'Find Out My Mind', 'Ocean's Eleven!', 'Thin Red Line', 'Get Ready' and 'Your Name Is'. The collection also features the OVA episode 'A Sextet Yearning for Love'.
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Ichika Orimura is a somewhat shy and clueless character, he has quite a few female characters showing a strong interest in him, some even showing a sexual interest in him, but like with most harem anime shows, the MC basically freaks out and pushes them away, and this also happens here too.
The anime covers Ichikas day to day life and introduces each of the female cast members, naturally they all love Ichika, but sure enough his childhood friend Houki appears to derail anyones plans to hit on him. Besides the school stuff, there's not much else besides a tournament, and the final mission in the series. It's basically a fun, almost light on plot story that doesn't take a lot of thinking to understand.
I'm basically giving this series 3 stars because I found the dub cringe worth, I just don't like the fake, forced accents. Especially Cecilias, which is a stereo typically bad British accent, I've lived here all my life and have never heard another British person speak like that, it's almost laughable. Charlottes is okay, Houki is okay, it's a typical Monica Rial voice, which rarely changes. Rinin Fan is meant to be Chinese but her voice is typical of Hilary Haag who uses the same voice for most of her roles. It's almost as if they had this idea to give the characters laughably bad accents and then forgot about the rest. Tiffany Grant is the only redeeming one as Laura Bodewig.
I like the show, I do. I don't mind dubs either, I just have to knock a star off for it, it ruins a good show. I would have rated this 4 stars had the dub been decent.
Anyway, we should hear news of Season 3 of IS in the near future, it's a very popular Japanese series that sold very well.
This two disc set includes all twelve episodes of the first season of 'Infinite Stratos', as well as an OVA. The series is relatively entertaining with the standard antics of a harem series coupled with some good action in the form of the I.S. battles. The characters are in the series are all nicely portrayed even if they are somewhat standard for this type of series just with an international element added to the mix (although Ichika himself is clueless even by the standards of harem anime main characters). Of the main female characters, the German Laura Bodewig is probably my favourite, as she is it is very entertaining to watch her character develop as the series progresses, although Ichika's sister Chifuyu is probably my favourite character in the series as a whole with Houki's eccentric sister Tabane following close behind.
The thing I like most about the series is the setting and the I.S. units themselves as they are very interesting and I would have liked to see a lot more of both. The battles in the series are very nice with the finale being very spectacular and enjoyable to watch. The comedy in the show is generally quite standard harem series stuff but it is pulled of relatively well, especially during the OVA.
The animation of the series is generally reasonably good, although there were a few places where the CGI of the I.S. units was a little rough but that is only a minor complaint. The DVD includes both English and Japanese versions of the series and while the Japanese one is probably slightly better in my opinion, the English version is generally reasonable. I do appreciate that the English dub cast attempted to give the European characters appropriate accents and while Brittney Karbowski's English accent is passable for Cecilia Alcott (it is quite similar to the one she used for Anya in Negima!) Shannon Emerick's French accent for Charles Dunois and Tiffany Grant's German accent for Laura leave a little to be desired. Other than this, the voices of the English cast suit the characters reasonably well, especially Luci Christian as Chifuyu and Allison Keith as Tabane.
The set also includes a few extras including commentaries by the Japanese cast and a couple of features in the form of Radio I.S. and Behind the Scenes (both subtitle only).
Based on a series of light novels, 'Infinite Stratos' is quite entertaining and is probably one of the better harem series that I have watched recently. A second season of 'Infinite Stratos' was shown in the Autumn 2013 season but I felt it wasn't quite as good as this one. There is has also been an OVA announced for some time in 2014.
Overall I feel that this set deserves a high four stars.
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