IS: Infinite Stratos 2 – 11
「恋こがれ京舞台(ルッキング・フォー・メモリーズ)」 (Koikogare Kyou Butai (Rukkingu Fou Memoriizu))
“Looking For Memories”
The status quo is killing this show, and I don’t think even an action-packed finish can save it.
The Status Quo Is Killing IS
It’s not like I enjoy beating up on this show. This episode wasn’t all bad – the moment when Tatenashi appeared and Kanzashi stuffed her back in the suitcase and had Ichika help ship her off was abslutely hilarious – it just mostly was. Everything was a big string of “Ichika is dense, the girls are yandere”, and I’m tired of that. Good characters have been completely flanderized to enforce a status quo where Ichika will never pick anyone, won’t even try to date anyone, so they can all exist in this tiresome holding pattern forever.
Harems work best when there are other things going on (NakaImo, Campione!, Noucome, formerly this), or when the lead has someone he (or she) likes who doesn’t like them back (yet) (Love Hina, Kampfer), or when the lead is trying to score all the girls (High School DxD), or when you’re genuinely unsure about which girl will win (many dating sim adaptations), or when it looks like some kind of resolution will happen eventually, or when there’s a good flippin’ reason why the harem situation isn’t just resolved! Without a good reason, sufficient distraction, or a short total runtime the status quo gets infuriating quickly, and that’s where we are right now.
At this point I don’t give a damn who wins, or if anyone wins, or if half the cast is killed off and this turns into a gritty dystopia where Yamada-sensei goes on a quest to avenge her murdered students, I just want something else to happen! The status quo is note god (trope!), it’s evil and poisonous to good storytelling.
Phantom Task Attacks
And this whole Phantom Task attack? I feel nothing. I liked the scene between Tatenashi and Squall, that was nice. Tatenashi is a badass, so finding out the Mysterious Lady knows something was nice, even if it makes Chifuyu look stupid for being trapped on the train. But then I remember that the whole reason Madoka has her new Black Knight is because Tabane gave it to her, which means Houki’s older sister is willing to increase the likelihood of her imouto’s love interest and Tabane’s own friend (in Chifuyu) getting killed because…because. Madoka wanting to kill Chifuyu got a huge “Huh”, the reason she’s instead targeting Ichika for some reason still isn’t clear, and it all goes downhill from there.
There’s also the fact that it all comes about because the people of IS Gakuen are idiots. Are there not more than two teachers? Why don’t they have guards? They know they’re being targeted. Ichika should know he’s a target, so why does he keep wandering off alone? Couldn’t he have had some realization that Squall saying his name when he didn’t give it to her is suspicious as hell? And don’t get me started on how Ichika got separated from the others because all the girls glomped him to fight over the camera like a bunch of kindergarteners. Just Cecila and Char pressing their chests against him was nice, that had a flirty flavor and was entirely reasonable, but all the others? And when he dropped it off the damn Kiyomizu Temple, which means by all rights it should have been broken? No, no, no. This is bad writing, and I’m not terribly interested in whether Phantom Task wins or loses. Kill Ichika, see if I care. That’ll open things up for Char x Laura, Cecilia x Ling, and the amazing Houki x Tatenashi x Kanzashi threesome. Everyone who matters instantly wins.
Looking Ahead – Almost Over
Look, I’m trying to find good things to say. The bamboo forest scene was nice, it had a good atmosphere, and I mentioned a couple of others previously. It’s hard though. Probably the best thing I can say is this – it’s almost over. One more episode to go.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Contrived storytelling elements conspire to ensure Ichika’s death. Sure, that’s cool with me #is_anime 11
- Ichika ignored & trampled flat. The dense bastard finally gets what he deserves.
- Char uses her accidental pantsu flash to get some alone time? Char is still best girl!
- “Please make that idiot notice how I feel about him…” I choose to believe Ling is talking about Cecilia. I know she said “him”. Shut up, give me my delusions!
- Ichika is such a siscon. That’s the only thing I agree with him on. Chifuyu-nee is amazing.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Don’t reject feedback rashly, Hard fantasy vs soft fantasy, What I’m thankful for, and On writing fast, writing well.