Sometime in the Future, a new exoskeleton called the Infinite Stratos (IS) system was developed in Japan and quickly demonstrated just how easily it could take out a variety of conventional military weapons. The weapon was soon adopted by several nations... save for one flaw — only women could pilot it. This shifted the social structure to favoring females over males, until Every Man Ichika Orimura becomes the first male to activate an IS and is soon thrust into a new life as a new student at the prestigious — and previously all-female — Infinite Stratos Academy.However, his school life is filled with many hurdles and interesting characters. His Tsundere childhood friend Houki Shinonono is one of his classmates, but her sister Tabane is responsible for building the I.S. and Houki hates her for it. English Upper-Class Twit Cecilia Alcott hates weak men and has trouble finding a decent guy. Flat-chested (and not too happy about it) Chinese Genki Girl Huang Lingyin is Ichika's second childhood friend. From France, there's also Charlotte Dunois, briefly known as another male pilot who tries to be friendly and get close to Ichika before her gender is revealed... and she still wants to be friendly. Finally, German Super Soldier Laura Bodewig idolizes legendary I.S. pilot Chifuyu Orimura, who happens to be Ichika's older sister, and therefore hates him for ruining her idol's reputation. Oh, and naturally, there's an evil corporation that wants to steal his I.S. Core.Ichika's high school life is about to get very interesting...Infinite Stratos is a Light Novel Series by Izuru Yumizuru. So far, there are 9 volumes, 8 of which were translated by BakaTsuki and can be found here.Infinite Stratos was adapted into an anime in January 2011, simulcast with The Anime Network. There are two manga adaptations of the story: the first by Kenji Akaboshi, covering the entirety of Season 1; and the second a relaunch by Yuuki Homura. Season 2 aired as part of the fall 2013 anime season. It's also available on Crunchyroll's website. Viewers living in the USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, and South Africa may watch it legally there.Less than 24 hours after season 2's final episode aired in Japan, it was announced that an OVA based on Volume 8 was in production. It is due to be released on November 26, 2014. A trailer is out.Not related to Stratos 4.And look! We have a character sheet and also a drinking game!Warning! Both the main page and the character sheet have spoilers for the light novels as well as the anime. You Have Been Warned.
Action Prologue: The first anime season begins with a mid-air skirmish. In actuality it is the skirmish versus Silver Gospel in the final episode.
Adaptation Induced Plot Hole: The anime fails to explain how Ichika knew Cecilia was within firing range against the berserk unmanned I.S. The Light Novels explain that he secretly communicated with her to fire on his command after unleashing Yukihira Type-2 by taking advantage of its barrier-nullifying ability. Cecilia, being frustrated to not be able to help out, answers the call.
Adapted Out: The pilot of the Silver Gospel IS, Natasha Fairs, never appears in the anime. The anime treated the Silver Gospel as an Attack Drone.
Animation Bump: The I.S.' are noticeably more fluid than everything else.
Art Shift: Expect this for the oncoming volumes (and reprints of previous volumes) with CHOCO taking Okiura's reins.
Attack Drone: Cecilia's I.S. is armed with four remote controlled drones armed with lasers that she can use to perform all-range attacks on opponents. The unmanned I.S. "Golem" also counts. The "Silver Gospel" I.S. was this in the anime (it had a pilot in the novels, though).
Also Laura is far more lovey-dovey towards Ichika than you'd expect.
Awesome, but Impractical: Byakkushiki's main armament can (in theory) pierce any defense, at the cost of hemorrhaging shield energy. In practice, Ichika is nearly guaranteed to lose once he activates it.
Back-to-Back Badasses: Laura and Charlotte briefly in episode 1 of season 2, after they take out some crooks holding up the cafe they were briefly working at.
Badass Adorable: Charlotte. Despite being a very shy and sweet girl, she can hold her own against 3rd generation IS machines with her slightly-inferior 2nd-generation IS.
BFG: Tatenashi uses one in episode 12 of season 2. It's so large relative to her that she has to fire it from the ground.
Bifauxnen: Charles's real name is Charlotte, forced into drag so France could gather Ichika's IS data. He finds out pretty quick and helps her hide it due to her situation.
Makes a return in Season 2 Episode 1, when Charlotte is hired as a waitress...yet the restaurant still has her wear a butler's uniform. Apparently she looks better in that outfit than even some guys do.
Season 1, Episode 11 took place on the 7th of July, Houki's birthday. Unlike most examples, her birthday is... not a happy one (until the end, when Ichika gives her a new ribbon and shows that he remembered it was her birthday).
Episodes 5 and 9 in the first season, which are sandwiched between episodes with intense action and drama scenes.
Episode 5 in season 2, following the episode where Ichika was in a fight for his life. Subverted at the end however, when Madoka shows up, and we hear a gunshot as episode ends.
Episode 10, season 2. Following a brutal fight in which several of the students were seriously injured, this episode focuses on Cecilia largely trying to be a less Lethal Chef, but accidentally sickening the other girls in the process. And even during a more serious dramatic moment at the end with Tabane is subverted, when she delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to three of the Phantom Task members, including one with a gun, and another in an IS suit, utilizing nothing more than a few kicks, a butter knife, and a fork.
Bridal Carry: Ichika does this to help Houki getting in her training IS, much to the latter's delight.
Ichika does it to her again at the end of season 1 to get both of them away from the rest of his (furious and jealous) harem.
In novels, he does it quite frequently, about 3 times to Laura and once to Kanzashi
Brother-Sister Incest: Some of the girls worry that Ichika and Chifuyu might have this kind of relationship (as if they needed another romantic rival), especially after eavesdropping on a suggestive-sounding massage though it turns out to be nothing. He also looks after the house and Chifuyu in the same manner as some might expect of a wife, much to the other girls' dissatisfaction.
Cannot Spit It Out: Played straight for most of the series with the exception of Laura post-defrost, but averted with at least two girls who actually have a shot by the end of the series. In episode 8, Charlotte gives Ichika a naked hug in the bath and declares she wants to be with him. At the end of the same episode, Laura sticks her tongue down his throat and declares him to be her wife.
Houki tried to avert this trope thrice: at the end of episode 12, she puts Ichika's hand on her chest, right over her cleavage, and flat-out asks "You do know I'm a girl, right?"; in the second part of the OVA, she confesses to him but he gets distracted by the fireworks. What's worse, the explosion from the fireworks muted out her confession. Then in the second season's 7th episode, as Ichika was carrying her home from their photo shoot, she mumbled out a confession to him, but since she was so tired that she fell asleep after saying it, Ichika didn't think much of it. In the novel version of that scene, she was very drunk and slurring her words, so Ichika didn't understand her.
Cast from Hit Points: Ichika's special attack drains his own meager shields in order to launch a devastating attack that can theoretically 1-shot his opponent. That is, if his shields aren't worn down before he can get close enough to use it, or if the target doesn't simply dodge the attack first.
The Cast Show Off: The ending theme song, Super Stream, is sung by Ichika's harem girls.
The second season ending song Beautiful Sky is done the same way. And as of Episode 9, add Kanzashi.
Catch a Falling Star: After Kanzashi's IS Suit blows out a thruster and falls from the sky, Ichika immediately summons his IS and makes a diving save, probably saving her life. It's about this point where Kanzashi falls deeply in love with him.
Chekhov's Gun: Charlotte unlocking the permission for usage of the Rafale Revive's rifle proved to be very useful when Ichika uses it against Laura in their match.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Practically every girl at this point, with Houki at lead position. Back off, bitches. Ichika's my training partner.
Charlotte is an exception. As is Laura, oddly enough. You'd think a Proud Warrior Race Guy would be more violent. Not really.
Laura's possessive side starts coming out more frequently in the second season.
And it seems even Yamada-sensei herself isn't immune to Ichika's charm, judging from her reaction to discovering Ichika and Charlotte together in a fitting room.
And at the end of the anime, Ichika is caught in a compromising position with Houki, sending the rest of his harem into a real jealous rage enough to show up in their IS Suits ready to kick his ass. Even the sweet and friendly Char is ROYALLY pissed.
All of them are upset with him when he invites them to an outing at a water park in episode 1 of season 2, thinking he only invited them. Then they find out he invited all of them... Laura was the only one who knew from the start that he was going to invite all of them since she was the one who handed him the flyer for the pool in the first place and he was Thinking Out Loud. And of course, naturally he was oblivious to her sudden sour mood.
The second season OVA (which was really just extra footage from the first episode that was cut due to time constraints) shows that the jealousy more or less evaporated once everyone got to the water park, since they were having too much fun there.
Clothing Damage: Houki's Cinderella dress suffers a little bit in episodes 3 and 4 of season 2.
Clueless Chick Magnet: Ichika, Ichika, Ichika. He's got a truckload of admirers inside (most of his schoolmates, particularly Houki, Cecilia, Rin, Charlotte and Laura) and outside (e.g., Ran Gotanda, his junior-high former neighbour) the IS Academy... and he's none the wiser.
Lampshaded quite succinctly by Charlotte in the latter half of episode 8:
Ichika: *On the floor after getting beat up for saying something insensitive again.*
Charles: Sometimes I think you're doing it on purpose.
Though he get a little better when some of them confess.
In the novels he also has Tatenashi's little sister Kanzashi.
In episode 5 of season 2, when asked which of the girls' performances he preferred the most, he took only a moment to choose Chifuyu's dressing up like a maid and serving him a bite of a parfait. None of the other girls take this very well, and even Chifuyu gets flustered by his response.
Color-Coded Characters: All of the girls have different colored hair and hairstyles, and all of their IS suits have different colors.
Comes Great Responsibility: Ichika says this in Episode 11 when Houki got the newly gained Aka Tsubaki during their fight against the Gospel.
Continuity Nod: Season 2 Episode 10 has Laura still wearing the adorable cat-pajamas Charlotte bought her in Season 2 Episode 1.
Corner of Woe: In episode 7 of season 2, Laura attacks Ichika with her IS bladed weapon after he says he already has a partner in mind for the upcoming tournament. Chifuyu intercepts the attack, and throws her across the room. When Laura complains that her matter with Ichika is strictly between a husband and wife, Chifuyu counters by saying that she would never accept a sister-in-law that acts like that. The statement hits Laura pretty hard, and she quietly sits down on the floor with a gloomy look, muttering to herself.
Covert Pervert: Rin, Cecilia, Charlotte, and Laura are shown to be this in Volume 8 in the illusions they have due to the World Purge.
Ichika's IS is a close-ranged fighter, so in a ranged fight he has to dodge or absorb shots thrown at him until he can get close enough. Unless another IS user allows him to use their ranged weapons. Averted with Rin, who has a weapon that has some medium range capabilities.
Laura's A.I.C. (Active Inertial Canceler) seems to nullify any attack thrown at her, but she has to stay focused on the attacker for it to work. So if someone else shoots her from behind...
Cecilia's IS is designed solely for long ranged combat (eg. powerful but slow-firing long beam rifle), so if an attacker can close the distance before she can take them out, she usually seems screwed. Chifuyu also comments in one episode that she's also designed to take on multiple opponents, but in the anime at least, she only ever fights against one opponent at a time.
Curbstomp Battle: Laura easily defeats both Cecilia and Rin at the same time in her debut battle.
Yamada-sensei does the same to those same two girls during a training fight, with a Second-Generation, Mass-production IS suit.
An unknown IS named White Knight (*:*cough*Chifuyu*cough*) took out 2,341 hacked missiles shot towards Japan 10 years ago. After the missile attack was repelled, countries from all over the world send a task force to capture or destroy White Knight; it destroys every single thing sent after it. At the end of the battle, 207 fighter jets, 7 cruisers, 5 aircraft carriers and 8 satellites were destroyed - the kicker - no loss of human life. The White Knight is a first generation IS. Heavily implied to be Tabane's work, trying to convince the world that the Infinite Stratos far outguns any weapon or weapon platform then available. It works unbelievably well.
Outright stated to be Tabane and Chifuyu in the original novels.
The fight between Tatenashi and Autumn in episode 4 of season 2. Any setbacks the former faces was largely just her playing around with the latter, but she has the upper hand, forcing Autumn to attempt a retreat.
Tatenashi is then on the receiving end of one in episode 9 of season 2, when she realizes that her usual attacks don't seem to be affecting the unmanned IS suits attacking the school.
Custom Uniform: Is understandable in Ichika's case but there's not really any excuse for the rest of the main characters.
Laura is initially very hostile to everyone, particularly Ichika. But after he beats her, and saves her post-meltdown, she softens up. Sort of.
Inverted with Cecilia, who technically won her first fight with Ichika, but grew to respect him anyway.
Disproportionate Retribution: Poor Ichika. Looked at Cecilia's breasts accidentally? Get punched with an IS arm. Take a bath with a guy who turned out to be a girl? Rin will go Yandere on you! Caught in an arm grapple by a naked girl who snuck into your bed? "Divine Punishment!" And later, get caught trying to kiss Houki? All the girls will now hunt you down like the dog you are. No wonder he has to act like a Chaste Hero most of the time, because no matter who he chooses, he loses.
Distracted by the Sexy: All the freaking time - even his own sister invokes it. Although he acts more embarrassed by it more than anything. Taken Up to Eleven in episode 5 of season 2, where all of the girls are wearing Sexy Whatever Outfits, (Including Chifuyu in a maid outfit), and are trying to appeal themselves to him.
Distressed Dude: Ichika was kidnapped because he was the brother to the world's best IS pilot at the time, Chifuyu. And this trope is probably the reason why he was forcibly enrolled in the IS Academy, since not only is he Chifuyu's younger brother, but he's also the world's only man that can activate/pilot the IS suits. Which no doubt means every country in the world would love to have their hands on him if given the opportunity again, to learn how he managed to activate it.
A potential inverted example with Houki. Since her sister Tabane was the creator of the IS system, the Japanese government moved her and her family around a lot to avoid anyone attempting to kidnap Houki in an attempt to force demands on Tabane. Of course, this caused a lot of strife with Houki towards her sister, as it caused her to be separated from Ichika.
When Ichika's harem eavesdropping on him and Chifuyu in episode 10, accompanied by Sexophone, no less. Ichika's just giving her a massage.
In preparation to deal with the rogue IS, Ichika needs Houki's IS' speed and Houki says this.
Houki:"Although my pride would naturally prevent any man from mounting atop a woman. I'll make a special exception this time."
In episode 10 of season 2, Ichika asks some rather suggestive sounding things to Ceciilia, while the camera pans around in a bedroom, one of which is his jacket lying on a bed. Then it turns out he's just teaching her how to make rice balls.
Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Executed by both Cecilia and Rin upon seeing Ichika and Charlotte holding hands as they go shopping for swimsuits.
Eagleland: Apparently America is to blame for the Japanese goverment handling the IS academy, President Obama much more specifically on the manga (In the relaunch manga, it was Hilary Clinton who took his place.)
Also note, the Silver Gospel crisis is partly their fault as well considering Silver Gospel was developed outside the I.S. Academy in secret, a clear violation of the Alaska Treaty. Volume 6 added icing on the cake by showing they did it again with the (much less gamebreaker) Fang Quake, but still. Note that according to the treaty, while you are allowed to build I.S. units outside the academy, all testing of Super Prototypes and their gimmicks have to be inside the academy.... or else the unit/system will become a public domain design.
Volume 8 of the novels shows us some Flavor 2 actions by America. When the I.S. Academy is hacked and its power sources sabotaged, America sends in the Fang Quake model & a team of Navy Seals to raid the academy in order to steal the unregistered I.S. cores that Chifuyu & Maya recovered from the unmanned drone attacks. While the U.S. was not behind the hacking, the fact that they took advantage of the incident so quickly (and knew about the unregistered cores) proves that America has the academy on 24/7 surveillance (and most likely, so do many other countries).
Empathic Weapon: The IS system is adaptive and semi-"aware" of its pilot, constantly adjusting to better suit them complete with a synchronization rate and controlled by thought as much as motion. Especially so the personal IS units, which perform like generic trainer units until they've seen some use and adapt. Several suits also have powerful functions that can be triggered by the pilot's mental state. Probably the reason why self-piloting drone IS systems have long been considered impossible, lacking a pilot's guiding will.
Everyone Can See It: The girls of the harem frequently point out how they view Chifuyu as their greatest rival for Ichika. The way they behave around each other normally is a big bone of contention for the rest of the harem. During the OVA, they even take notice as how the two behaved more like a married couple than siblings.
Evolving Credits: This trope seems to be used as quite an art form in the anime adaptation:
During the first eight episodes of Season 1, when a girl gets added to Ichika's harem, they get added to the end credits and they join in the song.
As the girls are added, only the most recent one is running in step with Ichika, with the others following behind them at a different pace, but beginning with episode 10 up to the second season, everyone is running together in perfect sync.
Houki's ribbon becomes white with a red line, instead of the usual green with black during the end credits of Episode 12.note The said ribbon was the same one Ichika gave for her birthday on the very same episode.
This was also applied in the Opening sequence of Season 1, where Charlotte is seen wearing the female IS uniform after the Bridget Drop.
The ending sequence in Season 2 takes this somewhat Up to Eleven:
For the first 5 episodes, a different girl is displayed in the background with all the main characters running in unison. Additionally, another girl is added to the picture taken at the end with Ichika and his sister.
In episode 5, the girls are wearing the suits they had on during that episode instead of their school uniform when running; while in the Long Vacation OVA, everyone is wearing the swimsuits they used.
For episode 7, Only Ichika and Houki have different outfits compared to the others because of the photo shoot they participated in.
Kanzashi is added to the harem at the end of episode 9. She is seen running right behind him, and her picture is used in the background. Additionally, she is in the picture taken at the end along with the other girls.
And as of Episode 12, Tatenashi is added into the sequence, running in sync with the cast behind Kanzashi. Also, each character is shown in the background wearing civilian attire.
Face Fault: Seems to happen with a fair amount of frequency.
Falling into the Cockpit: Or more like walking into it. How did Ichika discover he's the first male IS pilot? He accidentally wandered into the IS Academy's exam room while looking for the exam room for the school he was going into (which happened to be adjacent to the Academy, and had a similarly pronounced name). An IS happened to be in said room.
Chifuyu theorizes in the anime that Tabane may have engineered the whole thing. Tabane denies it, and says she has no idea how he's doing it. While the exam room's IS unit was indeed rigged ahead of time to generate a response, a random, non-rigged trainer unit that was brought in for Ichika to actually use for his exam also responded, casting aside any notion that it was a mere co-incidence.
Fanservice: Bits of it here and there can be seen in the beginning, and pretty full-fledge starting with episode 3.
Heck, the entire premise was made for this. Making the IS only pilotable by women was not from the progressiveness of the writers' hearts.
Laura Bodewig berating Ichika's ground fighting technique, while naked and holding his arm between her legs. (Nice, lengthy scene.)
In the middle of Season 2 Episode 2, we are treated to Charlotte doing stretching exercises in her skintight IS outfit. Of course, the scene centers on her rear.
Season 2 Episode 5. All of it. (The "why" can be read on the Crowning Moment of Funny page.)
Filming For Easy Dub: The ending of Season 2 Episode 10. What should have been a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Tabane became this because the camera kept going for close-ups on the cafe's sign outside, M's face, or other random objects in the restaurant, with Tabane speaking over these shots. Did the studio run out of cash to animate Tabane disassembling the Silent Zephyrus to pieces with just her hands?
Forceful Kiss: Laura took Ichika's first kiss by shoving her tongue down his throat. While still wearing her IS armor.
Genre Savvy: Charlotte seems to be the most, supporting Ichika when the other girls are busy tearing each other down. And then in Season 2 Episode 10, after Cecilia comes over to Charlotte's place to learn how to cook, Charlotte is shocked when Cecilia tells her that Houki fell ill after she taught Cecelia about cooking. Charlotte puts two and two together (did Cecelia intentionally make Houki ill to "get rid of the competition"?) but fervently hopes she's just an innocent, incredibly inept Lethal Chef. It's heavily implied that this is completely intentional to indeed get closer to Ichika.
Girly Run: In the ending theme, Cecilia and Charlotte seem to run like this.
In Season 2, when Kanzashi joins the harem, she runs like that too.
Gossip Evolution: What originally was "Ichika agreeing to date Houki if she becomes tourney champion" one evening becomes "Ichika agreeing to date anyone who becomes tourney champion" the next morning. All thanks to three certain girls, of course.
Gratuitous Foreign Language: The original sub only has a few minor instances of Gratuitous English (such as the name Infinite Stratos itself). The dub, however, gives Charlotte and Laura thick French and German accents, respectively, and they pepper their speech with French and German.
Gratuitous English: Chifuyu in the season 2 episode previews uses this when announcing the title of the next episode. It's actually pretty hilarious considering how seriously she says it each time. Then again, Megumi Toyoguchi is no stranger to Engrish...
Guns vs. Swords: Cecilia vs. Ichika. Cecilia wins because Ichika's sword drains his shield energy with every attack and his shields ran out seconds before he won.
Cecilia gets massaged by Ichika twice. The first one made her orgasm with him none the wiser.
Tatenashi in season 2 has heard about these and demands that Ichika give her one too in episode 3. However she asks him while he's using the bathroom, and it turns into Serious Business when she uses her IS weapon to break the door down after he attempts to barricade himself in there. He finally relents and gives her one much to her delight.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: The members of Phantom Task who have their own IS Suits (Madoka, Autumn, Squall) have full-face helmets when piloting their suits. The protaganists...don't.
Heroic BSOD: Houki goes through a brief one in episode 11 after Ichika loses consciousness while protecting her from one of Silvario Gospel's attacks.
High-Pressure Blood: Happens to Tatenashi in episode 9 of season 2, after she shields her sister Kanzashi from an attack by an unmanned IS suit.
Historical In-Joke: Charlotte and Laura's relationship is similar to the relationship of France and Germany, who at first were at odds with each other, until they became friends through the Franco-German Friendship after World War II.
Hot Teacher: Chifuyu. Oh yes. Her own brother regularly compares her figure as being better than most models... Much to her chagrin.
Hotter and Sexier: The series' second manga adaptation, where it seems like every girl has gotten a boob job (except Rin, who still looks the same) and strike poses that accentuate their figures. The mangaka of the second adaptation is Yuuki Homura. Those that know the artist wouldn't be surprised if Chifuyu got special treatment as he favors well endowed big sisters.
How We Got Here: The first part of episode one depicts a battle between Ichika and his team versus the unknown IS machine. The rest of the series depicts the events leading to that scene.
Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Tatenashi in episode 4 of season 2. But it turns out to have been a fake that she manipulated using nanobots. Played straight in episode 9 of season 2, when she shields her sister from an attack with her own body. She barely survives it and is taken to the hospital after the attack by the unmanned IS suits is stopped.
Improbably Female Cast: Although justified In-universe. The IS system can only be used by women normally, but Ichika is somehow able to activate it as well. Even Tabane, the IS suit creator, is unsure of how he's able to do it. As a result, he's transferred to the all-girls school to learn IS combat, partly so he can learn to use his IS suit better, and largely to keep an eye on him, lest some unscrupulous country or organization gets their hand on him again.
Incest Subtext: Charlotte accuses Ichika of this when she sees his reaction to Chifuyu in a skimpy swimsuit, but who could blame him anyway? Bear in mind, Ichika picked the swimsuit himself, so that's a plus. The catch - Chifuyu asked him which one he'd prefer between a white sporty one and the black lace one.
Picking out her wardrobe is nothing new - he does it all the time for her and she wears his choices with no complaint. She'll even go a bit out of her way to grab/wear the ones that he likes more.
Given what they overhear coming from their shared room in Episode 10 afterwards...
Also from Episode 10, the conversation that Chifuyu and the 5 girls have heavily implies that she has challenged them to "try and get to my level". And she doesn't mean in IS piloting skill. In the OVA, there was the little bit of her coming home to the house and Ichika greeting her like a housewife. She notes this to Yamada, saying; "On that field trip, I told those five girls I wouldn't let them have Ichika. I didn't think much of it or put any deep meaning into it, but it seems the girls think that I'm a rival now."
Then there's Ichika's birthday, in which every member of the harem decides to cosplay for him. Chifuyu ends up being the main event, dressing as a maid for him and actual spoon feeds him note Again, something the rest of the harem have repeatedly tried to do with no success.. When Ichika is asked who's performance was his favorite, he chooses Chifuyu without a second thought.
Informed Ability: In the anime, it's mentioned that Byakku Shiki is quite possibly the most powerful IS in the school, if not the world. However, Ichika so far has not been able to defeat an enemy (or at least has extreme trouble in doing so) in a straight up one-on-one fight.
The Byakku Shiki is considered powerful due to it's only weapon: a sword that one-hit-KO's opponents. This, coupled together with its insane maneuverability and speed, makes it extremely formidable. The problem comes from the fact that said assets also rapidly drain the shield energy of the IS. Basically, it has a lot of raw power and speed, but very little endurance.
There's also the matter of the pilot, who is still very much behind everyone else in both formal and informal training (being that no men before him piloted an IS, that's justified). This discrepancy shows very well in Ichika's first battle with Cecilia; he's completely untrained, flying an IS for the second time in his life - a close-range type he's wholly unfamiliar with. She's practically a professional considering her age, and fights in a long-range model. He lasts over thirty minutes, figures out a tactic that could potentially beat his opponent, and then his IS enters First Shift - i.e., he kept up with her while overwhelmingly outgunned, outprepared and outmatched in every way on the equivalent of the lowest power setting Byakushiki has. And then comes within a hair's breadth of winning. No wonder Cecilia breaks down after this and falls for him; had they been on an even level in mere training, she wouldn't have lasted five minutes against him.
Informed Attribute: The novels remind the reader over and over and over again that ever since the introduction of the Infinite Stratos suits, society has changed so that women are the dominant gender in everyday life, so much so that if a man on the street were to suddenly be ordered by a woman to do some ridiculous task (like suddenly shining her shoes for no reason), it wouldn't be unusual. But we never see any examples of this kind of thing happening. The anime & manga adaptations don't even bring up this issue. The majority of the novels' contents are written from Ichika's point of view, which means this could be Unreliable Narrator, but there are a few times when even the third-person narration brings up this point, such as when three bank robbers attacked the maid cafe in Volume 4 Chapter 2 * The corresponding anime episode is Season 2 Episode 1 in which the narration describes these men as being either extremely brave or extremely foolish to pull this kind of stunt in a world dominated by women.
Volume 7 finally shows some evidence of this when Ichika is denied entrance to a fancy restaurant because he lacks a tuxedo. Ichika has to buy a tuxedo from a shop in the same building, no other options. While there is a similar dress code for females, they are at least allowed the opportunity to rent a dress.
Innocent Cohabitation: Because the IS Academy wasn't designed with proper coed housing, Ichika and Houki are forced to share a room, with the usual implications for the trope. The situation is resolved when Houki is transferred to another room and Ichika gets Charles as his new room mate... which means the trope still applies considering 'his' name is actually Charlotte.
Instant Armor: Most IS users can summon part or all of their at any given moment. Implied to be nano-technology or matter teleportation; how or why is never precisely explained. Counts as applied phlebotinum
Irony: The Fang Quake I.S. that the American military uses in the novels is based off of Rin's Shenlong. America is copying a Chinese design.
Karma Houdini: Tabane. Though we're supposed to think of her as a Crazy AwesomeHot Scientist, it doesn't change the fact she may have been the one to have threatened to wipe Japan off the map, and drove an IS berserk (in the novels, it had a live pilot trapped inside), for some fairly petty reasons. It's only due to the fact that everyone involved escaped these incidents without harm that no one has called her out on the amount of potential damage she could have done.
Kendo: Ichika and Houki trained in this together as children. Years later, Houki is more skilled and has to reteach Ichika prior to his IS duel with Cecilia.
Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: In Season 2 Episode 3, the girls are dressed as Cinderella (complete with Pimped-Out Dress), and the first to grab the crown off of "Prince" Ichika's head will win the right to be his roommate. As you might expect, they come to blows about this, particularly Houki (with her katana) vs. Laura (with her knives), and it is awesome.
Lap Pillow: Tatenashi does this for Ichika in episode 2 of season 2 after she knocks him out moments earlier. Laura walks in on them, and promptly attacks him with her IS blade, although Tatenashi deflects it with an iron fan.
The strange visions Ichika sees in the final episodes of both seasons. There has been absolutely no explanation for these. Doubly so for the second vision because it wasn't in the novels; at least the anime remembered it but it's still a Mindscrew.
Lethal Chef: Cecilia. This really comes to the fore in Season 2 Episode 10. She decides that the fried chicken Houki is teaching her to make could be "more colorful", so what does she do? Spray perfume on it, and then slather it in hot mustard. Houki then eats a piece...and becomes violently ill. As do Charlotte and Laura.
Let's Get Dangerous: Episode 5 has Yamada-sensei sweeping the floor against both Lin and Cecilia at the same time.
Lotus-Eater Machine: In Volume 8, Houki, Cecilia, Charlotte, Laura and Rin mentally enter the security system of the IS Academy after it is attacked, and are trapped inside of the World Purge program by Chloe Chronicle so Chloe can activate Chifuyu's IS, Kurozakura.
Houki gives one to Ichika in the 2nd half of the OVA of the first season, but he doesn't hear it because fireworks go off at the same time she says it.
Kanzashi gives one to Ichika at the end of episode 9 in season 2 and runs away afterwards. Unfortunately for her, when she thinks about it, she realizes she accidentally told him she likes anime instead, because he asked her that just before she said she "liked it" and ran off.
LuminescentCrush Blush: A lot of characters in the anime adaptation (particularly the main female cast) exhibit this when around Ichika.
Even Ichika himself is not that immune to this kind of blushing.
Megaton Punch: Ichika and Dan Gotanda are often on the receiving end of these.
A notable instance is on the beach, when Cecilia gets fed up with Rin rubbing suntan oil on her sensitive parts and stands up. Her untied bikini top is left on the towel, and Ichika is innocently staring right at them. He gets a literal Megaton Punch from Cecilia's IS arm.
Moment Killer: By the end of season 1, Houki finally confessed to Ichika and he's about to kiss her when the rest of his harem show up in their IS Suits in anger with the intent to "punish" him.
Mood Whiplash: Episode 5 of season 2. Ichika is walking back to the dorms after having a surprise birthday party thrown for him, only to then run into Madoka, who pulls out a gun and shoots as the episode ends.
Episode 11 as well. The first 3/4 are nothing but random harem comedy as all the first-year students go on a field trip. The first warning we get that the mood is about to change is when Squall appears and offers to take a picture of Ichika & Houki together. We get more comedy afterward as all the girls try to see what pictures are on Ichika's camera, to the point that he accidentally drops it off a cliff while being mobbed. Then in the last few minutes of the episode, Madoka appears again to kill Ichika with her new I.S. "Black Knight", Autumn ambushes Houki & Cecilia in her I.S., the train that Chifuyu, Maya, & all the other students are on is hacked and hijacked, and Tatenashi is about to throw down with Squall on top of a tower.
Ichika and Houki are Japanese, Cecilia is British, Rin is Chinese, Charlotte is French, and Laura is German. The light novels introduced an American pilot, Natasha Fairs, but she's not part of the harem and only appears in two scenes.
Season 2 introduces Tatenashi Sarashiki, the IS representative for Russia. Her sister Kanzashi is the rep for Japan.
Myth Arc: Starting with the second season: What is Phantom Task up to? And who is Madoka Orimura?
Another one that has spanned the entire series: who keeps sending unmanned I.S. drones to attack the Academy?
Eventually revealed to be Tabane. The light novels clarify that she uses the Golems to gather real life battle data from Houki.
No Endor Holocaust: While relaxing in the bar in the series' final episode, Maya mentions to Chifuyu that there were "zero casualties" from the big battle against Phantom Task. That's... pretty impressive considering entire city blocks were getting blown up by Madoka's Game Breaker of a suit, not to mention Squall deploying a Sphere of Destruction too.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Laura delivers such a mean-spirited thrashing to Cecilia and Rin in Episode 7 that the damage sustained by their IS made them unable to participate in the actual school tournament.
Nonuniform Uniform: Rin has Detached Sleeves on her uniform, Cecilia has a knee-length dress in the style of the uniform, Laura forgoes the skirt/dress altogether, opting for pants and boots, and of course Ichika's uniform is completely different from everybody else due to being the only guy in the academy.
No Sell: Cecilia and Laura fire some big shots in episode 12 of season 2 at Madoka. Despite the large explosion, the latter emerges unscathed from the attacks.
No Social Skills: Laura to the hilt. First she calls Ichika her bride after kissing him on the lips in the classroom; she sneaks on to his bed one night naked; and then in the 4th book, she licks the creme from a crepe off of Charlotte's lips., to Charlotte's chagrin.
Not What It Looks Like: Ichika is often in these predicaments, but it generally doesn't stop him from getting beat up by the girls, such as when Houki finds him being held against his will in his bed by a naked Laura in episode 9 of the first season.
Laura's a genetically enhanced Super Soldier and was raised in a military environment, and thus had no parents.
Patient Childhood Love Interest: Two of them in Houki and Rin. Funnily enough, though, they never met each other until the series started; Houki moved away from Ichika when they were six years old, and Rin moved into the same neighborhood when he was seven.
Piggyback Cute: Ichika carries Houki on his back after the photoshoot in season 2 episode 7. In the novel version of this scene it was a Bridal Carry.
Schizo Tech: While the date for the series is never given, the Manga and the Anime specifically show president Obama as the main driving force behind IS Academy and the Alaska treaty, placing the series somewhere around present day to 2016. Considering that the IS is an artificial intelligence embedded into what seems to be a fusion reactor or zero-point energy source roughly the size of a baseball or smaller...yeah, you get the picture. Granted, Shinonono Tabane is rumored to be a genius who makes Einstein look dumb.
Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Apparently (in the manga at least) Lingyin was able to enroll in the IS academy despite not taking the entrance exams by begging her uncle, a high-ranking officer in the Chinese military, to pull some strings for her.
Serious Business: In episode 3 of season 2, Ichika is asked to take part in a play. He's told what he'll have to do as things occur on the play, and the play turns out to be a variation of Cinderella. Except that it's a group of elite assassins, consisting of the main girls in the show, most of whom attack him with full force, demanding the crown he's wearing in the process. In a short Flash Back, the student council president told them whoever could get his crown would get to be Ichika's roommate. She also apparently told many of the other girls at the school, as a short while later they all take part as well. She also never told Ichika about this, and shocks him when he tries to just give the crown to Charlotte, hence his confusion as to why the girls want it so badly.
Well, the little carrot on the sign (and the very shape of the trap itself) made it quite obvious who was behind the trap, and probably Ichika thought something along the lines of 'The sooner, the better'. After all, none of them seemed too happy about seeing Tabane.
In episode 10 of season 2, Ichika complains about being chosen to measure the girl's bodies. Yamada-sensei simply says that's what the Student Council PresidentTatentashi wanted. Chifuyu gives him a blindfold to use, but unfortunately, it's a see-through, so it doesn't block his view much. One wonders why he didn't just ask Yamada-sensei, who was recording the measurements, to switch jobs, particularly after his Unwanted Harem find out he's measuring the other girls.
Shout-Out: Some of the I.S. suits including their weapons, coloration, and names are a shout out to various mecha anime, particularly to the Gundam and Super Robot Wars franchises:
The Smurfette Principle: Inverted. There are very few male characters in this series. Besides Ichika, there is his middle school buddy Dan who gets maybe a grand total of 2 minutes screentime in an entire season (he appears a bit more frequently in the novels), the robbers in the 2nd season's first episode, and a few flashbacks of some characters' fathers.
Spell My Name with an "S": There seems to be a disparity with some characters' last names. Rin's name causes some issues depending whether you're romanizing from the Chinese or Japanese pronunciation, and with the former, depending on what dialect you're doing. Just look at how many times her name is used interchangeably on this very page as either "Rin" or "Lingyin."
Charlotte's surname also causes issues. It's written as "Dunois", but read as "Dunoa" (which is also close to the correct French pronounciation).
Another example would be the joint US/Israeli IS unit that caused a ruckus over the skies of Japan. While it's written as "Silver Gospel", plus having its kanji title be a direct translation of that, the "Silver" part is always read as "Silverio".
Stay in the Kitchen: Possibly Gender Flipped. The revolutionary IS suits, having made most other weapons obsolete, can only be piloted by women, which kinda leaves the men in a bad place, combat-wise.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: In season 2 after Ichika survives Madoka's assassination attempt on him, he runs into Chifuyu and point-blank asks her if they have a sibling named Orimura Madoka. Chifuyu answers that "you're my only family" and walks away. Which, you may notice, does not answer Ichika's question.
Taking the Bullet: Well, it was a sword attack, but Tatenashi takes the blow for her sister Kanzashi in episode 9 of season 2 when the latter is standing helpless while watching Ichika get thrown around by the unmanned IS suits.
Taking You with Me: Tatenashi attempts this with the unmanned IS suit attacking her and Houki in episode 9 of season 2. A big explosion follows her attack, but it fails to stop the suit, and Tatenashi is lying in the rubble.
When a shaky entry by Yamada-sensei in her IS results in crash landing on top of Ichika, after the dust clears he finds himself on top of her with his hand on one of her boobs. Unlike most girls, she doesn't react violently to it, and instead hints something about becoming Chifuyu's sister-in-law.
Tatenashi does this to Houki in episode 8 of season 2.
The Promise: Ichika, being the clueless harem hero, misinterprets his promise with Rin and prompts another angry duel.
They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Chifuyu prefers DEMANDS the students to call her Orimura-sensei. Those who don't will get whacked with her attendance book. Even her brother. Especially her brother.
Think Unsexy Thoughts: Ichika is forced to do this after Charlotte drags him into a changing room. He does it largely by reciting Pi. All the while still imagining Charlotte's figure.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted. Rin does this in episode 3 of season 2 during the Cinderella play, but Ichika blocks with Charlotte's riot shield at the last minute. While it does prevent the sword from hitting him or Charlotte, it also shatters the shield.
Tournament Arc: Played with, almost to the point of a running gag. Every time a tournament begins, Ichika always ends up fighting against the respective arc opponent(s) in the very first round, of the very first match, and something always goes wrong in said match that ends up getting the entire tournament cancelled.
Transformation Trinket: The IS, sort of. The Season 2 opening theme highlights it: Houki's wrist-charms, Cecelia's earrings, Rin's bangles, Charlotte's necklace, Laura's thigh-holster, and Ichika's wristband can all transform into their respective IS Suits.
Most of the female characters actually fit this. Charlotte may be the only one who averts this.
Two-Teacher School: Chifuyu and Maya are the only two teachers who get a decent amount of screentime for the teachers. Although other teachers are referenced, these two are the only ones that are seen regularly for the faculty at the school.
There was Canadian math teacher Edwards Franchee from the novels, seen in Volume 7 Chapter 3.
An interesting scene occurs at the beginning of episode 10 in season 2, after Kanzashi joins the harem. All of the other girls are sitting around her, and grilling her with rumors of her dating Ichika. Charlotte seems to calm them down briefly and offers Kanzashi a drink, only to then ask the same question, while also having a Yandere look, until the poor girl clears up the misunderstanding, which calms them all down when they realize he's not dating anyone...yet...
Villainous Rescue: Ichika in episode 3 of season 2, runs away from a gaggle of girls chasing him during the play. He's saved by the lady who wanted to put her business's attachments onto his IS suit when she hides him underground. However, she's developed an Ax-Crazy look on her face, and at this point simply demands his suit.
Wacky Marriage Proposal: After she's done shoving her tongue down his throat, Laura claims Ichika as her wife in front of their entire class and the rest of Ichika's harem.
Wham Line: At the end of episode 8 in season 2, Kanzashi reluctantly accepts Ichika as her partner for the upcoming tournament. He also enlists the help of several other girls to fix the problems in her IS suit to get it working. She is later seen carrying some muffins to his room, only to stop when she sees her sister Tatenashi leaving his room, and asking if the plans she gave him for fixing up Kanzashi's suit helped. Kanzashi runs away and cries in her room after finding out that her sister used Ichika to help with her suit, when up to that point she had adamantly refused any help from her.
Wire Dilemma: In Volume 5, Ichika and Dan participate in one. Ichika proceeds to cut the wires leaving with Red (Houki/Akatsubaki) and Blue (Cecilia/Blue Tears). Ichika then asks Dan as to which one he should cut. Dan picks blue and they fail in defusing the fake bomb.
Cecilia and Rin, being national representatives and possessing custom 3rd generation IS suits, are touted as being the most powerful pilots in the school. Cue them getting curbstomped by both Yamada-sensei and Laura in separate occassions, with both fights even being a two-on-one.
Ichika is frequently beaten to demonstrate how serious a new threat is.
Tatenashi suffers from this in episode 9 of season 2, after having been shown largely effortlessly delivering one Curb-Stomp Battle after another in earlier episodes.
Madoka gets hit with this when her suit is destroyed in episode 10.
Remember how tough Autumn was in episode 4? She's not so tough against Houki & Cecilia in the season finale. Especially since they weren't even paying attention to her for most of the fight.
In Volume 8, a U.S. Navy SEAL team is effortlessly repelled by Tatenashi's Mysterious Lady.