Day in and day out, the students of the prestigious Infinite Stratos Academy study, very predictably, the titular mechanical exoskeletons, the Infinite Stratos. As goofy as the series makes the topic out to be, the subject matter seems to be rather serious – the students’ curriculum as seen throughout the two seasons is entirely made up of the study of IS battling and its mechanics, whether the topics be actively formulating strategies, carrying out mock battles, or even maintaining or designing an IS from scratch. However, at the end of the day, IS theory is really just a bunch of messy theories jammed together: bringing these theories together when building or in battle is whole different matter entirely.
We can observe the difficulty in bringing the different strands learned in school when any practical application of IS is needed. Throughout both seasons, several of the characters hit this wall as well and most of the time, we see them getting put down on the spot. Whether we’re watching Ichika in his first battle against Phantom Task or Kanzashi when she first tries to build her IS, we can see that brief flashes back to something in school won’t be enough to get them by. It takes quite a bit more than just technical know-how. And so, the characters fail.
In most cases in the series, success isn’t determined just by having knowledge of a specific technique or by knowing what parts go where. It takes a certain level creativity outside of the classwork to tie together everything learned in school and even more so to apply these concepts in practice. It’s tough business, especially when one’s school revolves a sport with so many extraneous variables that an attempt to stick to the theories seems doomed from the start. In the wonderful game of mechas beating the shit out of each other, analysis matters a lot less than one may think. On-the-fly thinking just isn’t made in the classroom.
Real life can be like this too and just knowing something isn’t enough to get by. In the real world, it takes a lot of guts, hunches, and some trial and error to perfect something and one also needs creativity to learn to constantly adapt. Real world problems aren’t just lying on a Scantron waiting to be filled out, and though it may sound cruel, an eventual failure is likely to be inevitable. Because of this, experience is often necessary and failure can only contribute to this. It’s an unavoidable learning process and even though one might fail once, that’s okay since it’s never really too late to pick up the pieces and try again to build that robot or pick a fight with that spider lady. It’s all part of a greater learning experience.
Then again, some of you out there may have an ultra-genki bunny plot device sister who’s willing to give you everything just for kicks. Then ignore everything I just said, because, hot damn, you’re good for life.