A note on Infinite Stratos's Laura (and Ichika)
[...] The best shows of the genre have always had quirky, interesting characters injected into their relatively stock situation ([...]). IS has, well, Charlotte and an honorable mention in Laura.
It is also curious how our psychopath haremette gets points from Chris. My tastes lay, or actually run at full speed, in the opposite direction
The short answer is that I differentiate between attractive characters and interesting ones. I don't think that Laura is necessarily an attractive character; as Author mentions, she's more than a little bit off. But she's not a standard haremette straight from central casting, as many of the others are (childhood friend, stuck up rich girl, tsundere, etc). Her crazyness (and the resulting lack of genuine attractiveness) is why she only gets an honorable mention in comparison to Charlotte.
I would say that Ichika is far from stereotypical in the way harem leads usually are not. If they are not doormats, they are assholes, and there's nothing else.
First off, I have to admit that I don't actually remember much of what Ichika did in IS.
To me, Ichika falls into the general category of romance leads who just sort of muddle along in an undistinguished manner (much like the protagonist in, say, Otome Youkai Zakuro). Ichika is not a passive doormat, but he clearly didn't make much of an impression and I don't remember him doing anything much to take charge of the chaos around him. 'Did decently well for a teenaged boy' doesn't make him interesting.
(Mind you, it's hard for a male lead to do much in a harem setting without destroying the setting since he can't exactly pick someone and tell the rest of the girls to go away. Sustaining the 'harem' bit intrinsically requires that the character at the center not do anything definite. I suspect that this is one reason the genre fell out of favour, since it requires things to spend a lot of time not going anywhere.)
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Written on 30 December 2011.