Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 12, 2012 to Mar 22, 2013
23 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.511 (scored by 18479 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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Synopsis2019, Divergence Ratio 1.048596. The near future, where a device popularly called the PokeCom, packaged with PhoneDroid OS, spreads, bringing the Augmented Reality world close to existence.
Central Tanegashima High School's Robot Research Club is in danger of losing its club status. Kaito Yashio, one of only two members, is only obsessed with robot fighting games, showing no interest in the Robo Club even in this situation. The reckless, useless club head, Akiho Senomiya, aims to complete a giant robot, struggling hard to avoid losing the club's status.
Then, one day, Kaito discovers the A.R. annotation that becomes the Kimijima Report. Written in that report is the indictment of someone named Kou Kimijima's conspiracy involving the world.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Robotics;Notes
Alternative setting: ChäoS;HEAd, Steins;Gate
Characters & Voice Actors
my main impression: whoever came up with the original concept as well as the script writers for this anime need a really good editor, who can wrangle their ideas into something that actually hangs together structurally and makes sense. because there were plenty of ideas here, quite possibly too many, and the result is a hodgepodge of giant plot holes held together by spit and enthusiasm.
i can't remember the last time i watched an anime that was so meticulously produced, so overall pretty, so well animated and orchestrated, and found it such an unholy mess on the inside, which ultimately left me unfulfilled.
story: there are two main stories here; one consists of a high school's robotics club trying to put together a giant robot, the other is pretty much at the other end of the spectrum: saving the world from mysterious villainy. the first part is decently executed (love the battle bots!), but it soon takes a back seat to the second one, which is sadly not executed well at all. i liked the twist, which i did not see coming, but i didn't like the hurried exposition explaining it all. the pacing of this story is all over the map; IMO 22 episodes are enough time to handle it much better.
animation/art: production IG, need i say more? it's beautiful. so much detail, and characters even change their clothes and hair styles several times! backgrounds showcase tanegashima (an island off the south coast of kyuushuu), where japan's actual space facilities are located -- i want to go!. smooth animation, good cinematography. i have no complaints here; it is a joy to watch.
sound: my reviews tend to lack good notes on sound because, while i know good music when i hear it, i don't have a knowledgeable vocabulary to convey its nuances. i like the BGM here, i also like the OP and ED songs (i'm becoming a fan of itou kanako; a strong, non-cutesy female voice). the voice talent is decent -- shinichiro miki is wasted as sawada, morikawa toshiyuki does a fair but kinda bland job voicing kimijima (for which he probably should not be blamed), and nazuka kaori steals the show with her interpretation of fraukoujiro.
characters: great visual design, sub-par personalities.
1. senomiya akiho, super-enthusiastic president of the robotics club with a serious inferiority complex about her older sister misaki who first had the idea of building a giant robot for the famous anime "gunvarrel" 9 years ago.
2. yashio kaito, whose sole interest at the start is playing a giant-robot battle game, at which he excels. otherwise he doesn't seem to care about anything, doesn't want to do anything, and basically just lays around, only moving when aki drags him around.
3. daitoku junna, a moe blob with a fear of robots (she has reason).
4. hidaka subaru, megane guy with delusions of bishounen/liberace grandeur, heavily into robots, serious to a fault
5. fraukoujiro / furugoori kano, shut-in, geek, gamer, genius programmer, fujoshi, equal-opportunity lecher
6. yukifune airi, AI interface
that doesn't sound so bad, you say? well, it's not bad bad, but it's just... there isn't enough character development here. we get a bare bones skeleton for most of them, and while we might find out a secret or two, we don't really get to know these people, and they feel almost generic (except that their character design is very good). except furugoori, who is quite a unique character, albeit bordering on caricature.
aki and kaito both drive the show; everybody else feels like an extra. aki bulldozes ahead on the robot-building side, while kaito investigates the odd occurrences that start with an alleged ghost. he becomes a little more interesting as time goes on, but i had a hard time warming up to him because he is just not innately curious (unlike me, *wry grin*), and keeps dragging his feet, almost lackadaisically stumbling across serious secrets, and showing little intellectual curiosity. he frustrated me a lot until fairly late in the anime when he grows a pair. his saving grace all along is that he does care about those he considers his friends, and he will act to help them, often quietly behind the scenes. i am happy to say what little romance this anime involves is actually well done, no typical stupidity involved.
i can't talk about the villain(s) without spoilering, but that's probably my biggest disappointment -- we get no good villain. there is no proper motivation for the villainous intent, and frankly, most fights between good and evil just bore me; i prefer conflict between good-yet-flawed characters, dilemmas that make me think. don't get that here. oh, and i could have done without the parrot ex machina intervention at the convenient moment; i actually laughed -- not what i should feel moved to do in a life-or-death situation
so where the heck did the monopoles come from? is that ever explained and i just missed it?
in short, i enjoyed watching it, but the pay-off didn't materialize, and the 7 is primarily there because the production is so good, and i average all values to get my overall score. i don't think that i would recommend it to my friends. read more
A short warning: This is kind of long and I'm a bit of a potty-mouth (I tried to take the cursing out, but some might still be in there). Also, please leave some feedback, especially if you don't like the review. All criticism is appreciated.
The setting is basically this: The Robotics Club at Central Tanegashima High School want to build a huge mecha, and the series follows its members in their struggles with funding and other stuff. Pretty basic. Obviously there's more under the surface than the characters just going at it with spanners, including a mystery slowly being revealed about a conspiracy that would severely endanger a sweeping majority of the people on Earth. It's pretty far-fetched and we're never given a proper explanation why the plan is in motion any way. The series is very episodic and each episode usually focuses on one of the side characters and how Kaito fits in and helps them.
To begin with some negativity, my main gripe with the series, is that it feels so very standard. Generic is another word I could use, but it feels too negative. Robotics;Notes takes what you find in most series nowadays: A cast of rather quirky characters that compliment each-other's quirk/weirdness and go with it. It embraces the stereotypic tropes usually associated with anime and doesn't shy away from using them.
A positive to be found is that the animation is of very good quality. It's not Makoto Shinkai level of quality, but not much out there is. I'm far from an artist myself, so that's about all I'll say about it. One of the few good things with the series.
As far as the voice acting, it's mostly solid. Fukuda Nobuaki stands out as "Doc" in an emotional episode at about the middle of the series. Most others are good, but not outstanding. Part of the soundtrack stand out, but others are pretty run-of-the-mill pieces. Sound department ends up being a little above average, all things considered.
To the characters:
Akiho (the female protagonist) is super energetic and ambitious, while Kaito (male protagonist) is when the series begins depicted as a sloth and generally disinterested in doing anything but playing Kill-Ballad (an on-line fighting game with mechas) which he apparently is one of the top people in the world at. As the series goes forward, Kaito's character is all over the place. Junna is what I like to put in the category of "moe-blob. Basically, she's a throwaway character that's in the series to be cute and once or twice pop into the main plot-line for an episode or two. Contrasting her is Subaru, ambitious and helpful dude, who was told by his father to stop building, and competing with, robots. Then there's Kona, the epitome of stereotypic nerds in Japanese culture; She's a shut-in; almost entirely communicates in memes; is incredibly perverted and is generally pictured as a bit of a nut-case. That said, she does have a back-story that ties into the main story which is intriguing for the peculiarly short time it's given to develop. There's also the obligatory crazy director guy who's completely obsessed with boobs, and has a parrot that's trained (or is just damaged for being around him too long) to chant along in his craving for beholding boobs, as well as the oddball teacher who seems to be the most stupid and unreliable person on earth, but ends up being a person you should count on. You know you've seen these character types before if you've watched more than a couple anime.
A big problem the series has initially, is the fact that it takes a long time to get going. It starts with an in medias res scene, with the group starting up a big mecha and getting it started. After that we're showed the lives and struggles of Akiho and Kaito in their strife to get the robot working. They get some more members shortly, but the two are unquestionably the main characters. So, basically, the first episodes are for introducing the characters and the basic plot, which is usually fine. The problem is that the main characters aren't really that interesting, and neither is the main story to begin with. Viewers who stick around will have a passable series to watch, but there's not a whole lot keeping you in attached to the show or its characters. Let's see why:
The characters, with focus on the main characters:
Kaito - the series main protagonist, mind you- is an extremely bland and terribly boring character. He rarely shows interest in doing anything at all and seems to be sticking around "just because". In the beginning, coming off as eternally sceptical and non-committal, though at times showing intense caring and emotion, Kaito is a character that's all over the place, everything at once. It's not that he breaks out of his usual behaviour once or twice, it's that he doesn't have a starting point. Which is something you can say about the series as well.
Akiho - sharing main protagonist duties with Kaito - is a very energetic character who strongly believes in herself and her vision of building the robot her sister started building years previously. I can see her being a character that splits the audience, like a Haruhi. Infectious and happy-go-lucky personality that can alienate some viewers and enamour others.
The most glaring problem with the side-characters is that they're used mainly as plot devices. Characters pop in and out of relevance when it's convenient to the story, and few are consistent throughout the series. So, even when there are scenes that are supposed to evoke emotional responses, we as viewers haven't been given enough to care about the characters and their fates. Every scene should get some sort of reaction or give you something as a viewer. Tons of scenes and some episodes could and should have been cut out to give the viewer more information and background.
The story, which takes the back seat to introducing the characters. The mecha launching stuff in the opening moments of the show is a set-up for other things to happen in the second half of the series and the main story takes a few episodes to even enter the series. The story is told very episodically, in fragments between the episode-long character arcs, where you get more information about the characters and at times ending that characters arc entirely. Like seriously, what ever happened to Subaru's dad going at him for still being into robots? Did he just chill out after Subaru picked one apart in front of him? It was never very clear in the series, or at least not given enough time to appreciate what the arc ultimately did for the character (nothing at all).
It does pick up a considerable amount later, with some emotional episodes and big events and twists. The middle part of the series is easily its best. Though, with the characters being horribly, infuriatingly uneven, it's hard to fully enjoy the series. Also, some scenes are so ridiculously improbable and out of the blue that any seriousness it's trying to get across gets lost.
Now, I've been ragging on it a lot, but honestly, Robotics;Notes is an enjoyable show at times. It's passable as a watch, but if I were to decide on it being good or bad, I have to go with bad. With the story presented, the show has the potential to be a great show, but there are like six episodes dedicated to the story when the disappointing endgame rolls in, filled with deus ex machinas.
To summarise: The series does a poor job at getting the attention and sympathies of it's viewers to begin with and the pacing is way off from where it should be to tell a story that you, as a viewer, should become invested in. Main characters aren't able to carry the show on their own, and as a result the show is pretty flat in the end. It's almost fun how much we're meant to take for granted without any explanation at all. As such, it fails in doing what any series striving to be considered a serious work should do: Make the viewer care. It certainly has some sweet feel-good moments, but they hardly weigh up the series' shortcomings. It's a good try, but in the end it fails more than it succeeds. It falls short of the line between good and bad, and as such, I won't recommend this series to anyone. Maybe I would recommend an aspiring storyteller to watch it, just to know what pits in writing and storytelling to avoid, and that's certainly not something you would want written on the back of the DVD-case. read more
Both shows feature a few teenagers who are interested in mecha and the setting is in the not-too-distant future. The teens spend a lot of their time in a garage and discuss the robots. Also, in both of the series, there is a bit of politics/conspiracies mixed in. Although the vibe of both series are a bit unlike each other - some of the character's personalities in both series are similar to each other. For example, both the RN and RB main female characters are persistent and are focused on reaching their goals and have a bond with their robot/RideBack.
In both series, there is a similar feeling and involves a female protagonist who is interested in technology that are appealing to the world that they reside in. Although their interests are different, the main female protagonist is determined to make their dreams a reality.
Both series also takes place at a school setting where there is a club formed for the series' interests.
Both series has some science fiction themes as well as comedy, drama, and some emotional moments in later episodes.
While Robotics;Notes fails to really deconstruct or bring to light the real issues with building and piloting a gigantic mech in modern day Japan, Dai-Guard plays this deconstruction trope very well. While most people would argue that Evangelion is the mecha "deconstruction" story, in truth, Dai-Guard does what both of these series want to do by framing the construction and maintenance of a giant robot in a modern Japanese setting. If you enjoy comedy and mecha deconstruction, Dai-Guard is the anime that does these things the best.
Opening Theme#1: "Junjou Spectra (純情スペクトラ)" by Zwei (eps 1-11)
#2: "Houkyou no Messiah (咆筺のメシア)" by HARUKI (eps 12-22)
Ending Theme#1: "Umikaze no Brave (海風のブレイブ)" by fumika (eps 1-11)
#2: "Topology (トポロジー)" by Kanako Ito (eps 12-22)
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Related ClubsAnime America Club, Jiraya Icha Icha Research Club, Currently Airing Anime, Robotics;Notes, Future Gadget Lab , MAL Synchtube Theater, For god sake stop scoring shows when no episodes are out!, 5pb Fan Club, The Mad Scientists, Robotics;Notes FC, noitaminA
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