Robotica * Robotics is a short - only 10 minutes long OVA from the outstanding director Soubi Yamamoto.
For such a short anime, Robotica is really amazing. It looks very very beautiful, the characters are simple but interesting and it deals with really important things. "What is love?" is the question what the characters try to solve.
This OVA has only 3 characters. Two robots; Haru and Natsu and their new owner Masa-san. Natsu is afraid of being abandoned again. Haru and Natsu are trying to find out the meaning of love. What is it? And can robots love?
And a few more words about the art. I
love the fresh and colorful look of Robotica * Robotics. Soubi Yamamoto has a very unique way of making anime. It's like colorful manga moving with lots of different textures and colors. I love the way it looks.
I find this OVA really amazing. It's really heartwarming and nice. Loved it~
For a ten minute long short, this really packs a punch. Right to the gut. By punch I mean a stab and by gut I mean your heart. Really. It still hurts when I think about this.
It starts off simply enough. Two abandoned robot boys and a surly professor who has taken them in. 'What is love?' Haru asks. Immediately the phrase 'baby don't hurt me...don't hurt me...no more' pops into your head.
Goodness how you wish that came true and that this OVA did not totally destroy you in the most painful way possible.
It's a common enough premise for a story, an AI who wants
to feel love and be a human (see: Pinocchio). But usually, it's as Haru says; robots who want to feel love and happiness. But what about Natsu? Yamamoto tackles the negative emotions that accompany the loneliness and futility of human emotions by having Natsu. Natsu does not ask what love is. Instead he is held down by negative emotions. It's a stark realisation; would robots in these stories want to become human because of all of these negative emotions?
It's at the end that we receive our answer, and at that point would also be nice to receive a bucket of ice cream and a kitten to soothe the pain.
It's at the end that Haru realises what love is. It's then when Natsu realises that not all emotions are bad, and that Haru and Masa are worth the pain that he has suffered both emotionally and physically.
Haru's childlike naivety grated on me until the climax of the animation. That's the only thing I would mark down on, really. There was no real character development/heavy insight into their pasts, and Masa still remains a mystery, but seeing as it's a ten minute short, I'm willing to overlook this. However, Haru's naivety was what got me the most. His realisation at the end of the film of what love is to him; simple, comfortable, happiness, and the way that he simply states it caused something to well up in my from the inside and spill out of my eyes in the form of tears and from my mouth in the form of a sound more akin to a dying whale.
The art was beautiful, as usual from Soubi Yamamoto. As one of her earlier works, her proportions are still a bit skewed, and angles too sharp, but she retains her charming style of art and quirky animation through the captions littered across the short and patterns and real life photography contrasting with the exaggerated cartoon motion.
When I speak about the track played at the end of the short, I have to speak about that scene. All of that scene.
The music played is a quiet and slow piano piece, a simple arrangement of chords which lets the dialogue between Haru and Natsu shine through. The piece maintains its quiet melancholy even through the violent event that rips through the climax of the short, and maintains it still through choked out sobs and a simple realisation of what love is. When it started playing, it really did sound like a finality. Haru and Natsu, lit by the sun, walking hand-in-hand and that track emphasises their comfortable happiness that they share in that moment. Haru grieving, that track just emphasises his loss and his emotion. And finally, with the appearance of Masa, the notion of a 'home' and the realisation of love; a bittersweet relief that their search for the meaning of love had ended.
At the end, I did not cry from grief. I cried from happiness that finally, two cruelly abandoned robots had a loving home. From the happiness that at last, they knew the despair and joy of human emotion.
Perhaps you watch it, fully invested in this fictional world, but it will hit you. Seeing what were two empty shells filled up with human emotions when they were not programmed to do so did something to me.
You finish watching and you ask yourself; 'what is love?'
The entire short was a reminder of being human. Of feeling. And that's what I love about Yamamoto's scriptwriting. Her take on the human condition and the philosophies adopted by her characters is thought provoking and touching, and you'll find yourself thinking about that question long after you have watched this short.
'What is love?' you think.
Thinking about it makes you cry more, so you quickly abandon the thought in favour of a family sized bucket of ice-cream and a blanket in an attempt to stop your tears.
This 10 minutes anime is possibly the best I have ever seen. After watching almost all of her work, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Soubi Yamamoto's work. It holds such depth and raw beauty.
Robotica*Robotics starts with two little robots, Haru and Natsu, sitting on an old couch with a sign, Junk attached. Then we meet Masa, the Shady Middle Aged Man, and he asks the two what they would do if he killed himself.
From there things grow and we have one simple question we must answer by the. What is love?
Haru constantly asks this, and neither Natsu nor Masa can give him a solid answer. Half way through I found myself asking, What is love? Is it real? Is it fake? What exactly is it? I still can't figure it out, and I love that. Not only is this story touching, adorable, lovable, and heart-wrenching, but it also makes you think.
How she fit all that into ten minutes amazes me.
My favorite part of Soubi-san's work! I love the creativity and vibrant colors with that underlying darkness. I read an interview describing how she loved the ability to add colors that made thing pop and were so bright in anime.
Her style is so unique and elegant.
The characters are drawn with a lanky and bright pattern, something that never gets old. Her eyes also fascinating, from Kakashi of This Boy Can Fight Aliens black mess of swirls to Isaki of This Boy Caught a Merman's vibrant highlighted eyes. In R*R I love Haru's eye; I feel they express him so well.
The art style continues to amaze with its borderline childishness and realisticness. I'm sure many would disagree with the latter, but I feel like it captures the raw emotions and feelings in a realistic manner. With a mishmash of colors and swirls and scribbles its just so amazing.
I love the music that they use. It has a great simplicity and elegance. It also managed to add to the mood and pulled at my heartstrings just the right way to make me tear up. I watched the dubbing (plan to watch sub soon) and I loved the casting. Haru's voice was so chilling to me, the perfect amount of child like curiosity and emotionless-ness. Natsu had just enough human emotion.
Haru and Natsu are complete opposites yet they are so right for one another. Haru is so childish and series at the same time, while Natsu is the mature sturdy one. The development, especially of Natsu, is amazing. I only give this a 9 because I would have loved to see more development for Masa. But other then that I just love them all.
It made me think. I love that. It also made me tear up, giggle, scream, squeal, and just so many other emotions in ten minutes. How can someone be so amazing? Soubi-san is my hero!
Yamamoto Soubi has done it again! She has found a way to take two seemingly "normal" characters and create a complexity and depth within them which is unprecedented and which takes true skill to accomplish.
The story is centered around two robots who try to become more human-like by trying to understand the true meaning of love. "An emotion which only humans can feel/understand". The anime takes you on what I feel to be reminiscent of a beautiful poetic journey and deals with themes of love, suicide, acceptance and humanity itself. It will make you reflect on life and is one of those animes which
will stick with you.
It is not just another "yaoi/shounen-ai" anime and neither is it just another "love story", it is soo much more and has so much meaning.
All in all, this was nothing less than a true masterpiece and is an anime which I would recommend to everyone. It is nothing less than beautiful, a sort of beauty within the stories sadness.