2019, 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.
I was really looking forward to an anime adaptation of Robotics;Notes, the third visual novel written by Hayashi Naotaka-shi for the collaboration of 5pb. and Nitroplus, because previous two series came from it were really neat with ChäoS;HEAd being a rather promising start and Steins;Gate being just stellar. So no wonder I have a lot of things to tell now.
Robotics;Notes begins with our protagonists, Yashio Kaito and Senomiya Akiho, the only members of school’s robotics club, trying to save the said club from shutting down. And that’s a huge step down from Steins;Gate in terms of a story. I mean, Steins;Gate had university students as main characters who invent and mess up with crazy gadgets, and all Robotics;Notes has to offer is yet another clichéd story about saving a school club. Ouch. But to be fair, one can still pull out a good plot from that, and Robotics;Notes has an interesting start despite me being biased against its premise.
The plot of the series starts off with Yashio and Senomiya entering some sort of Japanese Robot Wars tournament. It’s a great hook for the series and it made me change my initial opinion of the show. I’m pretty sure that the idea of crushing and smashing enemy robots with your own one is appealing to every geek, who is interested in technology. We are all children when it comes to this. If you liked playing around with screwdrivers and other instruments, disassembling stuff and building simple mechanisms when you were small, then you understand the overall feeling that Robotics;Notes is trying to show you — the technology is awesome, and through it you can make miracles come true like a bloody mage.
The first half of Robotics;Notes serves mainly as an introduction of the characters, just like in Steins;Gate.
Yashio is a good male protagonist to me. He has a lazy attitude but essentially is a nice and caring fellow who just doesn’t want to show it off. Sometimes he lacks character because of that but I think that’s fine in general.
Senomiya Akiho is a cheerful, merry girl. She is really important for this story because she is the key to the mood Robotics;Notes is trying to pull you in. Senomiya absolutely loves robots and never stops talking about how classy they are. Actually, it’s a double-edged sword, because, depending on a viewer, she can either be irritating or having a certain appeal to her.
Of all other characters I want to mention Furugōri Kona, resident computer fairy. I mentioned in my Steins;Gate review that I liked how Hashida Itaru was a pretty nice depiction of a geek. Furugōri is exact opposite, a walking stereotype: a shut-in, a fujoshi and speaks in slang full of memes. The thing is, she is probably my favourite character here, maybe because of her over-the-top behaviour and facial expressions or maybe because she has a certain drama to herself. Nevertheless, I think Furugōri’s antics are the funniest part of the series.
So, yeah… Enough praising here. You’ve probably seen my rating and are now wondering why it is so low after all I said. Well, both Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes have a good first half, but while Steins;Gate in its second half becomes one of the best anime series I’ve ever seen, Robotics;Notes follows the wrong way and starts to fall apart.
The plot becomes bloody nonsensical. A lot of threads are left forgotten and unresolved, and I think that I should put part of the blame for this on the blokes who wrote script for the series because it feels like they did a bad job in condensing several routes of the visual novel into one big story. But there are things I can’t see any excuse for. Some events of the past that the characters constantly mentioned in a vague way are never fully explained. What a tease. Other big events happened during the course of the series just don’t get enough attention in my eyes. Major things going in Tokyo? Yep, it looks totally important because all description I get is about thirty seconds of footage and a couple of posts in bland name Twitter. The world is in turmoil? Casually mentioned in the news and that’s it. I just can’t sense the scale they want me to feel. It’s like spending all day wasting time in your house, watching the telly and so on, and then some fellow suddenly shows up and tells you that boom, you saved the world by doing nothing. That is wonderful but just doesn’t feel like a major accomplishment, does it?
Most of the characters lost their appeal to me in the second half because they just stopped being relevant to the main plot. It’s just like they are written in for the sake of one single scene or for the pure purpose of exposition. The antagonist is also meh because he lacks any motivation or traits that could have made him a memorable villain. Just what is he going to do after he succeeds? Why is his plan so overly complex and relying heavily on rather small and obscure details? I guess I’ll never know.
And another thing. As I mentioned before, what defined Robotics;Notes and made it likeable to me in the first place is the sense of awe it gave to technology and constructing stuff. I loved that message, but then the creators completely screwed it up with inconsistency and technobabble. Sure, there is a lot of technobabble in ChäoS;HEAd and in Steins;Gate, but at least it is believable to some extent. And here we have magnetic monopoles — red glowing thingies that just fall from the sky for unexplained reason. There is a friendly neighbourhood PhD in physics, whom I went to the same school with. When I told her about this concept, well… I’ll never forget those cold eyes of a person with murderous intent so strong it can make you die of fear. No, seriously, you cannot write a love letter to science with plot devices like monopoles that come out from bloody nowhere. It sort of undermines the whole message that technology can make miracles in good hands and save the world in hopeless situations because it turns out that to create technology you need a really miraculous event to happen first. Ridiculous.
Robotics;Notes is major disappointment for me. Akin to ChäoS;HEAd and Steins;Gate, it was rather promising in the beginning, with Robot Wars, urban legends and augmented reality quest bits, but unlike those two, its story had too much build-up leading out to literally nothing, so it just collapsed by its own weight.read more
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
I want to note this is my first review. I was 11 episodes within the series when I had written this review. Please keep in mind I was hyped from some important climatic events. Seeing this series with only two reviews at the time (poor and shrewd); I decided to step up. This is also spoiler free until noted.
Story & Plot:
Robotics;Notes has slice of life related elements while maintaining a hint of supernatural. As the story progresses, the story unfolds of how Earth will face it's doom and our little high school club may be the only ones that can actually do anything about it. It compares to Steins;Gate, which had a slow paced story with major impact during later episodes. Everything slowly unravels for a sickeningly twisted plot of how everyone and everything is connected.
The show features a very diverse set of characters. Our main heroin female is spunky and full of dreams and our protagonist is a laid back gamer. As our two main characters set off to save their club from disbandment it begins to introduce the set cast and how everyone plays a dire role. From the quirky moe internet junky to our shy, full of impact karate impressionist, the Robotics Club is balanced in every which way. Robotics;Notes leads on to a huge set of character based comedy where the more you like the character the funnier their actions are.
Artwork & Animation:
The shadings for the environment look stunning as an overall piece while the mecha blend perfectly into each scene. Unlike most CGI looking clockworks we're deceived by today, Robotics;Note doesn't leave anything for imagination in this category (all in good retrospect). Character design comes at a stand point of an acceptable, but typical anime character. However character detail shines unprecedented.
Music & Opening/Ending
Robotics;Notes background music always fits perfectly as something unique for what's happening at that point. Whether they're discussing something serious or posing the lighter side in semantics, the music is latent enough to pull you into the story.
As for the opening, it's uplifting. It features the cast starting a new day alongside the Robotics Club. The ending focuses on a cute patsy character that might make a good selling point. The music itself is an upbeat tune following the character taking on the world.
Robotics;Notes stands out for me simply based off story progression. Even though we begin with this slice of life "can we build it story?" it evolves into "what's going on and is this true?" To better understand, if you've seen shows like Mawaru Penguindrum or Durarara!! you're stuck in a world where nothing makes sense until you're nearly done with the series. When they reveal certain aspects of the series' universe you just want to see what happens next, and how they pull through. Robotics;Notes delivers to keep you interested in the same manner.
To be Expected (my rendition of harmless spoilers):
- Priority Numero Uno! There aren't any large breasted females; it's not unorthodox in character design.
- There are mecha fight scenes.
- Various character based comedy.
- Light physical powers, persay.
- Unraveling the future of Earth fighting against an evil company.
- Next generation technology.read more
Okay, so Robotics;Notes. I admit it. I am a big fan of Nitrosplus and their works. Hell, remember Steins;Gate? That scientific thriller was one hell of a ride. When I heard that they were going to do another anime adaptation of the science fiction genre, I was very excited. No, I was ecstatic. However, after completing this series, it left me nothing of what I originally had hoped for. Don't get me wrong. I don't like comparing other works from the same company much especially since neither has close resemblance. However, the experience that came out of this series was worlds apart.
Now, regarding technology...
The world of technology can do wonders. In today's world, technology has provided us with so many new innovations for our common lives. In fact, without technology, our lives would not be the same as many of us know as of today. Perhaps one of the most interesting technology we may be curious about is the idea of robotics. Yes, robots! It's a mechanical unit with artificial intelligence that is programmed by a computer system that can make our lives much easier. It is automatic. It is useful. It is futuristic. Who knows? In maybe about ten, twenty, or thirty years, our world may never ever be the same again. If there's one change though, robots might be a word that would come to most people's minds. Evolution is inevitable and technology evolves every day.
In the world of Robotics;Notes, robots has become a fascinating phenomenon. By its tagline, “What would happen if you really tried to make a giant robot?”
Robotics;Notes is an anime series with production handled by Production I.G that began airing on noitaminA (Animation written backwords) during the Fall of 2012. The series is based off of a Japanese visual novel developed by 5pb who are known for their previous science fiction works such as Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate. The series takes place in 2019 on a southern island known as Tanegashima in Japan. In a futuristic world, technology has evolved and people have become interested in robots. One such group of people known as the Robot Research Club is keen on unlocking its secrets, exploring the ideas of robotics, and make the most of it.
Now, the series is a standalone anime. It is NOT a prequel or sequel of any of Nitroplus' other works. Despite being in the mainstream and having highly successful ratings, Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes has little similarity beyond one or the other with the exception of a cameo character and some references.
The majority of the series takes place at Chuuoutanegashima High School. (how the hell do you even pronounce that?) It is here where the Robot Research Club do their daily activities. Unfortunately though, the club does seem to suffer a bit of...uh, population in terms of membership. As a matter of fact, its status is weak and it's up to its two members (Akiho Senomiya and Kaito Yashio) to save it.
For the first half of the series, Robotics;Notes gives off a slice-of-life feeling where the atmosphere is very lighthearted, casual, and occasionally can cause some snoozing reactions. Luckily, we have Akiho and Kaito to maybe wipe out some of those boredom. For one thing, I found these two protagonists very likeable to watch especially in regards to their interactions and dialogues. Their personalities doesn't seem to match well though. On the surface, Akiho seems to be a very enthusiastic girl who wants to explores ideas (namely robotics for the club). Her goal is to make a giant robot for the world to see and hoping that dream will become a reality. She also seems to be a big fan of GUNVARREL, and surprise surprise, that's about robotics as well. On the other hand, there's Kaito. Unlike Akiho, he only seems to be interested in spending his days playing games, namely the fighting game Kill-Ballad. He is unenthusiastic but continues to stand by Akiho's side for a specific reason.
The club only has two members from the beginning. It's hard to make the most of it for the duo especially if they want to convince others to join their club. For that, they must earn other students' respect, support, and rights. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this task is to make a name for themselves at school. And hey, what better way to do it than making a giant robot?!
The way these two start off from the beginning is a bit frustrating to watch. Their lack of progress puts Akiho on stress especially with their club in danger of being closed. Trust me though, I want them to succeed. But that's a lot easier said than done because not only does the club seems to lack members, but also funding as well. There does seem to be opportunities presented that could help with that but one must win the rights for it.
Speaking of opportunities, by the first few episodes, viewers might be turned off with its themes and the presentation. In fact, this series can even be labeled as slice-of-life at many occasions by the way it seems to progress its episodes. It's no surprise though as Nitroplus' other works tend to follow a similar trending; shows starts off slow, gets intense, and concludes with a definite finish.
Luckily, that intensity and progression gets under way later on. Like an invention, the series progresses itself through its themes such as actual robot combat and later on, even conspiracy from the government. It also gets more emotional as well especially regarding Subaru (another student at the school) and his father. Furthermore, there is a lot of mysteries developing seemingly behind the scenes. For one thing, Kaito seems to have discovered something out of this world in the form of a young girl trapped in his game tablet. It opens up a strange boundary towards the mystery field as viewers may want to know who she is, what's she's there for, and why she is there in the first place.
Unfortunately, the series itself does drag quite a bit. Even I found it boring at many circumstances. Robotics;Notes just seems to drag itself way too slow with its slice-of-life feeling. As a matter of fact, each episode seems off balance. The “let's build a robot to make our names known to the world” genre has becomes stale after so many episodes. Furthermore, the mechanics behind the construction of the robot is almost nonexistent or mentioned very briefly in one of the beginning episodes. The series' all so likeable duo also becomes a bit repetitive to watch as there seems to be little to no development between Akiko and Kaito. As a matter of fact, the duo continues live on their daily lives as if there's almost nothing going on and about. Their relationship remains intact but we want to see more than that. We want to seem the two succeed and accomplish what their goal – building that robot of their dreams and showing it to the world to make a name of themselves. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen or at least far too slow in progress. Well, I guess the ending of this little duo was cute. But marvelous? Hell no. Finally, I would say that although R;N makes a way of seemingly foreshadowing events, it is stale. At the very least, it didn't give me that thriller like feeling.
However, the theme of robots and technology remains intact. To add to this package, there is also a very peculiar girl who speaks and acts like a otaku of the modern days. Her name is Frau (real name is Kona Furugōri) and she's one girl with a genius mind. Behind that head of hers though lies a somewhat tragic past especially related to her parents. Furthermore, her character develops a bit and becomes one of the pivotal moments during the latter half of the series after an unprecedented event. With the help of her new friend, she finds hope in this world of technology.
Speaking of hope, there seems to be more of that later on for the Robotics Club as well!
The club recruits some new members and gets their interests through. In fact, even Kaito becomes interested in some of the phenomenon going around especially regarding one of the mysterious factors he discovers on his game tablet as mentioned earlier. Because the series has 5bp and Nitroplus involved, expect some correlations. In fact, a cameo from its highly successful anime series Steins;Gate makes their debut later on as well as various references. It's science all over again! Duhuhu
In terms of visuals, Robotics;Notes only maintains an average stance of artwork. The school has its posture that looks like an average looking school rather than some viewers may originally expected; a possibly advanced academy with super technology. No, it's just a normal school with normal people. Ichirou Tatsuta handles the art direction who is known for his work in other titles such as Ghost Hound, Shiki, and Usagi Drop. The characters themselves also look mostly normal and to themselves (with a little peculiarity added to Frau). Chikashi Kubota (Anohana, Shinsekai Yori, Corpse Princess) is responsible for the characters' animation designs. He gives most of the series' characters a soft touch of lightheartedness rather than making them stand out too much. Most of them gives off that natural look with some technical attributes here and there such as Airi. Ah, that cute little thing..
The soundtrack and music of the series stands slightly above mediocre. The OP song, Junjou Spectra by Zwei, for the first half is very catchy with its montage of characters as well as some of the technology dealing with robotics. The second OP song drops the ball a bit but still gives off that technical outlook. The overall OST of the series is lighthearted with some emotional melodies played during some of the more melancholic scenes. It's hard to take it serious at many variances because the series feels like a slice of life with everything moving slowly. The soundtrack has that slow feeling as well. It's boring.
Overall, enjoying Robotics Notes for me was hard. The series starts off slow and has that slice of life feeling. That feeling follows throughout the series despite some of the intertwined arcs presented such as conspiracy, robot building, and the mysterious girl in the game tablet. The duo of Kaito and Aki are fun to watch at first but it might be hard to take it too well after so their ever-so-slow development. In fact, there is hardly much at all despite them being the main stars of the show. Their personality collides often and makes it seem strange to watch them interact at times. Luckily, robots exist in the show that gives the title its meaning. Technology plays roles too especially with the mind of a young genius girl. There is also minimal fan service that gives the series a more innocent outlook on the futuristic world as opposed to a dark dystopian setting five or ten years from our time. Ultimately though, R;N stands only barely at a '6' for me. If it wasn't for a certain cool 2D girl with her cool pixel hair style, I probably would of snoozed through this. Duhuhuhu...
Now I do have to wonder though, what would you do if you had a giant robot?read more
Hairstyles are very important to character design. Did you know they made an entire anime about how great twintails are? Why do anime fans like twintails so much and what, if anything, are the defining characteristics of these double-ponytailed ladies?