I know I didn’t cover episodic reviews of Robotics; Notes but I actually saw the whole thing through to the end and I thought to share my thoughts on the show now that it’s done. So how did it do in my opinion? Well, get reading!
I found Robotics; Notes to be enjoyable, inspirational at its best, but not totally outstanding. The show actually contains very interesting sci-fi concepts but I find that as the show’s plot progressed, these concepts took a step behind character development in terms of focus. By the last few episodes, the answers to all these questions that the show heavily built up on came off as flat, vague, and outright underwhelming. It’s as if the show just went “Oh, yeah, this caused that. Anyway, back to me getting you to hate me.” WHAT. NO. You don’t cause a mass robot malfunction which devastates a city and go “It wasn’t the sun after all. It was me.” What do you mean it was you? How’d you do it? WHY’D you do it? That’s another thing. It felt like Kimijima Kou just woke up and decided to be a bad guy one day. His answer for the reasons for his actions just had no impact and ended up being forgettable. He caused everyone on a cruise ship to fall into a come because he wanted to. He had no higher purpose! Airi’s involvement to all this was also quite confusing. Sister Centipede was vital to the plot progression but it felt like she could have existed without Airi, like she didn’t have to be designed after her, that Airi was just there to add a loli to the group. All these can be attributed to the show’s poor pacing. This was an adaptation of a visual novel by 5bp of Steins; Gate fame. The writers probably had a lot to fit in to this but their priorities seemed to keep changing which ended up causing this mess.
So what’s good about this show? The music. The soundtrack for this show is definitely one of the best I’ve listened to in a while. They really set the mood of the scene they’re playing in. The opening themes really reflected the show’s atmosphere as well. The first opening and ending themes were lively and upbeat. Complimenting the youthful ambition and energy that Akiho possessed which drove the first part of the story. The second opening and ending themes were “steadier”. They weren’t the typical J-pop anime tracks. They were more subtle and more mature sounding to reflect the serious, more engaging turn the story has taken. The 2nd ending theme just melted everything and creates a one-and-a-half minute atmosphere perfect far taking in everything that transpired in the story. Whether it be a dramatic cliffhanger or a heart-warming conclusion.
Finally there’s the characters. The anime has a varied cast of…anime stereotypes. You got your deadbeat teenager, your Genki girl, your fujoshi, your easily flustered nerd, your shrinking violet and your loli (with added forehead). It makes for an interesting dynamic for better or for worse. Sometimes its fun, sometimes it’s just annoying. The antagonist is pretty bland and really didn’t match up to the conflict of the plot which he supposedly created.
The protagonists Kai and Akiho might not be to everyone’s taste. Kai is an apathetic teenager while Akiho is a typical Genki girl. I hated Kai in the beginning. He was a lazy ass who wouldn’t make an effort even for his friends but as the plot developed, so did Kai. He started to care more for the other members and with good reason. He saw the determination in Aki’s eyes and started reciprocating. When things got more intense with Frau’s situation, he actually stepped up and came to her aid. Kai became that guy doesn’t do jack shit when nothing’s going on but you know he’s going to be there for you when you need him. Is he too perfect? Sometimes. Sometimes he does these impressive feats and then just shrugs it off like it didn’t matter. Other times, he actually shows how much effort he put into things and that’s when I get to like him the most.
Aki can either be cute or annoying in the beginning. She was just bursting with energy as opposed to Kai who is next to dead. It was occasionally fun seeing her get comically frustrated when nobody responds to her outbursts of enthusiasm. Was Aki’s character psychologically backed up though? Yes. When you have a sister who has always been supportive suddenly leave and tell you that you’re worthless, or when you have a best friend who won’t do anything, you’d either end up an apathetic loser or end up compensating by being overly optimistic. Aki also showed legitimate emotions too, and they were also understandable. It made sense when she was so dispirited about her sister never calling her and yet she never stayed down for too long for it to be unrealistic.
The romance between them was just…frustrating. They obviously had potential with each other and yet nothing was really done about it except for maybe a few hints and a couple of scenes teasing the possibility of them having affections for each other. The conclusion felt like a last-minute addition to the story. It’s not like either character went through some emotional dilemma trying to decide whether to confess or not. Aki just did it and it felt so sudden that there was no impact to it.
So in the end, Robotics Notes is mixed nuts for me. I enjoyed it a lot and at the same time, I was confused and disappointed by it just as well. Another anime that had promising build-up but started to lose itself at its high point. Love how Kai grew throughout the story. Hated how several questions and mysteries were answered so half-assedly by the show’s conclusion. Those looking for an anime that actually makes an effort to tell a story and doesn’t pander to the fans too much can find one here. Sci-fi enthusiasts may be interested with what the story has to offer with all the conspiracies involved with the plot, though they will probably find themselves disappointed with how the show ends up in this aspect. The show isn’t a particular favorite of mine. I never got too attached to the characters with how cliché they may be at times and the mess of a plot kept me from enjoying the story to its fullest. Was it worth watching though? Yeah. It was a good experience. Not a very memorable one, but one I don’t regret at the end of the day.
I might do a review on Psycho Pass and Zetsuen no Tempest as well. Just go stalk the Facebook page for updates!