Robotics;Notes – 05

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I know a government conspiracy couldn’t be too far off…

It’s looking like a pretty darn good season on NoitaminA after all.  Psycho-Pass is rounding into form nicely, and I’ve loved Robotics;Notes right from the beginning.  The thing about this show is that even when things get heavy (and the destruction of the solar system is pretty darn heavy) there’s a laid-back quality to it that’s totally working for me.  It makes a nice bookend with P-P, which is all bombast and flair, and both for NoitaminA and Production I.G. these are series that seem to complement each other perfectly.

Central to the success of the show is the development of Kaito as the main character, and we’re seeing plenty of that.  Kaito is a very different sort of lead than Okarin (let me get this straight, Nitroplus: these guys are both supposed to be 18?) as befits the fact that R;N is a very different sort of show than Steins;Gate.  Kaito is proving to be very much more than he appears: smarter, tougher, more feeling and more involved, and carrying more painful baggage.  He fulfills the first requirement of a lead, which is that he’s someone you don’t mind spending time with every week, but he’s proving to be genuinely interesting in his own right, and suited to be the catalyst for the story.

As with S;G, we have the story developing on two fronts, the personal and the conspiratorial – and each are critical to the success of the overall product.  I’ll repeat my observation of last week that the character interaction on this show feels very natural, because it definitely does.  We had a new element introduced into that mix this week with Daitouku Junna (Tokui Sora), classmate and failed martial artist, who finds she shares a common interest with Kaito regarding the urban legend of a mysterious ghost who appears at the old launch site.  Her interest in Kaito is obvious but nicely underplayed, her reluctance to visit the robotics club being one obvious clue.  Likewise Akiho reveals her own feelings when Kaito tells her about the outing later – “You can date her all you want” huh? – but the nature of her relationship with Kaito is exemplified by the fact that he walked into her room casually.  And by his “Yeah, yeah” response to her order to knock.  She’s in the friendzone big-time for now, and in Nitroplus/5pb’s world that can be a hard place to break free from.

Of course as the interpersonal side of the story continues apace with an appealingly innocent quality, so too does the conspiracy – and that took another huge but low-key leap forward this week.  Daitouku gives a name to the incident that changed Aki and Kaito’s lives forever, “The Anemone accident”, though it’s clear she has no idea Kaito was involved.  Much more information comes when Kaito is finally able to make contact with the ghost in the machine, and it turns out she’s been trying to contact him for 8 years (29 times).  Her name is Airi (Rie Kugimiya) but when she tap her, she turns into “Sister Centipede” – and she has a lot of answers that raise more questions.

There’s a lot to speculate on here.  Is the date that Airi was created – 12/24/2008 – important?  Is the password that’s been assigned to Kaito, “Hiddenhand”?  What’s the story with “The Buzzer”, which has been broadcasting from Russia since 19990 (as with S;G, we have real-world conspiracy elements seeded into the plot).  Most importantly, what’s up with Kimijima Report #1, the hidden file Sister Centipede reveals on Kaito’s game console?  What Kimijima says in the report is that NASA discovered the existence of magnetic monopoles in 2000, and along with it the proof that the sun would explode soon (no date given) and then launched a massive misinformation plan to hide it from the public (perhaps the final episode of “Gunvarrel” was going to reveal the truth).  As Daitouku points out – and it’s interesting that Kaito went to her with this news and not Aki – is that if there’s a “Report #1”, there’s likely at least one more…

What’s clear is that this world is seriously messed up – the constant geographically anomalous Aurora Borealis, sweltering Russian winters and frigid California summers, and beached whales – and that the solar flares Kimijima predicted are responsible.  When Kaito mentions Kimijima’s name to Irie she reacts with what can only be described as shock and fear, and Misaki and her boss have suddenly taken a keen interest in Kaito’s activities.  Kimjijima also says in his report that he expected to be killed, and it circumstantially appears likely that’s what happened.  I’m not sure how all this is going to tie specifically into robotics but it clearly will, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch the disparate story elements slowly come together, just as they did in Steins;Gate

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  1. A

    I did not know anything about this series so I assumed it was a slice of life comedy/action series. I liked it for what is was. I was pleasantly surprised to find there is alot more going on here. This series moved up a grade with the more intricate plotline.

  2. L

    Same could be said for me and Steins;Gate. I thought it was some Otaku/Akihabara type comedy.
    Now I've learned that, when it comes to semicolon-in-middle shows, when sh*t hits the fan it really hits a million rpm turbine.

    So NASA are the "bad guys" this time around. Should be interesting.

  3. l

    I hadn't thought about a possible connection between the last episode of Gunvarrel & NASA's sun discovery that the agency is trying to hide. You've given me something new to think about.

    I've liked Kaito as a lead male since episode 1 and every episode gives me more amd more reasons to like him. His deep quiet caring hiding behind a facade of profound disinterest appeals to me. R;N is working its way to the top of my favorite mystery / action / adventure shows list for this season. Each week, I find myself looking forward to R;N more than any of the shows in this category.

  4. h

    There are some very juicy revelations in this episode thanks to Airi/Sister Centipede. I wonder who chose Yashio-sama for whatever project Airi is related to. But what I loved most of all is as you said, seeing Kaito's exposition and further development as a lead character. Always looking forward to the next episode of R;N.

  5. R

    Just so you know Enzo, rather than Nitroplus, you should be referring to 5pb as the credited visual novel company. Nitroplus doesn't have a whole lot to do with the creation of Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate, and Robotic;Notes.

    Anyhow, I agree that Robotic;Notes has been quite enjoyable so far, but I really think Psyho;Pass is at least a couple notches above this show.

  6. L

    Special shout-out to the BGM this episode. The music they used during that scene where Kai was exploring the building was ace!!

  7. A

    Eeeh O_o?
    Sorry Reckoner, no idea how the above post ended up being a reply to you.

  8. h

    Geez, face palm~~. Even this show isn't above the dreadful "new-girl-of-the-week format" (albeit not as shameless as most of offenders). Well what did I expect, it's a Japanese anime show, after all. Only very few escapes that device.

    Nothing significant happens in the last 3-4 episodes for this (just minor revelation here and there) and I don't really care for these little detailed plots & character establishments one way or another nor particularly invested in the characters, so I shall be skipping this until something happens in later episodes and maybe pick up from that point. I don't think I will be missing much, either plot-wise or anime-wise, by doing so anyway.

  9. z

    If you're referring to Daitoku as the "new girl of the week", she was already introduced before this ep. She's Doc's granddaughter. They tried to ask for her help in episode 2.

  10. h

    I did miss that (or more correctly, I did forget that), but you're right. She was there for like 10 sec. It wasn't a proper introduction by any means and the girl gets the proper screen time in this ep. So I stand by my statement for these past two episodes (the weird blondie last week and now this girl) -I also DID say that this show isn't the most offensive offender of that device.

  11. A

    While it's hard to deny the disproportionate amount of female characters (especially ones that seems interested in Kai for their own reasons), I'd say "girl of the week" is almost certainly the wrong way to look at it. Basically, they're slowly introducing the full cast, who will presumably end up in the club (and saving the world from an exploding sun somehow?). Given that Daitoku was introduced a few episodes before she became relevant, and Frau Kojiro was given a similar treatment, shouldn't you be praising them for taking the time to make their presence seem more natural? It'd be much weirder if they suddenly joined the club with no foreshadowing at all.

    And, well, they have to appear eventually. Daitoku was introduced for 10 seconds in episode 2 to establish that she's a classmate of theirs who they already know well enough to not require any special introduction, but not well enough to consistently hang out with in the previous episodes. This sets it up such that when Kai becomes curious about urban legends it's not unreasonable for him to contact her. How else could you possibly introduce her? What scenario could possibly occur that wouldn't generate the same complaints from you?

  12. B

    Up until this episode I was still a fence sitter of this show. I liked some aspects of it, but was overall kind of meh about it. This episode, however, pushed me firmly over into the fan zone. I love plots involving rogue AI's and conspiracy shit. This one is definitely in my most anticipated category now every week.

  13. C

    How can the sun just "explode" soon?

    That's not even possible.

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