Robotics;Notes – 12

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Why is every damn show this season refusing to do what I expect it to do?

OP2: “Houkyou no Messiah (咆筺のメシア)” by HARUKI

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I pretty much love Robotics;Notes, and I’m pretty much resigned to episodes like this one failing to impress legions of fans.  Like Psycho-Pass, R;N set up what looked like a serious kick into overdrive – all the more pronounced as this show has been the more willing to proceed in unraveling its main narrative patiently – and like P-P, it went in an entirely unexpected direction this week by focusing on a relatively undeveloped side character.  Especially given the spoiler-heavy preview of the second cour that seemed to suggest massive amounts of fertilizer hitting the fan, such a move caught me off guard – but for me, this was the more emotionally successful of the two NoitaminA episodes this week.

What’s become indisputably clear to me is that Robotics;Notes is an unapologetically sentimental and even sweet show.  That seems pretty obvious to me, but less obvious though no less true is the fact that Steins;Gate was similarly sentimental and sweet.  Because that show relied on machine-gun dialogue and otaku humor it was considerably tougher to notice sometimes, but if you step back and look at the character web of S;G it’s sentiment that’s at the heart of that story every bit as much as it is here.  With R;N we have a younger and more innocent cast in a small-town environment, so the sentiment is worn much much more on the sleeve.  As I’ve said before, I think these two 5pb works are much more alike than it would superficially appear.

At the heart of all this is Kaitou, who more and more reminds of an Adachi male lead.  He has a quiet and self-effacing manner but there’s an essential decency to him, and his pattern of “reluctantly” helping others around him is no coincidence.  That makes him the perfect reluctant hero who’s called on to save the planet – as I’m certain he will be soon enough.  But for now his main role has been to quietly support his friends (especially Aki, obviously) and this week it was Jun’s turn.  Initially Kaitou is focused on triggering the flags for Kimijima Report #4, but one of those flags is to activate one of the robots “sleeping” in Doc’s robot clinic.  That brings his orbit in alignment with Jun’s, because it’s at this moment that she gets the news that her grandfather is in the hospital.

There’s no denying there was a cheesy element to Doc and Jun’s story, but what can I say, I pretty much bought it.  R;N is a love story between humans and robots as much as anything, and there was a fair amount of pathos to Doc killing his “robot friends” after one of them (Yashiro) accidentally falls on the 6-year old Jun and injures her seriously.  It explains her fear of robots of course, and Doc’s somewhat fatalistic view on the world.  The sad thing is I suspect Jun always believed Doc was yelling “How could you do this?!” at her after the accident, when of course he was actually yelling at Yashiro – who he viewed in anthropomorphized terms, like all his robots.  Each of them blamed themselves for what happened and thought the other party blamed them too – though I do wonder why Jun’s parents never stepped in and cleared up the misunderstanding between them.  Perhaps they did blame the old man (who really aged well, considering he looked just as ancient 10 years earlier) and were happier if their daughter had nothing to do with him.

Of course Kaitou’s own interests coincided with Jun and Doc’s here, but I’ve no doubt he would have stepped in and done his best to quietly bring them together anyway, once he knew the facts.  While he acts as a sort of governor on Aki’s impulsiveness, channeling it in positive directions whenever he can, Kaitou tends to instinctively take the lead in crisis situations himself – though usually acting alone (this latter trait has already gotten him into trouble once).  He’s only truly confided in Frau Bow so far, and she’s an unstable ally to say the least – though undeniably a useful one.  His tendency to want to shield his friends from things that scare him is going to be a potential downfall as things get more and more dangerous in the second half of the series, I suspect.

Of course the fundamental question of whether an episode like this – placed where it was – is a good idea can’t be treated much differently here than with Psycho-Pass.  Again, we really can’t say until we know what threads that start in this episode will be followed later on – certainly the triggering of the fourth Kimijima Report, and perhaps Doc’s robots as well might be important factors going forward.  But once again we have an episode following a two-week break whose primary in-the-moment function is the development of perhaps the fifth (at-best) most important member of the cast.  Is that a wise investment of time, especially with R;N, where many have already called for faster development of the apocalypse/conspiracy narrative?  My first instinct is to say no, though I think the episode was very effective in its own terms.  If nothing else it was successful at making Jun a more empathetic character going forward.

Lastly, new OP and ED here as well – it’s the latter than I find much more impacting, an excellent ballad performed by Itou Kanako.

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[WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_11.30_[2013.01.11_22.54.48] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_12.44_[2013.01.11_22.56.01] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_12.49_[2013.01.11_22.56.06]
[WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_13.51_[2013.01.11_22.57.08] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_14.05_[2013.01.11_22.57.22] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_15.06_[2013.01.11_22.58.23]
[WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_15.30_[2013.01.11_22.58.47] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_16.11_[2013.01.11_22.59.28] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_16.20_[2013.01.11_22.59.37]
[WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_17.36_[2013.01.11_23.00.54] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_17.48_[2013.01.11_23.01.05] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_18.23_[2013.01.11_23.01.40]
[WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_18.46_[2013.01.11_23.02.03] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_19.04_[2013.01.11_23.02.21] [WhyNot] Robotics;Notes - 12 [D91E5502].mkv_snapshot_19.22_[2013.01.11_23.02.39]
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ED2: “Topology” by Kanako Itou

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  1. K

    It was a good episode. Masterful storytellers know how to give you a taste of the shit hitting the fan and then ease off and come back again. Sorta like how you catch a fish.

  2. L

    Although this was an off beat episode, the best has yet to come!
    ^^The latest trailer reveals what going to happen in the second half!

    But I am guessing the reason for this episode was because it is based on a VN with multiple heroine ending so like every character would have a back story so they were probs getting Jun's out of the way so they could progress?

  3. A

    The game actually plays out in linear narrative where they branch off into different routes at different parts in the story. The linear story plays the same way as it does in the anime but as it goes into another route it takes on a alternate ending of sorts. The same thing goes for the Steins Gate VN (although Moeka doesn't have her own route) while Kurisu's route is the true route. Other VNs do that to, but they are the minority.

  4. A

    That also explains why the Steins; Gate anime was easy to adapt.

  5. L

    Oh thanks for the explination, never played the VN and thought the formula was like the mass majority of VN you get. So is the anime following the original ending or an alternative?

  6. A

    So far its going original, but no spoilers as to what true route is?

  7. S


  8. A

    Calm down.

  9. A

    hmmm, you summarized why I stopped watching this show since ep 3-4: "Robotics;Notes is an unapologetically sentimental and even sweet show". I hate this sort of self-indulging sentimental melodrama mumbo-jumbo. I have not a heart nor patience for this sort of thing. I disagree completely that Steins;Gate was similarly sentimental and sweet. A completely different animal. I stepped back and ran back for miles, but I still don't see it. To you (and then some), maybe; I don't and won't deny that you felt that way about S;G. It's your feeling/impression, not mine. I suppose there might've been some minor moments of sentimentality and sweetness in R;G, but hardly "unapologetically sentimental and even sweet". Yes, I disagree violently on your characterization on R;G.

  10. E

    The problem with this show is, it's went into a totally opposite direction from I expected. Being another semicolon title, just like:
    -Chaos;Head which has crazy superpower of turning delusion into reality
    -Steins;Gate who has youngsters able to toy with the past and the MC being able to surpass memory rewrite
    I expected Robotics;Note to be darker story. What happened to the whole conspiracy thing? Will their lives get targetted by killer any time soon? What happened to the plan to wipe out humanity through solarstorm? Please show us more of Kai's acceleration skill, which is even more powerful than Kiritsugu's, lol. Please get into the main plot now…

  11. A

    I think it's just a matter of taste.
    This series progresses in a slice of life way (for me, at least). It doesn't jump from important development to important develop (with enough build up, of course) like what a show with a big story normally does. Rather, it just follows the life of the characters which happen to include their involvement in the main plot. It's intentionally being that way so far, and I don't have a problem with it. Others will not like it though.

  12. K

    As much as I like R;N and I´m fine with the conspiracy development being slowly presented (however, have to admit that the way they´re delaying it is getting…excessive? I mean, what happened to the monopole from a couple of eps. ago? It would be ridiculous if Kai and the others had left it unveiled like nothing), I found this episode to be quite mediocre.
    Having a cliffhanger copout is the least of my complaints, what bothered me the most was how cheesy was everything, from the old man suddenly getting hospitalized and resigning in keeping his store, their "tragic" story about the friendly robots, and how exactly it is relevant at this point.
    For now the most plot related thing seen in this episode would be if Kimijima was acquaintaced with the Doc to use it as part of his report flag requirements or not…

  13. i

    Which of the report flag requirements is more weirder right now? Firing a (geotagged) hand-cannon on the beach, or standing in a cave looking into a (geotagged) spot for 3 hours for 3 consecutive days? (or was there a weirder one to be nitpicking on?)

  14. T

    I'll be completely honest this episode did tug me a bit at the ol' heartstrings, which is really rare for me but I applaud it for that, I haven't seen Psycho Pass's episode yet but while I can say I'm pretty surpised the show had this be their next episode I do appriciate it and like the episode for helping develop a character who otherwise would have just seemed like a pointless addition to the cast.

    As far as getting to the consiracy plot, they'll have to eventually we only have 10 episodes left after all so as far as I'm concerned I'll let them go ahead and take their time.

  15. H

    I love that R;N feels like the characters are in charge of the story. It doesn't have people dragged along by circumstance, thrown into situations that are sink or swim, swept along with the current. They are running the story, they're doing the things they're doing. Kai doesn't have the Kimijima reports dropped in his lap. He decides to go get them. He gets other people to help when needed. It takes days to do, but he's interested in doing it. And importantly, he's in charge of it. Similarly, Aki's in charge of her robot. And the rest of the people are doing their things and coming around when necessary.

    I don't really see how people would claim the show's boring, just because it's not a mile-a-minute. It's great storytelling.

  16. Pretty much agree with all of that, especially the part about the characters driving the story. But that's not what most anime fans want these days.

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