Posted by psgels on 25 March 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Robotics;Notes



After the complete disaster that was Guilty Crown last year, Production IG had to make up for something. They did so with Psycho Pass, that really was one hell of a ride. As for their other 2-cour Noitamina-series this half year, Robotics;Notes… it’s a bit more difficult. And don’t get me wrong: this is in no way as bad as Guilty Crown. It’s much better, but also very difficult to judge. This series is really ambitious… it just doesn’t work.

I actually liked Robotics;Notes in its first half. It had this ambition, yet at the same time it spent a lot of time fleshing out its characters and focusing on believability. It might sound weird to see this from a series that has a large robot on its promotional material, but that’s the point: one of the subplots in this series offers a bit of a deconstruction of Giant Robot building as it takes a look some of the issues of teenagers piloting these things that most other series tend to ignore.

Then there is a subplot about solar storms, a subplot about miniature robot fighting, a subplot about an evil conspiracy, and that list goes on and on. This is what I mean by the ambition: in the first half this show balances all of these subplots together that at first sight don’t seem to have anything to do with each other. This build-up for me was the best part of this series, and it’s always a question of what this show will focus on next… in its first half.

And then its second half comes, and it’s supposed to weave all of these subplots together… and it kinda fails. A lot. In many ways. There are some things that you’d think are related to each other, which actually totally aren’t, and the ones that are related to each other are brought together in such a shoehorned way that it breaks all suspense of disbelief that it has previously built up.

The show basically tries to run through a checklist of all stories that it needs to wrap up, without any care of making them flow into each other. Because of this entire subplots are conveniently forgotten until they are relevant again without much reason. But granted, the stories that it try to tell have some good concepts and ideas behind them. the character-development also works well enough and it has still enough to make it worth watching. And then the finale comes. I have no idea what happened, but things totally go wrong. All of the build-up just gets thrown out of the window and the show turns into a cheesy mess of plot devices. Talk about a let-down.

So yeah, solid show. Bad ending. That makes it really hard for me to recommend this series, because this series doesn’t just have a bad ending, it’s got a bad ending that invalidates much of the earlier build-up. Watch this if you want a different take on Super Robots. But then again, there are enough shows that also do that.
One-Sentence Review: Robotics;Notes is a very ambitious series that juggles around all sorts of stuff, which works well in terms of build-up, but not in terms of pay-off.
Suggestions:
Bokura no
Birdy the Mighty Decode
Dennou Coil

5 Responses

  1. Scruffy says:

    I have to agree with you in that the second half of this show simply does not work plot wise. The thing is they managed to populate Robotic;Notes with a group of characters that felt genuine, but plot wise things just failed.

    I think what was most disappointing about Robotic;Notes more than other shows of the season was that I was invested in the characters but the story they were involved in just seemed uninteresting, even though the end of the world was involved! I saw someone comment that Steins;Gate ending, which was primarily about saving the life of one person (Makise Kurisu) felt a lot more intense than RN which had most of the worlds population in the balance.

  2. starry says:

    It’s such a disappointment compared to Steins;Gate. It felt like it never went anywhere or escalated to the level that S;G brought to the table. By the time the last couple episodes were airing, I was wondering if I was watching episode 12 or episode 22. And the pacing was an utter mess.

  3. YourDream says:

    I actually enjoyed this show a lot with the exception of the last three or four episodes. The slice of life beginning was quite welcome, and things getting interesting with the Kimijima kou was a fine way to increase the tempo of a show that was pretty slow before it. Things got pretty interesting when those synthetic legs malfunctioned, and while the ending was quite awful, I don’t think it ruined the series. I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody though.

  4. AzaKana says:

    So much potential with all the sci-fi materials (and S;G possible cross-over), wasted to an abysmal ending. It started slowly but surely, climax was with Mizuka and Frau arcs. Then there was the final arc. A true big deception for me.

  5. HunterWulf says:

    I can’t really hate R;N but the ending was really a downer, i had higher expectations of it, all i can say is that it lacked IMPACT .. compared to Psycho Pass and Zetsuen no Tempest (where everything comes together wonderfully) Robotics;Notes failed to do that.

    Examples, where did the Monopoles come from !!? (they are a blatant deus-ex-machina in every sense of the word .. god that comes down from the sky to solve everything, i thought they will be explained later .. but nothing at all), then there is the goal of Kou and what really motivate him .. we never got any reason for all the chaos he caused .. “I just want my plan to succeeded” doesn’t sound like a a good motive to kill 5 billion people.

    Also .. who are the committee of 300 .. were they a lie by Kou or were they the good guys (like the girl from JAXA and the guy who worked with Misa) !!? nothing explained again .. what about Kona’s mother, was she killed, how !!? .. who killed her ? .. is she still alive ? .. where is she if she is alive ? .. etc etc

    There are just so many of sub-plots and threads that are just created, hyped then left hanging in the air and never resolved or explained .. that damages the overall series value and enjoyment pretty badly (despite it having a lot of excellent moments and a great start).

    It seemed the series creators had the same mindset as Aki, explanations and consistency don’t matter as long as you have guts, strong emotions and scream your cheesy ideals from the top of your lungs .. sorry .. if you want to see how this is done right .. check Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure .. which despite the bizarreness and over-the-top emotional acting of the characters it remains consistent and explains things whenever possible without leavening behind tons of unresolved matters.

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.

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