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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  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:10 AM)
    well, this place changed a lot. Gotta say, I’m not a fan of how they adapted GATE into an anime. It feels too decompressed. Manga did a better job at keeping the tension taut
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:08 AM)
    Also I am not the blog, I’m just a poster… I really hope you have enough sense to tell the difference…
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:07 AM)
    @Emo: you’re saying all that like that doesn’t fit your description to a T. Kinda sad actually…
    Well I guess now at least I gave you one more thing to get angry about so your day seems just a bit more active than your last.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:03 AM)
    I don’t think people are really expected to read it from the start anymore. I mean that’s probably why it stays popular in Japan considering people would have to be in their 20s at least to keep up from the start without reading hundreds of chapters just to keep up.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:00 AM)
    Well admittly comics don’t seem to be that easy to follow (don’t actually read comics despite liking a lot of DC and marvel media), but anyway it’s not like the other long-running shounens in terms of continuity and more like the long-running comedies like say Kochikoma.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 12:56 AM)
    If you don’t like it, it’s cool.
    If you don’t feel like watching a thing that still airs weekly that’s also cool.
    If you leave it because it’s long or far from ending, you’re really missing out for little reason. One Piece is like western comics, the characters and setting has been around for years but each saga comes as a standalone story and for the most part is directed at both veterans and newcomers.
  • jerkocaust
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 12:35 AM)
    ;( tell me more about this world, oh anonymous anime fan on some minor anime blog who spends his days rotting at home watching anime, tell me more about this world you must know from the window of your computer monitor
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jul 31. 2015 11:20 PM)
    ;(, It goes against my code. If I start something then I start at the start from the start otherwise I feel like I am missing something. I gave one pieces manga and anime a pretty fair shot. Made it up to that shark pirate guy and I can sort I see why people like it but I am really not keen on getting into something with no end in sight. Plus the art style really doesn’t work for me.
  • ;(
    (Friday, Jul 31. 2015 10:52 PM)
    If this world is so overcomplicated for you, you can just quit it. I won’t mind.
  • jerkocaust
    (Friday, Jul 31. 2015 10:36 PM)
    Lord Christ what an overcomplicated world i live in when someone like ;( needs an unnecessarily complicated reason for liking/hating a show. The explanation which, btw won’t change aidanak47’s opinion on the shonen garbage that is One Piece of Shit. We just dont like the show and forcing ourself to come at it from a different angle which is what you push is disingenuous and tiring.

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