It is funny that robotic notes is rated as a sci-fi, romance thriller, but to me it is more of a slice of life kind of series. I can’t say that is a turn off, though I haven’t watched that many slice of life series in my life, so I might not really know what I am talking about
Kaito and Akiho are members of the robotics club at Chuuoutanegashima High School, in the year 2019, when robotic technology has evolved to advanced levels.
Akiho is the fiery energetic, easily excitable president of the robotics club, at a point in time where the club is on its last legs. Akiho’s love of robotics is only matched by her obsession for the anime series Gunvarrel, that chronicles the life of heroes piloting the legendary mecha Gunvarrel in their efforts to protect man kind.
It is one of Akiho’s idiosyncrasies to scream and shout Gunvarrel catch phrases and attacks at times of high excitement and exhilaration. Ever since the robotics club was founded, by Akiho’s sister Misa, it has confined itself to low level projects, revolving around constructing little foot sized robots to execute average tasks and eve take part in battle tournaments, nothing new in a world of highly advanced robotics and AI technology.
But Akiho has an ambition. a great goal, to fulfill Misa’s childhood dream in founding the robotics club years ago when she was at high school, to construct a real life model of the Gunvarrel robot from the series; in other words, a real life, 20 meter tall, pilotable mecha.
This is a task easier said than done as the robotics club is barely operational. With only two members, kaito barely participating and only on Akiho’s pleading, Akiho hasn’t been able to secure funding for the robotics club from the school for the past several years,and in front of her eyes, her sisters long standing project is in danger of staling.
But Akiho isn’t ready to throw in the towel. Along with kaito, subaru, juuna and even Frau, Akiho is determined to see her and her sister’s dream fulfilled. Along the way, we discover a little more about the senomiya (Akiho and Misa) family and the events of the past that endowed/cursed kaito and Akiho with their strange ailments.
Several mysteries litter the series. Frau, the enigmatic creator of the popular combat game that fills Kaito’s waking days and nights, has come to the island to find answers to the events surrounding her mom’s death and their link to the long lost and rumored final episode of the Gunvarrel series that never aired.
Then there is kaito’s discovery of the Airu AI interface, holding great secrets regarding the mysterious Kijima Kou and his reports regarding the aurora that has been cast over Japan’s skies for the past seven years, the council of 300 and the possible apocalyptic future the world may be facing and which the government might be hiding.
IN the midst of all that is the relationship between Misa and Akiho, and Misa and Kaito, and the events that separated them so many years ago, and which might be connected to Misa’s new job at exoskeleton and the work she and her boss might be working on.
I really don’t see the thriller elements in robotic notes, or rather while they are there, they are less than prominent, so much so that they are no more than background noise.
Robotic notes is for the most part normal life with a touch of Sci-Fi. The general theme of the show can be described as ‘What would happen if you tried to build a giant robot?"’ and that is for all intent and purpose what it was all about.
Akiho wants to build a giant robot but even with all the plans laid out, and the robotic club members’ relatively impressive engineering skills, it isn’t as easy as they hoped it to be.
Akiho faces difficulties and challenges, all of which she meets with gusto and energy, unwilling to accept defeat no matter the barriers involved. All those around her are dragged into her efforts to fulfill her sister’s dreams, and will usually suffer for it, especially her father, head of a successful aeronautics company, that will struggle to say no to her daughter's request for manpower and technology, and will usually resort to calling her mother, who will chastise Akiho for trying to take advantage of her poor father.
Underneath her energy is a girl that is haunted by her obsession to meet and even surpass her sister’s expectations of her.
I find kaito somewhat annoying for a primary character. He is completely…lethargic in the manner in which he tackles life. He shows absolutely no interest in anything at all. I want my protagonist to seek out the answers and search for truths; Kaito will find intriguing mysteries, and he will choose to ignore them.
Basically we the audience see an interesting path, we want to go down it; but Kaito won’t go down it, and instead chooses to retreat. it is somewhat infuriating; he just doesn’t want to know.
He will break this mold on occasion. Kaito is only in the robotics club because Misa, Akiho’s sister, assigned him to take care of her when she left for Tokyo. On occasion, he will go above and beyond for Akiho, to see the barriers facing her in building the mech destroyed, but never really letting her know.
In a way Kaito is intriguing, in that he will never take the effort to help anyone unless they beat him in Kill ballad, probably in memory of the days and nights he and Misa spent gaming, during which she would trounce him. Kaito’s principle gets him out of work because he is simply too good a player.
kaito takes an ambivalent approach to the Kijima Kou reports, reporting the end of the world; he doesn’t really want to know most times, but once in a while he will take a distinct interest, usually when the reports affect a certain event in the life of his acquaintances .
This series is meant to be a Sci-Fi thriller, but spends more time scattering seeds of mystery regarding murders, the future, conspiracies and the like rather than actually answering them.
IN other words, we get hints but never anything really concrete to follow. Now whether that changes beyond the 11 episodes I have watched remains to be seen. But if it wasn’t for the interesting characters, plots and drama, I would be put off by this show, which describes its self as one thing, but never really does what it set out to do.
Granted the mysteries can be intriguing, when first hinted at, but after a while I cease to care, especially the business with Misa, because the series takes too long to deal with things. It keeps playing with but never gets down to peeling away the layers of its concepts and revealing the core of the story.
None the less it is a good show, though if the side stories of the robotics club lose their flavor, the show will definitely start to suck.
I will the say that the best character of the show hands down and one of the reasons I watched it through is Frau Koujiro. She is crazy as she is kooky with her ridiculous out bursts and nutty rants. I could watch her all day, especially her interactions with Juuna, the timid, anxious karate student, and kaito with his straight forward responses to her madness.
Frau is an absolute joy to watch.
VERDICT—I definitely recommend this show, for the time being, for any otaku of any interests. It is fun as it is poignant in its exploration of the dramatic results advanced technology can have on humanity.
RATING:> 4/5, though this might change as the series progresses.
Robotic notes is a Japanese visual novel developed and published by 5pb, a Japanese video game manufacturer and record label for video game and anime music; known notably for games like Chaos;head and Steins;gate.
The anime has been licensed by Funimation in North America, has 22 episodes and is currently on going.