Welcome to the Robotics;Notes Roundtable discussion!
Originally, the roundtable discussion included Acura Max, Takashichea, and Katmic, but due to time zone mistake, only Acura Max and Takashichea participated. I included Katmic's question at the end. Acura Max is the one who came up with the rest of the questions. In addition to Robotics;Notes, we also talked a bit about Psycho Pass.
Note: Any corrections are in brackets that wasn't in the original discussion.
Acura_Max: Ready to do some discussing?
Taka: Yeah, I just finished episode 22.
Acura_Max: So how did you feel about it?
Taka: It was an awesome episode. It had the most action which is suitable for the final episode.
Acura_Max: I agree. It was the most action packed. I just wish it didn't leave so many loose threads. Remember how Subaru's dad hated robots? We never find out why.
Taka: I never thought about Subaru's dad. It slipped my mind. Though, Misaki and Mizuka's past wasn't clear.
1. Why did you try Robotics;Notes?
Acura_Max: I saw Steins;Gate, and I thought it would be cool to see this one. I was hoping like many that it was going to be more like Steins;Gate, and it was in some ways. While it did have some of the elements that Steins;Gate had (ex. random person who you didn't think knew kung fu knew kung fu) I don't think it was as good.
Taka: At first, I was interested by the trailer when I saw it. I was curious why Akiho in the trailer was so hopped on candy. Also, I thought the premise was like Robot Wars on Tech TV or Megas XLR. High school kids building a robot to kick other robots' butt. Oh, [I forgot to mentioned it] was Acura Max who got me into it in the end.
Acura_Max: So what did you think about it?
Taka: Well, I had the wrong expectations for the show. I expected action, but I got this slice of life element with a bit drama. It was slow and a bit boring at first. I muscled through it in hopes of it getting better.
Acura_Max: Yeah, pacing was a problem with the show. The show is pretty odd with its pacing. At the beginning, I felt that it was too slow. Towards the end, it felt like they were rushing with the story. I got the feeling that they wanted to put out more story, but just didn't have the time. Because of that there were a couple loose threads. For example, as mentioned before, why did Subaru's dad hate robots? Why did Kimijima change and how did he change? We heard Airi tell us that he was different from before, but that was all we got. We also don't know why the Monopole fell from the sky. Without an explanation for it. It felt more like a plot device.
Taka: You always had an eye for these minor flaws. I haven't play the visual novel game, but I have seen some of it on Youtube. Though, I haven't seen enough to judge if the anime was cutting out details from the game.
Acura_Max: I thought Subaru's backstory was pretty important, They kept mentioning it, but nothing came of it
So if you could improve the series, what would you change about it?
Taka: Since a lot of folks dropped it from the beginning, Robotics;Notes could have improved its pacing. Make us crave the answers behind the conspiracy.
Acura_Max: Yeah I think it needed a hook.
Taka: Not to get this off topic, did they explain Frau's past well?
Acura_Max: They did actually. Her mother was killed after she escaped her brainwashing. After that Frau turned into a shut in in order to make kill ballad so she could remember her mother
Taka: Man, I can't remember much. I need to rewatch the episodes for Misaki's past if I'm going to work on her origin. Anyways, how was Kaito's character? I noticed some fans hated Kaito. That was one of the main issues of Robotics;notes.
Acura_Max: Yeah, he's kind of a jerk.
Taka: You pointed out that he is a foil to Akiho who is enthusiastic and hardworking while Kaito is just lazy.
Acura_Max: Yeah, his actions do reflect his character. So with the majority of the series' problem said, what did you like about it?
Taka: Even though Kaito was boring to watch, he grew up and became the hero. For Akiho, she was at the top of her game, but she falls down into despair once Misaki breaks her spirit. It was an interesting parallelism element that they have. Let's see one thing that surprised me was Mizuka Irei's death. I was on the edge of my seat and wanted Kaito to save her. The series gets dark. It's nice, drastic change from the beginning.
Acura_Max: I agree. They do it pretty well, and it was a nice shift in the story. I also really liked some of the mech designs. The Gunvarrel and the Sumeragi's final form looked really cool.
Taka: We finally had a good robot battle.
Acura_Max: I thought the final battle were pretty good. They really did a good job building for the last battle in the episodes.
Taka: It was interesting how a slow robot Gunvarrel can beat up Sumeragi who is fast like a ninja armed with a blade. Kaito's spasm help him slowed his perception. Speaking of which, did they explain why Sea Anemone incident occurred? Or is it my bad memory?
Acura_Max: They told us that Kimijima was performing an experiment on the ship, but he was interrupted by Misaki. It was in that moment that Kimijima turned himself into an AI.
Taka: Jesus lord, I must have been zoning out.
So did you have a favorite episode? What was your least favorite?
Taka: I don't really have a least favorite episode. Maybe episode 5. It was the least exciting one. My favorite episode was 11 because things really flipped. The conspiracy with the last episode and how it was related to the Kimijima reports was revealed.
Acura_Max: Yeah I don't remember hating an episode outright. My favorite episodes were the ones where they focused on one individual character. I thought they were well done. Out of those episodes, I thought the best one was the one where we learned about Frau's backstory.
Taka: Yeah, Frau and Junna's stories were awesome. It explains why Junna was so hesitant in joining Akiho's club. We covered all of your question except the last one. We covered my questions except for audience and character.
Acura_Max: Then let's start with character and end with audience. Out of all the characters, I would say my favorite would be
Taka: I can't start with Frau because she's too popular. Let me do Subaru. Subaru is a smart guy who has a cosplay fetish. It's too bad that we won't get to see it much.
Acura_Max: It's too bad that we don't get to see him much. He was mostly there to talk sense into Akiho when she wanted to do something crazy with the robot
Taka: I loved that part as well as when Frau and Junna think of him in crazy scenarios such running in the savannah naked with Kaito.
Acura_Max: That sure was wacky. If remember correctly from Katmic's review, Frau was also his favorite character, and I agree with him. Out of all the characters, Frau was the funniest.
Taka: Frau kept the show entertaining with her loli and yaoi obsession. I thought the show was going to be Kaito x Frau. I loved the look on Akiho's face in that one scene.
Acura_Max: Here's a link to that specific scene for those who don't know what we're talking about
Taka: Least favorite character was Kaito for me. He was not that interesting at all until the later half of the series. I was rooting for at the end.
Acura_Max: I did think he was the least interesting because this series was based on a game. Usually the main protagnist of a video game lacks character so the person can immerse themselves.
Taka: Yeah, I agree with you. He's like Link in first person view.
So what audience would you recommend this series for and what are your final thoughts?
Taka: Like our beginner guide that we wrote together, everyone 10 and up just like the ESRB ratings for video game. The reason is that show does not have graphic violence, naughty fan service, or anything harmful. It's like Majora's Mask with its subtle darkness. Maybe I shouldn't put that video game reference. Robotics;Notes didn't have subtle dark undertone.
Acura_Max: At first I thought it was a show that I could recommend to steins;gate fans, but now I'm not so sure. Most people who have seen Steins;Gate were pretty disappointed with the show. To some degree I was too. Although I still think it was pretty good despite its flaws. It was funny, had some good character moments and the series ended pretty songly even if it did leave some things unexplained So after your experiences with Robotics;Notes are you going to try diving into hard sci-fi after you've have seen a light sci-fi.
Taka: I think the reason why Steins;Gate folks are disappointed because it operated differently from Robotics;Notes. Like we said earlier in our discussions, Steins;Gate hooked you in with something compelling and makes want to find out the truth. While Robotics;Notes builds up, it's a test of patience. Regarding your question, I'm going to finish Steins;Gate that you, Aleasha, and I watched during winter break. We left on episode 2. I haven't had much Sci-Fi, and I believe your recommendation will get me started.
Acura_Max: If there was a time to get into sci-fi. Now seems like a good time. There are alot of interesting sci-fi anime coming out in the spring season and this season we had Psycho Pass, which had ended around the same time as Robotics;Notes
Taka: My other sci-fi show was Guilty Crown, and I think that was my first if I exclude Gundam series. I'll get started on Psycho Pass as well.
Acura_Max: I should warn you that the first few episodes have a bit of exposition in them, but the series really picks up at around episode 8-12. However, I think that it's one of the best anime this anime and I thought it was robbed when it didn't win an award. [Referring to Psycho-Pass] In closing, I would say that they should not come into this series expecting another Steins;Gate like many Steins;Gate fans did.
Taka: Robotics;Notes is for folks who haven't tried a lot of sci-fi. It may not be the best one to start off, but it's a short and a bit slow, slice of life show that pays off near the middle of the series.
With all those unexplained elements, is Robotic Notes even over because we could be seeing a second season later on.
Taka: The ending shows a rocket heading into space. [I think Robotics;Notes might have a chance of doing another season.]
Acura_Max: I really doubt that a second season will happen since Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate didn't get a sequel. The only reason why Steins;Gate is getting a movie is because it is popular and Robotics;Notes really does not have the same level of popularity.