Robotics;Notes – 22 (Finale)

robotics;notes-22-gunvarrel-gunpro1-giant_robot-mecha-pose-damagedRobotics;Notes is an anime that progressed through a series of ups and downs.  During its ups, the anime was amusing and entertaining with an ominous mystery and a robotics theme that was both strong and appropriate.  During its downs, the series was a curious and confusing mess with a story that felt disjointed and incoherent that bounced between two very different sides in a ‘Robotics’ half and a ‘Notes’ half.  And though the series cycled between these high points and low points, the second half of the anime saw a general trend downward with its obvious peaks in the first half and its lowest valleys in the latter half.  Just what happened to Robotics;Notes to take it from a promising and entertaining anime to one with an unclear, directionless plot with highly questionable storytelling.

robotics;notes-22-kai-screaming-yelling-emotion-stress-pressurePerhaps the biggest flaw that Robotics;Notes committed was that it could never commit to a specific story or that its story felt fragmented and disorganized.  Throughout middle and second half of the anime, Robotics;Notes split into two halves with Aki, Subaru and Junna trying to recreate a giant robot in the form of GunPro-2 and with Kai and Frau searching for the Kimijima Reports scattered around Tanegashima.  The two sides never felt connected or linked.  You’d have half an episode devoted to some characters doing one activity and another group somewhere else doing something completely unrelated.  As this style progressed, the two began to feel more isolated with the Robotics half being fun and carefree while the Notes side was serious business.  This method of storytelling essentially divided the anime into two separate halves and kept the series fragmented until the final episodes.  And while the two sides did eventually meet up, the damage had already been done with this inexplicable and incoherent style of storytelling.  Doesn’t help that much of the progress then was also redundant (building the robot and completing those random tasks), which ate up valuable time for more meaningful character or plot development.  Of course, this was not the only factor that caused Robotics;Notes to steadily decline through its second half.  Another major problem the series never addressed was how it never finished or resolved its various subplots.

robotics;notes-22-kimijima_kou-ai-hologram-ghost-antagonist-villain-error-erasing-static-artifactsRemember why Frau moved to Tanegashima?  She was searching for her mother who vanished one day and had heard she was seen in Tanegashima.  Did we ever get any sort of ending or resolution on this critical subplot?  Nope, it was ignored.  What about the story of Subaru and his conflicts with his father over hobby robots or robotics in general?  With his knowledge and expertise able to help save the world from catastrophe, did Subaru’s father forgive his son and allow him to pursue a career that best suits his character?  Nah, we never received closure on that, either.  And what about Aki and her sister reuniting and rediscovering their earnest and genial relationship?  Surely that had some resolution after Misaki woke up after the whole ordeal… no?  You mean arguably the second biggest plot, one of the most central storylines and themes of the series was neglected in the finale?  You’ve gotta be joking me.  What about the monopoles that appeared out of nowhere, piled up in a storage room and were essential to powering GunPro-1 to victory?  What do you mean no?  What about the explanation for why Aki and Kai have Elephant-Mouse Syndrome following the SS Anemone incident?  No?  What about Airi?  Or Sawada back in Tokyo? Or with JAXA?  No, no, and… oh wait, they eventually launched a rocket, but what about Nae and Aki’s father, the characters that played vital roles in the series?  I could go on and on about these unresolved plot points and character stories but the point has been made: Robotics;Notes never provided any significant or meaningful resolution to numerous subplots that it had started.  The fact that they all remain unresolved and unfinished speaks poorly to the planning and execution of the series and can be blamed on the plot progression and the storytelling of the series.  And even the final resolution for the main storyline was a bit underwhelming too, but at least it was addressed and answered.  Still, the fact that virtually every other storyline remained incomplete is another reason why Robotics;Notes saw a constant decline in its second half.

robotics;notes-22-aki-misaki-kenichirou-family-photo-memories-robots-loveBeyond these two reasons are a host of other smaller, nitpick-ier and arguable reasons why Robotics;Notes failed in its second half.  Still, the series had a number of positives and merits throughout which caused the show to fluctuate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ on an almost too frequent basis.  Then again, that’s entirely up to personal opinion and debate, especially depending on how the audience tolerates the questionable storytelling and unfinished subplots.  Robotics;Notes had very little problems in other areas of the anime, such as with its characters, its setting, its themes and its music (the animation could’ve been better), but it needed a massive overhaul with its plot, its progressions and how it linked each individual storyline together to amass a complete and comprehendible story.  With such a plot, Robotics;Notes would have been an outstanding and enjoyable anime.  Instead, the final version of Robotics;Notes is a reminder that a proper story and appropriate storytelling are some of the most essential aspects when watching an anime and that neglecting them for whatever reason can ultimately ruin what would otherwise be a fantastic and remarkable anime.

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robotics;notes-22-aki-distress-panic-scooter-helmet robotics;notes-22-gunvarrel-gunpro1-giant_robot-mecha-justice-hope

robotics;notes-22-misaki_senomiya-pilot-giant_robot-power_suit-glass_helmet-lights robotics;notes-22-kai-relaxing-happy-relief-victory

robotics;notes-22-kai-aki-friendship-future-victory-epilogue-aftermath-sunsetSo what exactly do you put on your resume after you save the world?  Given how frequent the theme is in anime, you’d figure there’d be some thought and discussion on what happens to a hero in the aftermath of saving the world (and one that isn’t a comedy anime either!) and when they’re looking for work.  And what about everyone else who assisted in the project too, what are they going to write on their resumes: “Helped construct the robot that saved the lives of 5 billion people. Also started at third base on the baseball team”?  I’d love to see what Kai’s and Aki’s and Frau’s and everyone’s lives are like following the thwarting of Kimijima’s inhumane and evil experiments.  Although given what we saw and the general direction of the ending, you figure that Kai and Aki will end up working for JAXA with Kai setting his sights for space.  Well, you figure after everything he did in this anime that his resume would be a smash-hit at JAXA.

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  1. #1 by bobbobsters on March 25, 2013 - 11:03 AM

    I agree, in that there are a ton of loose ends that they could have tied up with, say, 1 more episode, but a few of those were answered if I recall correctly. Frau’s mother was killed, Subaru’s father showed up to help him in fixing/war-outfitting the GunPro-2, Airi is alive and kicking (probably tied up in Frau’s place somewhere) as opposed to in stasis though due to her disease will probably still die. These things are touched on, lightly, and I agree that they could be expounded on more, but you can’t just say they are completely ignored.

    As for Aki and her sister, well, that’s just kinda thrown in the air as far as I can tell.

    Given how everyone was reacting after the kiss, This was in fact, a harem series. This is the true, secret reason you didn’t like it as much as some other series this season.

    • #2 by avvesione on April 2, 2013 - 3:41 AM

      Okay, fair enough, they weren’t completely ignored but they were halted way too early, before any meaningful development occurred for these characters. You mention that a few of them were answered but they were never fully resolved nor properly utilized. We never saw what Frau, Subaru or Airi are doing with their lives after these events. It’s like the series never cared to explain or expand on these characters once their stories hit a certain point, and even then, these points were never really the true endings to their stories. In a sense, this is more damning than being ignored since they provided the information put to a point and then just stopped. Either way, the point is, this could’ve been handled much, much better.

      And yeah, I didn’t really care for the whole harem undertones going on throughout the series, though it bothered me less than some other anime.

  2. #3 by Mikey on March 28, 2013 - 8:27 PM

    Let’s make a comparison. R;N VN is 10-15 hours longer than S;G VN. S;G anime had 24 episodes and R;N anime has 22. Yeah… It wasn’t going to be pretty.

    The VN does close of all the loose ends, except for what happens to Frau’s mom, although that is being explored in a spin off manga. The only thing that remains ambiguous is what will happen to Misa. The anime seems to imply she will be okay, but the VN implies that it will be many years before she can fully function. Basically ever since she was brainwashed by Kimijima, she tried to kill herself many times, but could not, so she decided to get Kai and Aki into stopping her so they could put her out of her misery. It isn’t particularly a happy resolution, but much better then the cheesy one provided. Which gets me to this episode. It completely butchered the VN version. It wasn’t cliche at all.

    • #4 by avvesione on April 2, 2013 - 3:45 AM

      Thanks for the comment and explaining more about the differences between Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes. And actually, I have a subscription to Ultra Jump which is running both the Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes manga, so I’ve been kinda scanning both manga whenever I get a new issue (and I’ve been following each since their beginnings).

      My question for the anime is, considering that it had more material and less time to produce the series, why not cut some of the fluff out to make room for the essentials and all the side-plots for the main cast of characters? I just felt that the end show that the planning for this series was mismanaged and that it left an unsatisfying taste in my mouth. I don’t have the same experiences as you with this series since it sounds like you’re more knowledgeable about the franchise than I, but it seems that you also were disappointed in its finale, too.

  3. #5 by miabad-PH on April 11, 2013 - 8:26 PM

    Another anime that leaves you hanging in the end.

    • #6 by avvesione on April 12, 2013 - 3:48 AM

      Yup, glad to hear someone who felt the same way as I did with the finale of Robotics;Notes.

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