The duality of Airi’s personalities is fascinating. She is the manifestation of a sophisticated and intricate artificial intelligence, able to maintain an amiable personality that evolves through her environment and interactions while preserving her features as a perceptive database, able to retrieve and disclose data through simple Q&A. However, these two personas are not simultaneous; though both exist within Airi, only one can be displayed at a time. As a result, Airi begins to seem like two dissimilar characters who switch back-and-forth to serve two distinctive purposes in Robotics;Notes. And seeing how stark the contrast is between these two personalities, not to mention a few other peculiarities, Airi has quickly become one of the most remarkable features of Robotics;Notes.
In order to better understand the two personalities that share Airi’s digital body and how each will impact the story, we must first discover the origin of Airi and the purpose she intended to serve. It would be logical to assume, given the complexity of Airi and the fact that she has two distinct personalities that she can flip between, that both outgoing Airi and unemotional Sister Centipede were designed to function as such. This would mean that Kimijima Kou, the creator of Airi, anticipated the need or necessity for this AI to have two personalities. It makes sense to have Sister Centipede exist as a responsive and speedy database for Kimijima to store or even collect data and be able to access it through language rather than clicking through a bunch of folders and text. Having an archive of data in the form of Sister Centipede is astonishingly advantageous, so it should be no surprise that Kimijima designed this half of Airi to assist in his or whoever’s research or whatever. However, judging by the refined nature of Airi, the receptive AI who’s eager to socialize and make new friends, it would be rational to assume that Kimijima spent quite a bit of time and effort to create Airi to behave and respond the way she does. However, with Airi already serving the purpose of a databank, why would there need to be a social aspect to this AI that is separate from the other?
The question on the purpose of Airi’s friendly and emotional side poses a greater challenge than the scientific assistant that Sister Centipede performs. One logical guess would be that Kimijima Kou desired a companion for which he could socialize during his time in the lackluster and lonesome laboratory. However, the counter to that would be that he could have designed the two to function simultaneously rather than having one be the default and the other password-protected. The fact that Sister Centipede is restricted and requires personalized access would indicate that maybe the Airi we see is a disguise to hide the true nature of Airi. If someone came across Sister Centipede with their PokeCom, it would provoke quite an undesirable response, perhaps even going as far enough to attract unwelcome predators to Airi to steal or leak the information stored within her. Instead, if the same people saw Airi with their PokeCom, they’d be greeted by a delightful and sociable persona, one that loves to talk and befriend the humans around her. Here, in this example, Airi appears unlike an archive of confidential data and instead is a pleasant AI that someone created to make connections with. Of course, the true intention behind this charming Airi could be completely different than what I surmised here, but this helps work into my idea of how both personalities will function within the story of Robotics;Notes.
Given what we’ve seen thus far, I have an idea of how these two personalities will perform through the remainder of the anime. It is entirely possible and likely probable that she will continue to play further unknown roles in the anime, such as that when we first saw her in the opening episode monitoring Kai and Aki, but these are solely based on the dual personalities and in the story thus far. First, Airi will be able to create a personal connection with the cast given her bright and cheerful personality and behavior. What this will do is allow the cast of Robotics;Notes to receive her, to care about her, and to look-out for her in case something terrible or catastrophic happens to her. If she merely existed as Sister Centipede, then the response would be far less emotional and heartwarming, especially since people would care about her as much as folder on our computers. Furthermore, because of the duality, Airi can be presented to the regular cast without her mysterious Sister Centipede component, thus serving the function of masking that half as I alluded to in the previous paragraph.
The Sister Centipede half, of course, will serve as a database to reveal key information regarding the plot of the anime and be used to advance the story when necessary. We’ve already seen Sister Centipede accomplish these tasks a few times already, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see her continue to progress the story in that regard. Beyond that, Airi is capable of any other number of purposes seeing as how the plot develops and how the other characters respond to her. Given her invisible nature, it shouldn’t be surprising to see Airi be capable of eavesdropping or reconnaissance, much like we saw in the first episode. It shouldn’t be surprising either if she continues to spy on Kai, Aki, and the others, too, seeing as that what she was doing before she confronted and introduced herself to Kai in the previous episode. However, at this point in the story and what we’ve seen from Airi, I believe that these will be the two main purposes served by her two personalities. Though like her personality, these will probably slowly evolve over time as she makes new friends and the series progresses.
With Subaru’s father confronting him about his hobby robot, the question becomes how Subaru was able to live a lie for so long. Like, when he traveled to the Robo-Ban tournament (manga calls it Robo-Ban, not Robo-One, so I’m going with that), how did he explain that to his father? He was gone for multiple days, which just so happened to coincide with the days of tournament. Like, if his father was suspicious about this, wouldn’t he have known? Even if he were out fishing, wouldn’t there be someone else to watch after Subaru while he was gone to make sure he didn’t go to that tournament or waste his time with his hobby robot? I don’t understand how Subaru was able to live this lie for that long, especially given how furious his father was when he saw the him practicing for the world tournament in Las Vegas. It isn’t like I want to be critical of the series or anything, I’m just curious about how to best lie to one’s parents for an extended duration of time…