Robotics;Notes Blu Ray Review

Like its predecessors Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes is an anime series based upon a visual novel developed by 5pb and the third instalment of their Science Adventure series. That said, in no way is this as impressive a series as Steins;Gate which remains one of my favourite series of the last 5 years.

Set in 2019 Kyushu Japan, the Central Tanegashima High School Robotics Club is in trouble with only two full time members,  Kaito Yashio and Akiho Senomiya. The duo continue the clubs 9 year mission to build a full-scale, working replica of Gunbarrel. As they continue to toil away, amassing new members as they go, a conspiracy slowly unfurls and promises to change the club and its members forever.

While Robotics;Notes may not compare to Steins;Gate in many ways, on way in which is surpasses its colonic predecessor is in terms of animation. It should be no surprise that Production I.G, the studio responsible for Ghost in the Shell and FLCL among many others, delivers a razor sharp, visually diverse production which may not be as innovative as Steins but is a very impressive and highly polished outing. The robot designs may not be particularly memorable but they do make use of Production I.G's proven track record in blending CGI with traditional animation. The augmented reality segments also get the big thumbs up, particularly when overlaid on the lush, island surrounds of Tanegashima which in itself is a character of note.

Beyond the stunning visuals, which are all the more eye popping on beautiful Blu Ray, Robotics;Notes is a bit of a mess. The first half of the series, Collection 1, plods along at a snails pace with seemingly disparate story threads introduced alongside character introductions and minimal suggestion of pending intrigue. Of the characters introduced the lead character, Kaito, is a lazy, self involved loafer who offer little to the overall story apart from the fact that the plot points occur around him. Secondary characters, Akiho, Subaru and Frau, are far more interesting . Thankfully they all get a fair amount of screen time so not all is lost. The second half of the series starts to tie all of those disparate threads together and somewhat makes up for lost time because things really start to gain momentum. This momentum definitely helps to make the series more involving but while it's good to have more action taking place, sadly it becomes quite a convoluted mess.

Robotics;Notes may not be up to the standard of Steins;Gate, but it certainly outshines Chaos;Head. The three series are linked most notably by the Committee of 300, an Illuminati style of group which seems to be pulling the strings behind the events in each series. While they aren't referred to in depth in any of the series, perhaps the next foray into the Science Adventure series, Chaos;Child, will explain further. This is neither a great nor poor series with the quality of animation garnering a higher than average score. This coupled with how much I absolutely adored Steins;Gate is enough to keep me invested in what's to come for this mind-bending franchise. 

- Ryan

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Anonymous
24 November 2014 at 14:46 comment-delete

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