Who wouldn’t be excited at the prospect of bringing this moe robot to life?!
So, hey, Robotics;Notes! Definitely one of the more hyped shows of the season since most (including myself) enjoyed Steins;Gate so much and put out of our minds how crappy the Chaos;Head anime was. Not really sure how much of people’s expectations should be colored by those series, though . . . Steins;Gate apparently takes place in the Chaos;Head universe, but if nobody told me that, I don’t know how quickly I would have arrived to that conclusion, if at all. So it may go for Robotics;Notes; however, there is that girl at the end who says, “Whose eyes are those eyes?” which, you may remember, is a common refrain throughout Chaos;Head. Just a callback? A sign of something deeper? Will we be buried in mountains of clumsy exposition when the anime needs to wrap up the plot at the end?
I don’t know! For now, everything seems ordinary, but would anyone be shocked if everything were to go suddenly wacky?
If everything’s supposed to go nuts in some way later on, then I think I get what this episode is going for. It’s a very slow, normal feeling, just regular teenagers building a giant robot for funsies. Advanced technology makes this possible, I suppose — suddenly I would very much like to live in this time! They go through all the mundane school anime stuff: securing a budget for their club (I wonder what Haruhi Suzumiya’s budget requests were like?), trying to recruit members, fretting over robot building, playing video games and ignoring all worldly responsibilities, the whole shebang. There’s some charm to the interaction between the leads, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Then you get weird girl making a report about who knows what. I’m not sure it totally works for me. It definitely functions as a strong hint that the series could turn in some crazy directions like its predecessors, but as a hook in and of itself it doesn’t seem strong enough to draw much interest. I actually might have preferred it if the episode did end with the proclamation that the robotics club would be kicking ass and taking names with the robots it would build, and left me thinking, “Huh . . . maybe this will be normal?” before springing some craziness down the line in the next episode or something. That could just be hindsight talking, of course, and there’s no guarantee that that would be written well.
I suppose my main problem with this opener is that the anime itself isn’t making me want to see where it goes . . . I just had that feeling already due to the anime that came before it. Then again, it’s not like I enjoyed nothing about the episode. It looks quite nice. There is some solid charm behind the interaction between the leads. And, of course, robots are awesome, especially those of the giant variety. If this were a full-on school life comedy about a legit robot club goofing off and whatnot, I’d probably be all for that. With just these two, it’s not quite as fun as I’d like yet, especially since Kaito is so lifeless and doesn’t have the wit of a Kyon.
But to be fair, the show doesn’t spend all its time dawdling around — there’s clearly stuff that will pay off down the road. If our friends don’t end up meeting the creator of Kaito’s robot fighting game, then we might as well give up our foreshadowology degrees forever. That Exoskeleton company in the commercial will probably be A Thing, too. Maybe some sort of bad corporation? If this were a kids’ show, Exoskeleton would definitely be the big, mean company that takes an inordinate amount of interest in the activities of children. I wouldn’t be surprised if they revisited that robot anime at some point, either. It is of course an injustice of the highest order to leave a giant robot anime incomplete, especially one that many little kids revere. Why would such a popular show be canceled so suddenly? Now there’s a mystery I’m interested in solving!