This is the third adaptation of a visual novel made by Nitroplus, after Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate. And no, despite all three VNs taking place in the same setting, they have absolutely no connection to each other, besides a few Easter eggs with no relevance to the plot. You don’t need to watch the earlier shows in order to better understand what is going on. In fact, they are so distinctive in their plots and characters, that each one leaves you with an equally different feeling.
- C;H is enraging you for wasting so many good concepts in a messy plot full of stereotypes and cop-out battles.
- S;G is exciting you for having so many lively characters and an interesting blend of mystery and science fiction.
- R;N is making you … feel nothing. Really. There is nothing in it.
The show is animated by Production I.G. a studio which does wonders when it comes to science fiction but has otherwise a very hard time to make characters who don’t act like robots. And indeed, the production values are ok, but there is simply nothing special about them in terms of aesthetics. It’s just a typical looking school, with typical looking people, doing silly stuff. Almost like a K-On clone.
The cast is also fairly generic and uninteresting, you basically get a gamer who is bored with his life, being surrounded by cute girls and doing silly things just to win in an amateur giant robot tournament. And he is constantly motivated by an aloof energetic girl. It is all very basic and the much recent to it Hyouka blows it out of the water with its similar main duo.
The earlier two adaptations had very eccentric characters and a story that was full of superpowers, mystery, murder, mysticism, weird science fiction and otaku culture. Well, R;N has some of the last part and nothing of the rest. Seriously, it’s school life comedy about a few teenagers making a robot and taking part in a school tournament. NOTHING MORE! It occasionally tries to be mysterious by having all sorts of weird stuff going on, such as some sort of psychological syndrome, or a ghost girl only videogame screens can see, or the sun being speculated of blowing up and NASA is an evil organization. But they never try to do anything much with those, other than trying to keep you awake from the otherwise totally boring plot. I had ten times more fun watching Plawress Sanshiro and that is an almost 30 year old show.
I understand what the scriptwriter was trying to do here. The show is basically a tribute to mecha shows and tries to present them from a more humorous and realistic perspective. Even as such though, it just doesn’t have any particular hook for the average viewer to be interested in it. The objective of the story is very weak and the two protagonists are not likable at all. They are just a bored gamer and stupid girls; you want to slap them instead of rooting for them. Also, there have been much older mecha parodies, such as Nadesico and DaiGuard which did a much better job for having far more interesting stories and characters.
Furthermore, since the series is based on a visual novel, you will be constantly getting a lot of stuff that many be very appealing to the average gamer, but completely ridiculous for everybody else. Episode 14 is an easy example of that; the gamer literally saved the world from a robotic invasion, while playing videogames in a dark room like a NEET and while next to him he had a half naked creepy girl who wants to do all sorts of deviant things with him. And even if it sounds awesome as an event, even that was presented in a most dull way. The show fails even in pandering its target audience! In episode 16 you practically have the gamer witnessing a death of a dear person and by the next episode he acts like it wasn’t important at all and he is back to playing games and building robots.
Thus R;N is a waste of time that will only appeal to some for its nostalgic take on a subject that others already did 10 times better, 30 years ago, and with just a fraction of this show’s budget. Not recommended.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (mediocre)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 1/2 (simple)
Pacing 0/2 (dull and slow)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (simple)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 0/2 (simple and annoying)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch it)
Memorability 1/4 (a few nice ideas for gamers but otherwise nothing worth remembering)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (some nice ideas presented in a most dull way)
Characters 0/4 (simple and annoying)
Mi Inglish Is Tirrible but I'm trying my best, so my apologies if there is any error, I should fix them as soon as I notice them. (If you let me know of a mistake I would appreciate it a lot)
The Good Part
The Bad Part
The semi;colon franchise, in charge of doing [Insert Cool Sci-FI thing]+Conspiracy. So this time we have ROBOTS! as the cool Sci-Fi, something I was really into, due I wanted to see how would they manage to make it, the experiments, the failures, and all the process but they barely focused on that, although it was cool most of the time of these little moments were they were working on it until the final were they sent everything to the trash.
The thing is, that this had a lot of potential, a more bigger cast than the precessors. Elements from their precessors and some cool few things more, and even the same setting! thats a huge bonus in which you can get support to write, but as more elements more you will have to develop or otherwise you will fail. and that's exactly what happened in here. They barely work on what they had. they only put together a bunch of great ideas and hoped them to work.
Depending on what I am watching I have certain level of casualities I can enjoy. And well, being a big fan of Steins;Gate, I didn't have a problem with many that happened here since I knew what I was going to see in here being by the same creators. Until near the end were their casualities more than managing to keep the plot going forward it showed how many things they missed to elaborate since nothing was making sense! (and some casualities were just stupid, if you have already watched R;N... seriously... A PARROT!?)
So let's talk about the conspiracy which makes no sense. The purpose of the villain are... to be evil, really, that's all. As well the things that mention about him gives you the impression that hes is very powerfull but he always fail in a ridiculous way. And this happens the last four episodes all the others are about discovering in the most slow and dumb way about the plans.
The reports (Spoiler). the Evil mind makes the hero to follow Blue's Clues in order to make him know what are the plans, but the last report is a program that makes public all the reports.... which is the purpose of the Blue's Clues? he could just have make them public whenever he wanted, the only purpose I can see is just pure convenience toward the hero? So 18 episodes were just... silly, since these public reports don't really affect later in the show, they are just to let the hero know about what is going on, all of this could have done in a lot less episodes, and use the time for things that matter, since the villain plan looks like it was done by a 8 years old.
So the story is an amount of wasted ideas, and nothing more.
Well I liked the tablets design, I think that was the thing I enjoyed the most watching this, since the augmented reality is awesome, I have being charmed by it since the moment a friend let me tried it in his Nintendo 3DS, so watching the robot parts in the tablet was the best thing for me in this show. The enviroments are nice, and I liked the character design despite many persons who didn't. What I didn't liked was the animation of the characters, sometimes their expressions were to forced and didn't help the characters to remain realistic. But no complains really.
It was mostly decent in 2 aspects, voices sometimes were cool, sometimes were annoying, sound effects as well, but the music was the one that saved the day. It was cheesy, but I love cheesy music. It manage to make me cheer up the hero despite of knowing the story was bad, it manage me to join the sillyness of the show.
Well, you certainly have very very simple main characters, I like them all of them, even the main one who many didn't like, and I even made a blog complaining about the way they complain.
Anyway, the thing is, the main cast are just likeable and nothing more, Aki will always have a love for robots and just that, you barely see other aspects of her beside of, Aki Happy, Aki Angry, Aki Sad. The same for Kai and the rest. They feel like a fairy tales characters were they have very linear train of though, "oh, you are my prince who have come to rescue me, of course I will give you my heart without having second thoughs" this kind of fairy tales.
I even think Mizuki was a lot better than the others and she spent a lot less time in camera, (although they were using one big characater development weapon on her.) as for the support characters... they were just that, they had almost zero development. And even the important ones were bad, as the sister, which in my opinion was even painful to see how bad it was. So... there isn't much to say in this area, maybe an "Aki is so happy that cheers you up everytime you see her" (and when she is not doing dumb speeches). but nope, nothing more to say.
Well, against C;H this is clearly a huge point for R;N, when in the first you were banging your head against the table since the show was never ending despite of being 13 episodes (of only boredoooom), Here at least you have an entertaining slice of life, that doesn't make you say, RETURN ME THE HOURS I WASTED YOU... BASTARD.
First of all I will admit that the review's score has been influenced by its superb predecessor Steins Gate which was is a legendary series of the same genre by the same people. However while robotics notes by no means is a bad series if you want a decent comedy/slice of life/sci fi/ with a touch of romance you then watch Steins gate if you havn’t already. Steins gate is superior to Robotics notes in everyway, the story is incredible, tragic whilst funny with a brilliant build up to the romance and the characters are more unique and memorable.
This is why as a big SG fan I was very disappointed by Robotics notes to the point that if I didn’t know it was made by the producers of SG I wouldn’t have believed it. Now with that out the way let’s get on to the scoring of the series. WARNING LONG AND WITH SPOILERS!
Before ‘s*** gets real’ the slice of life parts of the anime are okay I mean most scenes with Kona chan were pretty amusing and Aki’s energy was cute and rubbed off on you and Subaru as the tsundere male was pretty funny to watch. However compared to the hilarity of steins gate it was severely lacking and a lot of people I know couldn’t wait to get to the core of the plot. The sci fi conspiracy part was done pretty well and even though some people didn’t like the concept of the big bad being a program based off a human I thought it was a nice fresh idea. However the big bad’s experiment was extremely stupid while as a human he lacked some morality shown by the fact he was nice enough to do his best for Airi who has an incurable disease and will now probably die as the series at the end tends to skip out this part. That’s right because our great main character Kai who sucks by the way but I will get onto that later decided to get her out and since it was mentioned she has an incurable disease earlier in the series and skipped what will happen to her it is likely that Kai has killed her so good job main character.
Back to the big bad the problem with him is that he seems to be completely evil and wants to kill 5 billion people in this world just to test a black hole bomb?? Now I like it when the plot doesn’t tell you everything so it leaves some parts for its audience to think for themselves but why would you do that? If you guys know why he thinks there is a purpose to killing 5 billion people let me know because I don’t and he didn’t say he had one either. Until this point I was enjoying the series a lot but the plot took a nose dive at the end and became ultra-cheesy and simply just didn’t make sense. The faceless goons in black simply didn’t care that they would most likely be caught in the blast and killed and were willing to go along with a plan that killed 5 billion people for no reason. The final confrontation just didn’t make much sense as everytime the big bad could have killed the main characters he decided to sit back and have a chat about what his plans were and let the main characters have plenty of time for a counter.
The finale is even worse as the robot Aki has been told the whole series can’t be built was built in a single day by help from the entire island despite being told numerous times its impossible. Something they attempted to build over the course of years and ended up failing being built in a single day is just silly and makes you feel like the everything you have been watching up till now was a futile waste of time on their part which also ties into Kai being the trigger to this disaster occurring. The story was pretty solid until the last 3 episodes where everything fell apart and became cheesy and some suspension of believe is fine but robotics notes took it too far that you could no longer immerse yourself in their world. If you like cheesy, happy clappy victories no matter how impossible the odds are then you probably enjoyed the last part or will if you havn’t watched it.
Finally as for romance while there were hints throughout the series that their relationship might be something more than friendship it still felt rushed and unsatisfying in comparison to the well built up relationship between CHRISTINA! And Okabe.
Everything seemed pretty smooth to me and while there were a couple of tiny issues they are easily overlooked and the series is still very well done so no problems here.
The first opening was okay and the second was great but the endings and openings again fall flat of steins gate which had an incredible opening and ending. As for the rest of the soundtrack it was good at getting you pumped and ready for the next action segment but needed some more tweaking to compare to more incredible sound tracks like Fate zero.
Whoah this might take a while so I will try to be brief if I can so people can actually be bothered to read this. Let’s start with my favourite Kaito Yashio (Kai)
Kai: Literally the opposite to Okabe and while he tries to act the most normal of the robotics club he is probably the least normal of them all it was really sad to see Okabe replaced by this waste of space. He admittedly does have a couple of cool moments but then he goes and ruins them by doing things beyond stupid like going on top of an old an unstable tower in the middle of a bloody typhoon so the series could add some unnecessary tension at that part to make up for its lack of decent comedy. I know I sound harsh but I can’t be sympathetic towards someone that stupid dying when everyone else is taking shelter from the typhoon that they knew was coming. However Kai was saved by his uber hax mode elephant mouse syndrome which is made up that allows him to see 5 minutes in one second which would have a lot of stress on the body. Now Kai goes from really anal about people talking smack about his syndrome saying they don’t know anything to taking the piss out of it by calling it his slow-mo mode and relying on it entirely later on in the series. Talk about character inconsistency and he probably killed Airi too, and is lazy and lifeless but does develop out of it which is good. However the development is a little rushed and not well built up like okabes own.
Aki: A pretty sweet and hyper girl who finally gets the attentions she deserves right at the end of the series while she can come across as overbearing at times and doesn’t match up to the adorable SG female cast it’s hard to completely dislike her. While her obsession with her sister may annoy some she is just an innocent girl who pursues her dreams and was emotionally scarred by her sister. I personally liked her but I can understand why some may dislike her especially those who are shipping Kona and Kai.
Subaru: Since I am so bored of seeing countless female tsunderes, Subaru’s character was like a breath of fresh air to me and getting teased by Kona was hilarious and if anything I would ship Subaru and Kona. The only thing extremely disappointing about this character was his stupidity for the purpose of creating unnecessary tragedy to run alongside a giant robot when it was really windy so it toppled over on him that bit was just utterly pointless and made Subaru look like a retard.
Kona: Awesome hyper little otaku full of life and her crazy short hand speech and really brought the group to life she really stands out as a character and don’t have much to add about her and haven’t come across anyone so far who dislikes her.
Airi: Sad frail girl who just seemed to be added in for an additional harem option for Kai and I think I must be the only one who feels she should have stayed as AI or never come out as now she lives in the world that cannot cure her so she will die young thanks to Kai.
Mitchie and Mizuka: Mitchie was awesome a great comedy relief character and was there to help out when he was needed most shame his background was so short in comparison to others. Mizuka just seemed like and unnecessary tragedy to me and I don’t think I was the only one annoyed by Kai’s slow reaction to her panic when most people who watched it picked up on it straight away.
Old man and Mitchie’s relative as well as Tarou: The parrot deserved a special mention for doing what needed to be done in a crucial moment and old man while coming across as a hard haggler had a soft heart and was a big supporter of Aki which was sweet. The business man was a bit one dimensional but had his moments but ultimately too minor a character for any real development.
Misaki: The big sister of Aki and the one possessed by the big bad did not like how she became a major antagonist and was hoping that he had possessed her directly the whole time instead of her isolating herself from Aki to protect her. This however made no sense at all since she was forced into a position where she was going to kill the ones she wanted to protect and all because she ultimately didn’t seek help from those who would have supported her like they did in the series. By believing she had done something wrong is what truly made her a criminal and a murderer just can’t bring myself to like a character that pathetic when she had so many options available to her.
In depth review to why I believed it ended up a mediocre series in the end I am open to opinion and not one track minded in my views if you believe I was harsh about some of my views and can bring a decent point to your debate I will be happy to chat with you. The ending was just so rushed and disappointing as before the final episodes despite being inferior to Steins gate in every way it was at least a solid 7 for me but the finale just ruined it all as I felt the finale was handled so much better in Steins gate and the plot fitted together so much better.
I think it's high time someone put's up a good review of this show. the ones that are up now are in my opinion just dead wrong. in some points they seem to have forgotten that this is anime and not real-life, so don't go overthinking why the bad guys have an army when they're trying to destroy the universe...they just have their army, live with it.
I think the story is very nicely done, sure there are things that wouldn't make sense in real life (like the bad guy talking way too much instead of just killing the good guys) but besides those obvious movie/anime scenes happening this show has some very good twists and plots. I very much liked the thriller/horror sense I sometimes got, they really set the mood for certain episodes. in other episodes they focused mostly on humour and slice of life events and yet in other about mini-robot matches make it seem like high-speed action, all sides of this anime were a lot of fun to watch and really pulled me in. it's been a few months since I've seen it so the whole 'clues business' isn't really fresh in my memory anymore accept that gathering them felt like a 'quest' in modern times setting which I think was original and fun to watch. gathering those clues also told us (and the main character) bit by bit what had happened, what the real story is.
let's not forget the giant robot though....ofcourse in real life it really wouldn't have moved but this is anime guys! don't complain about petty stuff like that (steins:gate was about time travlel and dimension transfers so a giant robot shouldn't be that hard to get over). it was fun to see them built it and at the end the whole city coming together to built it might have been a childish concept but I like it when everyone helps out to make sure the good guys win.
the animation and sound were very good in my opinion, really nothing to complain about there. in my opinion animations like these are how they should make all anime.
the characters were all very different and fun, they made sure to give everyone a real unique character with their own quirks, humour and background. it was fun to watch them all and learn about them.
all in all I really recommend watching it....don't mind those negative reviews just watch it yourself and decide what you think of it. (and if you have read them just think of one piece for example, there are so many dumb and childish things about that show but it's still awesome and everyone still watches it anyway ;)