Many of those who have seen the anime “Steins;Gate” are also likely vaguely aware of the shared 5pb universe that it is housed under. However, even less are aware of one of that universe’s better entries, “Robotics;Notes.” Despite its lack of popular appeal, “Robotics;Notes” remains one of the best shows to come out of 2012, and here is why.
First, the show has an incredibly unique sci-fi story. It follows Akiho Senomiya and Kaito Yashio, the only remaining members of the Central Tanegashima High School Robotics Research Club. They have been left with the mission of completing a giant robot named GunPro1, a project that was started back when Akiho’s older sister was in high school. However, a lack of members and a lack of funds has made it difficult for her and Kaito to complete the project. To that end, they recruit enough members to make their status official and continue to work on GunPro1
While this sounds like, and for the first couple episodes is a standard anime high school club room setup, what comes after the first few episodes make it more than enthralling. Kaito, Ahiho’s best friend, and the club’s resident lazy idiot plays a game called PokeCom, in which he can use Augmented reality to change what he sees in real-time. While out exploring an abandoned building searching for a strange voice, he discovers an AI that can talk to him and has information that could dramatically affect the world as they know it.
While it is true that I myself often default to the three-episode rule, and almost did for “Robotics;Notes,” the fourth episode in the series takes it from boring to heart-pounding in a matter of minutes.
Another fascinating story dynamic that pops up is the elephant and mouse syndrome that is present in the two main characters. The disease is divided into parts, based on its name, and affects one’s perception of time as it relates to others. Akiho has mouse syndrome, which speeds up her perception of time and often causes her to faint due to the increased intake of new information. Meanwhile, Kaito has the opposite problem. Elephant syndrome slows down his perception of time, allowing him to react much quicker than other people. While this does occasionally benefit Kaito, it often leaves him in pain as well.
Even its non-story-related elements are still very much of high quality. Production I.G., the studio behind many fan favorites such as “Ghost in the Shell,” “Eden of the East” and “Psycho-Pass” does incredibly well with the series’ animation. The chosen color palette is consistent and beautiful throughout, along with the characters themselves, and despite not having a huge amount of frame heavy moments, the less dynamic parts still look amazing as well.
The only area where I would admit to a little bit of weakness on the part of “Robotics;Notes” is in its music. While it certainly matches the feel of the show and its sci-fi setup, very little, if any of it, stands out. The only exception to this is the show’s opening “Junjou Spectra” by the band Zwei, which, for fans of J-rock, is a great addition to the show’s OST.
I very rarely take the time to anything that even resembles a formal review, but for this show, I felt it was worth it. “Robotics;Notes” was left among the seasonal noise back in 2012, but the more I think about just how good the show is, the more that feels like a terrible mistake. This anime is, without a doubt, worth watching and remembering.