Robotics;Notes 2 Review
After a relatively sedate but ultimately pleasing opening episode in which we finally learn just what is behind Jun’s strained relationship with her grandpa, Part 2 of Robotics;Notes continues with a hard focus on its core storylines before finally bringing them together for a nail-biting action-packed finale. In amongst the robot construction and the Kimijima Kou mystery the series never loses sight of its key asset – the cast of characters – and marks a rare case of a series that gives not only its main cast but also each of the regular side characters time in the spotlight, developing their background and delving into their personal motivations. Jun’s past is of course cleared up as already noted, but also under the microscope here is Mizuka and Frau. Both stories pack an emotional punch and tie in heavily with the central storylines, with Mizuka once again trying to steer Kai away from his Kimijima Kou obsession and Frau trying to cope with the torrent of online abuse that follows when the final Gunvarrel episode that her mother directed is leaked online. Frau’s storylines continue to be a favourite for this viewer as they combine the show’s love of a good mystery with some wonderfully biting dialogue that guarantees a few laughs, and in this instance when the robotics club comes to her aid there is also some much needed growth for the character which continues throughout the remainder of the series.
In an attempt to keep spoilers to a minimum I’ll forego any further plot summary, and instead say that Robotics;Notes continues where it left off and remains an evenly paced and tightly scripted series right through to the end. It allows itself a few well earned softer moments where some melodrama creeps in, but usually offsets these with a well timed gag to lighten the tone and get things back on track. Aki and Kai remain the central focus and the trials they face continue to build their relationship both with each other and their fellow club members. The strong cast of characters is one of the main building blocks of the series, another is the overwhelming sense that everyone and everything – past and present – is connected and the series manages to maintain this strength as the pieces of the puzzle finally start falling into place. Although outright action set-pieces are few and far between when they do occur the battles are exciting and the stakes are high because of how well rounded the cast is, while the direction throughout manages to keep things interesting, be it watching Aki working on the robot construction or Kai hunting down the Kimijima Kou reports.
In the end everything falls into place (some might argue a little too easily) and Robotics;Notes proves itself to be an accomplished genre piece, albeit one in which the villain’s motivation feels a little lost in amongst the rich tapestry of clues and propaganda. On first viewing this strikes me as the story’s one failing, a minor niggle at the back of my mind as I enjoyed the events that played out once all is revealed. Ultimately this is the robotics club’s story, one in which robots save mankind and bring us together in victory, and on that front it’s a rousing success.
On the technical side the discs maintain the same high standard as the first volume, with excellent AV and a good user experience. There are also no missing subtitles this time so kudos to the QA team. In terms of extras it’s also more of the same, with another two audio commentaries featuring the dub cast and part 2 of the featurette with the dub production team. I wasn’t fond of this content last time so deliberately decided against viewing them after exiting the series on such a high. If you appreciate this type of extra content then it seems fair to suggest you’ll enjoy what is on offer here, and for everyone there is also a US Trailer and clean versions of the opening and closings found on the second half of the series.
It would be fair to say that Robotics;Notes brings little to the table that we’ve not seen before, but a good story and a great cast can go a long way and this series has both in spades.