「ここからは、俺たちのゲームだ」 (Kokokara wa Oretachi no Geemu da)
“This is Our Game Now”
Oh where oh where do I start to discuss the finale of Robotics;Notes? Was it up to my expectations (or rather lack of expectations)? To be frank, the ending was even more anticlimactic than I imagined (really?!) and the closure to the story came even faster than I thought possible. I feel like I’ve been really critical of Robotics;Notes for the past 3-4 episodes and that’s only because I’ve been expecting such great things for the final stretch… but its honestly been quite a letdown.
The final battle scene was a little bit slow for my taste. I understand that the whole scene was meant to reunite Kai, Aki and Misa. It’s meant to be the big showdown between Misa, Kai and Kou and it’s supposed to tie everything together. In the end, I almost felt none of that. I saw a giant modified GunPro-1 and the SUMERAGI going head on, in a slow motion battle for 20 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of a failed rocket launch and 5 minutes of the aftermath. Not only that, but I still have a ton of questions that are left in my head that make me think – well why couldn’t they do this or that or where was that 5 episodes ago? For half a year I’ve been anxiously awaiting the confrontation between Misa, Kou, Aki and Kai and unfortunately, those final minutes just didn’t do justice for a grand finale and there was far more that could’ve been explained and said.
I actually have a laundry list of questions left for this show, but my biggest complaint is how quickly the solution comes around; it’s all too perfect for my taste. I can accept things at face value – like the monopoles falling from the sky and Kou’s brainwashing abilities (he’s probably really charismatic for all I know!) and even Kona’s (still) missing mother. However, I just cannot accept the fact that Kou can be so easily destroyed. I know that he’s not “dead” since he’s a piece of data that is still floating in some virtual space, but to simply “delete” him away makes me just want to say, “Well I could’ve thought of that!“. Sawada (who hasn’t been seen in 3 episodes) could’ve even made an appearance to say so but everything was communicated to Frau and almost too simply. I always thought there’d be more epic way of saving Misa from her own demise and perhaps “locking Kou” in a file that can’t be accessed.
I always assumed that the ending would tie the big picture together and unfortunately, that is never fully realized in this finale. There are a ton of characters in this series with multiple personalities coming together and I actually would’ve appreciated seeing how it all made a difference. What is Junna’s role in this series again? Why does it matter that Subaru’s father hates robots? And where did Frau’s mother go? I’ve always imagined that somehow, all these things would tie together to give our Robotics Club a reason to build this GunPro robot together. Perhaps Aki was the glue that they needed to accomplish a mission that helped them overcome their individual issues. As cheesy as it was, I still didn’t feel the individual characters each contributing to the bigger picture. In the end, they all seemed to just blend together and become a mob of people that charged out to stop a rocket launch (and conveniently had the help of JAXA). When they confronted Misa, just what exactly happened there? How does this repair their sisterhood bond? How does Aki reach her sister now, but not when she was destroying robots at the convention?
Anyway, there are a ton of things I can nitpick the show on but when it comes down to it, the finale has come and gone. It is what it is and whether there are satisfied or unsatisfied viewers, at least there was an ending. Seemingly, all problems are solved and the world isn’t going to end. The epilogue doesn’t give very much indication where the world is headed now, but from what I can see, it seems like the kids are just going to keep doing what they love – build robots.
When I started blogging Robotics;Notes, I had no intentions of watching it for a Steins;Gate sequel. I enjoyed Steins;Gate, but I never judged Robotics;Notes based on its predecessor. I think that’s why I thoroughly enjoyed the buildup in the beginning and I liked the cast for what they had to offer. They were different but each of them had their own quirks and with each episode, the audience learns more and more about this looming plot to destroy the world. As the plot thickened and there were more concepts and realities that surfaced, Robotics;Notes became less of a story about high school students, but more of a story about how their existence ties in with Kimijima Kou and all these other outliers in the story. Many times I was left wondering how it all makes sense and I tried to fill in the gaps on my own as the story progressed.
Not to worry though, halfway through the series you start to learn more about each of the Robotic Club members. My favorite episodes focused on Frau and Airi but Junna’s was emotional too. Then the final arc comes along… and it literally comes like a speeding train right at you. “The secret plan” is revealed and unfortunately, I also think that’s when the series started falling apart. What I loved most about Robotics;Notes was the interaction between characters and how I thought that this was an entire mystery that would be solved in the end. However, what actually ends up happening falls short of my expectations because of the show’s lack of attention to detail. Rather than giving me the interconnected stories and why each person is the way that they are, I think the show focused too much on what was actually happening and that took away from a lot of the earlier buildup.
As a whole, I think Robotics;Notes has a great story and I can tell that there’s a lot of potential there for a well told mystery. I felt that sense of urgency from Kimijima Kou’s reports and the first half of the anime set a whole new bar for the show. Whether or not the ending met the high expectations is debatable. Personally I still think it’s worth the watch and it’s a fun ride while it lasted, but please – word of caution – do not watch it expecting it to be something else. It is what it is – students building a giant robot to save the world.