This is part of what I call the ‘Semi-Colon Series”, as there are three shows with the same caliber of title and the same grammatically annoying way of presenting it. They are “Chaos;Head”, “Stein’s;Gate” and “Robotic;Notes”. Of the three series, the last one is the most accessible. The other two are beset with shifting realities and uncertainty as to what is truly going on. Now, they are fine shows and I would suggest you do check them out, but they do require more in the way of attention and commitment than a lot of people are willing and able to give, especially when they play the ‘What is Reality?” card.
“Robotic;Notes” is not as demanding, but you has best pay attention, especially since it has the jump-back. The Jump-Back (another of my annoying made-up terms), is when a particular episode ends on a cliff hanger. The next episode begins in beyond the point where the last stopped, setting up something, and THEN we jump back to see the cliff hanger and the results. It can get a bit aggravating when you want things to be a bit more linear.
Let’s start at the beginning: we are in the future (oh, really? Again with the ‘in the future’?) It is 2019 and we are on the island of Tanegashima. The school here has a robotics club with fitful membership. Yashio Kaito spends most of his time playing an on-line game called Kill-Ballad, where it is giant fighting robots (they have some marvelous tablet-pads to do this on). The other club member is Senomiya Akiho. Her older sister was in the club and left behind a giant robot that could not be finished in time, so it sits and sits and sits. And technology has so changed, it might be better to scrap it, get some cash for the metal and try again.
Now, our two friends suffer from a bizarre condition, caused by an atmospheric condition in an event called the Anemone Incident. For him, when he gets an attack, things appear to move very slowly for him, so he can have near superhuman speed. For her, she feels things move far too fast to be seen by her and she loses all sense of time.
They are able to convince Hidaka Subaru to join the club. He is also a robot maker and has won competitions under disguise (a really ridiculous one), as his father believes making robots is a colossal waste of time. Daitoku Junna shows up to help make it an ‘official’ club. The arrival Koujiro Frau adds another odd link to the puzzle, as she created the “Kill-Ballad” game and her mother created the TV show “Gunvarrel” (of which the robot for the robot club was based upon), but she also has a hidden agenda. It’s all on a need-to-know basis.
But there are all kinds of weird things going on, especially when Yashio goes to a deserted building and, though his pad discovers Airi, some kind of computer program, which directs him to uncover these secrets, secrets of a disturbing nature, secrets that could change the world and secrets that threaten lives.
This is a show based on enigmas and lack of enough information that keep it from being just some standard anime involving robots, but something draws you in. WHY is JAXA (Japan’s NASA) so anxious to help build this robot? WHAT gives with these secret messages? IS there something more sinister with the Anemone Incident and these odd powers people have? SORRY for this rather silly way to get your attention, but, like the show, there is a huge amount of misdirection, so you are never really sure what is going on and what it really means.
Still, even with a rather shaky ending (one of those ‘power of friendship’ notions), this did keep my interest for the whole run of the show, as we finally come to understand how everything was and is interrelated. But still, the kids did come up with a rather ridiculous robot and the means of powering it. You might as well have used 2000 “D” batteries for the thing.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard art design)
Plot 8 (Hard to predict)
Pacing 8 (Keeps a balance well)
Effectiveness 8 (Difficult to follow, but comes together at the end)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 8 (Very fine storytelling)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Come beat me at Kill-Ballad.