I’m not sure how, but ROBOTICS;NOTES (noitaminA has an all-caps block this season) is from the same creative source as Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate. The former was dismal, the latter, fantastic. Judging from episode one, I expect this one to fall somewhere in between.
Our heroes are Kaito and Aki. Kaito is a bored sort who always has his head stuck in a game, but unlike other such characters in anime he doesn’t mind popping out of it to help the “stupidly positive” (her own words) Aki. They’re the remaining members of the schools robotic club and they have a giant one in construction. But there only being two of them there’s only so much work they can manage. The vice principal tells them that she’ll increase their budget if they win a robotics tournament in two weeks, which is no time at all. I’m unclear on whether she means with the Gunvarrel they’re working on or something smaller, but either way it looks impossible. This setup of “win the big tournament with no time to prepare” doesn’t inspire much confidence in me, but the series has more than that going for it.
We meet some other characters, such as Hidaka, who would bring a lot to the robotic club if he’d only join, which he won’t (so you know he will soon enough), their adviser the spitting Mitchie, who’s in love with the sexy convenience store clerk Mizuka. All of them are potentially interesting. It feels rather like a PA Works show where the characters are more important than the goal. And the show has a dreamy feel that’s mostly inspired by Kaito’s Houtarou-like indifference. On the other hand, Aki is genki as all getout and fun to watch, a good match for him. Oh, and there’s some mysterious girl in the final seconds who looks like she’s come out of a game, and who dominates the closing credits. The only weak point, apart from the main premise, is the episode’s tendency to throw infodumps at us. On the whole we got a cheerful first episode and a lot of possibilities.
BTOOOM! 2 switches from Ryouta’s story to that of Himiko, the blonde. We learn of a real-life offer where you can give the name of a person you want to see gone forever for a substantial sum of money, the best of both worlds. The only question is who sent Himiko there. We jump from the real world, where she and her friends are abused by a group of men (and she runs away to call the cops and thus earns the girls’ animosity) and the island, where she is befriended by a group of equally unsavory men, including a murderous psychopath whom I’m sure we’ll see again, and a fat slob who decides to try and rape her out of the blue. It’s not really Himiko’s fault that she couldn’t help her friend before (though her friend surely doesn’t believe that). Was she going to stay and maybe die or escape and call the cops? But this makes her a “bad person” who has been sent to the island supposedly for her sins. But everyone else on the island, except for Ryouta, is a foul, disgusting person. Aren’t there any others that have been wrongfully accused, or is the show just going to give us one asshole after another, so that we don’t have any qualms about them dying?
Hidamari Sketch – Honeycomb finishes up Sae and Hiro’s adventures in Hokkaido and what the others did without them. Yuno’s low-pressure angst about setting an example gets sorted out when she suggests they all go to the bathhouse and they have a good time. It’s also a chance to use some of the jokes from their previous visits (“Yuno-sama?!”). Indeed, bits of it, like Miyako’s milk drinking, are exactly the same. Not only that, it’s the third visit in a row where the place was deserted apart from them. While it’s nice to see Sae and Hiro together in a different environment, those scenes still felt lacking. They play off other girls on the trip but we don’t know enough about them to get as involved. Not that I’d mind additional characters, but if the show’s going to use them, introduce them already! Though there’s another bit about the perception of art and artists that I liked, when they botch their glass-blowing project. It reminded me of Yuno’s unfinished drawing for the festival and what people said about it.
Wooser no Sonohi Gurashi 2 isn’t a bad way to kill three minutes. In this one Wooser dies. That’s about all they have time for, apart from the bass quartet pictured here.