Robotics 19, Kanojo Pet 20, Bakuman3 21

Robotics;Notes 19 is good stuff, everything the premise could be, but it’s so late in the series that I wonder if the series can be salvaged. Also, it’s damn confusing.

I knew Gunvarrel and spider-robnot would duke it out.
I knew Gunvarrel and spider-robnot would duke it out.

Okay, so the solar flare isn’t real, but using faked reports and footage makes it feel like it’s actually happening. That’s interesting. The question is why they’re doing it. I was unclear on the purpose of using solar flares to decimate mankind in the first place, seems kind of counterproductive, so now that that we know that the impossible to implement story was a ruse, we’re still no closer to getting at why the 300 are doing it in the first place. Controlling the human populace by their minds? That’s almost as ridiculous as the solar flare business. And naturally, in spite of all the stuff going on in this episode, we still aren’t getting the full picture.

Oh, look, Airi's holding a gun ...
Oh, look, Airi’s holding a gun …

And it leads to scene after scene of great moments that just hang there with no explanation. Misaki bounds off and hops into the spider-robot, which starts attacking everything. Yeah! And you knew it would be crazy because they start playing that song just beforehand. But turns out she wasn’t real, or something, because the real Misaki is in another robot suit piloting another spider-robot on some beach. So was the white spider remote-controlled? Then why bother to show her jumping into it? Meanwhile this giant obelisk shows up out of nowhere, and Airi (the real one) is having an encounter with that music, too. The next time we see her she’s pulling a gun on the heroes. As for Frau Koujiro, she’s held at gunpoint until rescued by, of all people, Nae, demonstrating that the good guys haven’t thrown in the towel yet (though at one point Akiho needs a pep-talk). At its best the scenes in this episode seem to head in one direction but suddenly take off in weirder directions. The trouble is, the closer they come to a big climax, the more confused I get.

Fake smiles.
Fake smiles.

I’m also a bit confused by the problems our kids are having in Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojo these days. Let’s see, both the upperclassmen are graduating, Aoyama is going to leave whether she passes the audition or not. That leaves, er, Mashiro and Sorata. Well, and Ryuunosuke, but he’s hardly present anyhow. The latter adds snidely (the only way he is capable of talking) that their friendship is pretty fragile if they need that old building to sustain it. So why are they fighting so hard? Okay, there’s the school’s underhanded method of getting Mashiro into a regular dorm. That’s bad, not only because she’ll be miserable there, but because the school’s decision isn’t only wrong, they’re hiding the motivation. That would piss me off so much that if I would her I’d up and leave the school, much less the dorm she loves. And if that blackmail angle doesn’t work, all you need to do is show an art collector what’s on Sorata’s walls …

Another fake smile.
Another fake smile.

As for the episode itself, it’s like the series. The show has taken on a leaden, melancholic feel and not even Misaki’s genki behavior can quite drive it away. And that’s without Aoyama not passing her audition. Every one of the characters has a forced smile on at the end, celebrating pyrrhic victories like the arrival of a few more signatures which won’t be of much use even if they do get a hearing. And I’m not seeing much opportunity for a change. As I said, half the residents are leaving soon, anyway.

Glad to see Kaya's having fun for a change.
Glad to see Kaya’s having fun for a change.

Bakuman3 21 begins the story arc that will make an anime out of our boys’ work and give Miho her voice acting gig, and, I assume finally finish this series. I wonder if it will end with a typical, all-business, workmanlike episode or if they’ll do something special for it. Events happen so fast in this series that it feels strange for them to slow down and really celebrate something. On the other hand, we had an opening scene with Mashiro, Takagi and Kaya off on a little New Year’s vacation and it even allowed them a minute of introspection. It almost felt like a summing-up of the entire series. It also allowed Kaya the most fun and screentime she’s had in months. I was happy to see it. She’s a fun character and it bugged me that all she ever got to do these days is play the foil and the wife. Well, they’ve got a busy mess of a plot to clear up, so Hattori will be making those breathless visits to the boys’ studio for a while, at least.

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