ROBOTICS;NOTES 3 continues to slip in a darker story around its lighthearted robot battlin’. Just a little at a time. We got the sudden blurriness Kaito experiences which could be easily attributed to fatigue (staying up all night because you don’t have hotel room will do that to you) except the show makes too much of a point of it, and after that we worry about how it might affect Kaito’s performance in the matches … and it does. We also learn a little about Akiho’s older sister, reluctant to contact her for some reason, though when you see the person she’s working for you may understand why, well, we don’t know if that guy’s actually a good sort or not but with him around, and all the hints about some accident four years ago, undoubtedly the reason for Akiho’s ailment and Kaito’s newly-encountered, opposite-working one, but you couldn’t blame the older sister for keeping Akiho distant. Oh, and Fraukoujiro, programmer, shows to give Kaito a terrific grin, so we got plenty on our plate for next week.
But with all, the real focus is on the tournament. The scenes here have their moments, but does every opponent the good guys face have to be a trash-talking asshole? Also, Kaito does way too well considering the amount of time he has. I cant believe no one else has thought to wire their robots with existing online game technology. Maybe having Fraukoujiro, the creator, do Kaito’s gives him an advantage, but surely there are open-source alternatives out there … but it’s only the final battle where any opponent gives him any trouble. And here we get to a different type of unbelievability, if that’s a word. It’s as if we’ve left this world and entered Tari Tari to steal a plot point (come to think of it, the robotic club has some similarities with the choir club–not enough members, fiercely independent, a teacher who hates them …). It was certainly unexpected and it helped get Subaru into the main story, but not terribly believable and a bit silly, really. Never mind. The show is moving along nicely, and I’m frankly glad they didn’t spend any extra time on the tournament.
PSYCHO-PASS 3 is almost entirely a standalone episode. We get one bit at the beginning where Shinya obsesses at a blurry photo pinned to a wall as character development, and then it’s off to a factory where drones have killed three people in a year. We learn that the place is completely cut off from outside communications, the workers go around the clock, and we quickly realize that this is not the happiest place to work. Worse is when the detectives, when not arguing procedures or lecturing Akane the newbie, witness a worker getting bullied and learn this is one of the few outlets they have for fun. We have the setup right there. A cut-off workplace where cruelty is overlooked, no wonder the victim snaps. It’s ridiculous in terms of realism but this show doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. That they couldn’t tell when the victim’s hue reached a dangerous level, or rather, they didn’t seem to care, that the victim just snaps when Shinya tries some psychology on him. So let’s ignore the details and look at the connection to us. There are workplaces like this in our world which are so poorly arranged they inadvertently cause people to snap, and policy is to hide it. But once we accept the connection, what do we do? Why, we sit back and watch drones chase Shinya and Akane and wait for the cool Dominator guns to work, and maybe wonder why Shinya and Ginoza hate each other.
Sukitte Ii na yo 3 is similar to episode 2; Mei gets comfortable around Yamato, learns something shocking about him which sends her into a funk, then has Yamato pull her out of it, with another kiss.
Here the shock comes from Aiko, that girl seen at the end of scenes, usually glaring at Mei and Yamato as they pass by. In this episode Mei is going out to have her hair done, Yamato invites himself and calls it a date, and they run into Aiko and a guy named Masashi whom she repeatedly insults yet is in bed with by the episode’s end. In other words, she’s hard to figure out. She tells Mei that she and Yamato had had sex (shocking enough), and, just as interestingly, tells her that if Mei isn’t sure she’s in love with Yamato, she should just back out of it. For Mei it’s time to abandon the bowling game and pet the stray cat for a while. Yamato tracks her down and there’s a discussion about his flawed middle school days and what he sees as betrayal of a friend, consequent self-loathing and a lack of self-identity, at least, compared to Mei. Hence the attraction.
Which is all in direct contrast to Aiko, who believes you have to earn the love of someone if you want them. Unfortunately, this means changing her image completely to appeal to the boy she was dating, to the point where she ruined her skin, and then she found out the boy was cheating on her anyway. The complete opposite of Mei, who hasn’t changed a thing about herself, apart from trying to learn to trust people, and now has Yamato’s full attention, I think. I still don’t quite trust the boy. Who’s to say some other distraught girl won’t rush to his arms asking for a pity-fuck like Aiko did. Anyway, you can see that Mei’s apparent indifference to Yamato would be enough to infuriate Aiko. Through it all Mei never does get the haircut she went out for, and Yamato has suggested she let it grow. He likes long hair. Will she take his preference into consideration or will she style it the way she wants to? Cut it short, Mei!
Finally, it’s time for our weekly question: which half of Polar Bear’s Cafe is better? This time it’s part one. Our three heroes go off trick-or-treating and it’s worth it just to see the variety of costumes Polar Bear manages to try. My favorites were the matador costume and the pink dress. Part two, where Llama asks for a special day at the zoo, fails because Llama’s running gag, besides the eyelashes and spitting (and he’s “sealed” that), is that there’s nothing remarkable at all about him.