The argument that I’ve seen repeatedly cited against Robotics;Notes is that it’s slow. And this much is true. Take this episode for instance. A monopole falls out of the sky in front of Kai within the first two minutes of the show. But it’s only ever seen or mentioned again once after that, and then seemingly completely forgotten for the rest of the episode. For such a big discovery as a supposed monopole, you’d think a bigger deal would be made over it immediately. But this doesn’t seem to bother me much. There are still plenty of episodes left for things to be explained. If Robotics;Notes were only a one cour, I think most of us would be alarmed by the pacing much sooner than this point. It being a two cour though, I don’t think the current pace of things is all too bad. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the source material so I couldn’t tell you if we should in fact be concerned, but that’s just the feeling I get. Robotics;Notes seems to work well with the kind of slow, easygoing pacing it’s given us so far.
Anyway, as mentioned, a monopole randomly and mysteriously falls out of the sky. Well, I guess the timing of it wasn’t too random since it happened exactly as Sister Centipede anticipated.1 From what I gather of her conversation with Kai, it would seem as if the satellite from a few episodes back is capable of somehow “summoning” monopoles. In fact, the “substantive experiment”2 has supposedly been conducted 2946 times now, although whether a monopole has fallen from the sky each time is not revealed. The monopole itself is a rather fascinating concept, which of course, has yet to be confirmed3 in our own world. In the Robotics;Notes universe, however, its existence was supposedly confirmed as early as November 2000, a good 19 years before the current events of the show. Thinking back, Kimijima’s report mentioned the explosion of the sun immediately following the confirmation of monopoles, which seems to suggest that monopoles are either the cause or a sign of the impending disaster. I would hazard the latter, given the prevalence of auroras in the Robotics;Notes world.
But while providing evidence of their existence in such a scenario might bring awareness as to the impending explosion of the sun, it doesn’t seem like it would do anything beneficial to mankind. So you now know you’re all doomed. That doesn’t mean that you are thus able to protect yourself from the disaster. The effects of the explosion of the sun would be on such a great magnitude that the entire solar system would be completely decimated. In our own universe, we have yet to even breach the edge of the solar system with the Voyager probes. These things were launched in 1977 and have been going at it for over 35 years now (supposedly they’re coming close though). That’s just how unfathomably large the scale of things are. Assuming conditions are similar in the Robotics;Notes universe, it is highly unlikely that mankind would be able to escape the explosion of the sun, even if armed with the knowledge that it will in fact explode. If anything, I would imagine that such news might spread unnecessary panic and mayhem. But even so, the people do have a right to know, as futile as it may be.
Phew. This has been quite a lengthy scientific diversion. Why don’t we get back to simpler things like building giant robots? Though initially stubborn about getting GunPro-1 to work, Aki finally decides to move on and work on a better-designed GunPro-2 thanks to Kai’s words of guidance. I had always thought that Aki wanted to surpass her sister as opposed to just finish Misaki’s work. You might argue that completing GunPro-1 is exactly the latter, but I feel that being able to complete what her sister could not is part of surpassing Misaki in Aki’s mind. Given that, it seemed a little odd to me for her to be so hung up over GunPro-1. Sure, it may have the nostalgia factor, but wouldn’t working on your own giant robot that is far superior to Misaki’s be a bigger step-up? If anything, that should prove to Misaki that you are able to do something out of the ordinary of your own. Not that this would elicit a reaction from her anyway. At this point I would be surprised if Misaki were to contact Aki because of a giant robot. I don’t think she just doesn’t care though. I still get the feeling that she’s distancing herself from Aki for a good reason (and perhaps for Aki’s own good), and she does in fact care deeply for her little sister. Why else would she ask Kai to look after Aki?
It’s also interesting to see how dedicated Subaru has become to the robotics club, despite his initial reservations to joining. As tsundere as he may act, he is the one who did the analysis on GunPro-1’s failure and proposed a new design that specifically addressed the problems. All this, on his own initiative. The way he’s so deeply involved with the club now almost seems to undermine the previous conflict with his father, but I guess since there’s technically no mention of working on hobby robots, he’s safe? Honestly I thought his father was more concerned about him becoming a fisherman than not playing with little robots. Nae also shows up again, and seems to play a gentle, supporting role. I’ll admit I had no idea what to expect of her in Robotics;Notes, but the way she’s conspiring with Aki’s father to help Aki achieve her dreams is very heartwarming. And to round things off, the episode ends on a somewhat tense moment as Mizuka confronts Airi. I believe she had previously told Kai she knew about Airi’s existence, but I do wonder why she seems so bitter about the cheery and innocent Airi. Seeing as she knew Kimijima, it could be that Airi reminds her of bad memories, but that remains to be seen.
1WhyNot translated her words right before the dipole appears as “Yes. Very much so.” But in fact, she says “ima masani“, which more directly translates to something along the lines of “right now“.
2An experiment to provide concrete evidence in support of something theoretical. Think LHC and the Higgs boson. And yes, the experiments for that were conducted by CERN, on which the fictitious evil organization SERN of Steins;Gates was based. The more you know.
3It’s just semantics, but I purposefully avoid misleading language such as “discover”. See this video for the motivation.