Robotics;Notes Weekly Update – Episodes 19 and 20

Twists and turns.

First off, I should apologize for the lateness of this combination post. I’ve been rather busy the past week and Highway was unfortunately unable to cover for me (no fault on his part). In any case, here we are with a double feature. Episode 19 is undoubtedly the turning point of the show. So far, all we’ve been given are a few vague clues as to what’s going on, leaving us with far too many unresolved questions (granted, we’re still left with many questions even  now). This episode, however, blows everything away with the completely unexpected (at least to me) twist. Kimijima was actually behind everything? He’s the one controlling the Committee of 300? Wow! I don’t think a show has thrown such a curve ball at me in a long time. It seems most other shows nowadays tend to stick with very formulaic and predictable developments. And that’s not to say that these other shows aren’t good. It’s just a breath of fresh air to have all of your speculation completely blown away and the “truth” be something you never saw coming.

So Kimijima turns out to be the mastermind. Now what? For one, the tables have been turned on us. Sawada, whom I had deeply despised before is revealed to be one of the good guys. He’s actually working to stop the Committee of 300. I really have to apologize to him for all the bad things I’ve said about him. Anyway, how he managed to get into an (apparently) executive position at one of their dummy companies is not explained. But I guess this makes him the mole instead of Misaki as I had thought. Misaki, on the other hand, plays the role of Kimijima’s pawn. Episode 19 leaves us wondering how she came under his control, but the answer is revealed in short order in episode 20. Apparently the SS Anemone incident was a result of Kimijima attempting to conduct some “EM irradiation”1 experiment, with the goal of digitizing his mind. I guess digitizing the mind requires sacrificing the lives of all the passengers on the ship? I’m not quite sure how this makes sense or how it even works, but since the show seems to be hand-waving it I guess we’ll have to take it at face value.

Unfortunately for Kimijima however, Misaki somehow stumbled upon his plot, understood the consequences if he succeeded, and proceeded to bash his head in with a large wrench. I’m a little skeptical as to why she had to kill him in the first place (she could have just incapacitated or restrained him), but perhaps she just let her emotions get the better of her in the heat of the moment. I also don’t understand how she knew everyone on the ship would effectively die if Kimijima carried through with his experiment, but maybe knowledge on “EM irradiation” is commonplace in the Robotics;Notes world. Or maybe Misaki just happens to know about it since she’s supposed to be super smart. Whatever the case, Aki and Kai (along with the rest of the passengers) were saved, but Kimijima still somehow made it into the cyber world (albeit not perfectly). Stuff starts getting much more questionable from here, so I’ll take the opportunity to jump into the bad.

So we know that Misaki killed Kimijima to protect Aki and Kai. But why did Kimijima decide to blackmail her into becoming his slave? I understand that she’s bright and talented, but doesn’t he already have the Committee and its many high-profile dummy companies to do his bidding? Unless he actually didn’t have them in the palm of his hand at that time? Even so, what good would blackmailing a high school girl do? Granted, it actually got him pretty far. But would you honestly turn to a high school student if you wanted to take over (or just screw over) the world? I know I wouldn’t. It’s also entirely possible he did it to spite her for killing him, but I don’t think Kimijima is that childish. He seems to have pretty broad goals on his mind, as twisted as they may be. I guess the show might just hand-wave this as well as Misaki being such a genius that Kimijima realized her potential, or something along those lines.

Speaking of plans, Kimijima is no better than the Committee of 300. I had previously ridiculed them for their almost comically evil plots. Ruling over what’s left of mankind after a devastating solar flare? Yeah, seems legit. But as silly as this is, Kimijima’s own goals are even more nonsensical. We now know that the solar flare threat isn’t real (and the world isn’t ending), but instead Kimijima is plotting to feed these lies to society to throw it into mass panic and chaos. With Kai inadvertently sharing the reports with the whole world, he has succeeded on this front. But why does Kimijima need to throw the world into a state of chaos? Apparently so that he can take the opportunity to slip his goons into the Tanegashima space center and launch a black hole bomb. Wait, what? If you’re as confused as I am, don’t be alarmed. This really did come out of nowhere.

So Kimijima really is set on inducing the end of the world, and the Committee of 300 has probably been suckered in by what is essentially a deal to let them rule over what’s left after the disaster. Honestly, I can’t believe how stupid the Committee is to have made such a deal with Kimijima (the devil, really). How do they know he isn’t just going to wipe them out with the rest of mankind? I say this because I don’t even understand why Kimijima wants to screw over the world in the first place. He stands to gain nothing. I can see him having some cliched, twisted logic like “if Airi can’t live then I’ll destroy everything”, but it doesn’t even seem like he truly cares about Airi at all. The poor girl is just another pawn to him. And if there’s really no justification for his plan, he’s no more than a literal madman. Which would be very disappointing.

I guess all we can do for now is wait and hope that Kimijima is fleshed out a little more. But before I leave off, I would also like to add that the latest developments do tie things up with Mizuka. Her warnings for Kai to stop investigating Kimijima make sense now, as she was aware of what Misaki had done and didn’t want her best friend to go to jail (or worse) for murder. It’s such a shame that Kimijima probably killed her off on a whim to further demonstrate his power over Misaki.

The Screenshots

1A prime example of Applied Phlebotinum. Maybe he was planning to shine a giant disco ball and strobe lights on the ship, compelling the passengers to “get down” until they die? I jest.

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