Robotics;Notes Weekly Update – Episode 21

Everything comes together.

Everything seems to work out just perfectly in the penultimate episode of Robotics;Notes. The upgrades to GunPro-1 go smoothly without any hitches, and soon enough, the gang have a machine (dubbed Super GunPro-1 by Aki) which they think can face the Sumeragi. Super GunPro-1 works exactly the same as GunPro-2, with the exception of having pile bunkers for arms. This means that it must be controlled via Frau’s Kill Balled system. Previously Kai did this externally; but Super GunPro-1 being built upon GunPro-1, Kai can actually pilot the giant robot from within the cockpit. The question now is: can he pull off a victory? Even with Super GunPro-1’s enhanced capabilities, a giant mech hastily thrown together by essentially mixing and matching pieces stands no chance against a high-tech war-machine created by a large company that specializes in exoskeletons. But with Kai’s Elephant-Mouse Syndrome, however, it might just have a chance.

The mysterious time-dilating syndrome had pretty much taken backstage ever since Robo-One, so it’s nice to see things coming full circle. It’s also especially ironic that Kimijima is going to be defeated by something he unintentionally brought about. Of course, the syndrome is rather unpredictable and moreover uncontrollable, so Robotics;Notes addresses this with a bit of hand-waving. I’ll go over my annoyances with this in the Bad later on. But for now, it’s best to take things at face value again. The Elephant-Mouse Syndrome can effectively be controlled thanks to the device Sawada gave Kai. The more pressing matter now, then, is the apparent side-effect. When Kai had previously described his seizures as being so painful that he thought he would die. This is now “quantified” with some medical phlebotinum; Kai’s heart is put through strain whenever he experiences his time-dilation seizures. And to make matters more pressing, the effects are amplified when the seizure is induced via the device.

All this sets the flags for a dramatic exchange between Aki and Kai, the former refusing to let the latter to risk his life. And on this note, I must say that I’m actually pleasantly surprised with the relationship between the two. I had acknowledged before that Aki and Kai are meant for each other, if for no reason other than they have been “set up” as the main couple from the very beginning. Then as the show progressed, I became much more skeptical about any potential romance between the two. They seemed to get along well enough, yet there was this feeling that neither were willing to cross the line between friends and lovers. It also didn’t help that Kai was hiding so much from Aki. But this second point is completely shattered here as Aki reveals that she knew everything Kai had done to help and protect her all along.

Honestly speaking, I did not expect Kai to act so boldly and confess to Aki straight up. But in hindsight, it does make sense as he’s about to put himself in a potentially life-threatening situation. Normally this would be a death flag (which the genre-savvy Aki points out), but Robotics;Notes isn’t that kind of show. We’ve already had a tragic loss in the form of Mizuka. Now is the time for a victory and a happy ending. And speaking of happy endings, Aki and Kai have a moment of their own as the two finally admit their feelings to each other and seal the deal with a kiss. I must say, Kai has to be the smoothest male protagonist this season. Yoshino of Zetsuen no Tempest is also a contender, but anyone who’s following that show can tell you that Aika pretty much had him on a leash from the very beginning. But I digress. Returning to Robotics;Notes, Kai puts Aki’s fears at ease by distracting her with talk of Misaki. Well, I suppose he technically did convince her properly, but it sure did feel like he suckered her into letting him go by dangling the prospect of being able to confront Misaki in front of her.

Whatever the case, this episode certainly was the climax of the well-camouflaged romance in Robotics;Notes. There had been a few hints here and there, but the romance aspect really was hard to see. It felt like everyone was “just friends” for the longest time ever, but I suppose this sudden romantic development is appropriate given the sudden explosion in the pacing of the show. I do wonder how Aki would react to finding out that Frau already stole Kai’s first kiss, though. Not that she would probably ever find out.

As I mentioned above, the whole dealing with Kai’s Elephant-Mouse Syndrome felt a little too deus ex machina to me. Kai visits Kimijima’s secret base, and Airi is somehow able to extract the key to Sawada’s device from a console? I’m only willing to let this slide for the sake of moving things along, but it still reeks of convenience to me. What’s also disappointing is the confrontation between Airi and Sister Centipede. I would have liked to see more between them than Sister Centipede showing Airi what snow is before being erased by Kimijima. I’ll admit, it’s entirely possible for such a sequence to get too dragged out and melodramatic, but the short exchange we got instead just felt rather anticlimactic. I’m also surprised that this is apparently the end of Sister Centipede. Didn’t Misaki send her to Aki and Kai with a report last episode? What happened to that? Or perhaps this has yet to come? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The Screenshots

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