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Robotics; Notes: Part One (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 8, 2014 by  



roboticnotes-p1

If you love sci-fi anime series and mecha, especially if you are a fan of “Steins;Gate” and “Chaos;Head”, then “Robotics;Notes: Part One” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2014 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Robotics: Notes; Part One

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2012-2013

DURATION: 11 episodes (275 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV PG

COMPANY: FUNimation

RELEASE DATE: March 11, 2014

Original Concept: Chiyomaru Shikura

Directed by Kazuya Nomura

Scenario by Naotaka Hayashi

Music by Asami Tachibana, Takeshi Abo, Yuuka Hayashi

Character Design by Junko Yamanaka

Art Direction: Ichirou Tatsuta

Anime Production: Production I.G.

Featuring the voices of:

 Kaori Nazuka/Leah Clark as Frau Kōjiro

Rie Kugimiya/Apphia Yu as Airi

Ryohei Kimura/Clifford Chapin as Kaito Yashio

Sora Tokui/Monica Rial as Junna Daitoku

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Jarrod Greene as Subaru Hidaka

Yoshino Nanjou/Lindsay Seidel as Akiho Senomiya

Akiko Hasegawa/Kristi Yang as Rosetta Yuuki

Ayano Yamamoto/Brina Palencia as Nae Tennōji

Daisuke Kishio/Ian Sinclair as Genki Dotō

Hiroyuki Kinoshita/Bill Jenkins as Hiromu Hidaka

Kikuko Inoue/Caitlin Glass as Misaki Senomiya

Nobuaki Fukuda/R. Bruce Elliott as Tetsuharu “Doc” Fujita

Shinichiro Miki/Chuck Huber as Toshiyuki Sawada

Takako Honda/Lydia Mackay as Mizuka Irie

Takehiro Koyama/Bradley Campbell as Ken’ichirō Senomiya

Tetsuo Kaneo/David Wald as Sumio Nagafukada

Toshiko Sawada/Linda Leonard as Kaoruko Usui

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Eric Vale as Kō Kimijima

Youji Ueda/Robert McCollum as Mitsuhiko Nagafukada

Kai and Aki dream of building a giant fighting robot based on a super-popular anime, but that’s going to be impossible if they don’t get more members into their school’s Robot Research Club. They’ll take anyone they can talk – or force – into joining them, including an eccentric robotics champion with a secret identity and a l33t video-game designer who’s spent one too many late nights online. Finally, their goal looks like it’s within reach.

But when a sentient AI program tells Kai about mysterious documents hidden on the internet, things start to get strange for everyone. As the club members track down the secret messages, they realize that the information might be far bigger – and more dangerous – than they expected.

In 2012, 5pb. best known for creating “Chaos;Head” and “Steins;Gate” released their third game titled “Robotics;Notes”.

The Japanese visual novel was released for the PS3 and XBOX 360 with six manga having been produced and now, the “augmented science adventure” will be released on Blu-ray+DVD combo courtesy of FUNimation.

“Robotics;Notes” is set in the future in which robotics clubs compete in robot tournaments.  Kaito Yashio and Akiho Senomiya are members of their school’s robotics club and are trying to recruit new members.

For Kaito, he is more interested in the fighting game “Kill-Ballad” (which he is the #5 best player in the world) on his Poke-Com devise, while Akiho is the chairman of the club and is very intent of completing a giant robot known as Gan-tsuku (GunBuild-1), based on the popular mecha anime series “Gunvarrel”.

As Akiho tries to get funding from their school, the vice-principal agrees to give the club the budget they requested if they can win the robot tournament, but if they lose, their club must disband.

As the two attend a Robo-One tournament, Kaito begins experiencing a strange sensation but briefly.  But during his battle with Mr. Pleiades (who is his classmate Subaru), Kaito experiences something special in which he is able to slow down time.

Meanwhile, Kaito begins to remember an incident back on September 11, 2010, in which he and Akiho fainted.  Later that night, he begins to hear a voice coming from his Poke-Com gaming device and a girl suddenly appears.

The girl is named AI, who is an Iru-O app that tried to contact Kaito over the past 8 years and shows him a hidden file from Ko Kimijima which details that the sun is about to explode and NASA is covering it up.

As Kaito becomes interested in learning more about Ko Kimijima, there are other organizations that have taken interested in both Kaito, Akiho and their robotics club.

VIDEO:

“Robotics;Notes” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Presented in 1:78:1, there is one thing that anime fans can expect from a Production I.G. anime series and that is wonderful animation and detailed art backgrounds.

As a 5pb creation, Production I.G. has managed to respect the light novel series with the wonderful animation, light effects and the fact that nearly every background scene i s wonderfully detailed.  Fantastic!

AUDIO:

“Robotics;Notes” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series is primarily a dialogue driven series, so it’s a front and center channel driven anime series. There is a bit of action and scenes with ambiance that utilizes the surround channels.  But because of the action scenes, this is where the English lossless soundtrack is much better over its Japanese counterpart in terms of dynamic range. But both are well-acted and whichever your preference, should be happy with either soundtrack.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Robotics: Notes; Part One” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 6 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Monica Rial (Junna Daitoku) and Leah Clark (Frau Kojiro).
  • Episode 10 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Lindsay Seidel (Akiho Senomiya) and Jarrod Greene (Subaru Hidaka).
  • Science Adventure Series Interview Part 1 – (18:47)A group interview with Joel McDonald, J. Michael Tatum and John Burgmeier.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “Robotics;Notes”.

For those who have watched a 5pb. series such as “Steins;Gate” and “Chaos;Head”, are used to learning about surprises and various twist and turns with the series.

The same can be said with “Robotics;Notes”, a storyline that may seem fun and mecha-driven about a high school club competing in robot competitions.  But as the episodes continue, things start to take a turn as a mass coverup is discovered and by episode 10, things take a turn from being a light-hearted anime series to something much more serious and technical as Kaito begins to unlock various reports left behind by Kimijima.

And one of the more exciting things to see in the series is the appearance of Nae Tennoji, the character who played Yugo’s daughter in “Steins;Gate”, making an appearance as a character in “Robotics;Notes” and not a cameo but appears in several episodes so far.

But as the series is only part one, the first half of the series focused on character building episodes, introducing us to Kaito, Akiho, Subaru, Junna but also seeing Nae as part of JAXA.  But you can expect to see the storyline start to change with what was featured in episode 10-11 and I’m looking forward in seeing the direction the series will go and what will happen to the group as Kaito and others try to find out the latest note left behind by Kimijima.  So, I’m definitely looking forward to part two of the series.

As for the animation, personally, I am quite biased towards Production I.G. anime series as I see them as one of the top notch anime studios that really go all out for a TV series.  Wonderful animation, detailed backgrounds but also great focus on mechanical designs especially during the action-sequences, I’m very pleased with the overall look of the series but also how it retains its consistency with “Steins;Gate” and “Chaos;Head”.

As for the lossless audio, as expected, the English dub soundtrack gets the better treatment thanks to its 5.1 lossless soundtrack.  But as much as I wished it utilized the surround channels for the action sequences, the dialogue and music is crystal clear and surround channels are used, just not as immersive as I would have hoped.  And you also get special features, such as audio commentary but also a fascinating feature that dwelves into the world of “Steins;Gate”, “Chaos;Head” and how “Robotics;Note” relates to the series.

Overall, “Robotics;Notes: Part One” is a fascinating mecha sci-fi anime series.  So far, the characters are enjoyable and the storyline quite in-depth in balance with the wonderful animation/backgrounds by Production I.G., but part one of the series, if like the other 5pb. anime series, is definitely setting up viewers for something awesome for the second half.  I can’t wait for “Robotics;Notes: Part Two”.

If you love sci-fi anime series and mecha, especially if you are a fan of “Steins;Gate” and “Chaos;Head”, then “Robotics;Notes: Part One” is recommended!

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