What a Crazy World
Episodes 13 and 14 of Robotics;Notes finally start moving the plot forward at more than the snail pace it had been moved at up until now. Episode 13, while being apparently a rather calm one, with the exception of the ending scene, had a whole lot of things going on. The Aki-centered plot line on recreating Gunvarrel through GunPro-2 as felt been feeling more and more uninteresting ever since the conspiracies about the Comitee of 300 have been revealed. However, this episode made me regain my interest in it for a very simple thing: the monopole and the potentiality of using it to power a giant robot being mentioned again, Having a huge interest in physics, I totally love it when fiction brings up something that is now a not yet discarded, yet far to be confirmed possibility as something that effectively exists in its setting, specially when said setting is, as in Robotics;Notes, one that is supposed to represent out world in a near future. Now, theoretically, the monopole has great potential in being used in a motor, for it’d be capable of keeping it running while requiring much less energy. It could also be used as a power source itself, but its efficiency wouldn’t be as great. Theoretical possibilities aside, a monopole falling from the sky when its very existence wasn’t even acknowledged is still quite the bit mystery, and seeing the Robotics Club and Doc’s curiosity towards the unknown object, trying to understand what they should do with it was quite fascinating to watch. I also wonder if such an object will allow them to actually build Gunvarrel with its physical design rather than a simple structure covered with a hologram that, as far as I understood in previous episodes, could only be seen through the PokeCom. Minimizing the requirements for the robot’s power source, the monopole might make that possible. And you know what? I think that would be really cool. Specially when you think of how important a symbol this fictional (as in, in-world fictional) character is to some of the characters.
But as interesting as I might have found it, the aforementioned plot line was definitely not the focus of this episode. Frau was the focus here, instead, as the happenings that were finally set in motion greatly concerned her and the story about her mother. Kai is sent to check on Frau, having no choice but to accept that task as Nae beats him at Kill Ballad, which she seems to have a natural talent for. The we get to see a bit of Frau’s antics which were… well, as amusing as always. I specially liked her “I shot down my own argument” comment on the reason for licking Kai’s finger. Seriously, this is truly feeling weird for me to write…. Either way, how she never loses this creepy part of her personality despite being completely serious about the matter at discussion and her discoveries is something I really find charming about her.
Which leads me to the discoveries themselves. Analyzing the apparently random images in the leaked last episode of Gunvarrel, Frau discovers some other images – photos taken in a old building, each of which features a letter. Such letters combined make up the password for a website her mother used to run when she was younger and was writing her first manga, a website that had been abandoned for years, yet had a message posted by her mother in the interaction board from the time Gunvarrel was cancelled. I think it was quite the smart move, for her to hide the link to such an important message in an unknown, long dead web page (with the password as an insurance, of course).
If only the message itself had been more perceptible, it might have revealed some interesting stuff. With what we got… well, it only serves to pick up my interest even more, with allusions to some already known plots and organizations and the intriguing claim of Gunvarrel being “a tool for brainwashing”.
As a reminder of just how much happens in this episode, besides the aforementioned events, we get mentions of the two most recent finds of Kaito, one of them in this episode. Kimijima reports 4 and 5, unlike the previous ones, aren’t read aloud, much to my disappointment, since a mere summary isn’t nearly enough, specially since we know all of the reports refer to the solar flares anyway. 3 words or not, a mere summary sure wasn’t satisfying. However, I’d truly love to know just what the Committee of 300 wants. Killing millions of people simply for population control sounds unworthy to me, and doing so with the sole purpose of ruling over those who are left when such happens… Well, it’s not unthinkable, but if there’s nothing more behind it, I’d feel a bit disappointed.
The last minutes of the episode, however, are when things really start to escalate. There’s a robot outbreak in Tokyo, with a great number of robots going berserk around the city destroying things and causing a huge panic. This wouldn’t concern our main cast directly to a tangible extent, weren’t it for the claims of Frau on “Twippo” that she was the one behind it. Of course this worries the members of the robotics club, and Kai heads to check on her, arriving just in time to prevent her from cutting her wrists. Poor Frau didn’t have exactly the best luck in life, with both her and her mother before her being used as scapegoats for those shady plans. Thankfully, Kai ended up preventing the worst.
Just Stay a Little Longer Like This…
Episode 14 starts with a flashback of Frau and her mother. While it’s not news that Frau really misses her mother, it’s always nice to see her admiration towards her and her work when she was younger. And that’s what makes Gunvarrel so important for Frau. It’s the legacy of her mother, what she left behind for her and the world. It actually took me by surprise that the reason she shut herself from the world was making Kill Ballad and also that the purpose in creating the game was not to allow Gunvarrel to be erased from people’s minds. Maybe it was obvious and I should have assumed that was the reason all along. But it didn’t occur me, which is probably a good thing, seeing as how that made this episode a lot more enjoyable. A character despairing over the name of an anime having been “tainted” would normally sound incredibly ridiculous by itself. But with these reasons to back it up, the scene where Frau does so is turned into the most emotional Robotics;Notes had to offer so far.
So, it seems like only robots from the Roboratory Industry went were hacked by whomever was impersonating Frau. As such, they try entering their website, only to be met with the main screen of Kill Ballad. It seems that to enter the admin panel, they had to win a CPU battle, a challenge that Kai promptly accepts. however, the CPU player obviously has some kind of cheat programmed to activate as soon as the challenger gets close to winning. And well, I say obviously because… it would be rather stupid to put a normal Kill Ballad battle as the key for accessing the admin privileges. It still looks stupid at the first, to be honest, but thinking about it, it’s not only a rather safe mean to prevent the access, but also does wonders towards the purpose of incriminating Frau. After all, she’s the one who developed the game.
After an unmentioned number of tries for what seemed to be quite long, Kai is still unable to defeat the CPU-controlled robot due to the aforementioned cheat, which completely annihilates hm as soon as the CPU opponent’s HP enters the red zone. And this leads me to what I disliked about this episode: Kai’s use of his slow motion. It wasn’t the fact that he used it to beat the CPU – it’s not like there was any other way to beat it. It was how he managed to use it intentionally, and how uninteresting the things he put himself through to achieve it ultimately were. Yes, the result (the things Frau and Kai discovered in the mean time when she figured out who had used her name to cause the robot breakout) was highly interesting, but the developments that got them there seemed somewhat forced, which is a shame in an episode that had been really good thus far.
But of course mentioning the bad things doesn’t make the good ones disappear. Since it was right after this that Frau reveals her story and motives to Kai, which was, and I’ll say it once again, the highlight of the episode. Another thing worth noting during that time is how they found who was impersonating Frau – one of her acquaintances from the Kill Ballad developers group. As the guy said he was doing it due to his wife and child having been taken hostage, even though he had nor a wife nor a kid, we’re introduced to a new, interesting concept: brainwash. Yes, it seems like it’s an easy thing to do in that time, as we see, earlier in the episode, Misa and that mysterious guy in a lab coat (I don’t remember his name being mentioned but it could be just a lapse of mine, so if it was indeed mentioned and you picked it up, please feel free to refresh my memory) talking about how the entire Gunvarrel staff was brainwashed 5 years ago.
Speaking of that conversation, it was a rather interesting one. (Honestly speaking, I find any scene with Misa to be an interesting one, simply because I’m so curious about her backstory.) Now that we know the Gunvarrel staff was brainwashed and Frau’s mother somehow regained her senses, her murder charge doesn’t seem all that made up (though even if it did happen, it was purely in self-defense) and there’s the possibility that I never considered of her really being alive. Besides that we have the mention to Kimijima Kou. Once again, I’m not exactly sure whether or not the timeline had been mentioned, but the reference to 2010 while the Gunvarrel anime aired in 2015 throws one of my theories to the trash. That aside, Misa’s reaction to the “mysterious guy in the lab coat”‘s question about whether or not there was a connection made it obvious that yes, there is a connection, and Misa knows a lot about it. Which was to be expected. What I didn’t think is that she hadn’t already told him whatever she knew. Mizuki seems to know about it as well, but of course she wouldn’t tell anyone even if they ate all passion-fruit buns in the store. What happened with Misaki, Mizuki and Kimijima Kou in the past is probably what I’m the most interested in right now, so any subtle details really pick up my eye. Also, based on Misuki’s reaction in an earlier episode… well, I’d take the risk to say Kimijima Kou isn’t as good as he makes himself seem.
Side plots aside and returning to the main events of the episode, after Kai uses his slow motion to avoid the OHKO cheat and delivers the final attack on the CPU-controlled robot, they gain admin access and Frau disables the robots, whose target (and one that they were really close to get to) was the government. Now, I had found this intriguing for a couple of seconds, but it would only make sense that the Comitee of 300 would need as many resources as possible to execute their project, and the government is obviously a huge source of resources. What matters is that they got it done and stopped the robot attack. Oh, but not without the help of Aki and the remaining members of the robotics;club in distracting the police who was coming for Frau.
And then… They kissed. Well, I think that was more of a one-sided “thank you” kind of kiss, but it’s still a kiss and it’ll definitely please any Frau x Kai shippers out there. Later on, surprisingly enough, Frau came to school for the first time. She seriously should let her hair down, those twin pigtails are a bit too childish. But well, I couldn’t care less since Aki’s reaction to how she was clinging to Kai really stole me a smile. I really hope this will go down the childhood friend route, though. Aki just needs some more development, since while she’s amusing, she’s also kinda flat right now. Though I still have hope for her.
Note: Oh, yeah, and the brainwashed guy was killed. Unsurprisingly.