Visual Novel: Robotics;Notes
Some Assembly Required
"As for science, it may be negative. However, do not forget the thing that there is a scientific side in all the one. The important one is true. Of me the ruler my fate, and me also the commander of my soul."
The year is 2019. The setting is Tanegashima high school.Robotics;Notes
follows Kaito Yashio, an avid fan of Fighting Games
who is ranked fifth in the online game Kill-Ballad. Along with Akiho Senomiya, he is a member of his school's robotics club. The club's purpose is to complete a working copy of the Humongous Mecha
Gunvarrel, the titular character of a wildly popular Show Within a Show
anime, started by Akiho's sister, Misaki. However, keeping the robotics club afloat is not easy. Kaito and Akiho are the only members and Akiho makes extraordinary budget demands to the school. Thus, the vice-principal offers them a condition: they must win the Robo-One tournament to obtain the desired budget.
Amidst their efforts to create a working Humongous Mecha
for an upcoming expo, Kaito comes across Subaru Hidaka, a younger high school student
who has his own fascination in mecha, Frau Kojiro, the Hikikomori
genius programmer of Kill Ballad, Junna Daikoku, the granddaughter of the local robotic parts shop who's ironically nervous around robots, Nae Tennoji
the young engineer of JAXA who provides funds for the club, and a human-like AI named Airi, who leads him to the mysterious Kimijima Reports that detail how and why a world-altering disaster
may be on its way...
, the game was released on the PS3
and Xbox360 on 2012. In typical visual novel fashion, the story features branching paths and Multiple Endings
depending on the player's choices. Steins;Gate
's Phone Trigger system is replaced by the Pokecon Trigger, which activates Kaito's tablet computer, allowing the player to utilize its applications.
An animated adaptation
by Production I.G
began airing on Fuji Tv's Noitamina
slot on October 2012
, which can be seen on Hulu
. Five manga have also been produced.
This visual novel provides examples of:
- Alternate Reality Game: In-universe. The things that Kaito has to do in order to unlock the Reports, and the Reports' contents, are very much like a real-life ARG.
- A Day in the Limelight: Junna gets one in episode 12, which explores her past and why she's so terrified of robots after one of her grandfather's robots falls and traps her, along with the regret her grandfather experienced as a result of the accident.
- Adult Fear: There are a few.
- Mizuka's death was pretty tragic, especially when you watch Kaito desperately doing everything in his power to try and save her.
- Akiho and Misa. An older sibling has cut off ties from their family with no explanation and ignores any and all attempts at contact, and the last conversation they had with the younger was them calling her plain and saying she'd never accomplish anything. Then it's revealed the Virtual Ghost of an Mad Scientist she killed to save them is not only possessing her, but threatening the lives of everyone Misa cares about unless she cooperates with him
- The Alleged Car: Well, it's technically a mecha, but evoked in episode 9 when the Robotics club attempts to move Gunbuild 1 for the first time. Though expectations from the audience is high, it ultimately barely takes a step before the engine breaks down.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Elephant Mouse Syndrome
- Anime of the Game
- Augmented Reality: GunPro-2 uses AR to overlay an image of Gunvarrel over the robot.
- Author Existence Failure: An in-universe example when Frau reveals that the reason why the final episode of Gunvarrel was never aired was because the entire production crew was murdered (It was revealed in episode #14, that it was actually self-defense, the other crew-members were brainwashed and tried to kill her). However, this information was kept secret from the public.
- Awesome but Impractical: The fatal flaw of building Gun Pro-1.
- Based on a Great Big Lie: Based on the Committee of 300 conspiracy that a secret organization controls all the world's politics, economy and owns a secret military. The Committee is also known by other names such as the "Hidden Hand" or "The Olympians."
- Big Bad: The Committee of 300 and Kou Kimijima
- Big Damn Hero:
- Blackmail: How Kaito makes Subaru Hidaka (aka Mr. Pleiades) joining their club and stops it from being disbanded.
- Bland-Name Product: ShareVideo and Twipo. Also PhoneDroid Pad for iPad. @channel for 2channel.
- Blood from the Mouth: Happens to Mizuka at the end of episode 16. After hearing the Kagome Kagome ringtone and answering the call, her augmented legs suddenly malfunctions and forces her to walk towards the cliff. Kai tries to stop her, but after forcefully knocking her down, the legs simply get back up. Due to the speed and torque in which it did it, she spits up blood.
- Boring but Practical: Subaru's argument on why aesthetics have to be sacrificed in order to build a funtional giant robot.
- Brain Uploading: Kimijima Kou did this.
- Breather Episode: Episode 15, which doubles as A Day in the Limelight for Airi. Kaito learns more about her past, along with her constant wishing for snow on Christmas. This episode precedes the tragic event that follows in the next episode, where Mizuka is Killed Off for Real.
- Buxom Is Better: Irei.
- Cat Girl: Need an augmented reality version of this trope? There's an app for that!
- Calling Your Attacks
(while in the tournament)
Kaito: Could you please not shout out the attack names, Aki-chan?
Akiho: Eh?! Special moves are meant to be yelled out!
- Captain Ersatz: By far, Gunvarrel looks like a love letter to every Humongous Mecha show ever made, but it practically is Gundam. Yoshiyuki Tomino would be proud.
- The Cavalry: Everyone, even the school's uptight principal comes to the club's aid in episode 20.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Similar to Steins;Gate, shit hits the fan midway through the series, starting at around episode 14 and hitting in full force in episode 16.
- Char Clone: Mr. Pleiades.
- Conspicuous CG: The Anime was animated by Production I.G after all. But special mention goes to the door of Akiho's room opening and closing in episode 5.
- The replica Gunvarrel in episode 21, it becomes hand-drawn the following episode.
- Continuity Nod: Several Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head characters reappear, such as Nae and Daru ending up working for JAXA.
- In the first episode, a mysterious girl appears and says, "Whose eyes are those?"
- Episode 19 has lots of them and they're plot relevant ! Such as the NoAH machine
- According to the introduction, this takes place in the 1.048596% divergence.
- In one of the spinoff mangas, Frau is apparently online friends with Kurisu.
- Kai is also able to become online friends with DaSH , KuriGohanandKamehameha and Neidhardt. All which are the online handles of previous characters in the series.
- Frau likes to say "What erogame is this?" Which was Takumi's catchphrase in Chaos;Head.
- Cool Old Guy: Doc, Junna's grandfather. He sells the club parts for their robots and plays loud heavy metal at his store.
- Cry Cute: Junna in episode 12, after seeing that people aren't scared of Gunbuild 1 at all.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Most of the main characters have one.
- Kaito and Akiho were involved in a mysterious event where they mysteriously fainted, and were then afflicted with debilitating medical conditions that can affect their perception of time. These have been dubbed as "Elephant-Mouse Syndrome": Kaito perceives several seconds as a few minutes, while Akiho perceives five minutes as a few seconds.
- Subaru has an abusive father who forbids him from getting involved with robotics and tries to force him to become a fisherman like him.
- Frau lives with the stigma of being the daughter of an accused murderer. Her mother allegedly killed the entire production crew of the Gunvarrel anime and then disappeared (It was revealed in episode #14, that it was actually self-defense, the other crew-members were brainwashed and tried to kill her).
- Jun was traumatized when one of the robots her grandfather built fell on top of her, resulting in her fear of robots and the belief that her grandfather hates her.
- Airi used to be a real girl who was afflicted with a terminal illness, and began to lose hope that she would ever be cured. She is then put into stasis to preserve her body until a cure could be found.
- Dead All Along: The top three Kill Ballad players have been dead for at least six months.
- Defictionalization: In-Universe as well.
- Akiho is determined enough to perform this for Gunvarrel.
- The "Grand Obelisk", the elevator from the Gainax Ending of Gunvarrel, ends up near the location where the Robotics competition is held. It apparently is very hard to tell whether or not it is real or not, considering the size of the damn thing.
- Despair Event Horizon: Tetsuharu in episode 12, after he gets sick and ends up in the hospital. He seriously considers closing his shop, but is ultimately convinced to keep it open after seeing the Robotics club fixes up his old robots, and more importantly, Junna is slowly working to overcome her fear of them, particularly the one that fell on top of her. He then regains his usual cranky demeanor, along with a renewed hope to carry on his work.
- Distant Finale: In the epilogue, it's implied that Kaito becomes an astronaut and Akiho manages to build a working replica of Gunvarrel years after the events of the series.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Hidden hand", if taken in context, may sound familiar to the "invisible hand".
- Due to the Dead: Kai, Aki and Mitchie mourn Irei's death. Mitchie also performs a Libation for the Dead.
- Misaki also pays her respects to Irei, even while being Kimijima's Meat Puppet.
- Eat That: You can purchase information from Irei Store by clearing a challenge: eating a nikuman (a Japanese dough bun) with an unusual, typically infernally bad taste.
- Engrish: Gunvarell, most likely (or intentionally) a corruption of "gunbarrel", the name for the in-series mecha animé and robot.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Subaru's dad is very much against him trying to pursue a career in robotics and instead wants him to be a fisherman like himself. And after Gunbuild 2 accidentally falls on top of him, it gives his father more credibility as to why he shouldn't be working with robots.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Akiho and her older sister, Misaki.
- Foreshadowing/Brick Joke:
Akiho: "So If I also defeat you (at Kill Ballad), I'll be your superior?"
Kaito: "I guess, but I doubt you could ever win, even in a hundred games..."
: ''You need to grow up to be a man with the "right stuff
- Friendly Tickle Torture: Nae does this to Kaito in episode 13 when he jokes about her age.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In-Universe It Makes Sense in Context, and then she smirks on The Stinger.
Geji-nee: Why I said "kiss my forehead" just now is unknown. Because it may be a bug, it's under investigation.
- Gainax Ending: The supposed "ending" to Gunvarrel that was leaked online.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: While Akiho didn't specifically request help beyond her club and a couple of adults who worked with her such as Doc, in episode 20, quite a few people arrive to help her to rebuild Gunbuild 1 to stop Kou Kimijima from launching his weapon into space which would kill off at least five billion people.
- Good Old Robot: Tanegamachine-san. It is later upgraded for the Robo-One tournament as Tanegamachine-san Advance.
- Government Conspiracy: Committee of 300, some kinda in-universe version of real-world conspiracy theories floating around on the net.
- Gratuitous English: "Too expensive!" though it's only heavily accented. Also Aira's password "hidden hand".
- Human Popsicle: The real Airi is a girl with a terminal, incurable disease. Kimijima Kou put her into suspended animation until the world finds a cure for her condition.
- Humble Goal: Akiho just wants to finish a Humongous Mecha project started by her sister before graduating.
- Humongous Mecha: The purpose of the robotics club is to build one based on a worldwide famous anime.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The final battle is an even balance of this and Mecha vs Mecha fighting.
- I Know Mortal Kombat: With some help from Frau Koujiro, Aki and Kai were able to program their hobby robot to be controlled via video game controls from Kill Ballad for a tournament. This control system was later used to pilot the Robotics Club's giant robot for the final battle.
- Imagine Spot: Junna has one of Subaru modeling for a naked photoshoot, which he quickly destroys.
- Interrupted Suicide: When Kaito wants to talk to Frau Kojirou and she isn't answering her intercom, he takes a big stone to smash the glass front door and to break into her apartment, to find her in her bathtub, holding a knife in her hand, thankfully before she can do the deed.
- Just Before the End: The characters point out how the Earth is currently experiencing abnormal weather, such as scorching hot winters in Russia and snowstorms in the American West Coast. Solar flares are also messing with electronics worldwide. Kimijima claims that this is because the Sun is about to explode but it is later revealed claims of such were just elaborate, fake propaganda used by Kimijima to distract public attention from his goals.
- Lap Pillow: Akiho and Kaito in Episode 8.
- Lethal Chef: Invoked with Irei's special nikuman. An abomination of spicy dough with passionfruit and cheese filling. See Eat That.
Kaito: "It is truly one of the Devil's own inventions, from the pits of Hell itself".
- Like Brother and Sister: Kaito and Akiho.
- Until episode #21, were Kaito confesses his love to her and she reciprocates with a kiss.
- Loophole Abuse:
- Even though Kaito and Akiho lose the hobby robot tournament and their bet with the vice principal, they point out that the winner, Subaru, is also a student in their school and blackmail him into saying he's part of the robotics club, so they still technically won.
- Subaru uses this against Kai as well; when Kai uses his usual dodge of demanding that someone beat him in Kill-Ballad before he does anything, Subaru simply continues challenging him to consecutive fights until he won, since there's no limit to the number of rounds specified.
- When Kai is given the conditions/flags to unlock the Kimijima reports, such as completing a lap in a certain amount of time at an out of business go kart track, he simply uploads a fake time as if he did race it, as there was no way he could realistically do it. In another, he's required to hit a bulls eye at an archery target. However, the flag never specified how far away he has to be, so he shoots at it from a few feet away to ensure a bullseye. Another report requires him to put rocks on a shrine without them dropping off, and he tries with big rocks at first but fails. He later puts small pebbles on, and it still satisfies the flag since it technically never specified how big of a rock had to be placed on it.
- Akiho asks Kai to get Frau to help with the programming on the mecha's motor in episode 13. He tells her he needs to be defeated in Kill Ballad first before he'll do it. Since she's terrible at the game, she gets Nae to defeat him instead.
- Medium Blending: The anime uses three types of animation throughout: there's the standard anime style, the video game 3D style for Kill Ballad, and the 80s Anime style with touches of modernization for segments that have Gunvarrel. The blending comes in when the anime is able to render both game and the anime at the same time, which is rather tough to pull off but is performed spectacularly.
- Meido: One of the Pokecon's applications allows Kaito to see Akiho dressed in such a costume with cat ears.
- The Men in Black: At the end of episode 7 and the beginning of 8, some men in black suits along with a mysterious lady shows up and forces Akiho and the others to go with them. However, it's subverted when the lady introduces herself as Nae Tennoji, and that she works for JAXA and wants to help them build their mecha after seeing them at the Robo One Tournament, along with the interview Akiho gave earlier.
- Mythology Gag: When asked if it's possible to hack the Iru-O system, Kona says that's it's just as hard as hacking SERN's database to steal classified information.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Episode 17 Kai downloads the 7th Kimijima Kou file, which is an executable that distributes the other 6 Kimijima Kou files to everyone using the IROU system. It also puts Kimijima's Xanatos Gambit plan into action in which he planned to kill off five billion people through a massive solar storm.
- No, Except Yes: You are led to believe that the killer of the entire staff of Gunvarrel was actually crazy enough to begin with but the others involved were not. It turns out later on that the creators were ones who were actually crazy because they were brainwashed and the person who killed them involuntarily got free of said brainwashing, but this came after the revelation that Gunvarrel was supposed to make everyone crazy.
- Now or Never Kiss: Kai asks for one from Aki before he pilots the Super Gun Pro-1 into a potentially Suicide Mission.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Averted with Kai who easily sees through it. Akiho on the other hand...
- Powered Armour: Irei, the owner of the Irei Shop, has a non-military variant: She uses an exoskeleton (it's not a full one, just for her legs) to move her legs (most likely connected to her nerves, since she doesn't seem to operate any controls while she walks) after an unspecified accident. Click here for an illustration. Later, she's killed by someone hacking it and making her walk off a cliff.
- Misaki is later seen wearing a full body version of the exoskeleton, which gives her insane strength and agility, as well as the ability to interface directly with electronics.
- Real Robot: The hobby robots are pretty much fine tuned versions of the toy robots available now. Gunvarrel, being from a Show Within a Show , Is pure super robot- however the replica built by the club has a different design in order to actually be able to stand without falling apart.
- Relationship Sabotage: Akiho does this in episode 9, after noticing Nae and their teacher Mitsuhiko getting a little too friendly for her liking at the festival.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Again, Kai and Aki.
- Sequel Hook: Kou claimed, that the copy possessing Misaki is only one of many and that he'll be back.
- Shared Universe: Robotics;Notes shares setting with its two predecessors: Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head.
- Episode 8 shows the return of Nae Tennoji from Steins;Gate
- Episode 9 shows that Kai is possibly online friends with NEIDHART aka Takumi.
- He is also seen browsing posts made by DaSH and KuriGohanandKamehameha, who are Daru and Kurisu, respectively.
- According to Frau Kojirou in episode 11, hacking into IROU is as impossible as hacking into SERN and stealing their files... Really? Say that to Okabe!
- In episode 13, five of the nineteen images included Mayans, Nuclear Explosions, and the Shibuya 107 Building.
- In episode 14, if you look closely enough, a poster of Seira can be seen in the background of Maguyan's room.
- Episode 19 has multiple references to Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head, such as Nae's codename being "S_Braun", SERN providing black hole warheads to the Committee of 300, and the Committee having improved upon the Noah illusion technology.
- Shout-Out: The very first moments of the first episode are this to its predecessor.
- Show Within a Show: The Gunvarrel anime, a standard Super Robot show about a boy called Dotou Genki and the Humongous Mecha he pilots, Gunvarrel.
- Smooch of Victory: Frau gives one to Kai.
- Spoiler Opening: The opening makes it clear who joins the Robotics Club.
- Sudden Downer Ending: An in-universe one occurs when the final episode of the Gunvarrel anime is leaked. All the robots sacrifice themselves to power a giant cannon that fires into the sun, causing a solar storm that not only kills the main villain, but all of humanity as well. One of the protagonists sacrifices herself to save her partner, who is left to wander the ruined Earth alone. Akiho reacts poorly to this ending.
- In an example pertaining towards the series itself; one could count episode 16 as having such.
- Square/Cube Law: Discussed in-universe as the reason why building Gun Pro-1 is so impractical, and why building Gun Pro-2 will be even harder from scratch.
- The Good Guys Always Win: Kaito's final line to Kimijima.
- There Is Only One Bed: Episode 18 between Kai and Aki
- Third Is 3D: Which is unusual for the visual novel genre. The majority of the game's dialogue is performed by 3D models instead of 2D portraits.
- Title Drop: In "Thank You Berry Much"
- Too Dumb to Live: Yeah Subaru, stand next to the giant robot when there's a powerful wind blowing!
- True Companions: The Robot Club members are gradually becoming this as of Episode 14.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Thousands of Robots in Tokyo go berserk after someone hacks them. Totally unexpected!
- Twenty Minutes into the Future
- Unwitting Pawn: Kaito to Kimijima Kou. Then again, that's how Crazy-Prepared Kimijima Kou really was.
- Urban Legend of Zelda: In-Universe, as the wildly popular Gunvarrel anime (the Humongous Mecha anime that Akiho wants to build) has had no official ending for several years, even though it had a running of 155 episodes. It's ended up being wildly rumored that the anime itself had an ending, but the general fanbase was sad to see it end on such a Cliffhanger.
- Virtual Ghost: Kimijima Kou's "ghost" can be seen with these smartphones in the series.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: When Frao Kohirou realizes, that someone has taken over her Twitter account published a fake confession of her taking over robots and leaking the last Gunvarrel episode.
- Wetware Body: Airi and Misaki are controlled by Kimijima's Virtual Ghost
- Wham Episode:
- Episode 6 — Subaru's father shows up at the robotics club hangar and finds out that his son is still showing interest in the "toys" instead of taking over the family fishing business as he promised to two years earlier. He punches his son and slams Subaru's robot onto the ground. Though Akiho barely stops Subaru's father from stomping on it, Subaru tells her to dispose of it. The shock of watching Subaru being forced to abandon his dreams also triggers an "Elephant-Mouse Syndrome" attack on her as the episode ends.
- Episode 13 — A solar flare fries Tokyo, Frau's online account is hacked and claims to be the one making robots attack people in the already devastated city. Then Kaito finds her in the bathtub with a knife in her hand and preventing her nkilling herself.
- Episode 16 — Irei is killed when her exoskeleton is hacked and forces her to walk off a cliff. Additionally, a strong gust of wind knocks Gunbuild 2 onto Subaru.
- Episode 17 — Kimijima Report No. 7 turns out to be a trap that distributes the other six reports to every computer on Earth, guaranteeing a worldwide panic. Also a result of the accident, where Gunbuild 2 fell onto Subaru, the principal is forced to disband the robot research club, and Subaru's father wants him to have nothing to do with his former clubmates, even though he realizes it was entirely accidental.
- Episode 19 — Senomiya Misaki moves to carry out Kimijima Kou's plan by shooting SERN-built black hole bombs into orbit and fiddling with the magnetic field of the earth, killing 5 billion people in the process. Sawada Toshiyuki tries to prevent this. Kimijima Kou uploads himself into the IROU network.
- Episode 21 — Kaito confesses to Akiho, Akiho kisses him. Subaru and Frau Kojirou are jealous.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Subaru asks this of Ahiko after she turns down JAXA's support to build a working mecha, because they wanted her to start from over scratch, while she wanted to continue working on Gunbuild 1. He was being reasonable given that the club's attempt at a robot was terrible due to not being able to get the parts that the blueprints required, but Akiho wanted it done for mostly sentimental reasons, to finish her sister's work in the club.
- Junna experiences this from her grandfather after she accidentally causes one of his robots to fall on top of her, which also sets off her fear of robots.
- Akiho essentially asks this of her sister throughout the show, with Kai calling her out never replying back to her as well. Turns out her sister was actually doing Kimijima's bidding after she killed him, lest he leak out the information that she murdered him. This Black Mail works fantastically on Misaki, as she attempts to prevent Kai and Akiho from finding it out, though she nearly loses her sanity in the process.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out the final fate of Frau's motherin the anime adaptation.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Frau Kojirou and Jun.
- Xanatos Gambit: The Kimijima Reports are actually lies written by Kimijima to manipulate readers into carrying out his true plans. He's not trying to prevent a catastrophic solar flare, he's trying to cause one.
- Crazy-Prepared: According to Episode 20, he planned the entire setup, scenario, and endgame that has occurred in every other episode. Everything was all according to plan.