Saturday, November 24, 2012

Robotics;Notes - 07

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So, yeah – remember that whole end of the solar system thing?  Still happening.


Robotics;Notes has definitely been a slow build, but I certainly don’t hold that against it.  It’s an excellent series, and I suspect it’s only when it’s complete that viewers will realize just how well-written and expertly-directed it was.  Even now, the collective whole of seven episodes seems greater than the sum of its parts – despite never seeming to be in a rush, an awful lot has happened right under our noses.  And best of all, the character interactions remain as natural as any in anime this season.

The pattern in R;N has established itself pretty well now – a lot of laid-back slice-of-life interspersed with Aki theatrics and snappy humor, and a few expositional whoppers thrown in for spice.  The show very much reflects the personality of it’s main character, and Kaito (played as a child by actual child Sekine Wataru, BTW) also grows in appeal weekly, with the cumulative effect of his character being more impressive than you realize.  What I especially appreciate about him is how he never takes the bait – not when it comes to Aki’s teasing and hyperactivity, or Frau Bow’s insanity, or even the craziness developing around him.  He keeps a calm head and calls BS when he sees it, but that disguises a very clever and very committed kid who has a knack for getting right to the heart of the matter, be it personal relations or the destruction of the planet.

Frau Koujiro continues to be the weirdest character in the cast, and Nazauka Kaori’s the weirdest performance – can this really be Eureka?  Yet she’s working for me, with that bent eroticism (Duhuhu!) and halting manner of speech.  She’s roped Kaito into helping her catch the cheaters in her beloved creation Kill Ballad, and there are hints that’s going to be important – both the fact that people are cheating and she can’t catch them at it, and the fact that Kaito specifically mentions a top player named Tagiri who plays fair.  But the bomb she dropped this week overshadows that, and it’s the fact that her mother, Kogoori Minami, was the director of the Gunvarrel anime – and that the reason the finale was never aired is that “at least” 13 members of the staff died just before the scheduled airing, and that her mother is the prime suspect.  As if that weren’t enough, Kona has moved to Kagoshima because that’s the last place her mother was seen.

That whole tale is interesting on so many levels, starting with the reason it was offered.  Kaito had just scolded her for laughing about his condition, and she offered him a secret as a crude form of apology (I thought she might have been making it up as a lark, but that doesn’t seem likely).  This is the first time we’ve seen recognizable human emotion and a desire for contact from Frau Bow, and the fact that it’s Kaito on the other end isn’t entirely surprising.  But I’m also becoming increasingly convinced that the last episode of Gunvarrel is directly connected to the conspiracy to hide the sun’s impending destruction – perhaps Minami somehow knew the truth, and was going to reveal it in some fashion.  I can’t see specifically how yet, but I’m dead-certain the connection is there, and not at a couple of removes.  We’ll find out soon enough.

There’s much more going on in the conspiracy front.  There’s been another major solar storm, causing havoc with electronic equipment – right on the schedule that Kimijima Kou predicted, as noted by Kaito with some trepidation.  And another teen urban legend has come true – the gang all receive emails on their Pokecoms with the song Kagome, Kagome – a very creepy kids’ game in Japan whose true origins are unknown.  Just after that happens, shit definitely gets real – the MIBs show up at the hangar, and their leader appears to be none other than the long-awaited Nae Tennoji (Yamamoto Ayano).  Clearly the kids have stumbled too close to the truth – thought whether these visitors are MIBs in the Ano Natsu sense or perhaps even CERN, we can’t be sure just yet.

The mastery of this series is that no matter how weird things get on the conspiracy side, life goes on – and somehow, it seems even more important (in that R;N has much in common with Steins;Gate).  Subaru is sneaking around behind his Dad’s back again, though he’s disassembled the M45 (I’m sure he knows how to put it back together) and shows up at the hangar to help with the Gunvarrel (I suspect he’s responding to the first people to show him any real kindness and validate his passion).  Nagafukada has ponied up the dough for Gunvarrel’s completion but wants Jun to be the one piloting it (Impact!).  And Aki continues to show a lot of interest in Kaito spending time alone with other girls for someone who has no romantic interest.  As great as those two are together, I’m pretty sure I’d rather see them remain best friends without serious romantic complications – I think that would be a very refreshing direction to go.

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36 comments:

  1. About the last episode of gunvarrel, my belief is that the cast, who knew something about the impending destruction of the solar system, framed the episode around that concept; like maybe in the episode, the evil organization (i'd go even as far as to say that the organization was some play on the acronym NASA; perhaps BASA hehehe) had used some sort of death ray or some scientific weapon to try and cause the sun to explode and gunvarrel had to save the day. Perhaps due to the obvious parallels with the real world situation, it never aired.

    I think my theories make sense seeing that shows tend to have delayed or removed air times based on real life situations: School Days Last episode had been delayed because of that brutal axe murder in japan; A clip from the american tv sitcom "Friends" was deleted because of the impact of 9/11 sooooo yeeeaaaaa

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  2. I'm sorry, but I can't take this dumb-science plot seriously. Calling it sci-fi is even insult to science. Explosion of Sun? The end of solar system? Solar flares ending all living beings on earth? Don't make me laugh~! I am not going to rant ala Neil Degrasse Tyson on silly-nonsense bad science, but seriously this is the best they can do? There are bad science AND there are stupid shit disguised as science.

    No matter what humans do, whether firing off ALL of their nuclear missiles at once or not recycling plastics, Earth will be fine, let along "THE SUN". Sure humans and majority of species will die off, but earth has gone through A LOT worse than hundreds of nukes going off simultaneously in its 4.5 billion years, folks. But I am SURE especially among dumb American public whom half of population believe Earth is 10,000-year-old and sun is moving around the earth, this stupid shit is no problem at all and even very popular -if only they can overcome "Japanese anime" factor.

    Besides this, I'm okay with this anime, just you know! But seeing how the main plot just pisses me off for its pseudo-science abracadabra mumbo-jumbo, I don't know how I can watch this show (and yes I did I watch this episode all the way). And well, I also wish that the character designs were more realistic instead of the typical 2D Japanese anime monster eye and no-nose designs; I mean look at Misaki when she was about the same age as Akiho. Look at the freaking difference. Why couldn't they do that?

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    1. Although I slightly agree with you...

      You have to calm down. It's just a cartoon.

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    2. Right, it's just cartoon or it's just a book or a movie. Yet the fact of the matter is people DO take it seriously consciously or subconsciously when they claim they don't. Why else it's cool and perfectly acceptable to claim to not know basic science and smugly dismiss it in the current world, especially U.S? All these little things count, Anon, in the long run, especially really awful stupid shit being accepted as norm. You give too much credit to and overestimate people's intelligence, especially the current increasingly dumber populace, with at least half of self-proclaimed proud science illiterate people (yet they don't have ANY problem buying a new iphone every year).

      I let it go when giant robots running around or space ships warp driving through space, but I draw the line at when solar flare vaporize all living beings on earth and the sun explodes in 2019. For one thing, believing giant fighting robots doesn't affect attitude towards science, but fear mongering on scientific ignorance does. Okay I can let it go on solar flare thing, but how the heck a writer could possibly think of the end of solar system in 2019 or whatever being a plot is beyond me. This is almost the same as 1979 "Black Hole" film featuring Maximilian Schell. It's like a human mating with T-rex territory in terms of absurdity scale. My suspense of disbelief has a limit, you know.

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    3. BTW I'm fine with human-language talking and upright walking animal anime (Yes, you know what I'm referring to and that probably is a bit hypocritical of me, but I guess I am really pissed off at this pseudo-science abracadabra mumbo-jumbo disguising to have some scientific merits).

      Had this show had a superman flying around through the universe, giant robots doing group-pilates at the earth's inner core, dinosaurs having sex with human children, earth being 100% free of organized religion and wars, AND the sun exploding and thus ending the solar system in year 2019, I would have totally let it go and watch as what it is since then it'd be VERY clear that they don't try to be pseudo-authentic scientifically and bullshitting with its silly little plot; not to mention that would be totally awesome~~. Seriously even a scientifically literate 2nd-grand schooler can do a better job at writing a plot than this.

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    4. I very much agree with the "calm down" comment, but just for the sake of argument, did the pseudo-scientific plot of Steins;Gate bother you? Because that was also trying to be "realistic" and was pretty preposterous.

      BTW, let me just point out that the sun hasn't exploded yet, and we haven't actually been told when Kiriyama said it was going to - only "soon". By his standards maybe that means 25,000 years. And the sun will destroy the Earth eventually - just not for a few billion years.

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    5. Which reminds me. If you don't like this kind of stuff then you don't like sci-fi series in general at all, cause all sci-fi series (American, Japanese, Russian, whatever) are like that, right? Plus, I'm sure that most people know this is mostly a bunch of supernatural BS, but are still attracted to that anyway. That's the whole reason sci-fi media exists in the first place. Time travel, Groundhog Day looping, teleportation, alien technology, etc; obviously those things don't exist, but bullions of people still make and watch this suff. What I am trying to say is, there is really no reason to say this stuff when we watch fiction. You can be mad when real life people try to say this is really happening in real life (And you'd be 100% in the right for saying it, but here there is really no point.

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    6. To be fair, my ranting is more of social commentary than the show itself and I see this more and more absurd sci-fi plots as symptoms of general scientific ignorance on general populace. Imagine had these writers knew some basic science or bothered to do just a little bit of research? In all likelihood they didn't give a shit and just went with whatever they thought sound grand; and most "people" gobble it all up since they also don't know any better and it sound cool to their ears.

      Why am i picking on this particular doomsday senario instead of time machine, star trek or Jurassic park? I can't really answer that. They're all absurd, sure. But this particular plot is one of the worst offending idea I've ever heard and these writers should know a little better as unlike other wishy-washy ideas, there is some concrete scientific theories and studies on the sun's demise and all that (billion years vs. "soon" in human terms). Again I mentioned "black hole (1979)" movie, that's quite up there, too.

      Why couldn't they do meteoroid 99942 Apophis or something if they insist on setting the scene to not-so-distant future? But nah, they had to grab the most preposterous idea like sun explosion "soon" in 2019 (BTW, why all these grim faces if the sun wouldn't explode for another 25,000 years? Did they forget the recorded history of entire human race is barely in low thousands? And besides if the sun does decide to blow itself off, there is nothing humans can do about it, so not really sure what the point of this anime is.) Anyway I said my piece and I should move on, otherwise, i am just repeating myself, which I'm sure I've already had.

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    7. Maybe wait till the anime is at least 1/3 finished before complaining that you don't know what the point it wouldn't be the worst idea?

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    8. Maybe some viewers don't need to see any further to decide that they aren't as patient and enthusiastic of this show as you? Just maybe?

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    9. But how can you dismiss the premise of an anime without knowing what the premise is? If you don't like the characters or the tone or the BGM for all I care, fine - but we don't even know what the fucking premise is yet, really. It just seems very premature to toss out a series based entirely on that (and I didn't see any other reasons offered in his post, so I can only assume that's his sole reason) when we haven't even seen better than 2/3 of the series and probably 90% of the exposition.

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    10. One of the things that irked me about Stein's Gate was that they associated their pseudo-science with the real organisation, CERN (though they decided to half assedly change the name to SERN). Heck, it even made CERN out to be the conspirators. Personally, I found that to be a double insult to physics.

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    11. Complaining about the science of this series means assuming that the science is the point. I'd be much, much more worried if the CHARACTERS were unrealistic. And, well, to a certain degree, I suppose they are—but the point is, this show (like every good show) is about PEOPLE, and it seems to me to be doing a pretty good job thus far of being about people.

      Geez. And next I'll see people dismissing the Lord of the Rings as pointless because it's so silly, hobbits and elves just don't exist!

      As for your complaints about why this series in particular? That really is a mystery to me—Steins;Gate had bad pseudoscience, but it seemed to me to be DELIBERATELY bad; the show was so steeped in geek culture that it came across as an HOMAGE to silly pseudoscience sci-fi (if the self-proclaimed mad scientist main character didn't clue you in). This series, too, seems to me to be an homage to all sorts of silly super robot and conspiracy stories, so of course the world's going to explode! Of course they have to build a giant robot! That's what happens in super robot stories, and that's the kind of story our heroes are in. The borderline-realistic high school setting is somewhat misleading in that sense. The premise is not: what would a realistic robot story be? The premise is (so far): what would happen if some people from our world (so to speak), with an awareness of super robot stories, found themselves inside a super robot conspiracy story?

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    12. WTF Kenny. Do you even know what Sci-Fi is? If you don't like the idea of it, don't watch or read Sci-Fi. Please don't. For your own sake. You're destined to have a heart attack soon. I'm a physicist myself and I don't let myself get upset over these silly things.

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    13. I did think the fusion bomb in Batman 3 was vile and disgusting though. Why would you destroy the reputation of fusion by claiming it could in any way be made into a bomb in an Action/Thriller movie? Just for the sake of "nuclear bombs is not frightening enough, we need to one-up it".

      However, Batman is not a portrayed as a dedicated Sci-fi, nor is it a f*cking cartoon.

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    14. heh, so you do have a problem with something else! To each its own, my pal. For you, it's the fusion bomb, for Kenny it's the man-made sun explosion "soon" and mass panic in circa 2019, and for some I suppose it's the elves and dwarfs. In that regard, Stöt, you don't really have any higher ground to chime Kenny for flipping out and getting upset on what he thought was "vile and disgusting"

      Also, The Kenosha Kid. Have you lived in a cave? There are a PLENTY "people dismissing the Lord of the Rings as pointless because it's so silly, hobbits and elves just don't exist". In fact, I bet MOST of human race in this earth (maybe 80+% or 90+%?) either dismiss it for its make-believes or just don't give a shit for one reason or another and/or totally unaware of it due to I dunno, their lives happening to them.

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    15. I think you need to read this article:
      http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/a-perfect-storm-of-planetary-proportions/0

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  3. I'm probably misinterpreting what you are saying but are you saying that the earth itself will be fine even after the sun explodes? im not sure that is correct... If the plot is referring to the eventual shutdown of the sun, then actually the whole solar system would be in danger and the would be no earth whatsoever. If the sun goes out it'll proceed to transform into a red giant, expanding far past venus, destroying mercury and venus, torching the earth and then evenually collapse into itself, creating a singularity that would eliminate the entire solar system. If we are referring to the sun exploding, irs not out of the realm of possibility that the explosin plus concussive shockwave would not shatter the planets nearest the sun and cause a chain destruction of planets...we are the planet from the planet the sun...we are not that far off...regardless i do see the plausible points in your view.

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    1. *it's not out of the realm of possibility that the explosion plus the resulting concussive shockwave would shatter the planets*

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    2. Please, Anon~~~. NOTHING human beings do will blow off the sun. NOTHING! And it won't explode in 2019, let along, let along in year 200,0019! Heck, they can't even blow off the earth if they try; they will just kill themselves off first and earth will go on as if nothing really happens in the grand scheme of things.

      And you do know that Sun will swallow up the earth as it becomes a red giant before exploding according to the current science consensus, right? It won't simply just go BANG all of sudden out of the blue and explode. That's not how things work. It's not a watermelon in a microwave if you get my drift. Why not have this show about 5 billions in the future and the sun threatening to vaporize the earth as it gets bigger and hotter? Well I suppose any living thing would be cooked and vaporize LONG before that, but still~.

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    3. Wait, Anon, my mistake since you did write about sun being a red giant and swallowing up the nearest planets. If earth is done in by the sun, as you said, it will be vaporized and swallowed up by it, not by sun's explosion. Saturn, I can see done in by the explosion, on the other hand.

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    4. Dude, ever heard of Anthropic Principle?
      Sure earth and solar system may survive , but we the observer will no longer be able to observe it, so it can be said that Solar Sytem that we've observed end along with us.

      Also, you're taking it way too seriously. Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head also had this level sci-fi.

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    5. What's Anthropic Principle has to do with the sheer stupidity of an idea of the sun exploding in 2019, out of blue like a popcorn? There is taking way too seriously and there is rage against insultingly stupid logic.

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    6. Just have to reply to this comment to clear up a little misunderstanding. Our humble star is not nearly large enough to create a singularity when it dies. With our star's mass and chemical make up it will go through the various red giant stages and then probably turn into a planetary nebula before finally becoming a white dwarf. Our particular star isn't even big enough to go nova, much less form a singularity.

      Of course life on this planet will be long gone before the sun even enters the red giant phase due to the steady increase in it's brightness as it nears the end of it's hydrogen supply so we won't be around to worry too much about that.

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  4. I meant to reply to Kenny's original comment, no idea how my comment ended up here.

    Also, we're in episode 7 and barely touch the main plot. For all we know, Committee of 300 may had done something that would cause the sun to explode.

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    1. I quote Kenny's comment to reply to that: "NOTHING human beings do will blow off the sun. NOTHING! And it won't explode in 2019, let along, let along in year 200,0019! Heck, they can't even blow off the earth if they try; they will just kill themselves off first and earth will go on as if nothing really happens in the grand scheme of things." The sun has a total energy output of somewhere around 3.86×10^26 (386,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) Joules per second. You need to have 6,126,984,126,984 atom bombs to match that. Did I mention that output was per second? What can humans who live in a pale blue dot in vacuum of vast space will do to the sun? Freeze-dry it? Any nuke shooting towards sun will just vaporize before it even reaches there. It's such an arrogant thought like believing sun revolves around earth. Please come up with a better logic than that; or better yet, just give up and enjoy the ride since nothing in this show really make sense logically anyway.

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    2. Dude, we're talking about world where it's possible to turn your delusion into cool swords and capable of harnessing black hole's power, surely blowing up sun is well within their capabilities.

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    3. touché, Anonymous, touché. If put it that way, nothing is impossible and nothing is indisputable.

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    4. Yeah. When you think of flower beds, flower beds appear. LOL. And it's permanent, too.

      Also, I think all these talks are jumping to conclusion too soon. According to this anime, sun is probably going to explode by it's own, all that NASA/CERN/JAXA trying to do was just hiding the fact, in order not to cause mass panic. They come to Kaito to shut him up. All the attempt to contact the alien is intended to ask for their help somehow, to help humans evacuate from earth.

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    5. It seems you misunderstand me.
      I'm not saying it's possible as in "in anime anything can happen" sense, i'm saying it's possible based on Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate lore.

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    6. ...where exactly did it say that someone was going to blow up the sun? The impression I got was that the sun was going to blow up on its own. NASA sent a probe or something to look at the sun from an angle we can't see from earth, found something completely unexpected (magnetic monopole lol), and re-calculated that this implies the sun will blow up on its own. Then they cover it up for whatever reasons we haven't discovered yet. Why the hell would anyone want to blow up the sun anyway?

      So while I haven't been following these rants in too much detail, if you're complaining about people in the show being able to blow up the sun, then I think this show is a bit too smart for you. You should learn some basic comprehension skills first.

      On the other hand, it is sort of implicit that the characters will somehow stop the sun from exploding at some point, unless this story has a bad ending.

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    7. Woah, chill out dude, no need to resort to passive-aggressive remarks. All i'm saying is we don't know what caused the sun to blow up, heck it might be caused by entirely natural causes, but given the background in Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate it's entirely POSSIBLE that Committee of 300 has their hands in that. Please note that i haven't read the VN and this post is based solely on my assumption.

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    8. There's an infestation of Anonymous here so maybe you couldn't tell who I was talking to, but if you aren't the one complaining then my comment wasn't addressed to you. So... no need to get defensive.

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    9. LOL, this post is totally ruined due to a wall of annymous users talking past each other!

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  5. But, anything is possible in anime. What a writer musn't do is : contradict himself. Let's take Bleach for example, shall we? Ichigo was given a rare artefact by Yoruichi, allowing him to fly to Rukia's execution place. But hundred of chapters later, everybody can fly around just fine! Artefact? Who need it?

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  6. Jesus, I remember this being Sci-fi, as in science FICTION...

    Anyway as far as the episode is concerned, as interested as I am about Koujiro's mom being a prime suspect the episode really left me wondering WTH will happen now that the MiB showed up, for a show thats typically quite lax this should be an interesting turn of events that just might lead into very good payoff for later episodes

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