See: "Yashio, Kaitou"
Sister Centipede's "death" as a snowburst for one) in the first act I can only call this episode a masterpiece - especially the second half, which felt like a payoff for all the heavy lifting the series has been doing for so long. You can only get that kind of emotional traction when you've done the hard work in building characters that viewers can identify with and care about, and R;N has been slowly, patiently and skillfully doing that for the last six months.
sickbed and limped into the command center with his coat over his shoulder, it was clear that R;N was going all-in with the GAR this time around. Subtle it was not, but if you didn't get a charge out of every minute from that point on you're probably a lost cause for this series (and I admit it's not for everybody, having left cynicism broken by the curb a long time ago). Determined to take to the battlefield in the new and improved Super GunPro-1 and take on Misa and Sumeragi, using Kimijima's seizure-inducing device (found thanks to Airi) - despite the fact that doing so might just kill him. The stakes? The life and death of 5 billion people, that's all. As setups go, heroes don't get much better than that.
her reaction solidly in character - especially when she made it clear she's fully aware of just how much he's been doing for her all these years. I loved the reveal that the rest of the club had been watching them, and Kona and Subaru's reactions were spot-on, too, especially when she decried them as "Normalfags!" for their storybook romantic moment.
damn fine kiss to boot? I'm a bit disturbed that Aki didn't return the words to Kai - not that it isn't obvious - but then, it's not as though he hasn't already set a dizzying number of death flags as is. I have to applaud the R;N team (on top of everything else) for knowing the perfect moment to have Aki worry aloud about "Will this set the death flag?" just as I was cursing Kai for setting so damn many of them. I sincerely, fervently hope that bit of self-referential humor is a sign that the series is taking the meta approach to this - to be honest, having Kai die at the end would really, really suck. Seriously, Adachi would never go there. If any cast of characters has earned their happy ending it's this one, in series that's been unabashedly innocent and sentimental right from the beginning. I can only say again that Steins;Gate was not so dissimilar to Robotics;Notes as some would have you believe - there was a certain innocence and undeniable romanticism to those character interactions as well. But there's no denying that this is a very different sort of story - a sweeter and gentler one, for all its conspiracies and tragedies.
thrilling and nerve-wracking finale, and I'm emotionally bought-in so heavily that I'm going to be on edge right up to the end. This is why, in the end, I tend to prefer series that focus on character too heavily at the expense of plot rather than the reverse: those kinds of shows can always crank up the action at the end and if you care about the characters, the impact is profound. It's impossible for a plot-driven series with 2-D characters to deliver that same impact, because you can't crank up character development this late in the game and overcome a series worth of deficit. Robotics;Notes is most certainly not without its flaws, but it's very, very good at what it does well - and it does the right things well.