Robotics; Notes Collection 1 (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 18-Jun-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Audio Commentary-US Cast x 2
Interviews-Crew-Science Adventure Series Part 1 (18:47)
More…-Textless Opening Song “Junjo Supekutora”
More…-Textless Closing Song “Umikaze no Brave”
Trailer-US Trailer
Trailer-x 8 including Robotics; Notes,
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 257:23 (Case: 275)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kazuya Nomura
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yoshino Nanjo
Lindsay Seidel
Ryoshei Kimura
Clifford Chapin
Kikuko Inoue
Caitlin Glass
Yoshimasa Nazuka
Jarrod Greene
Sora Tokui
Monica Rial
Case ?
RPI ? Music Takeshi Abo
Yuki Hayashi
Asami Tachibana


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     It is the year 2019 and Akiho (voiced by Yoshino Nanjo / Lindsay Seidel), whose father works at the nearby Space Centre Facility, and Kaito (Ryoshei Kimura / Clifford Chapin), a mediocre student but an excellent gamer, are the only members of the Chuo Tanegashima High School Robot Research Club. Funding for the club is running out but Akiho, a maddingly positive and optimistic girl, is determined to complete the club project that had been commenced 8 years earlier by her award winning older sister Misaki (Kikuko Inoue / Caitlin Glass); build a giant working robot modelled on the once popular anime robot Gunvarrel. Akiho gains reluctant support from fellow students Subaru (Yoshimasa Nazuka / Jarrod Greene) and Junna (Sora Tokui / Monica Rial), a shy girl who is actually scared of robots.

     But strange things have been happening. Kaito has downloaded the IRUO app onto his mobile device through which he is accessing the ghostly figure of Airi (Rie Kugimiya / Apphia Yu) and receiving from Kou Kimijima, a person who had been killed some years before, disturbing reports about the destruction of the sun and the death of billions of people on Earth. Other questions abound: what is the reason for the mass fainting aboard the ship Anemone six years ago that left Akiho and Kaito with strange time related side effects? Why has the recluse game developer Fraukoujiro (Kaori Nazuka / Leah Clark) suddenly moved from Tokyo to the area? And just why is the organisation where Misaki works, a business that builds exoskeletons, closely watching events at the High School?

     Robotics; Notes is part of the semi-colon (;) Science Adventure Series following Chaos; HEAd and Steins; Gate, and although all three had their source in the same pool of visual novel creators their anime adaptations have come from completely different animation studios and directors.

     Robotics; Notes starts as a somewhat sweet and simple story about perseverance and holding onto one’s dreams. While the series concentrates upon the main two or three characters it is light-hearted and fun: Akiho is so good-natured and optimistic she is impossible to dislike while Kaito is a normal teenage boy, totally focussed on his games and only gradually coming to realise that there are other, strange, forces at work. Fraukoujiro is also very funny. However, the series quickly adds layers of characters, ideas and plots, widening the initial simple scenario to include occult events, NASA, solar storms, cover-ups, conspiracy theories, the missing final episode in the Gunvarrel anime series, a missing mother, father issues, the secretive Committee of 300 and a malfunctioning exoskeleton suit. These plot strands plus a range of characters who seem important, such as the shop girl with artificial limbs Mizuka, are all thrown together with the result that the series is too jumbled and complex to be coherent.

     Robotics; Notes ran on Japanese TV for 22 episodes from October 2012 to March 2013. This two Blu-ray set Robotics; Notes Collection 1 includes the first 11 episodes; episodes 1-8 are on disc 1 and episodes 9-11 plus extras (except for a commentary) on disc 2. Robotics; Notes Collection 2, containing episodes 12-22, is due for release by Madman in late July. Hopefully all the ideas, characters and plots strands will be melded together and resolved in the final 11 episodes of the series.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Robotics; Notes is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print looks stunning. Colours are clear, deep and vivid, with blues and yellows beautiful. The lines are clean and nicely detailed. Blacks and shadow detail are fine.

     I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is very approximate in either audio track.

     The English subtitles are in American English in a clear white font. The subtitles are burnt in when the Japanese dub is selected so cannot be removed for Japanese speakers. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 or English TrueHD 5.1.

     This is not an anime with extensive action sequences. I listened to the first few episodes alternating the audio (it cannot be changed on the fly with the remote – you must go to the set up menu).

     The Japanese is only 2.0 but is surround encoded and the rears did feature music and some ambient sounds, while the sub-woofer added rumble to the rocket launch and in the robot contests when Kaito’s side effect occurred. The English 5.1 dub effects were crisper with better separation but there was really not a lot of difference in the rear and sub-woofer use. Dialogue was clear in both. I almost always find the original Japanese voice acting to be more intense, however I must say that in this case the English voice cast did a very good job and this is one of the better dubs I have listened to.

     The score by Takeshi Abo, Yuki Hayashi and Asami Tachibana is varied and nicely adds to the visuals.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Disc 1

Trailer

     On start-up a trailer plays for Akira (0:55)

Commentary – Episode 6

     US voice cast members Leah Clark and Monica Rial (the voices of Frau and Junna respectively) sit together and watch the episode. They laugh a lot and chat inanely about nothing in particular and say nothing about the series.

Disc 2

Trailer

     On start-up a trailer plays for Appleseed XIII Tartaros & Ouramos (2:02)

Science Adventure Series Interview Part 1 (18:47)

     Joel McDonald, ADR director of Robotics; Notes, J. Michael Tatum, lead adaptive writer and voice of Okabe on Steins; Gate, and John Burgmeier, head writer at Funimation, sit together and chat about the interconnections between the three Science Adventure series, various themes and their favourite characters. Worth a look.

Commentary – Episode 10

     US voice cast members Lindsay Seidel and Jarrod Greene (the voices of Akiho and Subaru respectively) watch the episode. They have just met, seem unprepared, there are pauses, inane comments and they really say nothing about the show but talk a bit about other roles and characters. Less laughing than the other commentary, but I found it hard to get through, even though short.

Textless Opening Song “Junjo Supekutora” (1:32)

     The opening song without the credits.

Textless Closing Song “Umikaze no Brave” (1:32)

     The closing song without the credits.

US Trailer (1:37)

   

Trailers

     Serial Experiments Lain (1:45), Jormungand (1:11), Dragon Ball Z (0:17), Chaos; HEAd (1:13), Steins; Gate (1:06), Robotics; Notes (1:20), Anime Classics (0:56) and FUNimation.com (0:32).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our local release of Robotic; Notes is identical the Region A US version, including the FBI warning.

Summary

     Robotics; Notes is in the same family as Chaos; HEAd and Steins; Gate, although the three series come from completely different animation studios and directors. Robotics; Notes starts as a somewhat sweet and simple story but quickly adds layers of characters, plot and ideas, becoming rather too jumbled and complex to be completely successful. Hopefully all the ideas, characters and plot strands will be resolved in the final 11 episodes of the series.

     The video is beautiful, the audio good although the original Japanese audio is only 2.0. There is a range of extras and we get what is available in other regions.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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