October 27, 2012

Robotics;Notes Ep. 1 & 2

Two episodes in, and it has a certain ... I don't know if I should say Charm, but calling it "Comfortable" just sounds odd.  Maybe warmth.

I hadn't even intended on watching it, but I pulled in the first episode, and decided to get the second. I need to check for the next WhyNot sub, since uTorrent's RSS and Favorites function is made of fail. ("Why didn't you match? It's RIGHT THERE!")

So anyway, I know some folks would avoid it because the lead-in makes it look like it's about giant robots. Eh, not so much. The series centers around Aki, a girl with a very healthy sense of unjustified optimism, and Kai, her polar opposite. They are the last two members of their high-school robotics club, which is in serious danger of being disbanded. Her dream is to complete the club's one big project, a full scale replica of "Gunvarrel", a giant robot from a cartoon a decade ago that is still somehow popular.  It's housed in a disused hangar at an even more disused airstrip, where they tinker with it after school. His dream is, well, all he wants to do is keep playing his robot fighting game, Kill-Ballad. He's already the 5th-ranked player worldwide, and he kicks the game's creator's ass so bad in a random-match-up that he is accused of cheating. The game is played on an iPhone-like device that seems to be ubiquitous. And any time anyone asks him to do something he doesn't want to do, which is just about anything, he says sure, if they can beat him at the game.

The Vice Principal who wants to shut them down demands a very detailed budget on how they can finish the project before the year is up, and it's a very big one.  She is dubious that the two of them can accomplish anything, even with the money, so she sets an impossible condition, they have to show some results.  There's a Robo-1 competition coming up.  If they can complete and win, she'll approve the budget.  Aki shows her guts and determination and agrees!

Then reality smacks her in the face.  They don't even have a Robo-1 Robot, nor the money for one, nor the expertise to compete.  But she's determined to make a go of it, somehow.  Kai just keeps his head down and plays his game.

Robo-1 is an actual robotics competition that's existed for a decade.  You may have seen YouTube videos of these 1-2' tall robots powered by hobby servos dancing, or doing obstacle courses, or even wrestling.  They're pretty amazing, all things considered.

But it turns out that in the legacy of junk their garden-shed clubhouse is stuffed with, they DO have an 8 year old toy robot from the glory days of the club, the days when her idol, the club president and her older sister were members and were incredibly successful.  It's old, and beat-up, and the battery pack is unsalvageable, but she manages to scrape together enough money and wheedle a deal with an electronic junk dealer to get something compatible.

Even with the toy working, she can't operate the thing well at all.  And with a week left before the competition, things look bleak.  But she thinks that with Kai's expertise at the game, perhaps he can control it, but the complicated R/C controller intimidates him.  But he DOES have the address of Kill-Ballad's creator thanks to the cheating accusation, and if he can get him to say, create an interface that will control the robot just like the game, they might have a chance.

That's the plot of the first two episodes, but that's not the story.  Why is Kai hanging around with Aki when he clearly doesn't share her interests?  Is it something to do with a promise to look after her he made to her older sister?  What was the accident that took her out, and left Aki with occasional petit-mal seizures?  There's more to this than just some low-tech Angelic Layer.

Yes, low-tech.  The year seems to be 2020, but there's nothing really stand-out advanced technologically.  Everyone's got a smartphone, and the girl at the convenience store has a leg exoskeleton so she can walk, but it's all plausible, even today.  Okay, the phones are powerful enough that Kai can use an Augmented Reality program to view Aki as a Cat-maid, but in ten years?  Plausible.  That they can win Robo-1 with determination and an 8-year-old toy robot, not so much.

So in spite of the opening, I don't think we're going to be seeing actual flying, blasting, energy-sword wielding Giant Robot Action, more likely they can just make the thing walk into the trade show, if they make it.  And that will be good enough.

Posted by: Mauser at 07:35 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 801 words, total size 5 kb.

October 14, 2012

Miku in concert, WITH subtitles

I forget who it was (Brickmuppet?), but someone commented on a translated version of one of her songs that made her sound absolutely horrible as a character.

A friend of mine just pointed me at this, a full concert that is supposed to be fully fansubbed.  The top-justified font is annoying as hell, but the words are there, and it's in full HD.

First time trying the YouTube tag...
Is there a way to make the frame bigger?

Posted by: Mauser at 10:16 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 83 words, total size 1 kb.

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