What it’s about: The Robotics Club of Tanegashima High School has seen better days. Reduced to just two students – the ever-enthusiastic Akiho and the cynical Kaito – it’s time for a revival. The club enrols in a fighting-robot tournament in an attempt to gather enough funds to pursue Akiho’s true dream – building a giant “mecha” robot to impress her sister. Along the way, Kaito stumbles into a conspiracy that holds the fate of the world in balance.
Why you should watch it: It’s a light-hearted comedy-drama romp, complete with a diverse cast of characters each with their own motivations and quirks. It captures a lot (though not all) of the charm of its highly-acclaimed predecessor, Steins;Gate, but forges its own path. The series will never hit anyone’s “Best of all time” list, but it’s a solid all-rounder that definitely deserves more attention than it’s received.
Caveats: While there are similarities, this is not Steins;Gate. Don’t go into it expecting it to match the second-most-popular anime series of all time. While the central plot is solid, Robotics;Notes throws out a lot of plot threads and doesn’t really fully exploit a lot of them. The series takes a long time to truly hit its stride.
Themes: Defining one’s own goals, and meeting them. Self acceptance. Nothing very deep here, as it’s a bit chaotically thrown together.
Similar works:Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head are the obvious choices, and while everyone should see Steins;Gate, I’m slightly hesitant to recommend the latter (maybe go for the Visual Novel instead). The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya is very similar to Robotics;Notes both in its premise (weird high-school club with sinister goings-on) and in its cast of characters and brand of humour.