Wow, it’s been a while since I have seen an anime by Soubi Yamamoto. We talked about her “This Boy” series a looooong time ago. They were interesting little romance anime written, animated and directed entirely by Soubi herself. Robotica * Robotics is yet another solo effort by her, with fantastic results.
The story stars two humanoid robots called Haru and Natsu. Abandoned by their former owner, these two were taken in by the eccentric scientist Masa. Through their interactions with Masa, these robots begin to develop an understanding of human emotions. Most interesting of all being the emotion known as love. Yet, as they begin to develop feelings of their own, this also means they begin processing their past experiences as the traumatic events that they were.
This raises the question at the heart of this short film: If a robot can be thought love, would it then also learn to experience sadness?
Soubi’s approach to stylized visuals are going to be decisive in determining whether you’ll enjoy Robotica * Robotics or not. The animation is dreamlike and often surreal—very artsy stuff. A lot of it is entirely static though. There’s not a lot of animation to the animation, you could say. This isn’t a problem if you watch Soubi’s work mainly for the emotions, but will irk those expecting a traditionally-animated short movie.
If you did enjoy it, then be sure to also check out Soubi’s other work. Her style is very distinct and so far I’ve enjoyed everything she has made.