Building a robotic explorer for the competition.

Building a robotic rover for the Comeback Competition.

Episode 57 of Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyodai) saw the team working on their entry in the Comeback Competition. Up to now the Comeback arc has focussed mostly on the personal challenges confronting Nanba and his fellow astronaut candidates (in particular Pico, the unhelpful engineer adviser that was assigned to their team). This episode, however, provided a narrative in which the team confronted technical challenges and overcame them with engineering solutions. The result was entertaining and atypical for the anime-viewing experience. While this series has provided some very good episodes that focussed on personal challenges (the self-doubt someone can face when they make a mid-life career change, for example), I am particularly glad that we got an episode out of it that tackled this sort of objective obstacle.

In fact I would go so far as to say that this episode was the sort of thing I was hoping to get out of Robotics;Notes, but never did. SpaceBros has proven that a robotics competition can provide a compelling narrative without resorting to secret organizations, unreal technology, mysterious powers and so forth. We should have more shows like this, in which a group of people peacefully resolve a challenge. The process by which people act as a team to solve a problem can be an interesting story, and it still offers the opportunity for characterization, humor, setting, and so forth. Another recent show that made the process by which a group of people reasoned towards a solution the substance of the narrative was Hyouka. More of this please!

The finished autonomous rover; she's a beauty!

The finished autonomous rover; she’s a beauty!

The approach of the Fall season means a strange new world of anime opens before us.,

Welcome to the Abandoned Factory Fall 2012 Picks and Predictions. Each season I attempt to do three things,

  1. Point you toward comprehensive season previews,
  2. Provide you with a list of my picks for the interesting shows to keep an eye on in the new season, and
  3. Predict which show will stand the test of time, despite being sadly overlooked while it is airing.

So … I suppose it should be called “Pointers, Picks, and Predictions”. Eh, whatever.

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