Straight Title Robot Anime — the Anime

Strange. Crudely done. Weird. Did I mention Strange?

Also, surprisingly, sad. I liked it.

It’s some millenia after the death of humanity, and the now pointless, robot wars continue. Three fembots decide they want to end the war, and the way to do that is to rediscover laughter. They try and try and try, running through all the tropes of humor, from prat-falls to punchlines, without success. At least, they don’t see the humor in their failures at humor (even if we humans do) — they just sit there with the traditional processing, processing pinwheels over their heads. Every now and then the commentator puts in a comment.

Bad acting, bad animation, sad ending

Bad acting, bad animation, sad ending

Having spent the first part of each show funnily failing to be funny, they then go to the simulation room, where they simulate the impact on the war of various techniques of humor. What happens here is that the opening sequence — giant robots fighting other giant robots — gets replayed with the new element added. The robots find themselves sliding in oil, or looking smugly at the camera, or crossdressing, grabbing their opposite number and kissing them. None of it seems to work.

The last part of each episode sees the girls in re-creations of different human facilities, trying to figure them out. This is done ad-lib, as prop humor. The seiyūs are given their props and must come up with an explanation of what they were originally for. In the music store sequence in Episode 7, for example, one of them puts up two large taiko drums, and stands between them holding a ukulele by its neck, saying “still in, still in”.

Drum wrestling

Drum wrestling

Her explanation being that there used to be a sport where two naked humans ran into each other, and the referee, holding his fan, would decide if they were still in the ring.

Still in, still in

Still in, still in

That’s the whole show, all thirteen minutes of it, each week for eleven weeks. Then, in the final week, things change. The show goes along in its usual silly fashion for a few minutes, with the girlbots trying and failing, and commentator making his sardonic comments. Suddenly, one of them looks straight at the camera and says “who are you and why do you keep saying those things?” It turns out that the commentator is actually another robot, who was left a laughter program by his master, the last human on earth. He explains that laughter is the freedom to make an error, and the time to enjoy it.

The trouble is, if a robot is free to make errors, to ignore their programming, they no longer have a purpose and they shut down. If the laughter program is broadcast, the war will end, with the death of all the robots. The maid robot, Fuji, the most human looking of the three, is given the decision and decides that the flawed children of incomplete humanity should step down to make way for the next generation, whatever that is. They transmit the program, enjoy a few minutes of laughter, and die. Fuji is last. Her final words are Arigatou. Sayonara.

The rest is silence

The rest is silence

THE END

A most irritating anime. I seem to be the only person on the planet who has watched it all the way through, because I can find no reviews after the first episode, and the Wikipedia entry is a stub. Still and all, I liked it. And what does that say about me?

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2 Responses to “Straight Title Robot Anime — the Anime”

  1. Kurt Kremer Says:

    Generally there’s a payoff–it’s not irrational to think that by the end there might be a unique payoff (as in, I didn’t see that coming but it was strangely satisfying). Maybe what’s needed is a morose anime about the Making Of.

  2. FoundOnWeb Says:

    I guess many anime are like that — a major plot twist in the last episode. Daphne in the Brilliant Blue feels like a treasure hunt for a lost city, but in the end it turns out the protagonist is the survivor of that city, which was destroyed by the current government.Loups-Garous seems like a hunt for a serial killer, but turns out to be about the all-powerful medical corporation killing people to keep their founder fed on human flesh. Ikkitousen might seem like a fight anime, about clubs where well-endowed girls beat each others clothes off, but it turns out to be about the cabal around the student body president, who is secretly trying to control the clubs where well….you know.

    I guess STRA was so strapped by the 13min format that it didn’t have time for foreshadowing.

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