Robotics;Notes Vol. 1

Udon Entertainment. (Robotics;Notes Bk. 1). Oct. 2023. 356p. pap. $24.99. ISBN 9781772942606.
Gr 6 Up–On the island of Tanegashima, enthusiastic Aki and apathetic Kai are the only two members of Chuo Tanegashima High School’s Robotics Club. Despite Aki’s ardor, the club hasn’t been the same since her older sister Misa left the island under mysterious circumstances, leaving the club closer than ever to being disbanded by the school’s vice principal. Aki, however, is determined to not only fend off this threat, but to make a 10-meter high Gundam-like robot named Gunbuild-1 operational in time for the Tokyo Expo. Can Aki convince an unwilling Kai to help make these goals come to fruition? It’s clear from the outset of Robotics;Notes that the story will go in a direction that’s way more expansive than the typical “save the manga high school club” trope. The book foretells as much in the opening pages; answers aren’t coming in Volume 1, but it’s clear there’s a lot more story to be told in the future. The art is radiant, specifically when it comes to the robot depictions. Character bios in between help readers get to know the cast a little better. Kai can be a frustrating character to like at the outset of this series; as a ‘friend’ to Aki, he is unnecessarily brusque and sharp, and will have readers initially wishing he, frankly, was someone else. Aki, on the other hand, shines throughout the book. Her personality is absolutely magnetic. Her ideas may not always be the most realistic, but her locked-in persona is the linchpin of a sci-fi series that is clearly going places. Her belief in herself is something all educators should wish for their pupils.
VERDICT A title that will have readers believing there is nothing they aren’t able to accomplish, as long as they persist and never give up on their dreams.

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