Robot on the Road

Robot on the Road

Robot on the Road anime short movie cover art
Robot on the Road

Short Film Background

Robot on the Road (Tabi no Robo Kara / 旅のロボから) is a short film presented as part of the Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition in 2015. It has a run time of about 9 minutes, meaning that it only requires a small time commitment, even when compared to standard anime episodes.

Additionally, this short film is easily found on YouTube, so the barrier to entry on this is even lower than most other anime. There’s no need to have a subscription to a legal anime streaming site, and there’s no need to visit an illegal anime streaming site if that’s something you’re against.

As for the creator of Robot on the Road, that would be Hiroyuki Okiura. He designed the characters, wrote the script, directed the film, and even did the key animation. But, why should you care about any of that? Well, you may be familiar with some of the other anime Hiroyuki has worked on.

Most notably, he was a key animator on both Neon Genesis Evangelion and Akira, among many other famous anime. He also has had multiple roles as a director, including directing the opening scene of the Cowboy Bebop movie. He’s been working in the industry for a long time and has been part of a lot of great productions.

“But what about the voice actors?” I hear you ask. Good question, dear reader. There are only two characters in this short film, and they’re both voiced by some pretty well-known voice actors: Megumi Hayashibara and Kôichi Yamadera.

If you don’t recognize their names, I don’t really blame you because I certainly didn’t. But either way, you’ve probably seen something they’ve been in, including both the aforementioned Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop.

Characters and Plot

The first of the two characters we see, but second to be named, in the short film is Robowo, the titular robot on the road. Robowo is allegedly hitchhiking to Central City to get maintenance done by Cyberdydy Corp. However, as the film progresses, it becomes apparent that he has an ulterior motive.

It doesn’t take long to realize that Robowo isn’t the most stand-up robot around. He’s very interested in girls, specifically those in their late teens and early twenties as we learn later on. And, he uses the many features built into his body to catalog the girls he meets on his travels.

His eyes are able to calculate the approximate age of women along with their three sizes. He also has a camera built into his chest which he uses to take voyeuristic photos of these unsuspecting girls in various levels of undress. Finally, he uploads these photos to his multiple blogs and writes about his encounters.

Robowo from the anime short movie Robot on the Road
Robowo

Mina is the woman who picks up Robowo from the side of the road out in the country at the start of the film. She drives an old, red pickup truck and tows a chrome trailer in which she lives. We don’t know where Mari is going, but we do know that she can take Robowo at least part of the way to Central City.

We don’t know all that much about Mina. But, the three things we do know about her are her sizes. Her bust size is 88cm (E cup), her waist is 58cm, and her hips are 86cm. Robowo acquires this information about her within minutes of meeting her.

Not all heroes wear capes; some wear a cowboy hat and handkerchief.

Should You Watch It?

Considering the people who worked on Robot on the Road, I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the anime industry. It has great art, animation, writing, and acting all wrapped up in a 9-minute package. From that perspective, I don’t see a reason not to watch it.

However, I do need to mention that this short film does contain nudity. I don’t mean your run of the mill censored anime nudity, either. I mean full, uncensored nudity. Nothing about Mina’s body is left up to the imagination.

The reason I wanted to mention that because I know that some people may be inclined to watch this film with others or in a public setting, especially since it’s so readily available on YouTube.

Robowo and Mina in Mina's trailer from the anime short movie Robot on the Road
Robowo and Mina in Mina’s trailer

However, despite this nudity, it’s not like your traditional ecchi anime. The nudity is much more candid than in ecchi anime because Robowo’s role is that of a voyeur. And with that in mind, I would say that the nudity is more artistic and tasteful in how it’s used despite the obvious sexual aspect of it for Robowo.

To me, this short film is just a great example of a writer, director, and animator having fun with their craft. Robot on the Road isn’t going to make you think. It’s a comedy about a robot that hitchhikes around the country as a pretense to take risqué pictures of the women who give him a lift.

It’s a short film about nothing made for a festival, and yet it looks as good and has as much character as any A-list anime movie out there. And that’s how you can tell it was a passion project that Hiroyuki made because he enjoys what he does as a creative.

Conclusion

To me, Robot on the Road is a solid 8/10, and that’s not just because Mina is the ideal female form. Sure, she’s cute and perfect in every way, but this is a review of the anime, not of her. If I had to point out one downside of this film, it would probably be that it’s so short.

I could probably watch an entire, full-length series of Robowo’s travels. There are probably a lot of stories that could be told. But at the same time, perhaps it’s better that there’s so little content. It makes the viewer long for more, which is generally a sign of a good anime.

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