Beatless – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Most of the world’s needs are fulfilled by humanoid robots called hIE’s. One day, 17-year-old Arato Endo meets the android Lacia and becomes her owner. She is one of five androids with advanced AI. Each of the five units have their own motivations, and fight to gain each other’s abilities. What will the relationship between man and machine be moving forward? That is something Arato must find. (Official Amazon Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Beatless boasts fairly solid animation, albeit with some rather obvious, but competent, CGI to round things out. The series opens with a rather slow introduction to the world, and our lead, Arato Endo. The opening half isn’t too bad, presenting a fairly fun, sci-fi, futuristic world where man makes use of humanoid robots for more menial day to day tasks. Beatless isn’t terribly original, hitting a lot of the usual beats (no pun intended?) expected from a story like this, but manages to craft something fun and engaging. It remains so, up through the main AI girls, complete with super human weapons and strength, escaping from the facility where they were created. However, once we get to Endo’s meeting with our lead AI girl, Lacia, things take a turn for the worse as the series speeds through their meeting, inundating audiences with a slew of tired “boy meets mysterious girl with super powers’ cliches, some of which don’t make a lot of sense. It’s here the episode falls apart.
Linny: What makes that encounter all the more disengaging is all the technobabble that Lacia spouts explaining how she solved their current crisis, which goes on for quite a bit. It seems rather unnecessary to spout that much technical information so early on, and is likely to momentarily put off all but those who like their sci-fi anime to be through in setting up mechanics. Some of the episode’s better points involve doing a decent job of making our hero a nice guy without going too far with it. You realize he’s a caring young man who goes out of his way to be helpful but he isn’t sobbing over the plight of the hiEs nonstop.
Tom: As far as characterization goes: Endo is your fairly standard ‘stand up guy.’ Like with any of these anime where the girls aren’t quite human, Endo has no trouble humanizing Lacia. To me Endo himself is a rather standard, borderline self-insert lead, but I do like the dynamic that he’s convinced Lacia, a robot, should be treated like a human who has a soul, yet Lacia herself is adamant she’s nothing more than a machine. It’s a nice switch up. Sadly it doesn’t do too much to alleviate my worry that this won’t turn into a pseudo harem, where Endo will quickly find himself surrounded by all of the escaped hiE girls. It’s not so much that that’s a bad form of progression, it’s not inherently, but the series doesn’t offer a lot of confidence with the back half of its premiere feeling like such a rushed mess.
Linny: This episode also introduces Yuka, Endo’s little sister and this has me worried that if Beatless turns into a harem, she’s there to join it and further drag the show into cliche territory. For now, she just seems like a doted upon playful younger sibling who likes to tease her brother but we all know how quickly those types can turn out to be nursing secret crushes on their ‘oniisan’.
Tom: Overall Beatless isn’t bad, but it’s nothing special either. If you’re a fan of Sci-fi and Romance/Potential Harem, Beatless seems a decent, if at times poorly paced, watch. The trouble though is finding it. Beatless is on Amazon, and if you’re trying to access the episode through anything but Amazon’s website you’ll find that they’d much rather you watch the Beatles instead. For as decent as Beatless is, I think it’s doomed to be overlooked.
Linny: Beatless spends a fair amount of its opening half setting up its world, its male lead and his affinity for the hiEs. Once we switch to the rebellion of the hiEs and his first encounter with our ‘heroine’ hiE, the pace and tone completely switches, which would have been fine had the show done a better job of implementing all its technical information. As someone who is picky about sci-fi anime and dislikes most harems, Beatless hasn’t done enough to reassure me that it will be completely unique and worth investing in. However, for those more fond of those genres, there is enough in the premiere to tease a potentially decent watch, so long as it sticks to its few unique features; such as the dynamic and difference in opinion between Endo and Lucia over her humanity. Just remember to keep your expectations low.
Beatless is available for streaming via Amazon Video.