Outerhaven Anime: First Reaction – Beatless

Beatless

There are two genres of science fiction that are my favorite. The first is time travel, the other is artificial intelligence. Beatless deals with the latter as AI has advanced to surpass human emotions. hIE models are so advanced that some people can’t tell the difference between human and machine. I thought that this would make an interesting premise for a show, but then it takes a complete 180 from my expectations in the first episode, but is it still worth watching?

Let’s Go!

First Impressions

Maybe I misread the synopsis, but I thought that this was going to be a show about advanced AI fitting into modern society. Kind of like how I first envisioned Detroit: Become Human. However, after the first episode, it seemed like a shonen battle anime more than anything. A rebel group of hIEs are terrorizing the city and even the military cannot keep up with them. Enter: Lacia… an hIE without an owner who saves our main protagonist, Arato Endou from an hIE attack. So now we have a Guilty Crown-style anime on our hands… until the second episode.

In episode two, Lacia takes part in everyday human life. She cooks, she’s attentive to Arato and even gets wrapped up in a fashion show thanks to the bungling efforts of Arato’s energetic sister Yuka. The entire episode was about Lacia becoming a model for a fashion company and it wasn’t until after the credits rolled (which I noticed is a theme in this show so far) that we got back to what the first episode established. Add in the fact that there is a romance brewing between Arato and Lacia and I have absolutely no clue what this show is trying to be.

It first starts off as a shonen battle anime, then it turns into slice-of-life, then to romance… then back to shonen battle. The premise of this show seems all over the place. It’s listed at 24 episodes so I’m guessing it’s a slow burn story, but that entire second episode just felt completely unnecessary. I mean, it does set up the premise of Analog Hacking and unveils that hIEs can (in limited fashion) control the minds of humans (Yeah.. that’s not questionable or scary), but did they really need to waste 23 minutes on some dumb fashion show to get that point across? This seems like a show that wanted to be taken seriously and then decided it didn’t want to on the drop of a dime.

OP and ED Thoughts

One thing that definitely blew me away is the opening theme. “Error” by GARNiDELIA is right up my alley with its somber techno intro with the slow build up into something intense. The only complaint is that when the chorus hit, it transitioned from this emotion-inducing techno beat into a generic J-POP song. I’ll need to hear the full version (which is out on January 31, by the way) in order to fully judge it, but so far, I’m really liking it. While the J-POP breakdown was a slight disappointment, I still found myself listening to this opening way more than I should have before continuing on with the second episode.

The ending, though… not so much. “PRIMAlove” by ClariS serves as the ending theme and while ClariS did have that great hit with her opening to Madoka Magica, I really haven’t enjoyed her music since. It just felt like a generic upbeat pop beat. There really wasn’t anything special to it in my opinion.

Worth Watching?

MAYBE – This show needs to find its identity and it needs to find it fast. Given the fact that I expected something different from the synopsis is one strike.. the fact that I’m still given the show a chance and it’s presenting itself like a typical “look at me” anime is another strike. By that, I mean it opens up with a riveting first episode full of high quality animation, high drama, an interesting premise and then drops a pointless lighthearted filler episode into your lap immediately after. I’ve seen far too many shows start like this and it really annoys the hell out of me, but it is just interesting enough for me to keep watching… for now.