Beatless Ep. 4: Shoddy pacing

Basically, Kengo is a dirty hIE-hater. In his spare time, he and a bunch of like-minded jerkwads have been going around, smashing innocent hIEs to bits. And yet, because he cares for Arato, he used the antibody network to help locate Lacia in last week’s episode. As a result of his impropriety, he allows Kouka to blackmail him into joining a terrorist group hellbent on destroying what is perhaps the first hIE politician. More importantly, though, why does Kouka desire the destruction of this hIE so badly? We don’t know yet. What’s certain, however, is that she seems to want to break him. She wants him to become her owner. Maybe hIEs can only realize their full potential with an owner. After all, Lacia couldn’t fight back against her imouto until Arato gave her permission to remove her limiter. So by forcing a racist high school boy to join a terrorist operation, it seems as though Kouka intends to force Kengo to depend upon her. Ironic, isn’t it? He hates hIEs and now he won’t be able to survive without one.

Unfortunately, the episode is pretty, pretty bad in the storytelling department. Why? Because it keeps offering up redundant information. And as always, redundant information always comes at us in the form of dry, boring exposition. The anime opens with Kouka blackmailing Kengo. Through this conversation, we learn that he hates hIEs. We also learn what Kouka wants him to do as his “punishment.” Midway through the episode, Kengo’s dear sister is so worried about him that she’s enlisted the help of his best friend. So Arato and Lacia goes to Kengo’s room and finds out exactly the same information we had already learned at the start of the episode. In other words, he hates hIEs, he’s joined up with a terrorist group, he will attack this place at this time, blah blah blah. It’s unnecessary. It’s a bit self-indulgent, too. They thought it’d be cool to have Lacia hack into Kengo’s computer, but it’s not cool. She just stands there, stares at the hardware, and information magically appears out of thin air. And as a result, the audience has to endure another pointless scene full of redundant exposition.

A similar thing happens later on. Arato could send Lacia in alone, but no, he insists on joining her on a mission to bring Kengo home. But while Lacia is a sexy, combat android that can do almost anything, Arato’s just a simple boy. He can’t infiltrate a heavily-secured building! Ah, but if they drop by a hardware store (really?), they can pick up equipment that will turn a high schooler into a secret agent! As a result, we painstakingly sit there and listen to Lacia explain every single gadget. Ah, meta-whatever will do this to light, and as a result, you will become invisible! But if you’re invisible, then you can’t see either! So you need to wear these goggles! And if you can’t see, then you will need to navigate via sound waves! Boy howdy, do I love these boring conversations full of unnecessary details. Why are they unnecessary? Because in the post-credits scene, the anime demonstrates the usefulness of these gadgets through visuals alone. Hey look, Lacia sprinkles some “fairy dust” and now they’re turning invisible! Hey look, when Arato turns on one of the gadgets, he can now “see” sound waves! All that explanation in the ride over was completely pointless, because they managed to explain how everything worked in a much, much shorter time. So why do this to yourself? Why destroy the story’s pacing by boring the audience to death with redundant exposition?

On paper, the story looks as though it’s finally getting somewhere. It looks as though the story is finally becoming interesting. After all, a bunch of hIE-hating terrorists are trying to assassinate some poor robot (can’t they just make another one?). But the execution is so lacking that I ended up being bored to tears anyway. Naturally, the animation is rather unimpressive. There are other stuff going on like Ryo paying perhaps the dumbest scientist ever a visit to learn more about the infamous Red Boxes. In last week’s episode, I could’ve sworn that he referred to Lacia herself as a Red Box. But apparently, the Red Box is that giant casket she carries. Moreover, I’m amazed how the assembly continues even though intruders have infiltrated the building. You’d think the moment that the security forces are engaged, they’d postpone the assembly and evacuate the entire building. But some bald guy assures everyone that Shingu Defense will make sure everything’s okay. That suggests to me that the security of these all-important politicians is in the hands of some private company, and naturally, the private company cares more about their image above else. Beatless obviously have some potentially intriguing elements buried within it, but they’re surrounded by junk.

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One Reply to “Beatless Ep. 4: Shoddy pacing”

  1. After reading your last review on Beatles I was kinda hopeful about this anime and I gave it another chance, sadly this is the payoff, as I always say, the worst crime of any story/anime is not being bad but boring.

    Anyway I’ll stick around this time, like you said, there’s seems to be some intriging elements between all the garbage.

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