Beatless Ep. 16: Out with a bang

Huh. Well, this sure is one hell of a conclusion to an arc. Y’know what? This episode epitomizes why Beatless is so maddening as a series. At its foundation, the story explores some very interesting ideas and concepts. In better hands, this might even be the best show currently on air. It seriously has that much potential. Unfortunately, the execution is so terrible. Who’s responsible for this? Diomedea? It figures. Anyways, if you’ve been following along closely — and you really need to because the convoluted story is further hampered by the subpar storytelling — Kouka has two main issues. First, she’s designed to fight, so she can only fulfill her true purpose by going into battle. Unfortunately, her first owner isn’t up to the task even though she truly feels that they are kindred spirits. Kengo’s just a child. At best, he can throw tantrums and rage out against innocent androids that he meets on his way home from work, but he doesn’t really have an actual conviction. He aligns himself with the antibody network, but when push comes to shove, he doesn’t really have the heart to be a terrorist. So as an owner, he is wholly inadequate. He can’t craft a future that is worth fighting for. Hell, he can’t craft any future period. As a result, Kouka becomes a tool for the antibody network.

Our hapless terrorists can at least give Kouka something to fight for: rally against automation and the general proliferation of hIEs. They’re not perfect, though. In fact, they’re far from perfect. They don’t really have the resources to take on their opponents at all. Kouka is sure to lose her life if they become her owner. Ah, therein lies the rub: thanks to the airport incident, our red-headed android is going to lose her life sooner or later anyways. Her struggle is ultimately futile. Interestingly enough, she is a tool to help humanity beat out the competition. Does this mean that mankind is doomed to fail? Anyways, the point is that Kouka knows that she’s going to die anyways, so she may as well go out with a bang; in fact, she’s going to livestream her acts of terror. Why? According to Erica, the android is attempting to “outsource” its problem. Kouka’s second main issue is that she wants to survive. But we just said that this was futile, did we not? It is… that’s why she’s going to live on as a meme. No, seriously. Of course, we’re talking about an actual meme here and not stupid internet jokes. Mikoto flat out tells Kouka that assassinating the political android is pointless. Well, she’s not wrong. Nevertheless, Kouka’s livestream is broadcast across the entire world, and as a result, she will inspire others — people who are also dissatisfied with automation — to make a stand. This is how the hIE will “survive.”

This is all kinda fascinating, isn’t it? As an hIE, Kouka can’t change the world. She can only hope to inspire humans to act, and when they do, they will turn around use hIEs as the necessary tools to help shape the future. It’s basically the main theme of the show. Unfortunately, like I said up above, the execution is fucking ass. Beatless simply cannot tell its story without shoving giant chunks of clumsy exposition down our throat. Gosh, what is AASC? Let’s have Arato act real dumb, so his best buddies can painstakingly explain the concept to him (and the audience). Gosh, what is Kouka trying to do? Don’t worry, Saturnus! Your owner Erica is oh so smart, so as she watches Kouka’s livestream, she’ll spell out the hIEs exact motives to you (and the audience). It’s absolutely unending. But that’s not all. Another real problem is that the adaptation fails to convey a ton of crucial information that would help us contextualize the events onscreen. The first example I have to give is not actually the show’s fault. Rather, it’s Amazon’s fault (or whoever the fuck is subbing these episodes). Kouka is trying to inspire her viewers, so we see a mountain of text from people around the world. But can we understand any of it? Of course not. Someone decided that they shouldn’t bother to translate any of the text onscreen. Welp, good luck understanding the gravity of Kouka’s sacrifice!

But there’s a bigger problem than the one I just mentioned. And this problem is actually the show’s fault. We haven’t really gotten much information about the antibody network. Hell, we haven’t really gotten much information about this universe at all. Beatless has done a terrible job at world-building. If you just watch the previous 15 episodes (yeah, we may as well throw the recaps in there), you wouldn’t be wrong if you thought that our characters exist in a pretty swanky future! Nevertheless, Kouka spends a lot of time in this week’s episode talking about the disenfranchised. All of a sudden, we get a montage full of the supposedly disenfranchised from all across the world! These people are why the antibody network exists. These people are the ones who are truly hurt by automation. These people are not living in a futuristic paradise like Arato, Ryo and Kengo! Like what am I looking at here? Are these human or hIE prostitutes? And now we have Thai girls huddling in a corner, watching Kouka stir shit up? Up until now, we haven’t gotten any sort of information about any of these people! We haven’t learned a lick about them! Beatless hasn’t given us any context to understand one of the major conflicts within its own story! What. The. Fuck.

Ahh… the best (read: worst) moment comes right after the credits as Arato continues to disappoint. After watching Kouka commit self-suicide in front of the whole world, our boy hero goes to his precious babe hIE and whines, “Kengo was arrested.” Uguu, my buddy! We gotta save him! It’s like all that talk about automation and disenfranchisement just went completely over his head. All he cares about is his stupid friend. Luckily, Lacia shuts him down. If they try to save Kengo now, it’ll paint a target on their backs. Is Arato prepared to take on the authorities? Is he prepared to go into hiding and become a fugitive? God, why did she even pick this kid? All he does is pussyfoot around. And yet, I’m supposed to believe that he has the potential the craft the future that Lacia wants to bring to fruition? Really? Nevertheless, this might finally be the impetus that propels Arato towards the show’s ultimate conclusion. After all, Lacia knew what Kouka was up to, and had she warned Arato about it, he might have wanted her to do something. But she held her information to herself. In fact, all of the other Red Boxes reached to Kouka, but Lacia didn’t. Kouka got mostly what she wanted in the end, but she never got her “sister’s” acknowledgement. I have no clue if Lacia ever cared for Kouka at all, but she definitely intends to use this result to get what she wants:

Arato: “If I were able to use you better, could this have been avoided?”

Lacia: “If I am being frank, it would have been possible if you used my functions properly.”

In other words, he’s wasting her potential. Great, he loves her. Now what? Hilariously enough, the kid continues to whine:

Arato: “You don’t have to say it like that.”


2 thoughts on “Beatless Ep. 16: Out with a bang

  1. Pia

    Yeah it’s such a shame, worldbuilding has been terrible, this is the kind of show you can’t omit worldbuilding and its setting is perfect for that but no, it’s pathetic that Hello Kitty has more exposure in this show than millions if not billions of people living in misery.

    And now Kouka is dead, the second more interesting hiE bites the dust… I don’t know man, this doesn’t look good.


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