Beatless Episode 10: Are we seriously getting another recap?

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I really want to praise this week’s episode for being interesting, but I felt like the plans were overly convoluted. I’m willing to accept that I might have just misunderstood, but I felt like the episode relied too much on outright lying to the audience to force a twist.

Does it really make sense for a major tech company to be okay with an hIE lacking a valid registration number? Shiori’s plan is to force an audit of the Egyptian hIE, so they’ll just see an hIE without a valid number. If that was okay from the start, why did Lacia go through all of the trouble to fake an ID in the first place?

The random introduction of Arato’s father aside, I’m not sure I follow this experiment. Why even run it with hIEs? If you’re just looking at how hIEs interact with other hIEs pretending to be human, I feel like it would be much more efficient to just simulate that scenario. Isn’t that the point of robot minds?

I did find it weird that the Black Monolith and Kouka made it to the fight in time despite Methode’s assertion that they wouldn’t. You wouldn’t expect a computer to miscalculate like that. I get that this contributes to the reveal later in the episode, but I’m really not sure I like it.

I think it ultimately depends on where the series goes with Lacia. Her actions in this episode make a lot more sense if she has some kind of hidden agenda that she’s keeping from Arato. Otherwise, I don’t see why she pretends to go along with Shiori’s plan if she already has countermeasures for it.

Why exactly can’t Shiori just order Methode to save her? Is it because Methode can override her order? I don’t see how it can conflict with one of the other owner’s orders.

Beatless Episode 9: Pretty confusing

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I’m really starting to get tired of Arato’s nonsense. It’s hard to really care about him when he seems to have such muddy intentions. His friends are bombarding him with pretty reasonable arguments, but he refuses to even have the conversation. It’s just frustrating to watch.

Hey, the whole idea that Erica was cryogenetically frozen is pretty interesting. I wish there was more to it, though. Erica makes an offhand comment about being in hospitals before she was frozen, which would suggest that she was frozen because she was sickly. Maybe she was unfrozen to be cured. But I guess that’s not important…

Instead, we get a pretty strange bit of characterization. I guess I’m supposed to conclude that Erica ascribes to some sort of philosophical materialism or something with the way she attempts to quantify affection and love. It seems a bit backwards…you’d expect the more advanced society to lean more in that direction, but Erica is a relic of the past.

Seriously, I feel like I have to conclude that Arato’s only character motivation is that he will always side with the hIE. At this point, I’m pretty sure his views are just horribly inconsistent and I’m more inclined to side with Ryo. I get the sense that Arato is only the protagonist because it’s a common protagonist mentality to side with the robots in shows like this.

I had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this conversation. My eventual takeaway is that Shiori is trying to invalidate Arato’s ownership of Lacia by proving that Lacia’s registration number was faked. But in this conversation, she sounded like she was trying to tell Arato that the nurse hIE was the fake. It doesn’t help that Arato contributes nothing to conversation by immediately changing the topic to the hIE’s “feelings”.

Beatless Episode 8: Are they selling robot girlfriends now?

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This series really doesn’t have a good sense of continuity. The shift of focus back on Lacia’s modeling job seemed a bit weird, and Methode’s attack felt like it only served as a declaration that Methode would be the next enemy. It’s kind of a shame, though, as the episode had some moments that I would have preferred to talk more about in comparison.

This is the oddest commercial. It gives detailed information about the “historical” hIEs, which makes little sense because people would likely be more familiar with them. Then, it finishes with just a shot of Lacia with no context. When I first saw it, I thought they were just advertising the other hIE models with Lacia as a random sales rep.

Yeah, I get it. People in this world see hIEs as nothing more than objects. Why does this theme always feel like such a side comment?

Yes, this kind of stuff is what I want to see expounded. Shiori realizes that she sees herself as a tool in human form to be used by others, which is exactly how she sees hIEs. As a result, she tries to defy her position by working with Methode to prove her “humanity”. Doing so will likely end with her being “used” by Methode. This is the blurring of lines between humans and robots that I’m really interested in seeing.

This line seems like a pretty generic “good guy” thing to say. Personally, I think that interesting discussions about how we determine value as humans, but I guess I’m hoping for too much. And as I said before, I can’t see how Methode’s attack really accomplishes anything unless she really wants to stop Boy Meets Girl from happening.

Beatless Episode 7: On to the next one

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I see the break last week hasn’t done much for this show. This week’s episode was really frustrating because it just felt so narrow. Each scene seemed to clearly telegraph what development it was setting up later in the episode.

I liked the idea of the company trying to minimize liability by having an individual sign Methode’s contract rather than having the company itself sign it.

That being said, this scene is an example of the narrow direction I noticed in this episode. They mention that Methode is the only Lacia-class hIE to return after the facility exploded, and then the old guy in charge immediately expresses the concern that the incident may have been an inside job. It doesn’t really take much to conclude that Methode returned because her owner wanted to keep up appearances. Why else would she act anomalously?

In the next scene, we’re introduced to Shiori through her arranged marriage situation. Given the relative standings of Arato and his friends, it’s not hard to guess that Ryo would be most involved. I was honestly expecting Ryo to be one of the marriage prospects rather than being Shiori’s brother. I guess they needed to fulfill the cliche of the girl refusing to accept an arranged marriage. Propping up Arato as her love interest just seems boring.

The parts that I found most interesting in this episode are the parts that got the least focus. There are a couple of statements that help to build the sci-fi world that really just existed as side comments. First off, we have Ryo’s comment that it’s illegal to knowingly create an hIE with a face identical to a real human. I want to know more about that. How do you determine if a person did it intentionally? Is the hIE destroyed if it happens? Would that also happen if it’s demonstrated that the creator did it unintentionally?

The second comment that caught my attention was the comment about Watarai’s pro-AI tendency. I’m assuming that this is a simple comment on social tendencies. It would be like if someone said I have “pro-science” leaning. Ultimately, the ideology doesn’t define me, but it contributes to my decisions. However, this line made me wonder just how politicized the AI vs. human debate is in this world. Is it considered a political issue?

Beatless Episode 5: What now?

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I thought this week’s episode brought up some interesting ideas, but the series is still bogged down with a lot of the same issues. In general, I felt like the series tried to voice the concerns of the antibody network in a strangely indirect manner that made me wonder what they’re really fighting to accomplish. Similarly, I lost sympathy for Kengo in this episode because he seemed to exist only to interject with some fairly nonsensical objections.

I don’t think I could make sense of any complaint that Kengo made in this episode. In this particular scene, he’s whining about sending humans for the operation immediately after he explains why it doesn’t make sense to send drones. Couldn’t he give a reason for his dissent? Instead, he just says that the reason he just stated isn’t good enough.

On the other hand, the conversation between the AI and the head of security is probably the most interesting piece of this episode. It was still a strange conversation given that I couldn’t really tell if the security guy was really arguing against the AI, but I liked the idea that it presented.

The android was effectively stating that its function is solely the product of public opinion, which is what democratic representatives are supposed to be. So, the politicians are effectively arguing that the android is interfering with their ability to subvert democracy. While I don’t fully disagree with them, I think this point is really the salient issue here. It’s the conversation that I actually want to see.

This is a line I wouldn’t have expected to see…

The other interesting point in this episode was the small introduction into the Red Boxes. I’d made the assumption that they would be banded together against Lacia, but they’re each individually working towards a different goal. That’s a lot better than I expected.

Apparently, next week’s episode is a recap episode. I don’t know why you need a recap of five episodes, but I guess that’s just how it is.

Beatless Episode 4: On the case

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Is it weird that I found the main focus of this episode (Kengo) to be the least interesting aspect of it? Even though this episode was supposed to go more into his story, I didn’t find myself convinced that he was truly so pitiful after getting caught up in his current situation. Honestly, I was much more interested in the stuff that Ryou was investigating as it revealed more about the Red Boxes. Also, I

I think the piece that I was missing here was understanding the antibody network. Sure, it makes sense that any world with androids would have some form of dissent, but they really just come off as generic terrorists.

As I said, Ryou’s conversation in this episode was probably the most interesting bit. He’s uncovering the secret of the Red Boxes, which is something I actively want to know. It seems that they were created to independently carry data backups in case of server failure, which sounds cool. I’m curious to see where it goes.

I really don’t know what to make of Arato in this episode. His sister basically brags that he’ll help Kengo, but Arato ends up just throwing Lacia at the problem. I get that she’s supposed to be an insanely advanced hIE and all, but it really gives the impression that Arato pressed a switch that solved the puzzle for him.

The futuristic technology felt underwhelming this week. I liked the idea of trying to add some limitations to the special invisibility power, but I didn’t think it made sense. If light passes through your eyes, why would projecting sound information on your retina work? Your retina is photosensitive, so it would have the exact same issue. If you’re using sound anyway, why not have the ears process the information? Those work on physical vibrations, so the invisibility wouldn’t interfere.

The story continues in next week’s episode, but I wish the politician hIE wasn’t pushed to the side so much. I think there’s a legitimate discussion to be had there, and it just gets presented as politicians scared to lose their jobs.

I know this is for the audience, but what’s the point of the sonar if it just looks like normal sight? Lacia made it sound like Arato could only perceive based on what he could hear, which should be a hindrance. This view looks pretty normal to me.

As sad as it may be to say it, I thought the best part of this episode was in the preview. One scene shows Arato looking at a woman’s chest while invisible, which was pretty funny.

Beatless Episode 3: I guess we’re starting up

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This series is starting to pick up, but I don’t really think it’s helping. I keep feeling like I just don’t know enough. The explanations seem to focus on aspects that I don’t care to see, so I’m just left with a lot of questions.

The biggest example is the analog hack. With how prevalent the concept seems to be, I get the sense that it’s a really simple concept that’s been blown out of proportion to drive the show. Based on everything we’ve seen so far, the concept doesn’t really seem like much. As the androids emulate humans more, they are treated more like humans. It would be an interesting concept if the androids were actually doing something. I haven’t yet seen any good examples where it actually feels explotative. What is it accomplishing?

The self-driving car and the Arato’s headset were probably my favorite parts of the episode, but that shouldn’t be too surprising by this point. I’ve made it no secret that I think the strength of this show lies in its technology.

Still, I felt like an opportunity was missed with the self-driving car. If hIEs have the potential to be treated as somewhat human, isn’t that a big boost for the self-driving car? Could that fix the problem of not trusting a non-human driver? If there’s no driver in the vehicle, why even take up the space with a driver’s seat? It just feels really unimaginative.

I get that this guy was just used as an engine to introduce Kouka, but he could have been presented in a better way. Did we really need multiple flashbacks to the previous episode just to remind everyone that he was the creeper stalking Lacia last week? Give me a little credit.

Am I supposed to get the sense that Kouka will join the main cast in the future? Her obsession with Lacia makes me really think that’s going to happen.

Something about Arato’s friends seems strange to me. Kengo seems to be some kind of expert on hIEs from a technical perspective while Ryou goes on and on about his father’s connection to Memeframe. Aren’t these peope a little bit too important? Is it too convenient that Arato has such influential friends?

Beatless Episode 2: Needs more sci-fi

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I still can’t tell what this series is trying to accomplish. I had hoped that it would continue introducing the technological setting of the future as it did in the first episode, but this week’s episode definitely felt lacking in that regard. The focus of the episode seemed to be Lacia’s modeling prospects, and I just wasn’t interested.

I had a lot of trouble with this scene where Arato’s friends start to research Lacia, but I can understand what it was doing. It made sense that they’d want to learn more about her given her mysterious origins. However, I didn’t really like that they kept throwing out different names of serial codes that could be checked. It seemed pretty clear to me that I’d never see those names again, so they felt like unnecessary jargon.

I know this is nitpicking, but the way this scene played out bothered me a lot. As Arato is leaving, Lacia calls out to him. Then, the scene immediately shifts to show the two of them together on the train, followed by a quick flashback to show that Lacia asked if she could go with him. Why not display that in chronological order?

The whole segment about the Lacia’s modeling job felt like a squandered opportunity. I saw it as a way to show off how the modeling industry evolves when androids become involved. Instead, I felt like the insight into the industry was really shallow. For example, the agent says that Lacia has that “special something” which would make her successful as a model, which is something you’d expect to hear in today’s world. I want to know what is gained from having access to androids.

All we really get is this concept of an “analog hack”. I might have been interested in it if it had been explained at all. We’re just told that the human subconscious can be influenced, and the only explanation we’re given is that the androids look human. How does that explain anything? Why is the android idol who looks human any different from a human idol (who would also look human)?

Based on later parts of the episode, I got the sense that the analog hack was meant to describe the phenomenon of a human treating an android as a human because of its appearance. I feel like that would have been more interesting if it had been presented that way. The modeling thing seemed like an odd example.

To give this episode credit where it’s due, this particular scene was a demonstration of what I’d like to see. Without specifically calling attention to what she’s doing, Lacia explains the accident situation that they happened to pass. She’s clearly looking at details about the situation online, but she passes the information on without saying something like “the news says X” or “I’ll look it up now”. It’s an illustration of the utility she can provide that doesn’t feel unnatural.

Beatless First Impressions (1): Another android show

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This first episode left me with a lot of worries. There were some decent aspects to it, but I don’t feel like I learned much about the setting and I didn’t like where the action seemed to be going. I know there was only one fight in the episode, but I didn’t really find it appealing.

Without a doubt, my favorites parts of the episode were the ones that showed off the technology of the world. I loved seeing things like the automated system that punishes you for not paying attention in class or the clothing cooling system. Everything seemed really accessible, like the sort of devices we could reasonably develop in the near future.

Arato’s introduction kinda baffled me. I get that we’re supposed to see that he treats hIEs somewhat like humans, but I don’t understand why that scene did it. Arato and his friends focus in on the hIE, but what about the old woman? If the old woman is human, why is the act seen as helping an hIE rather than helping an old woman cross the street? The latter seems more reasonable to me.

As for the content of the episode itself, I had a lot of trouble with the way that the world was set up. In an early scene, one of Arato’s friends asks him if he knows what an hIE is. We as the audience don’t yet know what they are, but the conversation continues on without an answer as though we should have recognized the term. So we go into the big military fight without really knowing what we should be expecting from these androids. For all I know, it could have been a training exercise.

There’s something funny about having Lacia read her terms of service out to Arato when they meet, but it kinda deflates the tension in the scene. If she has time for that, is he really in any danger?

This scene at the end seemed the most promising to me. If the series expands on this idea of what defines humanity more, I might find it a lot more interesting.

Plastic Memories Episode 4: Competition lurks?

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There really isn’t all that much to get from the retrieval in this week’s episode. The kid is the standard case of someone developing abandonment issues from losing loved ones. I’m actually almost annoyed at how easy it was to change his mind about his Giftia. Still, I was surprised that Tsukasa hasn’t exactly made much progress getting to know Isla (getting her to say something to him in the morning hardly counts). In fact, it felt more like he was bonding with Michiru this week than Isla…

The important piece from this week’s episode was this issue of the black market retrieval groups. Hopefully, these become the main focus of the show from here on, taking the role of antagonists for the main group. I guess it makes sense that they exist…they could probably re-sell the Giftia’s body once the soul is removed. If the show continues on similar to story in this week’s episode, then I will probably quit covering it. If there’s some overarching story going on in the background, then maybe I can stick with it.