One show that I feel like people are missing out on this season is Beatless. I won’t get into any specifics right now, because it’s only four episodes in at the moment. I can’t build a solid enough wall of defense for how interesting and intriguing I find it right now. I’m going to wait and see if this show goes somewhere in the next few episodes before I write a piece for it, but that’s not why I am writing this today. As for right now, Beatless has one of the more believable future settings that I’ve ever seen. It uses a very different approach to making a realistic world then GITS:SAC, which I highly appreciate. The difference is between the police level of world building to the pedestrian level of world building. Let’s dig deeper into this.
Where else can one start writing a topic like this then this anime’s technology itself. The way Beatless approaches its future technology is easy, yet interesting. It’s like taking adding a coat of gloss over a normally painted wall. The world is a lot like what you would normally see in a high school anime, just with some added touches of future here and there. An easy example of this can be seen at the school. It basically looks like most other anime high schools that you have ever seen. Yet, you go on the typical high school’s roof that students aren’t supposed to go on and you see solar panels. Solar panels that are, I think, powering the school. What about wireless technology? Students, like our main protagonist, use tablets to take notes and we don’t see any bits of old fashioned world bits of technology like notebooks or anything. It looks like everything either uses blue tooth or is connected to various devices through Wi-Fi. There is one scene where the protagonist and his sister look up emails sent to them through a holographic projector equivalent to an answering machine and it wasn’t through an over extensive use of holographic technology either. The taxis that drive around are completely unmanned, but they work like normal taxies. It’s so crazy to see how adding small amounts of future tech to a well-established world can do so much.
Then let’s talk about the hIE or androids. You know, the main stars and focus of Beatless.We don’t just see how hIE are used in public settings, but how they are treated by public. In this world menial, repeatable, and jobs needing patience are mostly given to hIE. You see that food stall in the street? It’s being manned by a hIE who is using information over a cloud to be the perfect server. You see that old lady that is getting help to cross the street? Her helper is a hIE. What about teaching? It looks like that there might be a case for a hIE teaching classes as well. Fashion models? Yup. Then of course there are the usual hIE workers at home that cook, clean the house, and take care of home needs that families find difficult. All of this is done through gathering dating over a cloud network. That isn’t as futuristic as one would think. I mean, let’s talk about what I’m doing right now. I’m writing a blog post while saving it onto my One Drive cloud storage service while using my google home mini to listen to an anime podcast over the google cloud service. We use cloud services every day, so having android use them to mimic a human personality in some seems completely legitimate to me. I do think that these androids are a fair way off, but I can definitely see the ground work for it within the technology we have right now.
Of course, the last part of the world of Beatless that sells me on it are its people. Not only is the technology there, but the fact that it’s used in their reality daily sells everything. The concept of Analogue hacking that Beatless brings up, for example. Seeing how normal humans react to hIE acting like humans provides not only a very interesting analysis of societal feelings toward inanimate objects that have human emotions. The fact that the police force treats the destruction of hIE as demolition and not murder shows this. The android fashion show in the middle of the streets during episode two is another good example. Every android, including our protagonist HiE Lacia, stared in a fashion show and executed it perfectly due to cloud reasons. The crowd in the streets loved it, but there was a sexual harasser in the mix that put his arm on Lacia’s shoulder before being thrown out by the fashion show’s security. Analogue hacking at its finest. That guy also shows up again in episode 3 and he wants to be sexually analogue hacked by Lacia. Crazy times, right? Still, I wish I knew how characters were able to figure out who is a hIE and who isn’t. To me, everyone looks the same.
So in the end, one of Beatless’ strongest elements right now are its world building and its themes. The character writing and story are still developing and getting interesting as time goes on, but they are lagging behind right now. My comparison between GITS:SAC and Beatless’ world are pretty simple. Ghost in the Shell relies on the outside looking in. Section Nine, our protagonist crew, are police officers and detectives that going around solving cyber crimes, so they have an outside point of view of how everything in that society works. Beatless is different, because it’s looking at society from a society perspective. We see how society has changed from our main protagonist’s point of view, who is just another member of society that has met up with an attractive, but mean and action packed robot. Which approach is better? Neither. I like how each show looks at its technology usage and I am glad they are different. Both present a realistic future world in a believable manner, so why would one have to chose one over another?