First Impressions Double Feature – Beatless | Darling in the FranXX

Beatless – Ep. 1

I was told that Beatless is a boy meets girl story set in a society where androids and humans co-exist and I very much got that. There’s a boy and a girl and they do meet and there are androids in this story (the girl being one of them). If it sounds like I’m unimpressed, that’s because I did find the premiere to be pretty bland. The characters are as trope-based as you’d expect and it quickly gets annoying just how often this show feels the need to tell you that “robots aren’t humans”. No, really? I figured that was the basis of this story in the first place so there’s no need to remind me that Arato is in the minority when discussing artificial life with people.

Beatless does have its moments though. On a purely sensory level, this show does look pretty nice and honestly, I’m just a sucker for any character designs done by Redjuice. And I’ll admit that Arato and Lacia’s chemistry is pretty decent from the get go. Personally, I really like their final exchange after the ED where Arato affirms that he’ll react emotionally to androids even if their emotions aren’t “real”. That smile Lacia gives was quite interesting. It could very well just be her giving what her programming thinks is the most appropriate response and yet it also seems like she genuinely means it too.

Honestly, if there ends up being more moments like that, I might give Beatless a second shot. I’ll drop it for now but I’ll still check in on what others say about the show.

Darling in the FranXX – Ep. 1

Well…I am interested in Darling in the FranXX at least.

What had me curious about this anime was the fact that this is a collaborative effort between Trigger and A-1 Pictures. It just struck out to me as peculiar since Trigger is the imaginative spiritual successor to Gainax and A-1 Pictures is a studio who’s at the mercy of the quality of what they’re given. Judging from this premiere, I think it’s safe to say Darling inherited more of Trigger’s DNA than A-1’s (though that occasional faux widescreen effect did remind me of A-1’s Erased).

This show is definitely weird much like past Trigger/Gainax works but whether or not it’s a good kind of weird remains to be seen. Frankly, I think it’s really jarring just how serious this show takes itself for the most part only to then throw at me dinosaur monsters and a mech that grows a metal skirt and a pair of breasts upon transforming into its humanoid form. It’s like Darling has the more serious edge of Evangelion but also all the glorious stupidity of Gurren Lagann and I’m not yet convinced that the combination works here.

Beyond that, I just think the story seems generic once stripped off of its oddities. Like Beatless, this is a boy meets girl scenario as at the core is our two protagonists, Hiro and the mysterious Zero Two. There’s some fancy terminology thrown and here there but you eventually get the gist of it. The Franxx (Franxxes?) are the robots and Parasites refer to the male and female pilots that pilot them. I kind of like the chemistry between Hiro and Zero Two but other than that, nothing else really stands out to me. There’s too many characters introduced here and a lot of them seem very based in tropes.

The visuals are neat at least; this is Trigger we’re talking about and whatever scenes A-1 worked on shows that the two studios can maintain visual continuity just fine. But obviously what will really carry this show is the story. I’m not sold on it but I do have a soft spot for Gainax/Trigger and there was enough weirdness to convince me to give this show a shot.

Thanks for reading!

Beatless is officially available on Amazon.

Darling in the FranXX is officially available on Crunchyroll & Funimation.

For all of my Darling in the FranXX Episode Reviews, check out the show’s archive page!

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