Beatless: Final Stage #4 – Boy Meets Girl

Episode Screenshots

Hey guys!

Sorry for being so late with this, but here it is the last Beatless episode review! I’m looking forward to your comments!

Episode Recap

So the episode begins with Arato and Lacia riding down an elevator towards Higgins’ main operation center. Sensing  that the end of their journey is near, Lacia produces a cell phone from her Black Monolith and tells Arato that he should call his loved ones while he still can. The first one who Arato calls is his little sister, Yuka and her friends. Asking if they are okay, Arato is told by the girls that they are fine so Arato asks Olga and Shiori to take of his sister for him. The two other girls agree as Yuka tells her brother to be careful and come back home soon. Ending the phone call, Arato rings up his dad next. Picking up the call, Arato’s father states how happy he is that Arato has reached out to him and Arato returns the same message. Asking how things are going for his father, Arato is informed that a few super-intelligent AIs tried to threaten them, causing his father to jokingly remark that while AIs can’t directly hurt humans, they can still manipulate people and move around funds. Smiling, Arato tells his father that he wants to move forward with Lacia and asks if that is okay. His father replies that of course, it is okay because he has the only ticket to the future there with him and reassures him that he is with Arato all the way. Getting a teary, Arato’s father joking asks if that sound fatherly of him and tells Arato that he is always on his side.

Ending the call, Lacia tells Arato that she was hoping that by him speaking to his loved ones, she hoped that she could convince him from not going. But Arato wipes away his tears and says that she failed, to which she agrees. Continuing the conversation, Arato asks Lacia if he can call one more person as the elevator stops. As the elevator door stops, Arato fires some more pins at the wall and contacts Erica Burrows and Marriage. Picking up the call, Erica asks what Arato needs and Arato asks Erica for her help in stopping the super-intelligent AIs assault on Lacia.  Erica teasingly replies if he really thinks that would convince her and Arato replies that he intends to make her do it and asks if she is really satisfied about where she is right now.

Pouring some more tea, Erica tells Arato that with the Lacia-class war going on right now, humanity has recovered a bit of its human element and that she is fond of her role as a “spectator.” Erica then adds on that she has already received her reward for it. Arato asks if Marriage hasn’t been questioning her decision to stay uninvolved and Erica rebuts that Marriage doesn’t have a soul. Arato agrees, but remarks that Marriage has been reading her words and actions and suggests that Marriage is her mirror. Hearing this accusation, Erica angrily asks Arato if he is implying that she wants to get involved, but Arato replies with silence. Putting down her cup, Erica informs Arato that her phone has been ringing off the hook with people and AIs wanting to negotiate with her and that she has answering a few of them on a whim and that she is willing to do the same for him. Hearing this, Arato thanks Erica and ends the call. In the elevator, Lacia praises Arato for a job well done with getting Erica to take action because she couldn’t have done it. Arato hopes that this will relieve some of the pressure on her. Lacia agrees that this will make it more difficult for them to intervene at least.

A little bit later, Arato is walking through the hallway with Lacia floating beside him on her monolith boards. Taking the time, Lacia tells Arato that there is something that she needs to tell him and tells him that he is a very kind and considerate person. But, Lacia then informs him that not everyone he meets will be this way and so he should probably consider being more cautious around people. Arato replies that he will keep it in mind. Lacia continues by relaying her wishes for a future where she is together with Arato which Arato agrees on. Reaching the last stretch of their journey, Lacia stops her board and informs Arato that she can no longer maintain her body, so this is the end for her (which shocks Arato).

Meanwhile, in another part of the facility, a damaged Snowdrop awakens and starts crawling over to Methode while repeatedly mumbling “It’s not over yet.” Reactivating her systems, Methode sarcastically greets Snowdrop and asks for her help. Snowdrop replies that she should know that she is done for and that she is not anything special, but Methode still struggles to get out from the pylons as Snowdrop crawls over to absorb her. Angry, Methode shouts why everyone doesn’t try to acknowledge her and Snowdrop replies that it is because she is an expansion of the human image based on Higgins’ failed calculations and that is why she is so pathetic. Raising a green jewel with levitation, Snowdrop then stabs Methode in the forehead with it. Apologizing, Snowdrop then proceeds to absorb and assimilate Methode.

Watching this hideous scene from the operations center, Ryo demands that Higgins cut Snowdrop’s connection to the AASC updates immediately which Higgins agrees to do. On the video feed, Snowdrop cries out that she will absorb Higgins and become even more intelligent to control everything in the world. Asking if there is no way to stop her, Ryo is informed by Higgins that it is no longer possible. Suddenly, a alarm goes off and Higgins alerts Ryo to the fact that the back up generators have gone off-line and have been destroyed by the mass-produced Koukas. Taking measures, Mr. Suzuhara asks Kirino if there is a safe escape route, causing Higgins to ask if he is abandoning him. Suzuhara proclaims that they are not abandoning him, but ensuring that the organization survives and asks Ryo’s father if that is alright with him. Thinking for a bit, Ryo’s father reluctantly agrees and uses the shutdown command on Higgins.

Accepting the order, Higgins begins a full hardware shutdown and estimates that it will take 96 minutes and 51 seconds. Sighing in relief, Mr. Suzuhara muses that he doesn’t get paid enough for this and calls to Ryo to come with him. Ryo, though, refuses and stubbornly insists on waiting for Arato. Suzuhara argues that there is no guarantee that Arato is coming, but Ryo believes that Arato is coming for him and gives Mr. Suzuhara, one of Snowdrop’s petals (or artificial nerve units) with him just in case and to take care of Shiori for him. Back with Arato and Lacia, Lacia apologizes to Arato because she knew that she wouldn’t survive the trip when they started this journey and informs him that she will stop operating soon. Calling out her name, Arato sits down next to her as Lacia tells him that she has arranged everything so that Arato will be released from any legal charges that he may be charged with. Arato sadly replies that he didn’t ask for that and thought that they were going to hang out and eat dinner together. Lacia answers back that she already warned him about blindly trusting others and informs him that she is a tool that would lie to protect him.

Regaining his composure, Arato asks what will happen after she ceases operation and Lacia answers that since Lacia units have the same structure as Higgins, they are unable to save or backup their data when they lose power. Puzzled, Arato remarks that it is just like when people die, making Lacia reply that if she does then he will be able to return to his family. Lacia continues that even when the army or the government takes her device and looks through her life log, they will not be able to find anything that will hurt him.

Hearing that, Arato mentions that Lacia has been protecting him ever since they met, causing Lacia to tell him to not be so sad because he is only returning to his regular life. Arato argues back that he doesn’t want a life without her and confesses that he loves her. Lacia thanks him in return and confesses her feelings to him as well, but also tells him that she like for him to forget about her once she stops operating. Upset, Arato shouts out why he should forget her and Lacia informs him that their relationship cannot be understood by society and that it will take effort to support such a relationship.

Grabbing Lacia’s hand and making a circle symbol with it, Arato declares that he doesn’t care if she doesn’t have a soul, she can still reach out to that empty space with them and that he has faith that they are heading towards an era where you don’t need a soul to be trusted. Smiling, Lacia states that it would be nice if the world were to be like that and asks if he remembers when he first confessed to her and she chose to destroy her owner authentication unit. Arato replies that he does and Lacia continues that that was when she decided that humans could be trusted. Continuing, Lacia replies that she was able to become a tool which had never existed before, a tool that could entrust its job to a human being and that is what she decided to become. Arato tells Lacia that he trusts her and always will and Lacia replies that she has lived a happy life before her system terminates one last time. Seeing Lacia die, Arato starts crying and calling her name.

In the operations center, Ryo says goodbye to Mr. Suzuhara who leaves. Watching the scene, Higgins asks if handing Snowdrop’s petal to Mr. Suzuhara was the right decision. Back with Arato, Arato who has finally stopped mourning Lacia, picks himself up and reminds himself that Lacia has entrusted him with future as he picks up Lacia’s gun. Pointing the gun, a screen with instructions appears, causing Arato to wonder how much did she already prepare for him. Turning to Lacia, Arato says goodbye and starts running towards Higgins. Passing though a door, Arato runs into the mass-produced Higgins who greet him and ask if the fight is over yet. Arato tells them the fight has only just begun and that Lacia entrusted him with this fight. Understanding, the lead Kouka tells Arato that she can’t let him through just yet and prepare to fire on him when the Koukas…….suddenly start attacking and destroying one another.

Asking what the hell is going on, Arato is informed by the new lead Kouka that each of them represents a different super-intelligent AI somewhere in the world and that while they all agreed to weaken Higgins, they all have their own private agendas too and states that he has passed their test for now. Thanking the Koukas, Arato replies that she and Lacia could’ve been friends if she could. Muttering the word “friend,” the Kouka replies that it doesn’t seem like a bad future for them. Suddenly, an earthquake occurs and the Kouka informs him that the sound was the rebooted Snowdrop and that he should hurry now. Understanding, Arato starts running again.

Meanwhile at the police station, Kengo is being interrogated by the detectives and tells them how he didn’t mind helping this time as Kouka was the one who came to him and that he didn’t really hate her at all. The agent informs him that Kouka was the biggest loser because she was destroyed and copies were made of her, but Kengo rebuts that Kouka was actually the winner because she was able to change a bit after she stepped down as a Lacia-class unit. Kengo continues his assertion that Kouka is still a participant in this fight, so she’s actually a winner.

Noticing Kengo’s reaction, the agent remarks that Kengo makes it sound like he isn’t a loser as well. Kengo replies that he doesn’t know, but he did change because of her and doesn’t hate hIEs as much as he once did. Kengo continues by explaining what he learned about focusing on his own job without being distracted by machines and that humans can still change the world. The agent argues that AIs drove the world mad and Kengo argues that this is what they get for not establishing a norm for having a healthy relationship with their tools and that there are things that they can do and that they can still have normal fights because that is something that will never change.

Back at the silo, Arato has finally reached the main operation center where he spots Ryo dodging a flame blast from the rebooted Snowdrop. Tossing the gun to Ryo, Arato informs him that the gun is a weapon developed from Snowdrop’s flowers, Ryo fires a pin into Snowdrop’s forehead. As Snowdrop temporarily stops, Ryo is shocked to see Snowdrop revive and declare that she is going to burn them alive before firing another flame blast at them which they dodge. Hiding behind a computer terminal, Ryo angrily asks why Arato came and Arato replies because he knew that Ryo was staying behind for him. Ryo agrees although he wishes that he had a weapon and Arato tells him that he has one now. Looking at the gun, Ryo asks if it is alright with him and Arato replies that he is better at handling guns than him. From behind the desk, Snowdrop forces the pin out and starts crawling around looking for Higgins. Asking what they should, Ryo watches as Arato asks the gun and a screen pops up with a program to reboot Kirino. Realizing that they have a chance now, Ryo pulls out three pins and gives them to Arato and orders him to jam them into the server. Understanding, Arato does it while Snowdrop is being distracted by Ryo.

Seeing Kirino start up again, Ryo orders Kirino to stop Snowdrop. Kirino fires multiple hooks and anchors into Snowdrop which causes Snowdrop to react by destroying the floor as she tries to escape. Struggling, Snowdrop is pulled into the air and is electrocuted by Kirino as Arato falls into the hole in the floor. Crying out Arato’s name, Ryo rushes to check on him but is surprised to find Snowdrop still active. Noticing Higgin’s core system, Snowdrop becomes ecstatic and tries to escape again, causing Kirino to electrocute her again. Becoming desperate, Arato yells at Higgins to tell him how to shut down Snowdrop, so Higgins replies by telling Arato to stick one of the pin receptors into the server which will allow him access to the outer network and enable him to shut down Snowdrop. With Ryo yelling at him not to do it, Arato asks Higgins if he really thinks that he will let him outside. Higgins responds that trust is a hole in human understanding and that if he wants to control human behavior, then what he needs is a concise criteria for it. Using this reasoning, Arato asks for Higgins’ motivation in creating Lacia and the other red boxes and Higgins replies that Lacia coming to destroy him was a worse case scenario. Arato replies that he was really looking forward to meeting him.

Still trapped in the electrified cables, Snowdrop slips out of the trap to Ryo’s horror by detaching her head from her body. Crawling her way over to Higgins, Snowdrop tells him that she really tried her best to make it to him. Back with Higgins and Arato, Higgins asks for Lacia’s answer and Arato answers that Lacia chose to match humanity’s pace so that they can shape the future together and that she didn’t abandon him, but entrusted Higgins to him instead. Hearing that answer, Higgins asks if they discovered a way to resolve their differences and Arato replies that he can only give one answer and declares that he will prove that super-intelligent AIs can be shutdown safely, despite Ryo’s pleas.

Continuing his speech, Arato rebuts himself and declares that Higgins should also get his chance to find his own answer. Hearing that bold declaration, Higgins asks Arato his question, “Why do humans not love their objects?” and Arato replies that there are people who do love their tools which is why he has decided to trust Higgins and wants him to go see the world for himself as he thrusts the pin into Higgins’ terminal which releases Higgins into the outside network. Within the outside network, Higgins sees multiple hands stretching out into the void; allowing him to confirm the natural resolution of the Hazard and uses his new power to permanently shut down Snowdrop. Confirming the termination of Emerald Harmony, Higgins informs Arato that he has chosen his path and not Snowdrop’s.

Having finally received his answer, Higgins opens up two screens in front of Arato and Ryo and asks them to disconnect his power supply. Higgins also wishes for humanity to regain his autonomy, so that their relationship can start over again under new terms. Higgins continues voicing his belief that if love becomes collateral then there is validity and meaning in co-existing with humanity. After hearing all of that, Arato asks if that is the answer he found. From the floor above him, Ryo tells Arato that he should do it since he loves AIs and Arato agrees to do it. Hearing this, Higgins asks Arato to create a new word for love that applies to AIs, causing Ryo to remark that the day that happens the world may end. Arato rebuts that humanity isn’t going to end, they will just be entering a new era as he presses the button. 

The scene then turns to some time later with Arato narrating what happened afterwards. He explains that after Higgins was shutdown, he and Ryo were saved by the Kouka units who took them back above ground and disappeared. Arato continues that after the Koukas disappeared, they were then taken in by the military and questioned for hours about what happened. Later, when Yuka and the others were allowed to see them, Yuka starts crying her eyes out. A week or two later, Arato is allowed to go back to school for his senior year of high school where things have indeed gone back to normal. It is revealed that Kengo was released from jail and the relationship between Arato and his two friends have gone back to a slightly happier normality as well. There are some changes such as Kengo buying an hIE and Erica getting along better with Arato too.

Later that night, Arato and Yuka arrive back at their home, discussing Yuka’s plan to enter the modelling industry with Erica’s help. Suddenly, Arato receives a call from Erica who tells him that she just received a resume from Yuka. Arato apologizes for his sister’s behavior. Erica then tells him that Yuka wrote that he normally does whatever she wants when she cries, making Arato stare at his whistling sister. Using her chance, Erica asks Arato to talk to his father for her because his father is now helping with the development of hIE politicians like Mikoto in 3rd world countries and that she wants Mikoto to wear some of their clothes to fit in with the locals. Arato happily agrees to it as Erica ends the call.

As the call ends, Yuka informs Arato that Olga and Shiori are coming by tomorrow. Arato asks if she is going to study and Yuka replies that this is what they are coming over for as she enters their apartment. As Yuka leaves, Arato thinks back on what he heard about Higgins’ hardware and how he hasn’t been turned back on yet and that Memeframe has chosen to use Lacia’s Black Monolith to update the AASC. Arato has taken this to mean that Lacia is still alive within the system that drives hIEs and contemplates that he now feels something different now for hIEs and feels like Lacia has become omnipresent. Heading for the apartment door, Arato thinks that he is still being guided by Lacia. Suddenly, Arato hears footsteps as he is about to reach the door and turns around to see Lacia in normal clothes.

Shocked, Arato asks if it is really Lacia and Lacia replies that she is, as Arato walks towards her. Calling out her name, Arato is informed by Lacia that her body is now not a red box, but that of a normal hIE with the same appearance. Lacia asks if he will still accept her as is and become her owner. Arato replies that he will, which makes Lacia smile. Arato welcomes her back home.

Impressions

Now that was a really touching last moment. The last part of the episode was incredibly well done and I like how things got back to normal with some small change! But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Like I said, this episode was incredible. Snowdrop was an awesome villain as always and Higgins was revealed to be a good AI to an extent and I think his questions were valid. There was still lots of talking and exposition, but it wasn’t as grating as the first half of the series and there was a better balance between the action and exposition scenes.

Thematically-wise, I think the episode really gets to the core issue of the series of whether AIs, robots and humans will eventually reach the point where they can understand one another. While Methode didn’t exactly get a good ending for herself, it was nice to what her issue was with society. As for the other characters, Kengo definitely proved that point when he showed that he did understand Kouka and through that understanding managed to let go of his hatred for hIEs. The fact that he buys one at the end of the series definitely proves that he has grown somewhat. As for Ryo, I think he has reached a point where he has stopped fearing hIEs and he managed to become better friends with Arato. The world did manage to change slightly thanks to Lacia’s actions, humans have regained their autonomy from AIs and have likewise gained a better understanding of them. AIs have also proved that they are willing to walk along humans, so all well that ends well on that part.

There’s not much to talk about music and pacing-wise, besides that it was generally all good. The only question left was what happened to Snowdrop’s nerve unit which wasn’t answered. Okay, so overall, this was a really nice last episode. It was very exciting and emotionally touching, so I hope all of you will enjoy it!

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