Welcome to the last fight in Atom the Beginning: In the red corner we have A106, the Kindhearted Child of Science; a creation of two geniuses with conflicting ideologies. In the blue corner we have Mars, the brutal God of War; an experiment of a beautiful scientist called Dr.Lolo that uses the tournament for a sinister purpose. Both agile. Both strong. And as it seems, both equipped with an AI that allows them to be independent of the wishes of their masters.
Mars, I want to talk with you
Japanese Title: バトルロイヤル
With all that’s been happening in Atom the Beginning, we may have forgotten that the world our beloved Ran (she is my favorite) and the rest of the gang are living in is not as bright as the colors they used to paint it. Even though we still don’t know the motive behind Dr.Lolo’s actions, I am guessing weapons testing. Mars is an experiment and every robot that goes down in flames is just another successful test. People and players both worship her as the undeniable queen of the sport, but to be honest, I don’t she cares a damn about it. Her robot, Mars, is the exact opposite of A106, especially if we assume that he has an advanced AI like Bewusstein. A106 disables his opponents while Mars destroys them. This is not just a Robot Wrestling match. It’s a clash of ideologies. I know I sound a bit dramatic, but that’s exactly how I feel. Dramatic and eager to see how this match will end.
If we assume that Dr.Lolo is trying to create the perfect robotic soldier, her aspirations are not far from Umataro’s. Of course, Umataro’s position may seem more lenient in its extremity, but he understands where she’s coming from. That blushed cheeks every time he looks at her big blue eyes are telling for a blossoming love, not only for her looks but also for her ideas. Like Dr.Lolo, Umataro and Ochanomizu are not there for the sport. But there is a fundamental difference between the two geniuses. For Tenma-sama, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase his creation’s strength. For Hiroshi-san, it is the perfect opportunity to showcase his creation’s heart.
Rivalries and infatuations aside, the most important scenes of the episode had to do with A106’s sentient approach to resting. At first I was a bit confused when he started recounting his experiences but when he went to the ‘emotions’ part, it all made sense. A106 was not just recharging his batteries. He was also going through what happened until now as to prepare himself for what was coming next. What a human thing to do. And if we had any doubts that A106 has developed a conscience, they were all crumbled to dust when he expressed a wish to talk with his opponent.
Half Time: I have a feeling that we’ve lost some awesome J-pop concert or cute cheerleading action. Note to the committee: this is a good add-on for the Blu-Ray. Animate what happened during the half time. Have the robots dance with cute cheerleaders. Maybe have Maria the mechanical Diva sing a song or two. So many ideas.
Themes & Trivia
God of War: Mars or Ares (depending on whether you like your ancient Dodecatheistic gods in Roman or Greek) was the god of war. While most of the Greek gods that were adapted into the Roman pantheon retained their characteristics but not their names, Mars and Ares have some distinct differences. In Greek mythology, Ares was viewed as a power of destruction and bloodshed. For Romans, he represented military power as a way to secure peace. He also has a very special place in Roman culture for another reason; Mars was the father of the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
As you can imagine, Mars has appeared in various media, from the Star Trek franchise to the God of War video games. He has also given his name to the infamous Red Planet and NASA’s transport ship replacing the Space Shuttle.
The Measure of a Man: In one of the best episodes Star Trek has ever produced, Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner), a sentient android aboard the starship Enterprise, is threatened by a UFP (United Federations of Planets) scientist who wishes to dismantle him in order to produce replicas of him. Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) defends his Lt. in a court set to debate Data’s right of self-determination. Highly relevant to Atom the Beginning, the episode was highly praised for touching on themes of slavery and the rights of artificial intelligence.
Not much to comment about this episode. It still has that semi-episodic feel that I like and I have liked since the TV shows of the 80s and 90s. A semi-episodic feel that has given way to more unified plots that have given way to whole shared universes. I am not a fan of that kind of storytelling. I understand the demand for bigger and better-connected stories, but we have come to a point where whole movies feel like episodes. There is more to say the effects of careful world-building in fiction, but this is not the place or the time. Let’s just say that I am glad that Atom the Beginning is finishing in two episodes, and not because I didn’t like it. I thought it was an awesome series. But all good things…You know how this goes.
Mars, why do you fight?
I may have used that conclusion quote in a previous episode, but who cares? It embodies the main theme of the series in just one simple sentence. A106 is sentient, no doubt about that. Knowing that the rest of the story has already been written, I am curious to see what will happen of him. But, until then, we must first find out if he’ll manage to reach out to Mars. Is Mars sentient as well? Will they talk? Is there any common ground between the two or are robotic relationships just as complicated as human ones?
Did you like Episode 10 of Atom the Beginning? Let us know in the comments below by using either the forum or the Facebook tab! Join us in our new forum and let’s talk about our favorite series! Also, don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic anime reviews for Spring 2017.