Atom The Beginning
Episode 10

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Atom The Beginning ?

Is anyone else kind of disappointed that we didn't get to see the robo-wres halftime show? I realize that it wouldn't have done much for the progression of the plot, but I still feel a little cheated that we didn't get it. What we did get this week was the usual mixed bag that Atom the Beginning has consistently offered its viewers: fascinating hints about Six and his OS, vague statements about Dr. Lolo and Mars, and small signs that the honeymoon is definitely over for Umataro and Hiroshi as the robo-wres tournament comes to its conclusion.

What we do know for certain now is that Dr. Lolo did not have altruistic motives for making sure that Six would be functional for the Battle Royal. Not that it was ever likely that she did, but as Umataro watches Mars take down every single competitor in the game, he realizes that Lolo's not in this as a game – she's using it as a functionality test for her latest cutting-edge robotics project in Mars. Where the other teams are seriously competing in the sport, Lolo is using it to further her own ends in a way that doesn't feel legit – especially since she has to know that everyone else is doing this out of love for their robots and the game itself. That makes Mars' take-no-prisoners style seem like needlessly cruel poor sportsmanship – sure, Six disabled his opponents, but Mars flat-out destroys at least two of them, which he almost certainly didn't have to do.

This goes back to the philosophical differences we've seen forming a rift in Lab 7. Dr. Lolo may be even more extreme than Umataro in her pursuit of the ultimate robot, and while he's definitely looking at Mars' swathe of destruction with growing horror, he also understands what Lolo is doing – and depending on how Six fares, he may even appreciate it. After all, Umataro has no investment in robo-wres as a sport; he's just here to pit his creation against others who are acknowledged to be strong. Hiroshi, however, is less likely to be accepting of this outcome, particularly when you factor in the indescribably smug expression on Lolo's face – she's enjoying Mars' reign of terror, perhaps feeling that because the other robots were weaker (inferior) to hers, they deserved to be destroyed.

Perhaps the biggest factor in next week's showdown between Mars and Six is Six himself. This week, we see that when he's recharging, he's doing so in a human sense as well as an electronic one – Six is going over previous events in his mind, asking himself questions and thinking things over, just like a person might before a similar event. As he stands and watches Mars wreak havoc on the other robots, he's still wondering, as the final lines reveal, what Mars' reason is for all this destruction. Six doesn't entirely understand why Mars would fight as he does, and the preview for next week implies that he wants to understand. Rather than fight, Six wants to communicate.

It's an interesting statement about the system that Hiroshi has invested so much time and effort in, and it speaks to Six's burgeoning humanity, something that Ran has always appreciated. It's too bad that the episode feels drawn out, like Mars' fights have been padded to fill out the week's allotted time and end the show at a specific point in two weeks. Exciting as the fights are, we already know how they're going to end, so it would have been nice to cut them off sooner so that we could get to the Six vs Mars story sooner. I feel like we already knew enough about how ruthless Mars and Lolo are; we didn't need this much of a reminder.

Be that as it may, the showdown between these two should be interesting. Will Mars be won over to Six's viewpoint? Is thought mightier than programming? As long as it wipes that smug smile off Dr. Lolo's face, the answer will be worth it.

Rating: B-

Atom The Beginning is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

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