Transpotlight: gen:LOCK, Or Sense8 With Giant Robots

gen:LOCK is a web animation by Rooster Teeth of the Red vs. Blue and RWBY fame. It’s about a bunch of young people uploading their minds into giant robots in order to fight the advance of a tyrannical regime that prosecutes intellectuals, queers, and other minorities. Hm, that sounds familiar; wasn’t there this one shitty country that elected an anti-intellectual President who ignored all evidence of the climate crisis, then proceeded to strip women, queers, and other minorities of their human rights?

Political undertone aside, the parallel to Netflix’s Sense8 is obvious since the brain uploading technology was originally designed for mind sharing like in the TV series, and it’s something the heroes of gen:LOCK use to great effect once they’ve mastered it. Interestingly, much like in Sense8, the candidates who have the unique mental makings that make them suitable for the mind-melding are all highly individualistic: hotshot pilot, hacktivist, defector, disobedient soldier, and a covert op specialist.

SPOILER ALERT!

Sci-fi fans, especially Transhumanists, will enjoy the show for its exploration of such themes: it was later revealed that the main antagonist of season 1 is in fact a copy of the protagonist – or rather, the villain is the original protagonist who was captured and brainwashed, and the protagonist we know and love is restored from a backup copy. It’s just scratching the surface in season 1, but it does touch upon the questions about identity and nonlinear lifeline that’s crucial to Transhumanist philosophy.

Val/entina, the purple-haired sniper, deserves special mention for being the very few gender-fluid main character in popular media. Transgender and non-conforming people are always under- and ill- represented in media, and when they get a positive representation it’s usually in media specifically about queer people. Sci-fi, especially, is notoriously bad at representing queer people despite being stories set in futures so far ahead of time that societies should have became much more enlightened.

With only 8 episodes in season 1, gen:LOCK is fast-paced, pulling no punches with plot twists and revelations, and you can do much worth with 4 hours of you life.