Heavy Object – Review
Original Air Dates: October 2nd, 2015 – March 25th 2016
Synopsis: With the advent of the “Object”, a massive mobile weapon of severe destruction like no other, war changed. Traditional warfare became obsolete, guns, tanks and fighters jets all were powerless before the ultimate weapon. Now, with the world’s conflicts governed by Object Warfare, Qwenthur, a student soldier training to become an Object mechanic, with dreams of success as an inventor, is stationed at the Alaskan Object Base. There he meets Milinda, the beautiful Elite Soldier who pilots Baby Magnum, the Object stationed there. Partnered with his friend Havia the two assume a mundanity in their duties. But when Milinda’s object is defeated in battle, and the enemy comes at them with more than just their Object, Qwenthur and Havia must learn how to survive on the battlefield, or meet their end.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Heavy Object is your average war based show in a lot of ways, starting off with its animation. It has some blurry and rushed animation in the opening credits and occasionally a combat sequence or two, but the quality usually holds up otherwise. If there’s one thing that’s immediately noticeable from the first episode, is that Heavy Object likes its women busty and it wants you to know that.
Tom: Generally Heavy Object’s art holds up, it’s not great, but it gets the job done. There are times, as Linny said, when the visuals dip in quality, this occurs generally at the back half of the series full twenty-four episode run, and is only noticeable in long shots, or during a few lengthy exposition sequences. The CGI, which is featured heavily throughout Heavy Object, is used primarily to depict the massive sized Objects that make up the brunt of the series’ spectacle driven warfare. The CGI is effective in the portrayal but that praise only goes so far, as the Object themselves aren’t particularly animated creations, remaining mostly as large round spherical monstrosities loaded head to toe in cannons and guns. So it’s not like there’s a lot for the CGI to really animate anyway. But praise must be noted for the explosions. Heavy Object contains some of the most beautiful, and colorful explosions this season, mostly depicted through the series’ reliance on CGI. It’s probably the one aspect of the visuals where I think Heavy Object shines.
Linny: The lead characters start off as an interesting contrast to your expectations. Qwenthur is a student who is ‘interning’ so he can design Heavy Objects in the future, while the other, his friend Havia, is a member of royalty, enlisted in the army out of social construct and laziness, rather than his own ambitions. Neither seem extremely skilled or battle hardened in the least. However, the show soon turns them into jacks of all trades who manage to achieve victories and tasks that apparently only they are capable of/are assigned to. It gets a little baffling and even boring as they somehow manage to always defeat the enemy or achieve the objective, with almost no real losses or tragedies ever. The show also suffers from some good old fashioned sexism. While it has women as crucial members of the army, Milinda; the pilot of the Object Qwenthur and Havia have been assigned to, Baby Magnum, and Frolaytia; their commanding officer, they are often reduced to maidens in distress or have their breasts discussed repeatedly by the two male leads. There’s an undeniable feeling that the females in the show exist mostly for fan service. They never get any real character development. While the supposedly rough and tough Frolaytia is reduced to a woman unable to avoid having an arranged marriage, Milinda is reduced to a jealous and possessive archetype. Even a pilot billed as Milinda and Qwenthur’s nemesis, the extremely buxom “Ohoho”, eventually becomes obsessed with Qwenthur, just like almost every other female character that the show introduces and keeps around for more than two episodes.
Tom: This overuse of the female cast for fan service purposes probably wouldn’t even be a problem if they ever got proper screen time and development. But that’s just not the case. Milinda is often used solely for plot purposes. She spends what screen time she has piloting the object and accomplishing tasks, but never dealing with the situation directly, or adding anything to the detailed plans Qwenthur comes up with. Then there’s Frolaytia who fairs a bit better than Milinda, with actual time spent out in the field on the odd occasion, but otherwise her primary use is exposition, explaining the overarching plot and world details necessary for the audience to care and understand the proceeding events. Neither is used effectively as characters, and act primarily as plot devices to drive the story forward, which only compounds the frustration of the frequent and jarring use of them as fan service. If you removed Milinda from the series, and replaced her with another generic Object Pilot, you honestly wouldn’t lose a whole lot. There’s nothing special about her that would drastically change the show with her substitution. Havia and Qwenthur are decent enough as is, but they’re both far from engaging due to how easily and often they overcome the slew of obstacles strewn across their path.
Linny: Despite the title, this show is more about Havia and Qwenthur and the war itself than the Objects. While the Objects do feature or appear in every episode, the story revolves more often than not around Havia and crew outmaneuvering the enemy and their Objects. As mentioned earlier, the fan service level in this show starts off above average. Even when the fan service is finally cut down in the latter half, there is still the matter of a lot of the female characters throwing themselves at Qwenthur. A lot of it is played for humour, as it often is, but it still risks highly offending female audiences.
Tom: There’s a decent story here, and the world built around it, if you can suspend disbelief surrounding the explanation of how Objects came to replace all advanced weaponry. Several issues arise as Qwenthur repeatedly bests Objects, something no one has ever been able to do since their inception, particularly as we begin to see supposed outdated weaponry, like tanks or jets, still in service, despite the series assuring us the world bowed before the might of Objects. Why do these weapons still exist if Objects are seen as the only viable weapon? Or perhaps more importantly, why is it that Qwenthur is the only person to even attempt Guerilla warfare against Objects in the entire period since their introduction? If you’re able to ignore that, and can stomach the inappropriate and forced fan service from time to time, there is fun to be had here, assuming you’re okay with a constant return to the status quo. But I’ll let Linny talk about that.
Linny: The thing is our heroes always save the day, and when i say always, I mean ALWAYS. Nothing truly devastating ever happens. Yes, there are some deaths but it happens about once, and to characters that we personally never meet. As the heroes dispose of any and all danger, almost always ensuring that not a single life is ever lost, the show and story itself loses all its tension and drama. Every time a dangerous situation is presented, you start to wonder how long it will take for the heroes to fix it, rather than if or even how because you’re painfully aware that the heroes always manage to save the day with the most random, and even questionable, methods. Eventually, the show starts to feel repetitive and inconsequential as the two characters get shuttled all over the world, get thrown right in the middle of a super dangerous situation, emerge victorious with zero casualties, reset and repeat until the end. All this despite Qwenthur being merely a student. He somehow always manages to know or guess everything, or discover a crucial weakness of literally every Heavy Object they encounter. no matter how modified or different it may be. And Havia being a laid back member of royalty who only joined the army to be able to inherit his family title with something on his resume besides being born with blue blood.
Tom: This constant reset of the status quo, where nothing ever carries over from plot line to plot line, and all consequences nullified moving forward so our heroes can start fresh with the next Object they need to down gets old very fast. There’s a handful of places where villains return, or the events of one story relate to another, but our heroes never have to sacrifice anything to win and eventually Heavy Object loses its bite. There’s just no fear that Qwenthur and Havia won’t achieve total victory. It’s boring. To the point where eventually all the Object stories simply blend together, all feeling similar and devoid of interesting, meaningful developments.
Linny: If you’re on the lookout for a show that’s all about humans outwitting and defeating massive weapons of destruction, Heavy Object could be your jam. If you can ignore or maybe enjoy the heavy fan service, and the predictably undefeatable heroes, there’s tense confrontations, and beautiful explosions. For everyone else, here’s a summary, Qwenthur and Havia save the day. The end.
Tom: Some might argue that with any show, we know the heroes will win. That’s true, but Heavy Object fails to make the audience fear the potential of Havia and Qwenthur losing, as they always win so thoroughly, that it feels like nothing could ever topple them. Ever. Heavy Object is for people looking for light, detailed entertainment with a few interesting concepts centered around futuristic warfare. The fan service is largely unoffensive to those who are indifferent towards fan service in general, but for anyone who already feels like anime plays too fast and lose with its female characters, Heavy Object won’t be changing your mind.