Reviews

Mar 25, 2016
Stark700 (All reviews)
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s an Object! When you throw an armored machine with unimaginable technology into war, these bad boys are supposed to be the ultimate ace in the hole. They can apparently turn tides in modern warfare. Objects are supposed to revered and feared on the battlefield. Then, we are introduced to two boys - Qwenthur and Havia. These two are able to actually defeat a heavy object with their reckless strategies and thus their daily military misadventure begins in this unorthodox sci-fi show.

Adapted from the light novel of the same name, some viewers may be familiar with the origins of this series already. It’s created by Kazuma Kamchi, the brainchild of Toaru Majutsu no Index. With 10 volumes released, the anime adaptation covers a 2-cour of 24 episodes. As as sci-fi modern warfare story, Heavy Objects hits on a variety of ideas. But is it really satisfying with its execution?

There’s a bunch of agendas the series tries to achieve when judging on the surface. One of these is establishing the main players, or otherwise nations that clashes in warfare. These include the Legitimacy Kingdom, Capitalist Corporations, Information Alliance, and the Faith Organization. Each of these favors different values and has their own goals. Second, there are the main characters. Qwenthur and Havia are the two main guys on the frontlines and are literally daredevils. With a wacky sense of humor, both of them really has ways to escape death. Time and time again, the show puts them into situations where they are likely to die yet somehow escapes with their hearts still beating. Some might call this “plot armor” but the show marks it more as a gimmick. Both of these guys are also very crafty and is shown by the way they defeated their first Object. Joining them are two female characters - Frolaytia and Milinda, the elite princess. Frolaytia is their commanding officer and often puts them in dangerous missions. Her quite temper and slight sadistic personality makes her someone to be feared. The show also makes her more of the fan service character as often times, there are suggestive camera shots at her body. This is furthered by the fact that she tempts the boys with her pseudo-sadism. On the other hand, Milinda is more of a quiet girl who relies on using her pilot skills to get the job done. As the pilot of the Baby Magnum, she displays impressive skills that makes her a threat to her enemies. Throughout the series, I think it’s pretty obvious that she has a crush on Qwenthur judging on her reactions.

By the third or fourth episode, it’ll be obvious at how the show is structured with its storytelling. It’s chronicled in a series of arcs that has an overall connection to the main story. The Objects are the main attraction that gets featured in warfare. As thus, a good deal of the show concentrates on exploiting the strengths and weaknesses of the Objects. Each of them has a different configuration, design, armaments, model, and other features that makes it stand out on the battlefield. Now, I admit. I’m kind of a sci-fi nerd when it comes to shows like this. And by the context of this show, it’s quite fascinating when examining the features of these Objects. Essentially, they are armored fighting machines with almost all of them having a spherical main body. The design of each Object is covered by body armor that makes their defensive capabilities pretty stiff. Their propulsion system allows the Objects to maneuver on almost any time of environment. As a show that transits battle environments from the frosty lands of Alaska to dense jungles of the Amazons, it’s pretty important to show how Objects can function in different circumstances. Then, there’s also the reactor that fuels the energy of the Objects. Think of it like as a battery. The pilot controls the cockpit and each Object has its own unique control system. The show mostly features this for Milinida as we see the detailed structure of Baby Magnum’s cockpit. Finally, each Object has a heavy arsenal of weapons that ranges from impressive railguns, laser beam cannons, plasma weapons, and technology that far surpasses our own in the real world. In retrospect, the show does a neat job to cover the mechanics of the Objects and why they have such reputations. And in a story of sci-fi warfare, that needs to be.

On a more personal or relationship level, the show is a bit of a hit or miss. In particular, Qwenthur is a character that is hard to get attached to. He is a daredevil but also very dense when it comes to the feelings of some characters, in particular Milinida. At various points during this show, he gets unintentionally caught in misunderstandings that comically puts himself and others in danger. He invokes the wrath of the girls without knowing with his poor choice of words. And to top it all, he doesn’t realize it even with his good buddy Havia screaming at him. On the other hand, Qwenthur and Havia has a pretty amusing relationship. Their on screen moments shows that they act more like brothers than comrades. Their reckless tactics often requires teamwork and strategic timings so the show emphasizes on their trusting connection. This easily shows that they respect each other while also getting the job done and is one of the key reasons that they are able to survive so many times. Furthermore, the boys often help out Milinida when she is in danger while putting their own lives at risk. It earns Frolaytia’s criticism but there is also genuine among of trust that she places onto the boys. It’s a bit of an unorthodox relationship when these four are shown on screen each time but there’s definitely a good amount of connection between them.

On some of the more negative note, Heavy Object relies far too much on its comedy at times. The sex jokes are pretty evident that quickly gets repetitive. From tight pilot suits to pole dancing, the show tries to pull out every trick from the book. There’s also not enough concrete characterization for the majority of the cast. Although Havia gets some decent characterization in one of the arcs, it’s not really enough to salvage the show. And speaking of main characters, Milinida is a girl that I think people will find hard to relate or like. That stoic face and lack of character development doesn’t make her stand out much in the show. At times, she is even used in story as a fan service object. While the show invests a good amount of time about the Objects, there’s little investment on some of the main antagonists. And even when it does, it’s pretty stereotypical. Finally, some of the supporting characters like Havia’s fiancé, Ho Ho Ho(Yes, that’s not really her real name), Sladder Honeysuckle, etc will be easily forgettable except for their names.

After the promotional videos, it became fairly obvious that J.C Staff would also participate with animating the main series. And because the nature of the original character designs, except to see some similarities. On the positive side, the studio put a good amount of effort to make Objects look like a legitimate threat. I already mentioned their combat features and the show does a well job in crafting them in physical form. This is also demonstrated in the sheer force of fighting power they show on the battlefield. Indeed, the action is solid and fairly well coordinated with its stylized choreography. Character designs are also inspired with military outfits depending on the battle environment. The pilot outfits are also noticeable especially in the case of Milinda. Now, do be aware that there’s also a fair amount of fan service. The awkward timings that usually focus on the girls can sometimes feel humorously uncomforting. Despite that, artwork is decent in general ranging from the impressive Object designs and battlefield landscapes.

Depending on your perspective, the music and soundtrack of the show may or may not stand out. There are two OP theme songs although the first one has a more lyrical beat than the second. The OST of the show is what you may expect if you’ve seen other sci-fi related features. Only of course, it’s somewhat more lighthearted at times while also tense during battle scenarios. The character voice mannerisms are what I depict as fair. The guys’ voices blends between casual to stressful depending on what the type of situations they are caught up in. Sometimes though, it makes them look like fools in the face of danger. Milinda’s voice sounds like a robot at times so it’ll be hard to adapt with from early on. And of course, there’s Frolaytia. Any fan who is familiar with Shizuka Itou will recognize her voice right away and she seems to carry on her role when stepping in the shoes of the commander. Remember Akeno from High School DxD or Hildegard from Beelzebub? Yeah, you get the idea.

Heavy Object is a trick pony. It’s a show with sci-fi elements that also tosses in comedy in the face of danger. With the way the story is structured, it’s to be expected that there will be a variety to offer. This is true when applying to the Objects but the characterization in the show is rather unimpressive. Relationship dynamics is not something I think people will appreciate unless they are part of a target audience. As such, the show is designed to not be taken so seriously like some realistic war story. In fact, you’ll have to watch based on what it’s shown rather than what you’d expect.