Series: Heavy Object
Episode #1: The Little Soldiers Who Tie Down Gulliver / The Snowy Deep Winter Battle of Alaska I
Release Date: October 2 (in Japan)
Genre: Action/Advneture, Sci-fi, Mecha
Studio: J.C Staff
Where to Watch: Daisuki
Synopsis: In this future, humanity has expanded beyond its horizons and into space, but conflicts still remain on Earth. After a long, drawn-out series of battles, huge spherical, indestructible mechs are created that can’t be harmed by conventional weapons: even nuclear weapons cannot harm them. These are known as Heavy Objects, and they boast an impressive assortment of weaponry that can take down just about anything. Eventually, after the breakdown of the U.D, the nations of the Earth group into four commonwealths and solve problems with battles between Heavy Objects, with the loser withdrawing troops and leaving the area or resource to the victor. The anime follows three main characters: Havia and Qwenthur, a nobleman and student who are in the military, and Milinda, the princess of one of the commonwealths who works as the pilot of a Heavy Object.
A Heavy Object. A fairly original design, I’ll give them that.
My Thoughts: Well…that was a first episode alright. The episode starts with narration and ends with narration, with a lot of exposition in-between. The story starts off with the exposition of the world’s backstory, and then zooms in to Havi and Qwenthur, who are stationed at some arctic military base. They discuss their backstories and go off duty to hunt some of the deer that live in the area (military food is apparently really bad). Havi’s idea, since Qwenthur (whom I will refer to as Q for the rest of this review) is the straight guy, and Havi is the reckless one.
Q is the blonde, Havi is the brunette: neither likes shoveling snow.
Fairly standard characters so far. Havi goes one way to hunt deer with his rifle, while Q decides to fish, and he’s joined by the princess, who apparently heard the shots from all the way into the base.
Either their guns are crazy loud, or the base is seriously open.
They talk for a bit about Heavy Objects, and we learn that the princesses’ Object is a general-purpose, first-generation model, and that she worries about losing a battle in the future. Seems like some foreshadowing and detail-dropping that’ll come in handy later on in the series. The rest of the episode is fairly straightforward: Havi and Q get chewed out by a silver-haired, well-endowed, pipe-smoking female commanding officer (Ms. Froloytia, who is apparently 18 years old?), and Q helps do some maintenance on the Princess’ Object. The most interesting character was the cranky old lady mechanic character who yelled at Q for being late. I dunno, maybe I have a soft spot for old ladies. There really isn’t that much to this episode; it ends with a flashforward to what seems to be the Princess losing a battle in her Object, and it ends with Q and Havi staring down the barrels of an enemy Object’s cannons. Why they’re on the battlefield at all, much less so close to Heavy Objects is beyond me, but plot necessity, I guess.
Gimme the Skinny!
The episode isn’t especially attention-grabbing: it relies on fear of the displeasure of a female commanding officer and crude jokes to bring some lightness into it: otherwise it’s a lot of exposition and discussion about how bad war is. The most action we get is in the opening, when we see a Heavy Object destroying some jets and warships, but otherwise it’s a lot of talking. Havi and Q seem like typical military characters in an anime: Havi’s the reckless one in it for glory (literally: he’s a nobleman who won’t inherit his family’s estate without gaining some glory in military service) and Qwenthur is the smart guy who keeps him in check. The Princess doesn’t do or say much besides be the pilot and the butt of jokes between her and Q: either having Q tell himself that he doesn’t find her beautiful or an unnecessary comedy scene about her piloting harness being too tight and Q needing to place his hands, er, near her chest, in order to help loosen it. Even their Commanding Officer isn’t exempt from jokes about her, erm, endowment, and these types of jokes feel stale and trite, especially as they either come from Havi (the troublemaker) or happen to Q (the straight man).
She’s seriously 18??
The series seems to have potential, but they wasted it with this pilot episode. The episode starts and ends with exposition, has characters that don’t break any molds, and has a somewhat-original plot that’s relegated to backstory instead of center stage. Why were the nations fighting? What’s up with the slight nod to space travel hinted at in the first 30 seconds of the episode? Where are the characters even located right now? So many questions, so few answers, and it’s not even done in a way that leaves me excited for more of the show, but rather feels kind of like the writers are skimping out on the details at random. Hopefully the show answers these questions and more as it progresses: I really want to like this show. All in all, the first episode of Heavy Object is fairly lackluster, but I’m hoping that the rest of the series will make up for it.