Anime Review: Heavy Object Part 1 (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 20.03.2017

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Heavy Object Part 1 (UK Rating: 15)

Set in the near future, the face of war has vastly changed, after a certain island nation developed a super weapon known as "The Object." This gargantuan weapon of war (looking something like the Technodrome's bigger, badder brother) was able to shrug off every attack thrown at it and decimate any opposition. With these new tools of destruction available, wars have become something akin to Robot Wars, as nations pour all of their money and resources into developing these "Objects," but the face of war changes once more when a trio of unlikely heroes suddenly become Object slaying experts. This first season of Heavy Object comes from Funimation via Anime Limited and is available from 20th March.

The prospect of this type of war is a fascinating one and a premise that the series does a great job in exploring, looking at the how the world and how war would change because of the Objects. When Objects do battle, the loser immediately raises a white flag, after all, there's no defeating an Object unless using another Object. That means a whole different world with no need for mass bloodshed or death tolls during wars or battles; at most, it's the pilots of the Objects and any collateral damage. The story centres on a military team from the "Legitimate Kingdom" - the hero, Qwenther, a soldier but also budding Object engineer/designer, Milinda, the pilot of their Object entitled "Baby Magnum," and Havia, a blue blood who joins the military to gain his family's respect and to take the his rightful place as head of his noble family.

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The three live a quiet and peaceful, but horribly boring, life in Alaska, until a rival Object attacks. This Object from a rival nation known as "Faith Organisation." They attack and quickly take out Baby Magnum. Despite the white flag being raised afterward, they open fire on the base, too, tearing the place to pieces. Even worse, they capture the bailed out Milinda and it's up to a pair of newbie soldiers to escape, regroup, and take on the Object themselves. Obviously, they succeed and suddenly the world changes again, as this duo becomes a guerrilla team that travels the world with Milinda in Baby Magnum as backup, taking on the most powerful Objects in the world, trying to figure out a way to McGuyver their way into taking down something that can wipe out armies.

It's an interesting premise, and one filled with plenty of potential, in so many areas; the mechanics of unique battles between objects, the innovative methods the team have to come up with to take down the Objects, the socio-political ramifications of a world with this type of war. Sadly, however, none of these elements are particularly explored and the whole affair ends up rather formulaic and mediocre. It seems very unlikely that this duo would be the first ever to be able to take out Objects and that they continue to do so with such ease means that the stories lack any real bite or risk as the story slips into an inevitable pattern. It's not all bad; split up into four arcs, each three episodes in length, there are some fun and interesting moments, but it would be so much better if it took some risks. The Objects aren't particularly interesting, either; using CG designs, they lack anything to make them look particularly cool or to stand out against the awesome mecha designs of other shows - yet another missed opportunity.


 
The trio of heroes receives no real development over the course of the show, either. By series end, none of the three have particularly grown or developed, but they at least get some exploration into their history to explain some of their character traits. The expanded cast is rather limited, too; the only other character with a significant amount of screen time is the commander of the unit, a Miss Frolatyia. A busty and forceful young lady who is the classic dominant bad-ass, who is the centre of much of the fan-service in the show, of which there is a surprisingly considerable amount - the usual swinging pendulous breasts, upskirts and downblouses, along with innuendo, flirtations, and plenty of groping.

This is a dual audio release and this is one of those series with a fantastic dub. Havia's voice actor, Micah Solusod, has quite a lot of experience with the creator's previous works, taking the starring role as Touma in A Certain Magical Index and Justin Briner is always good - look out for him soon, taking the lead in the My Hero Academia dub. The release of Heavy Object is the first 12 episodes of this, and extras consist of a single episode video commentary, textless opening and closing credit - really decent and catchy songs - and trailers for some upcoming Funimation releases.

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Heavy Object Part 1 isn't necessarily a bad show. Despite the numerous criticisms levelled here, it's enjoyable enough. It just feels like it fails to live up to the potential the overall series has. It's all the more disappointing when you find out the source material is a series of light novels from Kazuma Kamachi, creator of the superb A Certain Magical Index. An enjoyable little series that could have been so much more.

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