The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Heavy Object

Title: Heavy Object
Genre: Action
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 2015 – 25 Mar 2016

Synopsis: One day the United Nations dissolved, and with its downfall came the end of the nation state. In the ashes of one global system four superpowers rose, each one vying for global dominance. War among these four is never ending, but the warfare has evolved significantly. Objects — nigh indestructible weapons platforms — dictate the tides of conflict, making all other forms of warfare obsolete, or so it was thought. When two unlikely soldiers named Quenthur and Havia find themselves in a hopeless situation after their nation’s Object is defeated, they have little choice but to figure out how to thwart an Object by their own hands.

The Highlights
Scenario: Preposterous, presumptuous, and betrays its premise at every turn.
Exposition: Excessive and accomplishes little.
Cast: Laughable as protagonists. Loathsome as individuals.
Animation: Decent, for 2005.
Objects: Ill conceived and uninteresting to watch.
Fanservice: Offensive even by fanservice standards.

Aldnoah Zero, you are forgiven. The questionable tactics, shallow characterization and world building, the vacuum of an atmosphere, and on top of that the arrogance; that all of it could be topped and compounded leaves me baffled. But then again, lo and behold we get Heavy Object, an anime that illustrates that if a series wants to pretend to be intelligent, it ought not be so transparently ignorant in every facet.

In concept, Heavy Object is a “smartest man in the room” anime coupled with a David and Goliath scenario. In practice, it is a “room full of idiots” anime. Designated “smartest man in the room” Quenthur gets the role by default, not because he is especially intelligent or perceptive, but because the rest of humanity have opted to reduce the art of war down to glorified matches of rock/paper/scissors. Simply at a glance, the whole concept of putting all of one’s resources into a prohibitively expensive artillery mashup is suspect to the point of asinine. On top of that, the fact that nobody else embraced his methods of sabotaging Objects ages ago is laughable on top of implausible. To expand on the rock/paper/scissors analogy, this is like someone using only rock, waxing on about rock’s dominance, and then being surprised that paper exists.

It’s honestly astounding how small and empty the world feels given how much exposition there is. Then again, the show is nothing but exposition. The fact that the protagonist’s nation is nominally an aristocracy is stated often. The implications of this fact are non existent. Only the technical details about the Objects are ever in play, with the conquest over each one relying on dry infodumps. Admittedly, anime masterminds like LoGHs Reinhard will narrate key parts of their strategy for the audience’s sake. But Quenthur Barboatage is no Reinhard, neither in brilliance nor charisma. In terms of intelligence, he is a giant only among the pygmies. As for personality, he is a nonentity, even as compared to the obnoxious side kick, dominatrix commander, and off the shelf kuudere that make up his compadres.

On top of all that, this is a dull anime to watch. Even the worst anime of the day I can usually say at least look good. And while I wouldn’t call Heavy Object’s artwork bad, it is across the board unimpressive. Character designs are exemplary only in how generic they are. As for the Objects themselves, while they’re certainly unique in design, I wouldn’t call that a victory given the show’s action. With out the mano a mano intimacy of a humanoid robot or the moody claustrophobia of a tank, Objects represent the worst of both worlds in terms of mobile artillery. Also failing to intimidate visually, they don’t succeed as monsters either.

With combat being a series of poorly rendered weapon spams, it does not feel like the battles were subject of much effort, certainly not when compared to the fanservice. Personally, I’m not so much anti fanservice as much as I find it obsolete in the digital age. So long as the narrative isn’t compromised in the name of titillation, I hardly mind. But Heavy Object seems dedicated not only to objectifying its female cast, it goes out of its way to sexually demean them. Somewhere in Japan, an animator is being paid slave wages to draw a woman being “comedically” molested by her subordinate. I can think of no proper way to elaborate on this statement.

Perhaps it is also a case of nitpicking to bemoan a series for basing its faceless feudal kingdom around modern France of all countries. But there is so little foundation to Heavy Object, that the nits just beg to be picked. That this anime gets so much wrong while being smugly convinced that it’s right compels me to believe that original writer Kamachi Kazuma has never cracked open a book or even left his house. I can’t think of another anime that was as insulting to my intelligence as Heavy Object. If only its flaws made it halfway fun to mock.

The Rating: 2

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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