Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

21 November 2015: She's not heavy, she's my Object

Eyes on the road, toots.

I first learned of Heavy Object when I encountered an enthusiastic blog post celebrating the light novel's manga adaptation probably about five years ago. I hadn't heard of the title previously, but the blogger's excitement inspired me to at least give it a try. I gave up in disgust after five chapters, coincidentally also the end of the (first) manga's publication, as it turned out. Ostensibly, Heavy Object is a science fiction story about pitting fantastic huge fighting machines against each other in a futuristic war. Unfortunately, it was clearly written by someone who didn't know fuck all about war and didn't give a shit about conducting any research or addressing even the most obvious and painfully distracting plot holes. (I didn't know at the time that the author also wrote A Certain Magical Index. Man, that explains so much.) Given that the currently airing anime adaptation covers the same source material as the manga adaptation, it was obvious I would be predisposed to dislike the Heavy Object anime as well. Well, yeah. I do sort of loathe this anime. I'm still watching it, though, even though with eight episodes down I'm only about a third through its two-cour run. I'm not watching it "ironically" and I don't typically hate-watch shows, but there's something about it that prevents me from simply ignoring it, and I think I've figured out what it is.

I left room for you to come up with your own jokes.

Heavy Object is a terrible science fiction story about war, but it's not necessarily a bad anime. I think the distinction depends on the viewer's expectations. At the most basic level, Heavy Object is about a stupidly huge metal ball piloted by a teenager to fight other stupidly huge metal balls piloted by...actually, I'm not sure, but it doesn't matter. The question is, why am I treating this as a war drama instead of as a super robot anime? The more I think about it, there's plenty of nonsense I'll happily ignore once giant robots start battling. My understanding of super robots is pitiful compared to, say, Dr. SDS, but I'm pretty sure most of these series would suffer from a lot of the same problems facing Heavy Object if measured critically against "realistic" criteria. Aside from the fact that Objects are giant balls and not in any way "robot shaped," is there any reason I couldn't just treat Heavy Object as a super robot anime and (theoretically) just enjoy the show? Well, there is a problem.

In the manga, this uniform had a digital pattern, but I guess that was too difficult to animate.

In shows featuring giant robots fighting each other, we can count on the giant robots to do radical things that are cool to watch. The robots themselves are characters in their own right with personalized characteristics and quirks. We don't get that with Heavy Object. Not all the giant metal balls are the same, but they all sort of do the same thing. Moreover, the focus of the show isn't even on the big balls or their pilots, but rather these two random ass yahoos who are suddenly forward observers, recon scouts, combat engineers, commandos, or whatever the story requires. (They're also the only two soldiers in their military who ever do jack shit, but now I'm back to complaining about how poorly conceived this entire story is.) Quite frankly, they're not charismatic enough to carry the show.

Hoshi no Koe, this ain't.

In fact, none of the characters are charismatic. Even Milinda, the blonde pilot of Baby Magnum, brings nothing to the series except lazy fan service scenes occasionally. I'm not kidding when I say the fan service really is horrendous, you know. Those scenes are propped up by poorly conceived contrivances that are too stupid to describe. This failure is particularly egregious when you consider how low the bar for this sort of thing is already. Seriously, yo, how hard is it to get an audience interested in the operator of a gigantic death ball? She's already wearing a skin-tight suit, for crying out loud. Even I was passably interested in an Uguu~Blob like Ayu, and all she did was eat taiyaki, run into people, and fall out of trees. How Index Dude and J.C. Staff managed to make Milinda this uninteresting, I have no idea. Her uniform does have an awesome vest, though, I'll give her that.

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