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Heavy Object Season 1 Part 2 Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

heavy-object-part-2The battles continue as the real leads become clearer.

What They Say:
In the future, the world is divided into hundreds of warring nations that fight with advanced technology known as Objects. With the capacity to annihilate an opposing militia in seconds, these massive weapons have turned battles between men into warfare between machines.

The world is locked in an arms race—that is until two rookie soldiers, Qwenthur Barbotage and Havia Winchell, manage to take down an enemy Object with nothing more than their wits. But their achievement earns no rest. Now the government wants to deploy them around the world on more impossible missions!

Fortunately, they won’t go at it alone. On their side is a first-generation Object piloted by the beautiful Milinda Brantini, and their fiery commanding officer, Frolaytia Capistrano. While Havia avoids discipline from Frolaytia’s heeled boots, Qwenther finds himself rescuing Milinda from a tight spot or two. Together, their team takes on unforeseen enemies— including those among their ranks.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the newly created English language mix which is also in stereo, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show is one that makes out well with the stereo mix as it has a pretty solid design about it to handle the action and effects that comes from all of it. It’s a solidly military style show with some good craft design to it and that’s treated authentically enough within the design which works across the forward soundstage in a clean way with some useful placement at times. The dialogue side of the show is a bit more subdued more often than not but it’s also handled well with moving around as needed and handling both the bigger moments and the quieter dialogue sequences.

Video:
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by JC Staff, the show has a really nice visual design to it with some great color work, especially in the blues and whites that we get in some of the starker sequences, that showcases the details of the backgrounds. The blending with the CG modeling is good throughout and about as expected for a work from this time where it’s free of problems such as noise or breakup. The character animation is clean and smooth throughout and the encoding brings it all to life with well done color saturation and no problems such as line noise or anything else of note.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes with a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case that has an o-card that replicates the artwork from the case. The front cover works the familiar key visual that has the four main characters of “our side” spread across it with an interesting positioning overall, which is made a touch odder with the logo being sideways and along the left while part of it is facing the normal way. With the Object in the background, that lets the character artwork and colors stand out more which is definitely a plus. The back cover gives us a nice piece of character pairing artwork along the left while the right has the premise broken down well, all of which is set to a simple black background. The extras are clearly listed and the technical grid along the bottom breaks it all out for both formats in a clean and clear way with accurate information. The reverse side artwork is pretty nice as well as it’s a two panel vertical image of old Titan Tits herself, as the cast call her

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty good as we get the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences and audio commentary for two episodes from the English language adaptation team.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of Heavy Object proved to be an interesting series to watch but also a frustrating one. I like projects that take us into a near future where things are different in terms of the world because of a radical event or advent of some new technology. The Heavy Object series radically realigned the world with the balance of power because of the Objects but it wasn’t able to make the distinctive powers of the world come alive well enough. I suspect it was something that was done better in novel form, able to be laid out in a more engaging way, but it made it difficult to connect with the show because everything felt kind of loose and shadowy when you really needed to be able to understand each of the sides that are fighting beyond just a basic archetype. Even worse is for those that really dig into how the world itself really works in reality and trying to understand how we could get from here to there since it’s so light.

With this set, the structure is pretty much the same as before as we get two or three episode arcs that tell self contained stories but expand our overall knowledge of the war, at least in a very superficial way. So much of what operates here is that we’re dealing with characters that aren’t truly able to change the course of the war – though they make some impact on it – and they’re not operating from the upper levels like other shows. They aren’t truly power players working the chess board, nor the usual Gundam pilots that radically alter the world dynamic through sheer force of will. These are some support characters, a woman in an Object that is probably the least defined of any of the characters even though you’d believe that she’s the series lead going by the marketing, and a pair of plucky and engaging young men that are just doing what they’re assigned to do and stay alive.

It has all the things it needs to stand out and be unique. But it just can’t get to that level, partially because it’s adapting work from the novels. With this in production starting in 2014, there were eight volumes out at the time and there are thirteen total as of April 2017, so it’s not like we’re going to get an ending here in the show itself. Which is fine because the series can tell some compelling stories with what it wants to do. The stories told here deal with the Objects in a way that still kind of relegates them to a mystery, coming up with some interesting weaknesses from time to time, but there’s still something surreal about them that makes it hard to imagine them in this world and being as feared as they are. The show moves us to a few different locales along the way, I particularly liked the jungle-ish one and the immigrant city as well as another city in ruins as they added some nice variety to it, but the show seems to prefer colder climates and some time with Victoria Island from the Canadian region.

Honestly, the individual stories are fine, especially if you try not to think big picture of the world and how it all works – which is hard for me. The arcs are engaging enough in that skirmish kind of element and there are fun characters introduced, though the maid mercenaries had me rolling my eyes. Not. Everything. Needs. Maids. I know, heresy. What I do really like about this show as it progressed is that it really did make it clear that it’s totally about Qwenthur and Havia. These two have a great dynamic, handle the war and the stress from it fairly well with plenty to still explore, and really do continually ask the question as to how they fit into this dynamic considering the power of the Objects. It’s an area that I don’t think is explored enough, or explained enough, because I can’t help but to think that there would be radical changes to how the soldier level works. But these two are what makes the show work and frustrates because all the marketing is largely on Milinda, who really isn’t a strong or interesting character to follow.

In Summary:
I’m really of a mixed mind with Heavy Object. A big part of me really wants to see if the novel can deliver on what I think it needs and wishing that the anime had more of it. I like the concepts and ideas, and I totally love the definitive smaller arc design of it all, and the animation is pretty good all around with what it has to do. But there’s just something that feels like it’s poking and prodding at what it needs to do in order to be a compelling show as opposed to an average show. There’s good stuff here and this particular target audience isn’t served all that well these days with a lot of shows so it makes it easy to grab onto something that plays in this realm. It’s definitely worth checking out and Funimation did a solid job with the release with both parts and the production itself, from encoding and the dub that was produced for it.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 6 Video Commentary, Episode 9 Commentary, Textless Song

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
MSRP: $64.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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