What They Say:
Far into the future, the battlefield is dominated by hulking dreadnoughts called Objects. Practically invulnerable, they swing the tide of battle whenever and wherever they are deployed. Qwenthur Barbotage (voice of Natsuki Hanae) studies the craft of designing these Objects, and Havia Winchell (Kaito Ishikawa) works as a radar analyst. Both serve under the command of Frolaytia Capistrano (Shizuka Itou) in the 37th Mobile Maintenance Battalion. Their duty is to support Object Baby Magnum and its pilot Milinda Brantini (Eri Suzuki). But when the shifting tide of battle places Qwenthur and Havia unprotected in the sights of an enemy Object, the war becomes a series of near-suicide missions for these heroes.
The audio has a 2.0 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese – I watched the first disc in English and the second disc in Japanese to compare – and with the Japanese release I did have to raise the volume a little from my default settings, however, there were no other issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall, but you always wish for the 5.1 for what it could have been.
Similar with the audio, the video is set in full screen format via NTSC transfer to PAL format with the show combining animation with excellent clarity considering the switches of style from the snow to the sun to the sea, the styles and travel must make this an animators nightmare but it comes out incredibly well defined and in your face with the animation (full screen, plus combines animation with CGI in different segments flawlessly) –with no real problems with the subtitles, the sound synching in either language, no pause lag or in general, it is a quality release, definitely in the top tier of Blu-Ray releases.
There was no packing for this test release.
The menu is pretty standard, our three leads Qwenthur, Havia and Milinda in their trademark outfits on the right of the menu with the selections below of Play All, Episodes, Set Up and Extras on both discs. Pop-up menu is available in watching (though you can’t select extras, you have to go back to the main menu) – standard Blu-Ray menu release, very quick and selectable both from main and pop up with no delays in selection.
A couple of commentaries are available as extras – on the first disc we have one for episode 9 with Morgan Garrett (Director and voice of Frolaytia), Justin Briner (voice of Qwenthur) and Micah Solusod (voice of Havia) – will be honest, if you’re looking for a behind the scenes commentary, this isn’t the one to watch. It goes very off topic, very weird and wacky with topics ranging from best taco places (finally saw a UK taco bell two weeks ago writing this in Nottingham ^^) to memes – definitely more a chat than something about the show which can be good or bad depending…
Strangely on disc 2 we have a video commentary on episode 6 (which was on the first disc hence the confusion) – here you see the cast on the left with the episode on the bottom right and they commentate over it – Justin and Morgan return but this time with Alexis Tipton (voice of Milinda) which is filmed strangely when you do get close ups of each individual actor when something happens or when they say something interesting – it is more in tune with a traditional commentary though where they play off each other, and figure out what their characters are about as the shows go – though the two ladies do embarrass Justin that both of their characters can be quite fanservice heavy ^^
As this is a Funimation release done by Anime Limited, we also have some trailers for shows that some have come to the UK whilst others not so – with Re:Cyborg 009, Drifters, Ninja Slayer, Death Parade, Overlord and Shinometa.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Heavy Object is one of those series that completely flew under the radar both when it aired and in my review pile – I knew practically nothing about it prior to research, just that it was a long running light novel series – and after watching it, it definitely has a love it or hate it kind of vibe. It is at heart, a war story and does take it in a different direction, not too dissimilar to Lord Vanarkis, another series that was a war/battle style series which also didn’t take it too seriously with the fanservicy elements. However, the elements in this series take it a bit further and perhaps can be seen as better…or worse…
Objects are war machines which has basically made traditional tactics, nuclear and physical weapons non-existent. Thus, people training in the relevant armies are usually just glorified background characters compared to the pilots of these mechs. To counter this, there are 4 nations of the world which fight each other just because of their specific ideals but only Objects vs. Objects as almost like a gentleman’s duel, rather than all out war. However, when one of the organisations decided to rebel, we get to our main characters, Qwenther and Havia, an engineer of high level skill who has never been able to use it, and a high class man who wishes to prove his worth to his family. They also have the attention of the main pilot Milinda, a cute young lady who pilots the Heavy Object ‘Baby Magnum’ after they save her from the Faith Organisation rebel, as they manage to destroy it on foot. This intrigues the other main character, the beautiful but harsh commanding officer Frolaytia – she uses this to her advantage as the two prove Objects can be taken out on foot…much to the guys worry…
Indeed, after they capture the enemy base, they are transferred to other places to assist in helping out with other Objects destruction. Fortunately, Milinda is also helping (which leads to several instances of perhaps the shows biggest controversy – the two female characters despite the situation do get into comic fanservice moments, especially as the two boys aren’t exactly minding of it – Frolaytia pretty much is asked to engage in certain fetishes which is both comic as she is a total badass, and also a bit off-putting, doesn’t help Milinda is also 14) – the story follows a simple pattern – Qwenther and Havia are helped out by Milinda, but something usually can’t be done (her system malfunctions, guns don’t work, out of range, etc) and the two guys travel on foot to see if they can help deal with the object, which they always do. It is pretty smart how they usually deal with it and it does explain the ways quite well whilst dealing with the situations so points to the show for keeping the serious parts serious and also showing the audience how viable Qwenther’s skills are.
Milinda also shows more affection and indeed jealousy – one story has them going to Oceania and the enemy team that they are forced to team up with has a very fanservicy Santa lady with bonus Heavy Object that Qwenther is fascinated with – but it does switch from jealous young lady to warrior at work when needed, again, it can definitely clash the comedy (especially when it leads to a massacre of a village – probably the best story because you get to see Frolaytia totally give it to the attempted killer and cause when he didn’t realise what he had done, wishes to make amends and asks Qwenther and Havia to join them…and in a switch, they actually don’t ^^) but as said, when it gets serious, it does well – when Froylatia learn that the Oceania group want to use their Object to destroy more villages and frame the two units for public appeal, some smarts from Qwenthur and belief from him from Froylatia (who goes against Oceania’s orders, and truly lets the boss have it when she confronts him – she’s easily my favourite character), that is when the show truly shines.
They go to Antarctica for a mission, then to South America – it’s a great show to view as well, but the latter half of the first arc brings forth some actual character development. We learn about Favia’s former aristocracy and why he is doing what he is doing, which despite his tendencies for wanting Froylatia to step all over him (literally) he does have noble goals and needs, whilst the big one is surprisingly Froylatia herself – it seems that her genes also come from nobility and she has the strange ability that if she were to have children, she only gives birth to males. Needless to say with the aristocracy wanting male heirs, she is in high demand and when she is invited to a mock battle with the not so subtle hint that she has to lose, not to mention the guy she is going to fight is one of the high candidates to wed and bed her so to speak, she does have a grudge to say the least. It leads to her getting on the front line to help out an injured Qwenther, especially when the other team joins and intends to destroy the Object by breaking a dam, which would flood and kill many civilians – a combination of Havia’s distractions, and Qwenther/Froylatia signalling areas for Milinda to attack – it is a well timed, well thought out battle with good animation and smart thinking with some good back-story and motive.
So then it ends up with Qwenther molesting Froylatia to put off the aristocrat Halreed thinking she is in a relationship with a commoner. Granted it works, and Froylatia beats the crap out of Qwenther after but still….
As you can see, this definitely feels like a hit or miss series. Like Lords Marksman, a series I reviewed last year, it basically combines a battle style series with strategy and tactics, with fanservice moments. The main difference sadly is that Marksman tends to ignore the fact that whilst fanservice occurs, it isn’t overall distracting from the plot as things still happen despite the rather risqué outfits that are showcased. With Heavy Object, the fanservice moments are a lot more off putting and feel out of place (the setting probably doesn’t help, past vs. future) – fortunately because Froylatia is just a badass the guys always lose but those moment combined with Qwenther drooling over Milinda’s outfit (again, she’s just 14) can make some of the scenes quite uncomfortable.
Which is a shame, because the heart of the series is actually a very strong and intelligent war story which is just off put by some of these moments. The lead two Qwenther and Havia represent basically young men who haven’t had much to do (the first episode they do some hunting because they are fed up of the standard rations they have) suddenly be able to use their skills (engineering and battle/tactics) and you travel along with them – to be honest you don’t learn that much about them bar some stuff with Havia later, but you learn that they are more than capable – and their team up and friendship with Milinda is actually quite sweet, especially as Milinda is quite reserved and seems to be quite lonely (she is called Princess by the squad) so feels like the guys are her first friends, and seems to be developing a crush on Qwenther as well so see how that plans out.
By far the best character though is Froylatia – she is a total badass of a boss but also understanding. She wants to advance and does exploit the two guys with their new found skills for their benefit of her organisation, but she also does care about them (and does exploit her body at times, but also smacks around anyone who tries to do anything to wrong her) – she follows the protect and serve mentality of officers but also has a moral code when innocents are involved, and goes out of her way to make sure even if she is told otherwise to go with what she believes. And whilst she is the major source of fanservice (even pole-dances at one point!) she seems to know when to use it to her advantage, and then kick the crap of those who try and go a step too far. Whilst she can be a bit of a drill sergeant in the nasty way, she is intelligent, reasonable, emotional and very memorable.
Overall, I like the first half – the characters do need more time to develop with each other (particularly Milinda) and also the fanservice parts can definitely feel not needed with the main story, but the action, animation and the way it tells the story come up swimmingly. Those off moments do give the show elements of comedy to be fair, and considering the main source of fanservice is also the one you don’t want to cross, it may not be as bad as it could have been. The Actual tactics/war/battle side however it does very well, and there are moments where the characters are definitely developing (ironically Havia seems more developed than the lead Qwenther so far) – the story at the moment is pretty predictable, various battles that the 4 have to deal with but you get the feeling there is going to be a lot more involved and it does tease you into wanting to continue the series.
Heavy Object is a mostly pleasant surprise considering the lack of knowledge I had prior to viewing it – whilst the characters aren’t the most developed at this point and the fanservice moments can be quite the distraction in a series like this (for better or worse depending on your point of view), the actual battle part and strategy you can get into really well, the commanding officer is an amazing character who actually does get development, and there are more than enough hints that the series will lead to a big finale. We need more time with Milinda definitely but there is enough to keep you interested.
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: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Anime Limited via Funimation
Release Date: March 20th, 2017
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.