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Heavy Object Season 1 Part 2 UK Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

A clever take on the mecha genre? Or unneeded fanservice?

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.

Contains episodes 13 to 24 on Blu-Ray with both the English dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles.

The Review:
Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
There was no packing for this test release.

Menu:
The menu is pretty standard, our leads Qwenthur, Havia, Frolaytia and Milinda in their trademark outfits on the top left of the menu with the selections below of Play All, Episodes, Set Up and Extras on disc 2. 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.

Extras:
We have an episode commentary on episode 23, involving the director with Monica Rial (Oh Ho Ho), Alexis Tipton (Milinda) and Justin Briner (Qwenther) – which as per usual when Miss Rial is involved gets into absolute chaos and it definitely seems like it is catching with Justin involved as well – they mention the names of the characters are either named after alcohol or should be what you slur when you are talking to talk after partaking in plenty of said alcohol, it becomes a very comic and laughy track, with surprisingly not much information about the process bar how the 1st and 2nd season were different in their approach once the characters are established. That said, it is at the very least a lot of fun to listen to.

The other extras are the textless two openings, the textless ending, and trailers for Appleseed XIII, Blazblue: Alter Memory, Attack On Titan: Junior High and Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of Heavy Object was a pleasant surprise, manages to meld in mecha shows with some good comedy and a bit of fanservice that was whilst unusual, wasn’t overbearing and at least made the two female leads a lot stronger and more enjoyable along with the two male leads, especially as despite some perversion there is a lot more to them than meets the eye. The second half continues through their missions, and hoping to go the same way, does it succeed or does it take a few more liberties it didn’t need?

Initially, it is basically more of the same. Heavy Object is mostly an episodic series with a hint of a higher power with the Ohhoho character, but it is basically Qwenther and Havia being sent to missions only they seem to be able to complete when other forces which are of course condescending to them fail miserably. Combining with their officer Froylatia, and their main Heavy Object user the adorable but pouty Milinda, the 4 combine to basically wreck things. The first mission for example is an assassination of an opposite foe, which actually works in politics quite intelligently to see if a) he will survive and b) how Froylatia can work around it without causing much bloodshed. It has some tense moments when Milinda runs into a trap, and Qwenthur and Havia are separated, leading to a battle between Qwenther and the leader Honeysuckle. The next mission also returns the character simply known as Ohoho, due to her ojou-sama laugh manages to get a stalemate with Milinda, but Qwenthur proves his skill (as well as shocked about Ohoho’s true appearance…though she still kicks his butt) by managing to trick her into escaping the object, leaving her in a weird sense of respect for the guy.

Their next mission is to tackle against the Faith Organization’s coal miles via hacking into their surveillance and then sabotaging their radar so Milinda can go kick some butt. It is interesting because the character of the day, a cynical woman named Charlotte is definitely interested in Qwenthur, but you wonder if it is skill interest or other, because with Ohoho also ‘interested’ in him it was worrying that this could almost be a harem series with Milinda also getting jealous…

That said, the two are betrayed by one of their own (and survive due to a deus ex machina which was rather convenient I have to admit) but manage to cleverly work out what the Faith organisation are trying to hide in the mines, they manage to kill the saboteur but still struggle against the arms as Milinda is having problems – with the Faith boss themselves City Slicker ready to attack, include some of the personal and friends of Qwenther and co. However Qwenther’s smarts work again and they are about to try and sort it out…

…and this is where the series takes a bit of a dive.

Up until now, despite some obvious fanservice, the series has done a really good job in putting tactics, politics and characterization with some comedy in between. It definitely felt like a mostly realistic version of a war/mecha style anime though obviously with some leeway in the setting of the future.

So when you get a ‘cleaning service’ which is a hired group for guns, I wasn’t expecting them to be literally a cleaning service with the warriors being full on battle maids, with full maid attire. Not to mention there are two matters of convenience that occurs – that this service was trapped where Qwenther is, and also that Qwenther could afford their services via stealing some diamonds in a previous mission,

Now to be fair, they are very badass and are the tool needed to turn the tide of battle, and it sets up the last obstacle, which turns out to be Milinda herself after she is hacked and brainwashed, and in an interesting twist, Ohoho tries to help out when everyone turns against Milinda and the baby Magnum (due to the hacker killing himself to make sure no evidence was left that she was hacked), it leads to Qwenther having to do one more plan to save her…though it does leave a sequel hook…

…which slightly dampens the series a little. I really like the intelligent part of the series, though the formula is very predictable – Qwenther in some form gets his butt kicked but uses his smarts to find a way round it, either with what’s around him or by what is on him (whether it was revealed beforehand or just magically appeared ^^) – it does however make both Hevia and Milinda taker a back seat to the show, even Frolaytia’s influence isn’t as showcased especially considering the hilarious ending to the previous arc. Add that and when the girls are used (and consider Milinda is only 14) it feels a lot just for fetish fuel and it feels very unnecessary considering the arcing story and plot. Milinda is at least put as the final boss character but the fact very few of the villains are interesting or memorable is the only reason why this works as Milinda is likeable and has her pouty moments, but as the focus was on Qwenther for a lot you forget how much of a badass she can be, and here it comes full fold with violence vs. intelligence as the core graphic.

It is quite a unique take on the mecha genre not withstanding and gets quite a few laughs (Ohoho interactions are plenty fun – you can tell the English dub had fun putting Rial in this role) but you can also take it the other way that it butchers what could have been a good futuristic war story and mecha genre – I think fans of Evangelion or Gundam would definitely find it a bit insulting to say the least.

I can’t say it is bad at all – it’s still very watchable, but I think the shark was jumped when the maids came in – ultimate badasses in French maid outfits? Yeah…they are fun and do kick butt but any hope you may have to take itself and the situation seriously put it pretty much under the bus…

In Summary:

The second half of Heavy Object continues on its war journey and episodic/task nature but falls a little weaker from the first arc as whilst the characters are established, it feels like half of them have been forgot about, and whilst the war story is good, the focus on fanservice and rather unrealistic setting makes you forget what it was trying to say. Fanservice isn’t always a detriment to a war or battle series (Lord Marksman is always the example I make as a good way it can be told) but here it is very distracting and confusing, which is a shame because Qwenther’s smarts make him stand out strong and the show can still be engaging when they focus on that, despite some of the rear pulls they pull out to make his plans work…

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

Content Grade:  C+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Anime Limited via Funimation
Release Date: 04/12/2017
MSRP: £19.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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