I’m kicking off the Fall 2015 season with the attractive but unremarkable Heavy Object. Despite its title and the mass of its titular superweapons, the impression it left was pretty light. After a lengthy narration introducing us to a world where “clean wars” are now fought between giant juggernauts called “objects”, we settle into the casual workaday life of one young Qwenthur, a common-born student-soldier tasked with menial labor beside his noble-born chap Havia.
Q’s trying to learn as much as possible about objects in order to get rich…or something, and the first-gen multirole object code-named “Baby Magnum”, piloted by the fair “princess” Milinda, is as good a subject as any for his education. While her object is under maintenance, she strolls out into the Alaskan wilderness and encounters Q fishing. The two have a pleasant chat about whether he’s truly “ready”, which is a pretty loud indication his readiness will be tested soon.
Now, I give HO kudos for starting off with a less combative male-female relationship, but Milinda walks a fine line between serene and dull. Both her design and deadpan are uninspiring to say the least. The first fifteen minutes show Q and Havia as two guys being bossed around by one woman, then another, while supporting another, the princess, who has a more important job than them. So there’s every indication this could be a matriarchal military—and then the show breaks out the tired boob humor.
The lads can’t help but mention their 18-year-old CO’s ample bosom virtually every time they see her. And in a maintenance scene Q conveniently tightens a nut that accidentally starts to squeeze poor Milinda right below her boobs, leading Q to a monologue about whether he should help her, which requires—yup—touching her boobs. That was hard to sit through.
It’s not all bad: the Alaskan landscape is quite pretty, and the production and industrial design is nothing to complain about (unless you get into nitty-gritty details like why an airstrip needs to be shoveled by hand when there should really be machines to do that). The battle in which Q learns whether he’s “ready” also comes swift and hard, with the princess echoing the maintenance scene by having to bail out of her battered object.
But then there’s perhaps the most problematic aspect of the show: the objects. Setting aside the ridiculousness of mankind collectively agreeing to fight wars like this, they ironically don’t make all that big an impression in the first episode. Sure, there’s a lot of smoke and explosions, and conventional navy and air force units and even nukes being unable to scratch them, but it’s hard to get over the silliness of the premise.
That could be why the first episode focuses so much on the characters, but they’re all pretty much ciphers who are either overly sedate in their dialogue, or are a bit too proud of it. It’s like the show is trying to infuse some Joss Whedon-esque wittiness into the proceedings, only with more boob humor. I dunno about this one, guys.