「ガリバーを縛る雑兵たち アラスカ極寒環境雪上戦 II」 (Garibaa o Shibaru Zouhyou-tachi Arasuka Gokkan Kankyou Setsujou-sen II)
“The Little Soldiers Who Tie Down Gulliver The Snowy Deep Winter Battle of Alaska II”

Clean war is a lie. War never changes. War is hell.

What Heavy Object Does Well, and Not So Well

In this second week, Heavy Object’s strengths and weaknesses are being thrown into starker relief. Where it’s doing well: Characters and themes. Its main three characters have all already proven that they have some depth. Qwenthur by shaking as he held the gun, balking as he prepared to shoot—and then working himself into a frame of mine to do it anyway. Havia by saving Qwenthur, despite his clear desire to get the hell out of dodge. His mixture of bravery, loyalty, and entirely appropriate (albeit selfish) gut-clenching terror is easy to identify with. And Milinda, though her outburst about how she was looking down on people like Qwenthur and Havia was a notable case of telling instead of showing, is nothing like the emotionless girl I assumed she would be. She’s conflicted, but she’s a soldier, dammit. She keeps her head when it matters. (Though I do wish they had taken all their shouting angst conversations to safer places.)

The themes I’m going to chew on more in a moment, but like the characters, they’re usually good. They’re not always subtle in delivery, and the emotional resonance isn’t yet there, but I’m getting what they’re putting down. Heavy Object’s weaknesses, on the other hand, are in sci-fi elements and battle logic. Which should be its strengths, am I right? That’s kind of weird in a sci-fi series, right? Well, I partially agree. Objects are basically just a big-ass tank, and their design and technobabble are about thirty klicks distant from anything resembling logic. And tactically, the Object battle this episode was kind of thick. Great fictional battles often turn on great tactics or courageous moves, but here, Milinda just got out-spec’d, and then later made an excuse about it only happening because the self-destruct function was acting up.

But to be honest, I’m still enjoying the show. The sci-fi and battle logic are shifty, but I’m hoping at least the latter will improve. And even if what happened was logically suspect, both of the fights we saw this episode were thrilling to watch (especially the Object one, though I feel it would have been better if last episode ended with the Water Strider showing up without spoiling Milinda’s defeat). The sci-fi will likely remain shifty (and faction names like the Faith Organization and Legitimate Kingdom are just lazy), but if the battles improve, they could be damn cool.

Clean War is a Lie. War is Hell

“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.” -William Tecumseh Sherman

I came across that quote in a recent Hardcore History (highly recommended, and I’m probably going to keep referring to it), and this episode immediately reminded me of it. It was the American Peril episode, dealing with America’s brief flirtation with colonialism, and how for a time, men like Teddy Roosevelt exalted war. They thought it was honorable to fight and kill (and even die) on the battlefield. This is something I think we can all understand, even if we would never form up our own private regiment to go fight Spaniards in Cuba. Every society on earth lionizes battle in some way—it seems so simple, so primal, so elemental. In combat, all the frustrating vagaries of modern society melt away, replaced with one simple directive—kill or be killed. Live, by whatever means necessary. Even I, who has never thrown a punch in his life, write stories about bloody action with explosions aplenty. Battle is fun!

In theory. Stories like Heavy Object—and yes, there are others who have done it better, but this is the second episode, so slow your roll yo—exist to disabuse us of this fallacy. From the first moment “clean war” was mentioned, I knew it was a lie ripe for some correcting, so when the enemy Object turned its guns on the base, I was not surprised. But it quite nicely punctuated the point. War is not pretty. It may sometimes be necessary, but it should never be confused for something other than what it is. War is hell.

Dehumanizing Your Enemies

Qwenthur’s rescue of Milinda (the knight rescuing the princess, natch) reminded me of yet another Hardcore History series. This time it was Wrath of the Khans, and how the Mongol hordes killed millions of people—by hand. No gas chambers for them! They assigned a certain number of heads to each Mongol warrior, and told them to bring back an ear from each victim to prove they had hit their quota. And the Mongol warriors did it. In city, after city, after city.

Imagining that is mind-boggling to me. I can’t imagine taking life so casually. But I can imagine swatting a fly without feeling anything, and therein lies how the Mongol hordes were able to do this—and how Qwenthur was able to pull the trigger here. They didn’t consider their victims human.

Once again, Heavy Object wasn’t exactly subtle with its point. The soldiers start talking about torturing, raping, and killing Milinda while Qwenthur listens in. But the point was received. Once he no longer considers them humans, and thinks of them instead as monsters, he can pull the trigger. Because it’s okay to slay monsters, right? Which is a dangerous road to travel down—and one I hope this series explores more—because every single human contains both a monster and an angel. I could sit here and recount all the times the people of good, honorable, “civilized” nations have done horrifying, evil things. Chances are your country has stains of its own. And if it ever engaged in the jolly fun of colonialism or counterinsurgency warfare, I can damn near ensure that some of your countrymen—hopefully well in the past—have done something unforgivable, and quite probably on an institutional scale. I know that’s true of my own. None of us, as a society, are above such actions, even if many of us as individuals are. And it all starts with what Qwenthur just did.

People as things. That’s the start. It gets too easy when we stop thinking of people as human beings like ourselves. Even if the trigger must be pulled, we ought to always remember that the person on the other side is a human being, no matter the terrible things they’ve done. I hope Heavy Object delves into this more. Or if not, I hope Qwenthur avoids this trap. I’d hate to see him become a monster himself.

Looking Ahead – Are They Going To Steal A Friggin’ Object?

Phew! Sorry about that. Got pretty deep into the philosophical weeds there. I give credit to Heavy Object on tickling such important themes, though it once again could be that it just so happens to be tickling ones that interest me. Regardless, from the sounds of it, our three misfits are about to try to hijack a godsdamned Object. Which I heartily endorse! Desperate times call for crazy-ass measures.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – War is hell, but dehumanizing your enemy makes it frighteningly easier. The sci-fi is still shifty, though #heavyobject 02

Random thoughts:

  • There were some odd production flaws this episode. At one point, the commander was talking to them out of nowhere—which I think was a flashback, but that wasn’t made clear. Then later on, when they were arguing in the ruins of the base, it wasn’t always clear whether the characters were thinking or talking. It’s strange. It almost came across like a book that hadn’t been proofread.
  • Wear a damn mask and hat, you bakas! Alaska in winter is not the kind of place you can afford to let your heat escape willy nilly.
  • At least this time, when the unnecessary boob trip grope happened, there was a damn good reason for him to trip, and the whole thing didn’t last long. Plus I can never hear “raki sukebei” without thinking of Princess Lover, which makes me smile.
  • I really like the ED. The song has serious feeling to it.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: The best content is in email, My morning routine, True Ends, and Rejection, the secret place, & fundamentals

Full-length images: 24.


ED Sequence

ED: 「ディアブレイブ」 (Dear Brave) by Kano



  1. Wow, those were deep thoughts, Stilts. I feel enlightened! William Tecumseh Sherman’s quote had me automatically think of the Metal Gear Solid series. After watching my sister play Guns of the Patriots, I just thought, “War sucks”. Thank you for the post!

    1. The mere fact that Qwenthur thought of fighting an Object already makes me want to brand him an anime Snake, because someone like Snake or Big Boss are the only ones I can think of who’d be willing to take on impossible odds and winning. In this case, fighting giant war machines head on.

    2. The Metal Gear series is a very realisitic exmple inside the video game world of how war war contaminates humanity´s soul, we´re almost adicted to it and leaders of the world see as nothing but profit and this sory does wonders showing that horrible truth. Cortana´s words about Humanity and War in Halo Legends Origins 2 are also a prime example of war is eating us away. In her words:

      “Like a virus war kept lurking inside us and the harder we fought to keep it in, harder it fought to get out. It always got out. And once again, man fought man.”

  2. Hijacking the Object was actually the one thing I was thinking of somewhere in the middle of the episode, around when Milinda sent out that distress signal. I was thinking that they can’t really damage it or anything because they’re currently Object-less, so their only option is to sneak up on it, infiltrate and kill the pilot. And they’ll get a free Object for their effort.

    Damn. I’m so reminded of Halo right now.

    1. Check my post above, when I started reading the Heavy Object novels I always thought of Halo Legends in particulas and the frandchise in general. Cortona makes a heartbreaking point when she analizes our track records with war and peace; the sad thing is that Forenners fell in the same mistakes that we did millenias after, for different reasons but stil very sad.

  3. The whole unspoken “honor/chivalry system” of fighting is reminiscent of fighter pilots from World War I, where many pilots had a similar unspoken honor system between them (but no actual official treaty enforcing it) that most, not all, but most pilots on each side tended to follow seriously, including aces like Manfred von Richthofen.

    Enemy pilot’s guns jam in the middle of battle, thus preventing them from being able to fight back? Let them go.

    An enemy pilot is shot down? Let them go down. Don’t chase and keep shooting them.

    Enemy pilot who is shot down manages to land/crash safely and survive? Leave them alone. You (most likely) got your “kill”/victory count and that’s what matters.

    Unfortunately, as war situations worsen, such systems tend to break down quickly because it becomes more and more important to weaken the enemy as much as possible (meaning taking down both machine AND pilot) and/or protect your homeland at any cost.

    So as much as people may get pissed off at the Water Strider’s actions, they must remember that it is true that there is no treaty enforcing such chivalrous combat, and it’s very naive to expect every nation to fight fairly like knights (“All is fair in love and war” after all).

    1. IMO being blindsided like that in their home turf is unacceptable. Ground or even air-based sensors could’ve avoided that. They were reliant on trying to predict the Water Strider’s position, rather than having real-time visual or even RADAR contact. D:

      Magnus Tancred
    2. Does that mean there are no Geneva conventions in this future setting? Because although I understand why someone would clearly think stupid the “we raise white flag, so you allow us to quietly go back to our country with our material and weapons”, there’s always today’s “you raise white flag, so you surrender and become our prisoners of war, material and weapons included”.

      1. Conventions like the Geneva only mean a thing if the sides voluntarily keep themselves to the spirit of it. That… really rarely happens. To take a more famous example, napalm is banned under the convention, but still saw heavy use anyway.

        Heck, unless that skimpy pilot suit is a regular military outfit (I sort of doubt), then any Heavy Object pilot dressing like that is not a PoW but a spy or “unlawful combatant”… and could be summarily executed on the spot.

        All in all, even if there was a convention, it would only matter if all sides adhered to it.

      2. I very much ASSUME the Elite pilot suit is a regular military outfit. Elites are valuable, so each country would want them to have as much protection as they can, even if it’s based on an enemy’s unreliable honor.

        As for agreements like the Geneva Convention, yes, they’re only kept voluntarily, and yes, signers often mess about on the edges of the agreement, flouting provisions while not shattering the whole thing entirely (depending on how you look at it). I think more of the reason it always seems to be getting ignored is because all the signers of agreements like the Geneva Convention don’t tend to fight each other. They all realize that such things are mutually beneficial, but they’re also more developed, and most developed countries prefer commerce over war. It’s the fact that those developed nations keep fighting people who have NOT signed the Geneva Convention that makes the whole thing seem so useless.

        Though of course, we could easily pick out a few examples of where that’s not quite true, and the agreement was all but shattered.

    3. Wasn’t just WW1, WW2 (well, along the Western Front) had similar chivalry among fighter pilots. Both British and German pilots were known to circle over shot down planes until rescue ships arrived–or their fuel got low–to ensure their safe retrieval. A German officer was also famous for explicitly telling his squadron that if any of them were caught shooting down enemies on parachutes, he would kill them himself. Another of a German pilot who in late 1944 escorted a heavily damaged Liberator back to the Benelux coast after seeing its crew severely wounded and on the edge of death.

      In war chivalry is a quid pro quo concept, it exists only if both sides wish it too. Much like treaties and other political agreements its upholding relies upon every partner seeing value in going through with its requirements. Thus you have things like Germany refusing to use poison gas in WW2 (for fear of reciprocation) while the USA threw around “banned” napalm and cluster munitions like candy during Vietnam (because their enemies, even though now morally freed of the restrictions, did not have the delivery vehicles).

      The actions in this episode therefore aren’t all surprising from a pure military standpoint, the enemy deems extirpation more important than maintaining face and a level playing field in future battles because they don’t believe there will be any future battles beyond mopping up the remnants. A good rule of thumb ironically followed here is that it’s usually the aggressor and (self-)perceived victor who reneges on treaties and convention first.

      1. Very good point on WWII. Hitler did not intend to have bombing of cities included in his attack on Britain, although he had done it to force surrender of a few countries like Poland. But accidental bombing of London by pilots, who where then sent east in punishment, had the British retaliate on Berlin from then on both sides used terror bombings on civilian targets even though shelling a civilian city without military forces inside with artillery was based. Terror bombing is mostly considered a mistake now as no major power surrendered from it and the minor countries that did already had their militaries destroyed. The terror bombing of Japan worked after 100 plus cities were destroyed by fire storm bombing followed up by the two nuclear strikes. But with Japan the refusal to surrender when all hope of winning was gone combined with the casualties US forces would take fighting it out made it the lessor evil to some including me this very evil act.

        Napalm and cluster bombs are not banned against military targets. Looked it up on Wiki but got the information first at US Infantry School Officer courses on Laws of War. Some advocates try to stretch the rules to include them but that interpretation is not supported by the Armies that count, American, China , Russia. But we did end up in effect committing war crimes though bombing North Vietnam cities and areas that did not have significant military targets.

      2. Flamethrowers and thermobaric weapons (i.e. RPOs, napalm bombs/projectiles) are in an interesting place internationally. Attempts have been made to control them as you mention RedRocket (hence my “banned” comment), but all control has been unilateral. For example Sweden IIRC stopped their use late 60s for humanitarian reasons and here in Canada their use is heavily constrained depending on the target and its surroundings (ex. use is banned in woodlands/forest or areas with civilians close by). The US and Russia however make liberal use of them because they are fantastic anti-personnel and area denial weapons. In combat pragmatic efficiency almost always trumps idealistic “feel good” actions.

        Same goes for cluster munitions. Like landmines there is a treaty “banning” (i.e. states choosing not to use them) their use, but unsurprisingly it does not include the US, Russia, China, India, etc. Once again efficiency trumps idealism here as cluster munitions kill/destroy a lot for little cost.

        Could easily keep on going into stuff like biological weapons, chemical ordinance, and even neurological devices, but I think we’ve got the idea that this topic has a lot of examples to relate back to military chivalry and fighting with honour 😛

      3. Great points. The problem with Cluster rounds is actually a misunderstanding by rights advocates in that Cluster bomblets are supposed to all go off when they hit anything. Cluster rounds are not intended to work as a mine laying device. Actually used them in Infantry School Course work and that fact that they had a high dud rate was not mentioned. Not mentioning a high dud rate means that US commanders at least then would plan to send troops though or base troops on Cluster targets with no precautions. So this is a indirect war crime by manufactures and those buying the ammunition to insure that very few bomblets go dud, maybe a secondary time detonator is needed. So a rights advocate insisting that Cluster rounds not leave significant number of duds or not be used is right, a goal of not using them at all is wrong.

  4. (and faction names like the Faith Organization and Legitimate Kingdom are just lazy)

    Faith Organization = Church believers like Spain, Portugal and so on at their time (Columbus) (I do not use Christian and Crusaders here)

    Legitimate Kingdom = England or also Arabic Countries

    So in Short, Europe and Asia Countries… Well the summary of History lessons guys, so your right Stilts

  5. Make Humans into Things…

    Well, that called Propaganda for ya. It is the Job and their Destination to reduce their Enemys into just Things, as like Flys, Pigs and other Lowlife Beings, just not an Equal Human like Home Country

    And there are Forces to use this Kind of thinking for other parts. But i stop here, or i open the Pandaras Box

    just Exchange = Soldiers with Refugees and you get your Shitstorm here

  6. So the princess is 14? Really? Sigh, I enjoyed the episode, but it’s true that it’s only possible if one doesn’t stop at the details too much.

    About the whole “dehumanizing your enemies”, I’d like it if it were as serious as an approach to war as Stilts says (those are good reflections). However, I fear it’s another kind of “it’s OK to hurt them because they are jerks” typical of many VN (and other media too). There are some punks, gangsters, bad people in general who are trying or thinking of killing, abusing or even raping the hero’s love interest. That’s the cue for the hero to kill or maim those guys without having to feel an ounce of regret. From Kirito in SAO to our current Qwenthur, it’s more of a modern take on the damsel in distress trope mixed with revenge fantasy than a reflection on human nature.

    But who knows, maybe this time will be different.

    1. Heavy Object‘s focus on war leaves me cautiously optimistic that that isn’t going to happen. Keep in mind though that our protagonist isn’t the OP character type like Kirito from SAO or Tatsuya from Mahouka. He’s just an average guy who actually has to rely on his mind to overcome whatever may come his way.

      I feel like Heavy Object would really have to go out of its way to keep granting him the kind of opportunities that we saw today.

      Ryan Ashfyre
      1. I agree with Ryan Ashfyre … but echo your worries, Mistic. I hope it doesn’t go all revenge-fantasy, and it’s set up (and appears to be leaning) toward NOT doing that, but it still totally could. Hopefully it doesn’t.

    2. That was my problem with that scene, it was exploitative and used the threat of torture and rape as a narrative device to get the male protagonist to save her, so the violence threatened towards her was strictly to develop the hero into acting, and less about her character, which was just exploited for the protagonist’s development. It’s a bullshit trope when done this way.

      Frog? No. Hippo!
  7. It’s kinda funny how the enemy sends their Object after one lone pilot or a group of three people instead of doing something else with it. Seems like the soldiers on both sides are all to scared to actually go outside and risk meeting someone. Except for those villain soldiers… but they all got killed, so maybe it’s understandable? xD

    1. Given the oft-stated importance of Objects, I’d imagine securing them or their pilots would be very high priority. I do kinda question why the Object wasn’t there in the first place, since it apparently left the other soldiers to chase her, but maybe it needed some quick maintenance or something. I get why infantry would need to be sent to actually capture her, since I doubt an Object can do anything as delicate as capturing a human. However, if they’re gonna send the Object in anyway, I would have had the Object around to ensure the process went smoothly. If it’s not going to hunt down the rest of the troops and wreak havoc, it might as well be a huge deterrent to any shenanigans.

      1. The Object disappearing is the only part that smacked me of convenient. Reminds me of one of Pixar’s storytelling maxims:

        19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

        Granted, most storytellers do that occasionally. Sometimes you write yourself in a corner, and you need a coincidence to make it all work. And coincidences DO happen. But you can only make things convenient like this once in a while without it being annoying. Without knowing why the enemy Object wasn’t there, that’s—well, hopefully it’s not the start of a trend.

  8. Wear a damn mask and hat, you bakas! Alaska in winter is not the kind of place you can afford to let your heat escape willy nilly.

    I believe there are two reasons for this.

    1: the author and/or director has no concept of just how COLD cold is, having never been to areas where it gets really cold.
    2: having the characters where masks and hats would both make it harder to tell who is who (at least for the males), and obscure their expressions making it harder to convey their emotions to the audience. For that purpose, this sort of thing usually falls under acceptable breaks from reality.

    Also, it was mentioned that the princess’ suit has internal heating abilities, so if that technology exists we could assume something similar is in the guys’ uniforms. It seems unlikely that would prevent exposed skin from being in significant danger of frostbite and such, but, well, future-tech.

    1. Oh, it’s 1000% #2, which is why I wasn’t letting it bother me too much (and didn’t even comment on it last episode). But it struck me especially during that moment he was walking through the snowstorm to find her, so I had to be a sarcastic jackass, haha

  9. Am I the only one who thought that Water Strider is basically a supersized and upgunned Homing Spider Droid? Also, Water Strider taking down Baby Magnum is also reminiscent of the downer beginning of Pacific Rim. (New and improved Kaiju/Heavy Object taking down an old, trusty Jaeger/Heavy Object. In Alaska, no less!)

    Design/plot resemblance aside, it’s also possible that Quenthur and Havia might be hatching a plan to destroy the enemy Object (if not capture it). If the two can get inside the enemy Object and plant explosives at its vital systems/weakpoints (kinda like what commandos do to walker units in Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars), they could destroy it from within. In any case, we’ll see what happens next episode.

      1. LOL. I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume you might be saying the same thing about Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. (Especially if you’re a fan of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe.)

        Spoiler for tl;dr explanation:
        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. I read a TON of Star Wars books, especially when I was younger. Up to a few books after the Yuuzhan Vong arc. So yeah, I had heard about the de-cannoning of the whole EU, lol

        I’m not really mad, though. I wasn’t the least bit surprised that they’d do that. And I’m trying to go into Episode VII with moderate expectations, so if it’s decent (and identifiably a Star Wars film), I’ll be happy enough.

        Besides—and this could get me in trouble with some fans—after the stink-fest that was the prequels, I went back and watched the originals, and realized that they weren’t as good as I remembered. They’re still good, don’t get me wrong! But they’re flawed genius, like most genius, and I finally became able to pick out the flaws. So I’ll be going into the new one without sky-high expectations, at least.

  10. The battle was nice and the loss expected since they mentioned how a generalist Object would fare. A competent commander with any intel would definitely send a specialist Object, so no surprise there. What did surprise me was the fact that all the weapons are direct fire weapons. That was rather unexpected.

    Now then, Quenther. My opinion of him just went down a few notches. Not sure I like his decision making process before the journey. He didn’t even think of making distractions even though it was his other goal besides saving the princess. And then his reaction to his friends request for the C4. Cave + C4 vs certain death, I thought it was quite obvious. Why did he even bother bringing them?

    Hopefully they’ll come up with a smart solution next week. Not an AT-AT weakpoint, but something that’ll make Han Solo proud.

    1. The way they talk about the Objects like that (general purpose < specialist) reminds me of the negativity towards attempts at grounding tried and true, proven specialist aircraft like the A-10 Warthog (close air support role in this case) with plans to replace them with the very general purpose, unproven, and problem-prone F-35 Lightning II in that the F-35, being so general purpose, wouldn't be able to perform the tasks of those other aircraft nearly as well because it wasn't tailor-made for those purposes.

      Other things like, again, the problems it's had coupled with the cost of production, cost-per-sortie, and maintenance don't help either; the F-35 program costing $1.3 trillion so far, with each plane up to $116 million each as opposed to the A-10 being $18.8 million per unit. So yeah, you could produce six A-10s that are specifically for close air support for every one F-35 that is only average in the role.

      Heck, the specialist A-10 was made BECAUSE more general purpose jet aircraft weren't able to do the job well. They were too fast to be able to keep aim on a target(s) for very long, so either couldn't get enough fire off and/or weren't as accurate, they used up more fuel and so couldn't loiter around the battlefield very long in case they were needed, and they were easier to destroy and so were much more vulnerable on such runs.

      1. Other things like, again, the problems it’s had coupled with the cost of production, cost-per-sortie, and maintenance don’t help either; the F-35 program costing $1.3 trillion so far, with each plane up to $116 million each as opposed to the A-10 being $18.8 million per unit. So yeah, you could produce six A-10s that are specifically for close air support for every one F-35 that is only average in the role.

        Never thought I would have to counter F-35 misinformation on an anime blog.

        The program has cost ~$50 billion so far over the last 15 years, the ‘trillion’ number is the estimate of everything F-35 related over 50 years of service for 2443 aircraft. Over half of that number being what it costs to operate that many aircraft over that length of time.

        $18.8 million is an A-10A, which lack the ability to use modern precision guided weapons that was gained with the A-10C upgrade.

    2. @theirs

      Qwenthur was using the distraction thing as an excuse to go. He just wanted to save Milinda because he didn’t think letting her die was right. As for the C4, since he’s with the engineering corps, it sounded to me like he just carries some C4 with him (like all engineering soldiers here likely do). They did make him hold the Idiot Ball (trope!) when he didn’t realize that C4 + cave = cave in, though. I rolled my eyes at that. I almost consider that him being “taken over by the writer” as opposed to it actually being Qwenthur, though.


      I’m split on the specialist/generalist question. When it comes to humans, I prefer generalists (polymaths) to specialists. The more I learn in varying areas of life, the better my life becomes, and the more I’m able to connect disparate ideas to create something even better. Besides, the old “jack of all trades, master of none” saying is a fallacy. Often, it’s more of “jack of all trades, master of some.”

      In machinery, though, it depends. On cost and other considerations, mainly. In your example, generalist aircraft would be more useful in certain ways because they can sortie to any danger that arises, and the USA (I’m going to assume you’re talking about the US here) is usually fighting people whose military tech is so far below our own that even a sub-par generalist is lightyears ahead of what they can field. It would also mean you wouldn’t have to shuffle around airplanes for specific missions in the theater they’re needed. That might be the difference between needing 30 planes in an area for all the missions you need to fly, and needing 6. The latter is FAR easier to coordinate and maintain.

      That said, the F-35 program (from what I understand) has been a total clusterfuck, so in this particular case, it may not have been the smart move. And in fact, I tend to think we’re going to be flying drones more than manned fighters (and also that we should stop fuckin’ bombing people, but that’s another conversation), so the whole thing might be a waste of time. But the issue is likely wider than an A-10 vs F-35 comparison, unless close air support role is the only role the F-35s would end up fulfilling.

      1. I like that saying too. People who is good at many things are unfairly maligned in our society. Sure, if you’re looking for an accountant, you want a specialist. But do you know what they call the high-performing generalist?


      2. What really broke the F-35 was the Marines requirement for V/STOL… the extra weight and space taken by the huge “fan” that enables it has made it less maneuvrable as a fighter, carry less ordnance as tactical bomber, and have less range in any mode.
        By comparison, last previous “jack of all the trades” the ubiquitous F-4 Phantom of the cold war era was adapted from Navy fighter to Air Force usage without much trouble, and while it had its flaws, it perfrmed reliably in both fighter and bomber roles thorughout its long service life.

      3. “taken over by the writer”
        Really hope that’s what it is, and hopefully it doesn’t happen too often. Because I assume high explosives are given to certified personnel and maintenance personnel doesn’t really need that qualification, so I assume he took it voluntarily. Gives higher expectations when that happens.

        Funny thing about the generalist vs specialist thing is that I can’t really think of a good and relevant modern example. Design wise, I could see how that would go, but nobody designs overspecialized vehicles anymore. About the F-35, it’s actually a specialist aircraft (supersonic jump-jet) tweaked to meet the requirements of two other military branches. Can’t really use that as an example.

      4. What really broke the F-35 was the Marines requirement for V/STOL

        The lift fan does not have a noteworthy impact on the F-35A and C models, the biggest design impact on the aircraft’s performance is low radar observability and internal weapon bays. The only aircraft the F-35B can be compared to is the AV-8B or Yak-38, and it completely blows them out of the water.

        By comparison, last previous “jack of all the trades” the ubiquitous F-4 Phantom

        The ‘last previous’ multi role aircraft would be the F-16, F/A-18, F-15E, Eurofighter, Rafale, J-10, MiG-29, Su-30/35 etc.

  11. I’m guessing that from the pace their taking this right now, it’s going to be 4 episodes for this arc…which is only 1 of 3 in the first book…
    Oiy….that’s not going to be a lot covered overall. o-o

  12. “Heavy Object‘s focus on war leaves me cautiously optimistic that that isn’t going to happen. Keep in mind though that our protagonist isn’t the OP character type like Kirito from SAO or Tatsuya from Mahouka. He’s just an average guy who actually has to rely on his mind to overcome whatever may come his way.”

    This allowed me to finally realize what many people who mention Over Powered characters are actually complaining of with the wrong term. I would recommend using superpowered, vastly better than normal, or something else instead of over powered because over powered means the character is to powerful to make the story work right and that is very rare outside of inserted characters in Fan Fiction. Kirito has to be that powerful to win any less powerful and the story ends in a tragedy. Even One Punch Man is not over powered as his power being to great to have any real fights always wining in one punch is the point of the story. Advantage to superpower I’ll go ok he wants story that feel more real with people closer to your self that you can relate too instead of OP that always get me going do you actually want a short story ending in tragedy instead?

    1. I don’t disagree with the heart of what you’re saying for the most part, but there’s little to no point in redefining OP as being something else at this point. That’s just arguing semantics and no one likes arguing semantics, especially me.

      Ultimately, you’ve just gotta look at things in the proper context. There are bad OP characters like SAO‘s Kirito and Mahouka‘s Tatsuya, and then there are really good ones like Sora and Shiro from No Game No Life, Izayoi from Problem Children and more recently, Saitama from One-Punch Man.

      To be frank though, the main difference between them is that the good ones know how to make things fun and the bad ones don’t.

      Ryan Ashfyre
    2. If your definition of over powered holds I can adjust to someone using a popular phrase that is not what it seams to a new reader.
      I worry that like other popular phrases the definition might be stretched to far. I certain some actually mean over powered in that they actually want the hero to lose and the story end even if they have not thought their criticism out to logical conclusion. Others are using over powered in that they dislike all stories with significantly more powerful than normal people because they can’t relate to the heroes, I thought you were one of them. I have no problem with that type of criticism, different strokes for different folks, and as long as they don’t keep posting about it every week I will not ask them why still watching.
      Your definition seams to be way above the normal character that is poorly done in the story. I agree with Kitaro the anime did him and the first arc poorly. Now I learned from source material people that Kitaro was one of those genus level players who actually exist who was probably the top player in the game and if that had been done well he would have been more understandable. I still not to fond of the gifts from the gods way of solving problems especially with a mysterious unexplained villain. A borderline Deus ex machina ending of the first arc, borderline because after you learn of his being gifted with a skill no one else had you could figure out that a outside intervention would be in ending. Second arc I could guess the same resolution at the start so not Deus ex machina a tern that has been horribly stretched out so that it often means only I did not like it.
      So I will in the future ask each person what do you mean by overpowered before thinking if then what response needed.

  13. Loved the episode very tight.

    Stilts your commentary on war and Sherman reminded me of Robert E Lee’s quote “It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.” Which hits the nail on the head that our instincts as animals is that of a predator that enjoys the kill and a bit of torture. (all higher predators play with their food when not that hungry I have read)Also our instincts to protect our tribe and it’s interests is hard wired along with a suspicion of all other tribes, this is present in higher level primates as well.

    More dangerous and/or maybe more twisted are the Shermans and myself who can kill someone they respect as a fellow human being who is unfortunate to be our enemy. Sherman’s comment that he would share his last cracker and protect the southerners once the war was over is along this line. I never actually had to kill someone but in the few dangerous situations I have been in I acted when everyone, a lot in one case, was frozen and would have used all force necessary to defeat the trouble maker. This might be a martial art thing in part as the study results in you being peaceful not wanting conflict but able to fight calmly and ruthlessly when needed.

    Here in the story it like the Greek City States a battle of champions was allowed to decide things like border disputes, things not really worth the deaths of total war for. But the armies would go all out if the issue was conquest of the whole of the enemy. In this story the bad side has decided to go for a greater win then normally wanted. The laws of war work best when it to both sides advantage to follow them in example poison gas just increases casualties while slowing down offensive operations if both sides have it.

    Way overboard on the quoted Object speeds. The battle was no more than 80 kph to my eyes and the one crossing the ice no more than 200 KPH probably much less in both cases. But if they can make a 550 kph object they can make 1000 kph plus tanks and transports that could avoid the Objects and take out their maintenance and supply. The direct fire attacks is the bane of almost all modern fighting games and anime, they look cool but are way out of date in a time that indirect fire rules. But as Stilts says modern and hard future sci fi are hard to make both real and interesting.

    1. Aye. Modern humans are giant, seething masses of hypocrisy, still ruled by the emotions and chemicals that let us kill, dominate, and destroy our way to the top of the pyramid, but now trying to restrain those instincts in order to do what we now feel is morally right—and to avoid toppling ourselves off that pyramid we killed our way to the top of.

      The psychology of the soldier who can simultaneously respect and kill a fellow human being is interesting. It almost feels like a hypocrisy as well, but in other ways, it doesn’t. The two things are almost separate. You can respect someone as a human being even if their actions necessitate that you defend yourself, quite possibly to the death.

      Our entire species is nuts. I love it.

      1. you tell me…
        Sometimes it goes out of hypocrisy into straight schizophrenic territory…
        “We let our sons bomb enemies with napalm, but wont let them write “f…” word on their planes”
        “Any bastard tough enough to fight with his guts out deserves to drink my water”
        “We will save this city from enemy even if we have to raze it to the ground”

  14. Hey, in the many years (circa 2012) I’ve followed you guys I’ve barely posted anything but I will do one of those rare post.

    You’re bang on target with you’re 101 Approach to War. As a person heavily involved with Conflict Studies you have no idea how simply that quote, and another famous one below actually manage to encompass the simple truth about Wars. And all this from someone who likes War, Military Action but always reiterate that we *Need* to understand there are rather drastic costs attached- otherwise just bin it. There’s nothing worse than a ill-conceived Campaign.

    War is hell, as you said. And as Robert E.Lee is often quoted

    “It is good that War is so terrible, otherwise men would grow fond of it”

    Time and Time again has shown this: We continuously flirt with War, and strong peace tends to come for longer periods after particularly bloody episodes of our History.

    Serjio Dragonis
    1. I always laugh (sadly) when politicians chastise government leaders for taking the “military option” off the table. It’s never off the table, but it should be waaaaaaay on the other side of the table, hard to reach, not the first thing you go for! Those men who are chomping to go at war have indeed grown to fond of it, probably because they’re removed enough from it to not understand how terrible it truly is.

      Kind of a tangent, but your comment reminded me of that. Thanks for commenting! And for reading all this time.

  15. I am posting this after watching ” A Bridge Too Far ” A movie I never tire of ! In a way things on a big scale have more chances to go wrong ! And Market Garden goes a lot wrong ! So many mistakes !

    Now to apply to Heavy Object war never changes you might have the best Tech but in the wrong or misguide hands is the work of the devil! And humans can change quickly too!

    I liked your quote of Sherman !

    I like this show but needs to tighten up loose ends!

    And you didnt go too far with your thoughts / I enjoyed it !

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