「ガリバーを縛る雑兵たち アラスカ極寒環境雪上戦 III」 (Garibaa o Shibaru Zouhyou-tachi Arasuka Gokkan Kankyou Setsujou-sen III)
“The Little Soldiers Who Tie Down Gulliver The Snowy Deep Winter Battle of Alaska III”
Goliath, meet David. Now die.
Five For Every One
“#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.” -Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling
I love trotting out that quote, because one of my biggest pet peeves is convenient storytelling. It’s worth mentioning it here, because much of this episode is a great example of how not to do it. First, there’s a hole in an abandoned outer building. Then Qwenthur and Havia get inside the enemy base, and it’s almost empty, because apparently these enemies are so stupid as to hardly keep any guards around. That’s convenience number two. Then they run through the base and find, to their luck, that the door is unlocked. That’s number three. By then I was already sputtering and beginning to write this section.
Not that all of the turns were done badly. When they realized that this base had a fuck ton of spare parts, that was the kind of twist that works well. That stacked the tension against Qwenthur and Havia, and made it harder for them. Which made me think: How often can a writer get away with a coincidence? Personally, I think it’s five to one. If five coincidences go against the protagonists—they run down a dead end, they stumble into their worst enemy on a first date, the charges don’t go off, the spell fizzles at an inopportune time, and a pickpocket steals the poison that was meant for the diplomat—then you can have one thing coincidentally go the protagonists’ way. So when Qwenthur found the maintenance book, that was fine—besides, that came about because he was actively looking for something he could use. Put in another way, a storyteller can cheat once in a while. It just only works if it’s only done occasionally, it’s never done at the most critical times, and if they spend most of their time making things harder for themselves instead.
The Nature of War
I feel like original creator Kamachi Kazuma has a good handle on characterization of individuals, which as far as storytelling abilities go, is quite possibly the best one to have. He’s pretty good with themes as well. But when it comes to geopolitics, human nature on a macro scale, culture, and science/technology, his knowledge gets shaky fast. Take the whole “changing nature of war” bit, and the idea of humans defeating a monstrous weapon like the Objects as surprising. I’m sorry, but that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature. Strategists all the way back to the time of ancient China knew the simple calculus of saboteurs: If you can spend one, two, or even ten people to take out a disproportionate amount of the enemy’s combat ability, you do that. Every time. The particulars have changed over the ages, but I can promise you this: If something like Objects come into the world today, and war broke out, someone will be trying to sabotage them on Day Two. Probably everybody.
Another fundamental misunderstanding has to do with culture. Namely, culture does not often regress on a massive scale, and if it does, there are only a few reasons why. The root of them all, though, is the loss of knowledge. (Or occasionally, manipulation of knowledge.) When the Roman Empire fell and Europe slid into the Middle Ages, or when the Mongols raped, sacked, and pillaged China and the Middle East out of several hundred years of development, there were a number of reasons why those societies regressed. But I can assure you that if the population was literate and had access to all of the world’s knowledge at their fingertips, none of that would have happened. And that’s what the internet is! Which they still have in the world of Heavy Object, at least according to Fix News.com (which is a reputably news source, balanced & fair, etc). And the idea that we could regress from total war back to civilized war—and that is a regression, trust me, even if limited war is a helluva lot nicer than total war—belies a fundamental misunderstanding of how we made that switch in the first place. (Here’s a hint: The presence of nobles like Havia is actually a good sign. But all the rest of it doesn’t add up.)
Here’s the funny thing: I could point out Heavy Object’s flaws all day, but this is still probably the show I’m enjoying blogging the most. It’s still telling an ambitious (if somewhat wobbly) story on a global scale, and it”s sidling up to some interesting themes. I like that better than the shows who don’t dare to try for great things.
Talking is a Free Action
Once again, there was an awful lot of yelling arguments in the middle of the enemy base. This definitely feels like a light novel adaptation, because the pacing goes haywire when people talk when they should be fighting and/or getting shot. Most egregious was when Qwenthur was explaining his master stroke (evil overlord much?) when the antagonists could have just shot him at any point. But you know, for all the criticisms I could levy, it felt damn good for someone to disabuse these idiots of the foolish idea that lone men can’t take down what amounts to a big-ass hovering tank. Even though Qwenthur’s epic moment did pretty much boil down to an angry mother’s shout of, “I brought you into this world, so I can take you right back out of it!”
Looking Ahead – No Reward For You
Precisely no one (audience-wise) is surprised that Qwenthur and Havia’s bravery didn’t let them escape the military, but got them sent right back out. For plot reasons only, though. Had this really been happening, I bet they could have scored a sweet Captain America-style war bonds tour instead of actually having too fight. Shoulda fought for that, boys! Now you have to spend more time with Frolaytia and Milinda. How sad for you. As long as you don’t die from the war and stuff.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Qwenthur & Havia take down an Object with the power of exposition & chekhov’s self-destruct module #heavyobject 03
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: 30.
ED & Epilogue: