「親指トムは油田を走る ジブラルタル通行阻止戦 I」 (Oyayubitomu wa Yuden o Hashiru Jiburarutaru Tsuukou Soshi-sen I)
“Tom Thumb Races Through the Oil Field The Battle to Blockade the Gibraltar I”

What if this isn’t an action anime? What if it’s all a lark?

Heavy Object as a B Movie

I find myself continually confused by this series. Not because all the science, military strategy, and basic logic are all battier than a Batman vs Manbat vs Rogue the Bat vs Zubat vs bat-form Dracula brawl in the Bat Cave (all of whom are wielding baseball bats, obviously). No, I’ve accepted that already. I’m confused because I don’t hate it. Whereas Comet Lucifer has been disappointing me, this show remains somehow lovable. It’s strange. It’s ridiculous. It’s goofy. It’s not a serious story, no matter what it might tell you (for about four seconds, until something foolish happens again). It’s a B movie. I expect Bruce Campbell to show up at any minute and start being awesome all over the place.

Why yes, I’m totally hyped for Ash vs. Evil Dead. Why do you ask?

I Hope Their Superiors Are Trying To Kill Them

You all know I love talking about what makes stories tick. Probably that’s at least a good two-thirds of why I inexplicably like Heavy Object, because there’s so much to talk about here. Take Qwenthur and Havia’s motivations. In a really good story, it will be the protagonists, of their own free will, whose actions lead them to interacting with the plot, or guide how they interact with the plot in some way. Sometimes protagonists refuse the call (trope!) early on, but eventually they get into it, or at least accept that this is happening no matter what.

Qwenthur and Havia, on the other hand, are being railroaded into accepting the call. They’re pointing out hundreds of completely valid reasons why they shouldn’t be trying to 2-man a fuckin’ country erasing tank/ship/oil rig/military base, but the plot (as being revealed by Frolaytia this time around) ignores their prudent objections and forces them into it anyway. They’re being railroaded (trope!), gentleladies and gentlemen, and it risks being aggravating quick.

Once again, I’m surprised it doesn’t annoy me. Probably it’s because we have some kind of refuge in audacity (trope!!) thing going on here, where it’s just so much that I go, “Yeah, sure, whatever you say Heavy Object. That makes no sense, but you haven’t made sense up to this point, so fuck it, carry on.” Alternately, I might be punch-drunk from all the this-doesn’t-make-sense that’s happening. I will say this, though: I hope their shady superiors are trying to get them killed. That seemed to be what that scene was insinuating. Because if they’re not, all this shit that’s happening to them is cruel and unusual (and stupid), and it’ll probably get to me eventually.

Maybe It’s All A Lark

It occurred to me during this episode that Heavy Object might not be an action series at all. It might all be a lark. Or in more familiar terms, it might be a comedy. Nearly every line of dialogue (that isn’t exposition, which is most of them) is dripping with sanguine, sardonic gallows humor, where even the prospect of friendly fire is met with a comedic glance between commiserating friends and a slapstick jump for the safety of the water. It could be that Heavy Object isn’t trying to operate on the Rule of Cool (trope!!), but on the Rule of Funny (trope!!!). Or it could be—and this is perhaps more likely—that it’s failed at its intended appeal so badly that it’s actually become so bad it’s good (trope!!!!). Of course, your mileage will vary (trope etc), but that’s where I’m at tonight. It’s not serious. It’s a B movie. It’s all a lark, where the universe is conspiring against Havia and Qwenthur not because seeing them rise to the occasion will be cool, but because it’s funny to watch them grumble. Hey—at least you called out your death flags (just look up the trope page yourself, lazy bones *grumble grumble*) Havia, so you might not trigger them! And you look like you’re making headway with Hime-sama, Qwenthur you lolicon. Not all is lost.

Looking Ahead – It Couldn’t Be That Easy

For a second, I honestly thought they might blow up the Tri-Core early, and this arc would be over quickly—but lawl no. $10 says the Heavy Axe charge Havia put in his pocket will be the deciding factor. Easy money.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – This isn’t an action series. It’s a lark. It’s a B movie with a railroad plot & a kawaii eva pilot. This. Is. Heavy Object! #heavyobject 04

Random thoughts:

  • Apparently becoming an Elite comes with free massages. Neat. I’M IN.
  • Hey, I’ve shopped at Tom Thumb before.
  • When Frolaytia was showing off her oppai in a low kimono, Havia could be forgiven for thinking she wouldn’t mind a little ogling. It might not be correct, but I can see where the confusion would come in. But Havia this episode was full-on sexual harassment. I liked that he copes by joking around, which fits his personality (though him admitting as much out loud is more tell than show), but seriously. Less sekuhara of your direct superior! Though to be fair (again), he might want to get court-martialed at this point. I wouldn’t blame him.
  • Who uses a super-heavy Object to drill for oil? It’s like using a Super Star Destroyer for escort duty. You’re making its designers cry.
  • Hang onto the door, Jack!
  • If they planned things out like the infiltration ahead of time, it could have had tension. It’d be all, “Will the plan work!?”. But they don’t. It’s all happenstance. Because it doesn’t matter. See? It’s a comedy! Or terrible writing.
  • Putting guns on an oil tanker seems like an asshole move. It’s an ecological disaster waiting to happen.
  • Looks like Qwenthur has AT&T. Oh, what’s this? Low-hanging fruit? Don’t mind if I do.
  • WL3B1 instead of WL3B2. They need more distinct weapon designations. Every military everywhere is crying right now!
  • “We’re back … battlefield, you asshole.” So much character in one sentence.
  • So cute.

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: Momentum & mental space, The best content is in email, My morning routine, and True Ends




  1. I think you might just be on the ball with this one Stilts! By this point, taking it seriously would be incompatible with the so-so camp of it all; unless if it goes uber-dramatic all of a sudden, which would undoubtedly cause tonal whiplash- yyyyyyaaaaaaayyyuuuuhhh!

    Nishizawa Mihashi
  2. Nice to see that governments will always find some way to waste money on something completely useless. If nuking the thing isn’t gonna take care of it, I doubt some mines on a net will.

    How the heck are they curving those lasers anyway? Those shouldn’t be arcing like bullets unless there’s some kind of EM field.

  3. Stilts, do you dislike this so much that you have to result to talking about the meta before talking about what happened in the show? Like is the semi-realistic modern world setting really that how a concept to grapple with compare to other more “conventional” settings?

    1. I, er, noted that I don’t dislike this show. Much to my confusion, as a matter of fact.

      To answer your question, I did the same thing here that I try to do in all my writing: Produce the most interesting piece I can at the time. Darwin knows I don’t always succeed, but that’s what I try to do. Sometimes that means digging into the minutiae, which I love. Other times it means doing wide, or going meta, or going off on tangents about themes and possibilities. I try to add something of value to everyone’s experience with the episode, otherwise these posts, which are already perishable as is, would be even more forgettable.

      I know that wasn’t really your question. I know what you meant was, “Why are you wasting time with meta nonsense instead of talking about what happened? Don’t you understand what’s going on here?”, or something to that effect. (My apologies if I read too negatively into your words.) To which my answer is that I understand perfectly well what’s going on, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense from a geopolitical or military (among others) perspective. So digging into those particulars would result in nitpicking, as well as repeating myself, and I don’t like to do that.

      Instead, I found the more promising avenue to be, “If this is so bad, why am I still enjoying it?” So I probed into that, and tried to write about a new (potential) outlook on the show that could actually help some people enjoy it more.

      I hope this gives you an idea of the thought-pattern that goes into some of these posts. Thanks for your comment.

      1. No Stilts, I’m not saying you’re ‘wasting my time’ with the meta, I was just sadden that your enjoyment out of the show is from poking at the meta and not really at what’s happening in it.

        But I suppose it would be arrogance on my part to tell you how to do your job, and don’t worry- my initial post was not suppose to be taken that negatively =)

      2. Gotcha! And I actually expect to enjoy it more next week. I think how they’re forcing Qwenthur and Havia into the mission is wonky, but (if the first arc is one to go off of) I enjoy the series more once they get into it and they’ve gotta figure out how to get out of it alive. If that keeps up, next week will be more my speed.

      3. Being forced to do a job you’re ill equipped to handle is all part of being in the military! I’ve assumed you’ve watched Generation Kill? And that doesn’t even have the excuse of being a fiction =p

      4. @WorldwideDepp

        I’ve been revisiting WWI lately, and boy howdy, you’re right. If a war is to be fought, you don’t want to be Russian. Or against the Russians. They tend to do some winning, though mostly it’s my marching over a mountain of Russian corpses. Probably best to avoid Russia entirely in those situations.

    2. This is rather unreasonable. Using ‘meta’ in a situation like this is pretty unfair since MOST opinions of a show are sort of ‘meta.’

      This review was very much a statement of opinion regarding the show, it simply wasn’t a summary. And while it admittedly could have used a bit more of a summary, it certainly wasn’t akin to the first couple of reviews of Iron Blooded Orphans here on RandomC which barely even mentioned the show and simply hammered on the production staff.

      And really, given the entire idea behind the ‘3 episode rule,’ the 3rd or 4th episode is a very good spot for this sort of navel gazing regarding the show as a whole. In fact, I would go so far as to say maybe RandomC should do something official in that vein. As opposed to just first impressions and final impressions, a 3rd or 4th episode impressions blurb might be really informative.

  4. Yep I think you might have got it Stilts we will see if intentional or not later.

    Yep the mine net, well they told us it was not going to work more symbolic doing something, But you think they would put some Object killer size mines on it not little dinky ones.

    All the base towers nice and really close to each other 😛 yep comedy just got to tell myself that. Could it hurt to put 20 miles or so apart and show us the fast object running around hitting them instead, I guess not have to be close so no effort needed.

      1. If you mean a totally symbolic blockade you be right. But a Modern Blockade is often hundreds of miles deep do to the range of weapons. In this case the strait is roughly 30 miles deep in the most narrow and 50 miles broadly. As the platforms are to repair and supply an object they normaly would be to the rear of the blockade zone say closest one at 30 miles deep. Two 50 miles deep and 20 plus miles between them and 3 or more at the 100 mile deep zone that would still blockade the area.
        But as I can’t take this show much more serious than the typical giant robot show anything can go.

        Modern Navel warfare has ships scattered over hundreds of miles which is not to easy to make interesting in a visual medium. In example a modern carrier group will have it’s outer screen 12 to 25 nautical miles out and the inner screen out to 10 nautical miles. This does not work for promotion photos so they get way closer together for photos.
        And hard sci fi space battles in books seeing friendly ships would be hard you could never see the enemy ship without visual aids.

    1. Man, I haven’t been to the chiropractor in AGES. Which is surprising since I’m seven thousand feet tall and my back is usually a mess, though you know what’s funny? I started sleeping on a Japanese-style futon recently, ’cause I got tired of buying new beds every time I moved, and my back actually feels great now. Glorious Nippon might be onto something.

      If you want to feel good, go for a massage. I’ve been treated (and treated myself) a few times, and it’s amazing. If you can find a massage parlor where some students are training, you can often get ’em cheaper too. They may not be as good as the experienced pros, but you probably won’t notice, lol

      1. The, er, massages I’ve had have been a little different than that. Usually a towel is involved at minimum. And no funny business. Though I guess they get up to things differently in your and/or Conan’s neck of the woods o.O

        Edit: Apparently Conan turns bright red when peeled. Also, lotta dick touching in that clip, ad one of ’em was Conan’s. Forever unclean!

      2. Apparently firm and sturdy surfaces help with supporting the bone, or something like that… Bah! I dunno, but it sure does work. We probably should Google that. Yeap, we definitely should.

        I remember staying over in Japanese budget hotels and holy cow are the mattresses and pillows sturdy hard as hell… But the best thing is, they actually worked! My back doesn’t feel much pain and so does my neck and head! MIRACULOUS! Off course not every single Japanese ‘living quarters’ has those but the majority of them do. And oh yes, sleeping patterns and positioning are mighty important as well, or else the miraculous effects of hard thingies would be nulled.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
    2. Err no. The sturdiness of futons have nothing to do with it. It is actually in the softness of the mattress and how you position your center of gravity when you sleep. Improper sleeping postures have your center of gravity focused on your waist, which, along with the elevation of the pillows typically results with a slightly not really hunched but slightly bent back. But enough science, let’s go back to the massages!

      1. Pillow position definitely has something to do with it. I had terrible neck problems for a while when I was traveling, until I switched from an old (flat) pillow to a newer, still fluffy one. Then they went away.

        What? Getting a good nights sleep is important!

  5. Heh B grade might be the best description of the show so far. All Heavy Object is missing is the the wonderfully cheesy acting to accompany the blasphemous violation of science and the mind f*ckery of common sense decision making. Well, unless Havia’s submissive mewling (gag) counts as the Japanese version of B grade acting 😛

    If Heavy Object is to be a lark I wouldn’t mind in the slightest, it would make the sheer ridiculous fantasy here all the more hilarious. Too bad at every turn the show attempts to pull the Object cart back towards realism and face plants the road. If the show could just ignore the science for a single episode and give more dynamic duo suffering then everything would be fine. Heavy Object has shown it can give some good slap stick, no matter how unintended.

    On a positive note too next episode should satisfy with the explosions. J.C Staff has been excelling in that area I’m finding.

    1. they recycle the explosions fume, but i do not complain, to add some wind movement in this fume would perhaps blow their budget. remember girls und panzer the battle on the mountain? the wind blow the fume of the explosions all over the place.. this is real accurate. but i admit, not everybody has the budget

    2. We need some Yuuki-Aoi-as-Clementine levels of chewing the scenery up in this show. I want to hear Judge Dredd yelling at another ham about the LAAAAAAAWW! Then this show would go from entertaining to AMAZING.

  6. S/B titled – ‟Teflon Brothers and Sally’s Fantastic Adventures”.

    They manage to swim (what appears to be) over a mile in rough sea
    away from the tripod in a few seconds; and with the fantastic explosions
    happening all around them, are completely unaffected by concussion!


  7. I actually came to the same conclusion, Stilts– it’s a friggin’ comedy. Well, maybe at least this particular story arc is.

    She’s smiling so sweetly, in the middle of a battle. OTOH, she’s probably thinking of how she’s being useful to Qwenthur and his mission, so yeah.

    And Stilts, why no screenshots when Frolaytia jumped from the offshore platform/base zone? The contrast between her “not losing my cool as I explain the situation” and Qwenthur’s and Havia’s “NO F*CKING WAY!!” faces as they’re falling is gold.

    Military Otaku mode ON:

    So WL3B1/2 is like Wide-area (or Weapon) Laser (number) Barrage/Battery (number)?

    No option for even a submarine/submersible insertion? Or even a torpedo attack on the flotation/propulsion units? Park torpedo containers (like in Arpeggio of Blue Steel) and fire away. Heck, there’s even a Nuclear torpedo IRL–low-yield, I know, but it ought to slow him down a bit. 😛

    The Goal Tape should have been command-detonated.

    Magnus Tancred
    1. Perhaps this kind of TriObject is capable of diving. But the Net was there to prevent that, more an Alert line to see if it goes Submarine mode. There is no problem, because the Pilots inside the Objects must haven an Life-support with air… or did you see some air ventilation in the armor? it would be an weak point. so technically, even Baby Magnum should hold the pressure of water to some kind of degree and survive, until the Air runs out or the cold get her (Arpeggio of Blue Steel, too)

      1. .. argh.. me again and hitting enter to fast…

        but, movement with heavy tons of Water pressure, is even for an Object no child play. Technically it becomes a sitting Duck, waiting to sink to the bottom of the seafloor to have “land” under his feet again. But the underwater mountains and cliffs and so on, is still there. also, you could just trow some rock alike things over one Object underwater on the seafloor. because the heaviness of the rocks added with the pressure and weight of the Water sums the Object nearly immobility, his Reactor would need to much Power for just moving

        But looks like this TriObject is build for moving in Water, bubbles alike trick to move faster like as if its on land.. But it needs Power

  8. Yet another “longest” LN episode title.

    Does that make this series be the only exception to have “the longest titles in the LN world”?

    No offense, but I barely remember the last episode title even if I just got a glimpse of it here a minute ago.

    1. “The Little Soldiers Who Tie Down Gulliver”

      There’s also something about a snowy deep winter Alaska battle, but that’s less important, and I had to look that part up. The part that matters is the literary reference in each title, involving someone or something tiny attacking something enormous.

  9. I must admit I enjoyed it more than the previous three episodes. If we are going for tropes, I think it’s the Lampshade Hanging: while in the previous three the show tried to make the audience swallow the non-sensical setting as if it was serious and legitimate, here the protagonists keep pointing out how absurd everything is.

    I think it’s those two. Their interaction is great.

    Also, I can’t fault Havia. He’s gone from hero-expecting-early-retirement to suicide commando. And the chief, no matter how sexy, is taking the incredibly stupid orders at face value. Seriously, being court martialed is a much better prospect.

      1. True. Ironically, considering the flaws of this show, I think that’s something hard science fiction stories tend to have problems with. The characters become an excuse to describe the setting to the reader.

        And I’m not just talking about the typical Audience Surrogates. Tropes are not bad, or so they say; a bland character that serves as the point of view of the audience is always useful to introduce the setting and their blandness can be countered with a cast of colourful characters (how many popular stories could fit that description? Too many to count). But when the cast becomes a collection of mouthpieces for different infodumps instead of actual characters, then even the most fascinating setting gets a bit colder.

      2. Aye. Exposition is hard. I think the trick (learned from experience) is to spend enough time on your world in the beginning to make sure it makes sense without a bunch of yakking being necessary. Avatar: The Last Airbender is still my favorite example of that, since it takes like three sentences to let us know what’s going on. Four nations, element benders, avatar returns balance, he’s been missing for a while, gotcha.

  10. All the tropes you put in, and no mention of Havia tempting fate? (*cue this scene*)

    Also, I can’t help but notice that Tri-Core’s modus operandi (drilling anywhere in the oceans where there is oil–even within the territorial seas of another country) is basically similar to that Chinese oil rig which parked itself last year within Vietnamese territorial waters. I wonder if Kamachi-sensei got his inspiration from that–and if he’s friends/acquaintances with the author of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei?

    And finally, if Heavy Object is a comedy, it does give off a vibe similar to that of the Battlefield: Bad Company series (the single-player story, of course).

    1. Also, I can’t help but notice that Tri-Core’s modus operandi (drilling anywhere in the oceans where there is oil–even within the territorial seas of another country) is basically similar to that Chinese oil rig which parked itself last year within Vietnamese territorial waters. I wonder if Kamachi-sensei got his inspiration from that–and if he’s friends/acquaintances with the author of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei?

      I can’t answer your second question, but the first is highly unikely, given that this story was published in 2009.

  11. Every time I watch this show, I feel like I’m watching something out of a Michael Bay movie. Everything getting blown up with huge freakin’ explosions, plenty of one-liners from the heroes, hot females kicking ass, and things that don’t make sense to almost everyone except the scriptwriter.

    Please tell me he wasn’t involved in Heavy Object’s production.

  12. I think the reason this show works is the same reason I’m preferring Rakudai Kishi over Asterisk. Each show doesn’t try to take itself too seriously and rather seems to revel in it’s relative stupidity.

    1. Success in the Alaska mission required Qwenthur’s technical knowhow of Objects. A normal soldier wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to trigger the self-destruct.

      IRL their missions would have been undertaken by a special forces team with an attached mission specialist (in this case an engineer) and a demolitions expert (then again most SF teams usually have one).

      Magnus Tancred
  13. I think the reason I still find this show compelling is that it does a great job in reveling in its own craziness with a fun cast al la Jojo’s Bizarre adventure. If you just take things at face value and join Qwenthur and Havia for the ride Heavy Object turns into a really fun and hammy action flick.

    However when compared to Jojo’s, Heavy Object does a much worse job of inviting the audience to sit back and get comfortable because of 2 major reasons. Firstly, it feels compelled to sell its own bullshit when it is against its own interest. Stands in Jojo’s work because the audience is told they simply exist as opposed to the ludicrous task of trying to explain why some people suddenly have punch ghosts. If the author had simply said that objects were developed as a new tool of warfare I feel like people would treat this show with a lot less incredulousness.

    Which leads me to my next point: the exposition Heavy Object gives for its nonsense is just the worst. When some amount of bullshit happens in Jojo’s the exposition does a much better job of deciding to either be “pushing it while still believable” or “going balls out wild and making it work by style” (technical terms at work) and sticking to it. Meanwhile, Heavy Object tries to do both at the same time and makes a muck of it. Instead of seriously saying something outlandish like “Objects completely made everything outdated” it would be better served by toning it down to something believable like “Objects heavily changed the battlefield” or doing a better job of showing just how balls-to-the-walls powerful an object is to get the audience to want to believe.

    So I guess this ended up being an overly-long way of agreeing with Stilts, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what could be done to fix the glaring faults in an otherwise enjoyable show.

    P.S. Not to be annoying nag, but how is that feedback coming, Stilts-Senpai?

    1. I already sent out feedback to everyone who requested it. Did I miss you? If so, reply to your application email (to stilts(at)randomc(dot)net only … though actually, cc my stiltsoutloud(at)gmail(dot)com address as well, so I’ll be sure to see it) and I’ll get back to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *