「親指トムは油田を走る ジブラルタル通行阻止戦 II」 (Oyayubitomu wa Yuden o Hashiru Jiburarutaru Tsuukou Soshi-sen II)
“Tom Thumb Races Through the Oil Field The Battle to Blockade the Gibraltar II”
This show is all about the banter.
Immersion is Dead. But Does It Matter?
In the comments of last week’s Comet Lucifer, I linked to an article written by fellow SFF author Ferrett Steinmetz (I highly recommend his book Flex, by the way. I haven’t read its sequel The Flux yet, but I hear good things). It was about Terminator: Genisys, and as I was watching this episode, I realized that his central point could apply just as well to Heavy Object. Excerpt:
The problem is, Genisys makes the same error as a lot of bad fanfic. Which is to say there’s a very subtle – but very major – difference when someone’s watching because they want to see what the author does next, and someone watching to see what the characters do next.
Hint: Watching to see what the author does next is inherently less interesting.
While the fanfic part doesn’t apply here, the rest does. I realized that I’m not watching Heavy Object because I want to see what the characters do. I’m watching it to see what ridiculous shit the author gets up to next, and what he’s going to pull out of his ass to get Qwenthur, Havia, Milinda, and Frolaytia out of the mess he’s put them into.
And, just as not all fanfics are bad, this show is remaining enjoyable (mostly). It’s just not hitting the deep, character-driven notes that would make it a potential classic. My immersion is irrevocably shredded, and any I don’t think humpty dumpty can be put back together again.
Here’s where I admit that I’m mostly not talking about how Qwenthur beat the Tri-Core because I honestly don’t understand how it happened. I get that he screwed with the Tri-Core’s shark fins, and that made its own weight tear it apart. What I don’t understand is how using explosive to blow up the net did that. To wrap the net around all the fins, maybe? Why didn’t the net break? Or was it exposed wiring he got? In which case, why deal with the net? No no, don’t think about it too much, Stilts. We already decided that thinking about Heavy Object doesn’t make it better. It’s a B movie. Enjoy the ride. And enjoy the hammy dialogue, because there’s soooo much of it.
Now Arriving at: Banter Central
Once again, banter is where this episode shines. It’s what I watch for. And also once again, most of it takes the form of sexually harassing Frolaytia, but whereas it felt cringeworthy last episode, they did it so much this time that Heavy Object did with flirty ecchi banter what Kingsman: The Secret Service did with uber-violence—they stuck with it so long as to take it past believability, and into the realm of the nearly absurd. It’s a certain kind of refuge in audacity, where you realize that the first time Havia openly ogles his superior office, it’s sekuhara, but the seventh time he (or Qwenthur) do it, it’s some kind of goofy dynamic between these specific characters, and you just let it go and have fun. They committed to the gag. It usually pays off to commit to the gag.
The other half of it is that Frolaytia got in on the fun, teasing them right back. (The blushing also helps.) And … well, there may be some problematic elements to all that if we want to wrestle with a moral conundrum, but I’m not qualified to plumb those depths (hur hur hur, get your minds out of gutter, ya perverts), so I’ll set that aside. The reciprocal nature of Havia ogling and discussing his perversion with Frolaytia, Qwenthur getting in on the lucky pervert (raki sukebi!) bit, and Frolaytia teasing and tormenting them (& especially Havia) right back kicks us back into the land of banter, and banter is fun!
Most stories use banter to spice up interactions that might be boring otherwise, or at least wouldn’t be as much fun. For Heavy Object, it’s the star of the show. Not sure if that’s sustainable, but it’s amusing for now.
Looking Ahead – You’re Never Going Home
So much of the actual action deserves the ‘ol eye roll, like why didn’t they give Havia and Qwenthur an amphibious assault vehicle the first time around? Or give them more time to develop a real plan? And don’t even get me started on how Milinda somehow saved him by dunking one of her guns underwater (boggle). But that’s all par for the course. What I’m surprised about is that they only took two episodes for this arc, which seemed to be enough. That means we’re off to another battlefield next time, ’cause Qwethur? Havia? You’re never going home. The higher-ups are going to keep throwing you at Objects that the Baby Magnum is outmatched for, because apparently no one else can figure out the sabotage game. (Don’t think about it too much, Stilts, don’t think about it…)
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Qwenthur blows up another Object because *reasons*, but at least Frolaytia is getting into the ecchi banter game #heavyobject 05
- Havia wants to go back to his mansion chock full of meido. Truly, he’s an anime legend in the making.
- I do love this series’ literary references. The whole Don Quixote/Sancho Panza/Rocinante part made me chuckle. At least when Heavy Object throws out references, it doesn’t go for pedestrians ones from this century, pshaw!
- Qwenthur is pretty dumb at silly times. That whole tidal wave thing … here’s your
- How did they rig a shower in a helicopter? o.O Wait, no, stop asking questions, self. Itou Shizuka is being sexy. Fuck yes!
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Full-length images: 26.