What’s it about ?
Exposition, the anime ! Adapted from a light novel series, of course.
Okay, here’s a quick summary of the premise : in the future, conventional weapons (and even nuclear missiles) have been rendered obsolete by the titular “Heavy Objects”, ball-shaped mechas with impressive firepower and even more impressive shielding. So now wars have become skirmishes between Heavy Objects. This first episode goes into much more extraneous detail than that, but that’s the gist of it.
Qwenthur (sic), our protagonist, is a mechanic student who’s enlisted into a military outpost in the middle of nowhere, so as to study the Heavy Object stationed there. It’s an old, non-specialized model, which is all the best for him to learn as much about the tech as possible. And then, PROFIT ! (He’s very vague about how merely knowing how those things work will allow him to easily become an engineering tycoon. Surely the field is already crowded as heck ?)
The thing you quickly notice about Qwenthur is that he. never. shuts. up. Which is doubly bad, as he’s also our narrator : even with his mouth closed, his inner monologue will drown the audience with tedious and clumsy exposition. I usually don’t mind Natsuki Hanae, but by 3/4ths of the way through this episode I was yelling at the screen to just shut the — up.
“The Princess” (who may have an actual name) is the Heavy Object’s actual pilot. Supposedly super-elite and stuff, but she spends most of the episode idling around on standby, or taking a gratuitous shower to liven up Qwenthur’s droning narration. (And of course additional material states she’s 14. Urgh.)
Major Capistrano is the local commanding officer, at the grizzled old age of 18. She’s actually coordinationg the operations of at least 4 other Heavy Objects, if her tablet display is any indication. Or maybe it’s just a casual game/training program she plays ; she certainly looks horribly bored doing so.
The show makes it look like there are only five people total on the base (with Qwenthur’s hardass boss at the mecha maintenance shop, and his best pal/rookie radio operator), despite the vague suggestion more soldiers are around.
Well, the direction makes it darnedest to liven things up, with decent battle visuals for the Heavy Objects and some desperate fanservice scenes, and even the music swelling around to try and make it epic, but nothing can overcome the dreary exposition.
Oh, dear. I came into this cautiously optimistic, as the same author’s Index series led to a decently entertaining anime series… but gods, this is unengaging on every level. I’m used to screenwriter Hiroyuki Yoshino being widely inconsistent in his adaptations, but this is an unfortunate failure to weed down the inherent wordiness of the source material. The already rather flat characters become mere vessels for the exposition, what little humour filters through isn’t particularly funny, and the script even goes out of its way to state that Heavy Object warfare just isn’t very interesting period. Why should we care, then ?
Very disappointing, and I won’t be bothering with any more episodes.