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Light Novel Review - Heavy Object Volume 1

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A light novel series by Kazuma Kamachi (perhaps best known as the author and creator of 'A Certain Magical Index' and it's derivatives), Heavy Object takes place in a near future Earth where nations have been replaced by Ideologies, and war is fought almost exculsively by 'Objects.'

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An Object can best be thought of as a mecha, though in actual description they are rather like a heavily armed hovercraft the size of an aircraft carrier. They are immutable, invincible, invulnerable. The only way to fight an Object is with an Object of your own. That is, until two rear echelon maintenance soldiers, Quenser and Heivia, manage to blow one up in a last ditch effort to save a friend.

PROS:

  • Not Just Another Mecha Franchise. While Heavy Object does get pigeonholed as a mecha series, it is really a lot more than that. While lighthearted at times, and by necessity hazy on scientific fact, there are some truly unique and interesting mechanics at work behind the Objects, and what they can or cannot do.
  • REMFs. Quenser and Heivia are about as unlikely as two heroes can be, even for a light novel or anime. They're cowardly, they're weak, they watch a lot of porn. Yet, they believably pull off what most of the people in their world consider to be impossible. The destruction of an Object by flesh and blood soldiers. One cannot help but feel that Kazuma created these two characters as a way to 'take a day off' from writing the always courageous and upstanding Kamijo Toma.
  • Humor. There are quite a few amusing one liners per segment, many pertaining to the amusingly awkward relationship between Quenser and Princess, the elite pilot of the 'Baby Magnum,' the friendly Object attached to their unit.

CONS:

  • The Chosen One. Only the specially selected, trained, and augmented 'elites' can pilot an Object. While less stringent about selection than in some franchises (like only 14 year olds whose parents are entombed within the machine like Evangelion?), the concept of almighty war machine slaved to one pilot and no one else gets tired.
  • Frog Blast The Vent Core! If you are not a fan of sci-fi pseudoscience babble, there are parts of this that can seriously get to you. Just know that up front.
  • Macguffins! Like in video games, all of the Objects seem to have Achilles' heels. Never is an enemy Object just beat through old fashioned fire, maneuver, or shock effect. In a way, I feel like this belittles the importance of Princess and the Baby Magnum, as what should be a central character is marginalized. Even though she's piloting a tank the size of an aircraft carrier, she can't win without Quenser throwing a little plastic explosive into the giant enemy tank?
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