Okay, I’m writing this after finishing FMP Season 1 and Fumoffu. I’ve decided before that it’s silly to review different seasons of the same series seperately, but I that’s actually what I’ll be doing here. Fumoffu kind of has to be reviewed seperately… also I haven’t watched The Second Raid yet, and I’m getting a feeling that if I wait to blog AFTER I watch that, then I’ll lose momentum. I’m getting better at thinking up stratagies to avoid losing momentum. Anyway, this’ll be in 3 parts: Season 1, Fumoffu and the Second Raid. Will definitely add in TSR later. For now, SEASON 1~
FULL METAL PANIC!
Well, for some reason I feel ashamed, but I really did enjoy this. So I’m going to try and figure out the source of both the shame and the enjoyment here. I’m thinking I got kind of a Ranma 1/2 feeling from this. Plus I’m kind of (purposefully) shounen deprived, and this was a little shounen-esque at times. But I don’t think I would classify it as shounen. At least not cliche shounen. Yes, the amount of pantyshots in the first 6 episodes almost made me stop watching. Anyway, I think it would help if I went about this in a more organized way.
I don’t even want to go here. The plot is random and unlikely and it’s DEFINITELY not the reason I continued watching. But you know what might have helped keep me watching? This was my first MECHA ANIME! So exciting! I’ve always found mecha to be cheesy and wondered how dressing up in a gigantic mechanical armor suit could fascinate so many people. My curiosity about why it’s so enthralling for those legions of fanboys (and fangirls) made me continue opening up the next episode. Part of it was also that I actually don’t watch this type of anime very often. So it was kind of (oddly) fresh. To much fresh anime leads to extremely un-fresh anime seeming fresh. Interesting.
Anyway, the basic plot premise is that Sagara Sousuke, a Sergeant for a secret seigi-no-mikata-like organization called MITHRIL, is assigned to be the secret bodyguard of Kaname Chidori – a teenage girl who lives alone. Hrm. Violent, hilarious antics ensue as we discover that Sagara, a genius when it comes to war, is totally lacking in social skills and common sense. The main villain is Gauron, your classic cardboard cutout never-dying villain. Turns out Chidori is a “Whispered” who has subconscious knowledge of black mecha technology imbedded in her mind which evil people want. But who cares about that when you can have a) mecha fights or b) comedy between Sagara and Chidori.
Basically, it’s random and I didn’t really care.
Possibly the real reason why I kept watching. Nope, they’re not deep. Do they develop? Not really. Are they amazing and completely, totally uncliched? Not that either. So why don’t I hate them? Let me see if I can explain this rationally and not turn into a fangirl.
Not completely like any cliche guy character I’ve seen. He does have uncommon skillz at war and fighting. Aaaand he’s only 17. But let’s ignore that. It’s his total lack of common sense that makes him charming. In short, he’s an idiot. He seems oh-so-competent during mecha battles and he always knows how to deal with dangerous issues. But apply the same character to regular life and he just ends up paranoid and ridiculous. I would think “Is this getting old?” and then I’d be like “…nah” and keep watching.
Her main cliche is probably tsundere, the hot-tempered kind. Yes, she yells at and hits Sousuke with a paper fan when he’s being ridiculous. Yes, this gets old. But she’s also sort of rational. She does need to be rescued often, but not because she’s incompetent. And of course Sousuke is better at fighting than she is, he’s in a secret organization for christ sake. I have Balsa if I need an amazing female fighter. Anyway, the thing that allows you to put up with her damsel-in-distress problem is that she also helps Sousuke out with her “Whispered” skillz. They end up becoming more of a combo than a guys-rescues-girl thing, especially later on. Plus she has to help him out of all the situations he gets into in the real world. I’m really happy with how they turned into a partners/combo relationship. It’s cool.
The rest of the characters were pretty standard, but I did like Melissa Mao and Kurz Weber as side characters. Oof, and Tessa was a bit hard to take at times, but in reality some people are like that. I dealed.
None of these 3 categories worthy of its own paragraph for this show. The art is classic early-2000’s. The animation is completely normal. The music is Jpop-like. Nuff said.
There’s not much worth mentioning in this show other than the characters (Chidori X Sousuke SPECIAL COMBO ATTACK) and the fact that it was a little funny at times. It’s diverting. It’s the new Inuyasha.
FULL METAL PANIC? FUMOFFU
Fumoffu is basically a side story to FMP, leaving out any millitary action or real villains. This gets more like Ranma 1/2 since there really is no main plot AT ALL. But I actually managed to enjoy this equally if not more than the first season. First off, the focus was on comedy; one of the parts I liked more in the original series. I’ve been comdey-deprived in my anime lately… Also, there was no stupid never-dying villain lurking in the background. And while the episodes definitely followed a formula (something strange happens, Sousuke does something ridiculous, Chidori smacks him with a paper fan, everything is solved) there were only 12 of them so it didn’t get tiring.
Also, I actually surprised myself at how much I laughed when Bonta came on. Of course the first time Bonta appeard was the funniest, but I was really quite happy to see him appear again later on. One more time and it could’ve gotten old, but I was enjoying it too much.
Anyway, I’ve been trying to rationalize, but I think this is really just something I liked because I was comedy deprived.
FULL METAL PANIC: THE SECOND RAID
As of first episode: IT’S. SO. PRETTYYYY!
Ahem. Well, I have now finished TSR. Gahhhh I really want another season. What about Amalgam?! You just introduce this new organization with Tessa’s brother as the leader and then leave us hanging? WTF? Moar!
Strange to say, but TSR actually had something of a real plot. It was like someone injected steroids into Season 1’s plot. If Fumoffu was Season 1 minus the action, then TSR was Season 1 minus the comedy. Basically we have some new villains: this creepy psychopathic hairy Russian guy with side-burns; Chinese yuri twins; and the mysterious leader of Amalgam, the organization they all seem to be affiliated with. Then Sousuke gets removed from his side-job of being Chidori’s bodyguard. Also, he sucks at piloting the Arbalest, which becomes another main point of this season. So Chidori has to fend for herself, which is AWESOME and you see a side of Sousuke that’s not completely ace at everything military. Pretty cool. I could still see where the plot was going most of the time, but at least I actually noticed that there WAS a plot, unlike the first season.
I guess I covered this in plot, but basically TSR develops Sousuke a LOT more; and Chidori is not without her moments as she now has to protect herself. It was pretty depressing that the two of them were on opposites sides of the series for practically the whole season. It would be like Chidori episode, Sousuke episode. It changed things up though, so it was all good. Anyways, they both still rock. I’m not being objective… damn.
Sound + Animation
Same ol’ Full Metal Panic! The music is all really similar throughout all three seasons. The three OPs and EDs are carbon copies of each other. But it helps keep the atmosphere intact, so I didn’t mind. But OMG the animation and art was SO MUCH PRETTIER. It was incredible. Kind of like the difference between the old Inuyasha and Kanketsu-hen. Don’t you love that? Seeing some show you liked but that had lacking animation get a new studio? It’s like a makeover.
Augh I missed Fumoffu. This really was a bit too serious for me. I love serious; but I find it difficult to take mecha seriously. So I need my mecha to be comedic. But who cares; this is probably the only mecha-ish show I’ll ever watch. Though I HAVE been meaning to watch Escaflowne. Man, I want another season. TSR had no Chidori and Sousuke combination action moments, they still haven’t even scratched the surface with the “Whispered” thing, and hello? What about this whole “Amalgam” organization?! But I have faced up to the fact that getting a new season is extremely unlikely. Possibly even more unlikely than getting the Saiunkoku novels translated to English (hey, if they’re doing Spice and Wolf…) since it’s already been 4 or 5 years since TSR aired. Sad…
IS FULL METAL PANIC! THE SERIES FOR YOU?
I realize that this review is pretty lame since there’s really not much you can say about Full Metal Panic and I basically only wrote it because I was hyped about watching action comedy again. So in order to make this worthwhile, I’ll list carefully who I think would enjoy Full Metal Panic!
- Do you tend to watch fresh, unusual series?
- Are you unafraid to indulge your guilty fan side?
- Have you been feeling deprived of comedic action lately?
- Did you enjoy Ranma 1/2?
- Do you scoff at mecha but harbor a small curiosity regarding it?
- Are you looking for something diverting to distract you from the tragedy of Rose of Versailles?
… Full Metal Panic! may be the show for you!