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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Full Metal Panic! and Fumoffu!? and Second Raid

Sousuke Sagara, Sergeant of the mercenary group, Mithril, is given an assignment: To keep Chidori Kaname safe at all costs. However, living his whole life in the military, Sousuke has issues blending in with the surreal life and struggles to juggle his school life, with his military one all the while keeping Chidori safe from harm.

It's a pretty straight forward anime with the usual generic characters. Both Sousuke and the direct, aggressive Chidori are quite cookie cutter, but have a unique twist of humor that makes this anime in particular good. In addition, it's another mech anime so you can expect the usual action scenes. This anime however, feels different in the aspect of mech anime, because instead of the usual "humanoid mechs are part of society" spiel. Early on, you learn that the existence of the Armored Slaves (catagory for mechs) aren't supposed to be there. An anachronism if you will. So basically, what makes this anime unique is its uniqueness. Yes, you have all the basic characters that we've all seen, but twisted into different ways that I haven't seen any other anime turn.

The art is high quality stuff. There's a bit of cutting corners, but generally it's at a constant high budget. The music fits almost too perfectly. You have the large chain of militaristic themes for Sousuke in and out of school as well as a large array of nice themes for general tension and R&R.
Voice acting on both sides are impressive. As usual, I'm more for the Japanese voice actors since both Chidori and Sousuke seem to fit perfecty (as opposed to the english where there's a noticeable in ages between the actor and character).

What is a bit weak for the first season is it's story. Although, it's quite strong in developing everyone and starts characters off with a strong distinct personality, you get these weird moments where it just looks... off. The story works, and it works well but there's a bit of repetition that I could've done without.

As for Fumoffu?! This is a joke. Seriously. The animation team literally decided to take a break from the high packed action and boosted its ridiculousness. It's clearly obvious that the storyboard writers along with the script writers know what they're doing and know they're doing it well because Fumoffu really boosts all comedy from the first season many times. Yes, it's supposed to be a relaxation season, but that doesn't mean that you can drop the quality and the script. Things stay consistent with Fumoffu?! almost to the point where you think, "are we supposed to take this seriously?" In some cases, yes, and other cases no. We're supposed to understand that this is purely for comedic purposes but as well to be seen as an actual season rather than just filler. It's great. I loved Fumoffu and it boosted my opinion of Full Metal Panic at least ten times.

Second Raid is a great closer for the Full Metal Panic! series. At first, I was worried that it'd be a bit rushed due to many episodes that seemed like fillers, but the storyboard directors did a great job in linking most, if not all, of it together. There are some instances where there are questions unanswered and holes in the plot that makes you wonder "why was it even in there?" but overall, it was a better season than the first. Sure, it didn't go through all the antics of the first probably because it was a closer than an opener, but with Fumoffu?! under their belt, it didn't really matter. There was still a nice mix of comedy and a bit of the most kick ass robot fights I've seen. Let's face it, considering Full Metal Panic! was in 2-3 of the Super Robot Taisen games (including the latest one Super Robot Taisen: W for the DS) whereas most other anime got only one cameo, the team must've did something right.

Note: These screens are from the Second Raid, but generally they're all there.
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