Well, I’m a bit outdated but it’s still not too late to put up a review, eh ;). Well, to be honest, I actually stopped watching this series at episode nine because I was a bit unsatisfied due to reasons below. So I was waiting for the batch torrents to come out and I’d just batch watched 10-13 :)
(long post ahead, so get ready :)
First off, some background info. As for the uninitiated, Full Metal Panic was originally a novel written by Shoji Gatoh before being adapted for anime by Gonzo in 2002. The first Full Metal Panic was done with materials from the 1st 7 volumes and was quite successful, although there was some disappointment with the ending as Chidori and Sousuke’s relationship did not develop.
Then a second series was made by Kyoto Animation (Gonzo sucks), Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, which details some of the funnier parts of the Full Metal Panic story. It’s widely regarded as one of the best comedy anime(I recommend it to everyone) in recent times with easy to understand humour, great art and good production values. But still.. it didn’t resolve the relationships of the main characters, that is.. they didn’t progress much.
And a third series was made, due to overwhelming support from fans greatly enjoying the first two series (like me :P) which was Full Metal Panic : The Second Raid by Kyoto Animation,taking materials from the eighth volume of the novels, Owaru Day by Day and some original anime additions by Gatoh-sensei himself.
Phew. On to my review. Starting off, I’ve read the original novels translated by Brandi from Boku-Tachi (she’s done a darned fine job) after finishing off FMP and FMP? Fumoffu. I had high expectations for this show after reading the novels and in a nutshell, it was both good and bad at the same time.
Changes were made to the anime, like changing the twins from guys to girls (twincest rules!!! yuri > yaoi :), introducing Mr. Gates (he’s memorable, definately), and adding in extra parts like the first episode and the Nanking arc. It was definately a good move as some of the changes resulted in more action scenes, more comedy and of course,
HAWT YURI ACTION …err.. more character interaction.
But adding in all those did screw up the pacing of the anime a bit and somewhat detracted from the original novel story, causing a “rushed” feel on the main points of the story when Sousuke’s assignment to guard Chidori withdrawn, leaving episode nine lacking the impact of the original novel :(. Partially one of the reasons I stopped watching.
But happily, the animators regained their footing with the next four episodes, detailing Sagara’s emotional confusion and subsequent breakdown. Honestly, I did think that the “Chidori lookalike” prostitute was stretching it too far, but the length of time shown for Sousuke culminating in his breakdown when Gauln tricked him into thinking that Chidori was dead was nicely spent. I could almost feel Sousuke’s helplessness in me too T_T.
But inevitably, proof that pacing was shot emerged at the fact that the last episode had it’s OP & ED sequences cut and stretched to 27 mins. It was still a good move of Kyoto-Ani to do that, instead of leaving us with a bad ending, totally redeeming themselves with the final parting shot of Chidori crying on Sousuke’s shoulder and their train ride back home. It also marks a major development of their relationship to date. By all means, Owaru Day by Day was essentially an important turnpoint of the series from a more relaxed to a serious tone and in the end, there is that feeling that is nicely done by Kyoto-Ani, beautifully transitioning the novel into the anime.
That aside, the extra anime-only addons was also done nicely, not surprisingly due to the fact that Gatoh-sensei actually wrote them. Episode One was a true defination of the saying, “Starting with a bang”, IMO. The subsequent introduction to Mr. Gates, the crazed but talented villain elicted a lot of laughs as undoubtably, he was one of the more original and psychotic villians in any recent anime to date. The “Ave Maria” part in episode two and his last line of ” They’re not long enough” about his sideburns was hillarious, ejecting a moment of hilarity in an otherwise, serious or brutal scenes.
The wise decision of changing the twins from their original novel versions of guys to girls added in some sex appeal to the show. The Fumoffu parts notwithstanding, the main storyline had a serious lack of girls, with only Chidori, Tessa and Melissa Mao as poster pin-ups. Introducing the “Twincest”, as popularly called, added in a lot of appeal and tapped in to the current “moé” phenomenon among otakus. I mean.. who can resist two hawt yuri twin chicks. Well, being crude aside, the twins were a real showstealer everytime they appeared from their introduction in episode two till their deaths in episode thirteen. Until now, I still can’t let the fact that they had to die go away. For the first time, I’m actually hoping for them to pull a Mwu and be miraculously revived in the next series.But… I guess that’s an impossible wish :(.
Anyways, back on track, the production values of this show is very high with everything from the art to the action sequences is finely done by the Kyoto-Ani team. Heck, even the fans lobbied for them to do this series. Imagine, Gonzo doing it….. the thought sickens me :P. Luckily, Gatoh-sensei was impressed with them too ;). I would seriously wish a series involving a certain 10 yr old teacher, a loli vampire, and a half-human, half-bird demon master swordsgirl would be redone with Kyoto-Ani at the helm ;).
Music was done very well, with the BGM’s from the previous seasons reused in their respective positions and the OP & ED both done by Mikuni Shimokawa in Full Metal Panic tradition. Minami Kaze and Mou Ichido Kimi ni Aitai are both fine songs but IMHO, her songs for Fumoffu, Sore ga,Ai Deshou Kimi ni Fuku Kaze are more better ;).
Overall, Full Metal Panic : The Second Raid was a good series only plagued with some pacing issues and the biggest shortcoming of only lasting one season. I was expecting Dancing Very Merry Christmas to be animated too (hint: a certain white-haired girl working as a “terrorist”, with a certain teen soldier and a certain lecherous guy as her subordinates :). Oh well, I guess I can sincerely look forward for a fourth season and hopefully, Kyoto-Ani (assuming they will do it) can match up and even top their effort made in FMP:TSR ;).
Rating : 8/10
– More FMP!!!
– hawt yuri twincest >:)
– Mr. Gates
– Sousuke’s ass getting kicked in Eps. 13 by Chidori
– the action sequences
– and more…
– TOO SHORT!!!!! I WANT MORE!!!!
– Pacing problems.
(phew. Ended up getting a bit too long winded tehe :)