Posted by psgels on 27 May 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



It’s probably no surprise that romantic comedies are among my least favourite genres in anime. The reason for that is that 90% of the bunch just looks way too damn much like each other, is too afraid to go beyond the usual genre tropes, and/or just plain lazy. Nevertheless, I definitely enjoy that remaining ten percent that manages to avoid these pitfalls. Full Metal Panic belongs to those 10%, and is another example of a Good Gonzo series.

Full Metal Panic is a story that combines this romantic comedy with futuristic military combat (mechas included), and it tells the story of a teen-aged army sergeant (Sousuke) who grew up as a child soldier that ends up protecting a not-so-regular high school girl (Chidori). These two really are the reason why you would want to watch this series: even though the series is seven years old by now, they’re still fresh and dynamic, and the relationship between the two of them really grows on you. Sousuke’s socially inept antics will delight any fan of deadpan humour, while Chidori herself quickly sets herself apart from all other overused tsunderes with her wit. The two shine in the comedic part with some fresh jokes, but they definitely impress the most when they get serious.

Overall, this series has made a good use of its airtime; it consists out of four arcs, which all serve their own purpose: the first arc serves as introduction, the second fleshes out, the third one provides background and in the fourth one everything comes together in a great climax. This series knows how to build up and finish off with an impact, though my one complaint is that the comedy and drama don’t try to mix at all: an episode is either focused at completely at comedy or completely at drama; there’s hardly any in between.

Full Metal Panic is a series that shines in the way it takes a bunch of cliches, and makes them actually believable. Mechas and romantic comedies have been done to death before, but in this series, it’s actually made plausible: the situations that the characters are thrusted in make quite a bit of sense. The military side of the story is fleshed out really well and the battles are pretty realistic for anime’s standards. And take the seemingly oddball character of Tessa: she’s a young girl who commands an entire crew of a hyper-modern submarine. Throughout the course of the season, you can and will be wondering why the heck she is at such a position. And yeah, while there is of course no way that this would ever happen, her actions at the end of the series will have you convinced that she at least deserved her position.

Unfortunately, there were cliches that even this series didn’t escape (I’m looking at you, walking-into-bathroom-naked) and the building up during the drama parts does take a bit of patience when everything is being set up because during these parts there isn’t a lot that is going to make you keep watching, but the climaxes will definitely deliver in the end. My biggest complaint is that the main villain lacks any sort of background whatsoever: he’s definitely one of he smarter vilains out there, but he could have become so much better if we actually KNEW WO HE WAS. There are a few annoying side-characters (I’m looking at you, Chidori’s classmates), but overall Full Metal Panic can boast a well developed main cast, and I’m interested to see what Kyoani could have added to their development when they took over the franchise.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

12 Responses

  1. Avatar Camario says:

    I thought this had a bit too much filler, from what my memories tell me, but otherwise it was pretty good indeed. Not sure I would give that high of a score to the characters, at least at this stage, so I’ll take it as a sign of how much you liked them more than anything else in particular.

    KyoAni did do a better job, all in all, but Gonzo gave the series a fair start. The wait for another season is killing me though, if it will ever even come.

  2. Avatar Sparkie says:

    Tip: I’d avoid fumoffu, as it’s basically a series of filler episodes that don’t contribute to the story whatsoever. I doubt you’d enjoy it.

  3. Avatar HikkiZ says:

    Well Fumoffu isn’t meant to advance the story. It skips all the drama and just does pure comedy and does it very well IMO. I’d easily put it in the top 2 or 3 funniest anime series of all time.

  4. Avatar lialiakicks says:

    YOU MUST WATCH FULL METAL PANIC: THE SECOND RAID. If you enjoy the serious parts now, you’ll love TSR! :D That show is of the many reasons why I love KyoAni.

  5. Avatar lulu says:

    *may contains spoiler*
    Its amazing how this FMP novel turn anime could do. The animation illustrates the novel very well. Of course, everyone agree KyoAni did a good job, but I still think Gonzo did it fairly well, it made me love the series the first time I watched it. The graphic was great, it blew my mind when I watch it many years ago. The characters does deserve 9/10. Because they are original, means they don’t remind me of other anime characters out there. Although, many would disagree, I sure enjoy the talking mecha, AL, he’s got a sense of lamda humor. I sure hope they will continue to animaze the rest of the novel, because the best is yet to come… ARX-8, Banzai!

    jokes:
    If you ever see Lelouch smile, run. If you see Sousuke in the horizon, just duck and cover……its too late to run.

  6. Avatar Greenthy says:

    I would definitely NOT skip fumoffu
    as it’s one really good comedy

    I agree that FMP season 1 had to cope with a long amount of filler episodes before moving onto the plot
    but those filler episodes made the show so much more enjoyable

    TSR doesn’t have the mass filler episodes, they’re saved all in fumoffu

    Still eagerly awaiting a new season, although it’ll probably take a while (if there’ll even be one)

  7. Avatar Greenthy says:

    forgot to mention
    Tessa OVA =

  8. Avatar erwf says:

    Fumoffu is bloody hilarious

    much better then the original series imo

  9. Avatar cody says:

    Fumoffu was pretty funny but I can see how it gets old to people because of Sousuke and how easy it is to predict what’s going to happen because of him. The rest of the series is pretty decent as well. I’ve been watching some older shows lately though (macross, just started marmalade boy) and I gotta say…It’s going to be kind of hard to watch some romantic comedies now considering Marmalade boy as done more AND done better in a handful of episodes than a lot of romantic comedies out there.

    I know you’re into watching older shows so I would check it out when you have time despite your tight anime schedule.

  10. Avatar Zetatrain says:

    Love FMP, has such a nice balance between high school comedy and mecha action even if they don’t always mix well. While Gonzo did a fair job, Kyoani definitely improved FMP, especially in animation,story telling,and dialogue. TSR is a must if you liked the serious parts and Fummoffu is hilarious if some what repetitive.

    The only con with Kyoani being in charge of FMP is that it does not seem to be high on their to do list since there haven’t even been rumors about the next season ( been like 4 years since TSR). There’s always the light novels, but it seems that North America stopped licensing them after vol.4(the first half of TSR), so it may be a long time before I get to see what happens after TSR.

  11. Whoa! I’m surprised you liked this. It was okay for at first but after a few episodes I couldn’t stomach it anymore x_x

    *remembers her countless headaches*

    Though I admit fumoffu was hilarious! My friend “forced” me to watch it T_T

  12. Avatar Protodude says:

    If you enjoyed the first season this much then you have no excuse to watch the rest, since it only gets better from here. Definitely give Fumoffu a shot, it’s one of the funniest anime I’ve ever seen. They got the funny out of the way so TSR could be serious, and it turns out well.

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