Posted by psgels on 28 January 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

Okay, so for those who missed it: I am not going to review Fumoffu because I don’t want to sit through a comedy I don’t enjoy. I do want to say a bit about why I didn’t like it, because the comedic moments of The Second Raid also turned me off for the same reason. For me, the creators took Sagara’s antics way over the top. In the first season he was a bright kid, who just had trouble adjusting in normal society. In the subsequent series, the creators try to make use of every light-hearted moment in order for him to do something outrageously stupid, only for Chidori to smack him in an over the top fashion. My biggest problem was that it wasn’t just not funny, but it also turned Sagara into an idiot and this plagues him throughout nearly the entire Second Raid.

As for the rest of this series… I’m really troubled judging it. During the middle part, I was really ready to label this series as superior to the first season. Even though Gonzo’s version of Sousuke was superior, Kyoani added a lot of extra things. The animation was far superior and the visual direction, and the small details within the storytelling were great to watch.

However, as the series drew near its finale, and Sousuke and especially his angst got more and more screentime… something just didn’t work for me. There was so much potential for this storyline and yet the creators waste so much time on Sousuke angsting over and over. It goes up to the point where his angst gets in the way of just about everything, preventing the minor characters from really shining.

And then came the ending. Seriously, what is it with Kyoani and Deus ex Machina endings? I’m trying not to spoil it, but the final episode was poorly built up, tried to do way too much character-development in way too little time, tried to wrap up its patiently built-up storyline way too fast. It felt way too convenient. A huge shame, considering how much potential there was in this series. It would even have been better if the creators just left a few more plotholes open, perhaps for a potential fourth season to address.

So yes. I may be the only one in this, but I actually enjoyed the Gonzo version more. With all the hype that surrounds it, I really expected something more from Kyoani’s version. It was undoubtedly more refined and superior in technical terms, but I just never liked Kyoani’s sense of humour, and this series misses the charms that made me enjoy the first season so much. This mostly is due to Sagara’s “derailment”, but also the villains themselves were surprisingly disappointing: none of them really matched the Gauron of the first season. They were all just too busy with their own quirks to really make an impact on me.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Excellent in technical terms; very creative, but the overall plot fails to make use of this potential.
Characters: 7/10 – Disappointing lead character and villains, though some of the side-characters have their moments of greatness.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Very highly detailed, very smooth animated. No complaints whatsoever.
Setting: 8/10 – Detailed military background forms a pretty solid base for this series to work with.

23 Responses

  1. specracer says:

    I’ve felt Chidori was the best character. Her increasing paranoia during the 1st part was great. I wish they would of stayed with Chidori more than Sousuke.

  2. Kim says:

    I am glad I am not the only person who didn’t think TSR was that great. Although looking back even the first season wasn’t perfect for me. I do like the characters of Sousuke and Chidori but I feel the mixture of dramatic action & romantic school age comedy don’t really mesh well. That’s just me though because obviously a lot of people love this franchise.

  3. Shinmaru says:

    I think the Gonzo version is better as well, although I admit to thinking Fumoffu? is superior to both. There’s just something about it that cracks me up. But, yeah, not much of a fan of TSR — just too much of the angst, as you write, and Gates is too cartoony a villain for me.

  4. I’m also a person who enjoy the first season of Full Metal Panic more than the two sequels.

    I also didn’t find Fumoffu very funny at all and can’t relate to how it’s consistently named by others as one of if not the funniest anime series of all time. I actually tried to review it once as well but just couldn’t get through it because it was rarely even the slighest bit funny to me no matter how hard it tried to shove it’s female on male slapstick gag “comedy” in my face in the same way as every other Kyoani series I’ve seen. By the way is that the only gag they know because it sure seems like it?

    I think it also needs to be said that Kyoani’s writers seriously seems to lack any idea of the concept of comedic timing/pacing and letting a joke or gag routine speak for itself if it is indeed funny. If a joke or gag needs to be explained, screamed or almost literally shoved in the viewers face it probably means it really isn’t all that funny and that they actually intend for the humour to be derived from it’s over the top delivery and the implication that what has just transpired is funny. If the viewer knows better and can see this then the humour doesn’t work plain and simple.

    Anyway I never thought I’d see another person that felt that TSR was weaker than the original as well let alone someone who’s reviews and tastes I regularly find hard to relate too. No offense meant.

    I felt that the first season’s advantage was that it had a better blend (and variety) of comedy (that didn’t need to be thrust upon the viewer nearly as often) and drama and that it also didn’t have the shortcoming of featuring a rehashed villain concept in Gates who in the long run is basically just crazy old Gauron all over again. It also had the advantage of being twice as long, thus giving the plotlines and characters a chance to grow on the viewer and also the chance to leave room for a nice little epilogue featuring Chidori and Sousuke enjoying a fishing date by the river where we can finally see that they’ve come to terms with their feelings for one another. In contrast TSR has that cheesy OVA featuring Tessa engaged in the pandering moeblob antics that Kyoto Animation has pretty much become infamous for abusing and that unfortunately happens to serve as the last instance of FMP being put to animation to date.

    As an addition I can’t help but feel that Kyoto Animation’s cult status these days plays a large part in why so many people seem to revere TSR and that Gonzo’s slow decay and eventual collapse is why people look upon the first season as some kind of utterly inferior failure. These sorts of things almost seem to have more of an influence on popular opinions than the actual content of the seasons themselves.

  5. Camario says:

    I actually like all three seasons myself but yes, Fumoffu isn’t the best comedy of all times or anything like that, which is what all the hype around the Internet makes it seem like.

    I thought Fumoffu was simply enjoyable enough and the character interactions were interesting to watch from time to time, but nothing incredibly original. That said, I can totally understand and respect your position.

    As for The Second Raid vs. the original series…it’s hard to say, because the angst didn’t bother me as much but I also thought the second season did need a better conclusion. The first season’s ending was easier to digest and didn’t feel too lacking. Once again though, we have to deal with the fact that this franchise was based on ongoing light novels and wasn’t an entirely original production. Apparently the author is writing the last volume at this time so hopefully we’ll see a fourth or even fifth season in the near future.

  6. Cheesyhoboe says:

    Wow. All these years, I’ve never seen or a met a single person besides me who prefers the original series to TSR, and today I’ve found a whopping total of 4.

  7. fox demon soavi says:

    I have to agree with your opinion 100% as I felt the same way. I didn’t midn htem being over the top for fomoffu since it was a side series but the second series it was just wtf.

  8. wakka9ca says:

    lol I found the first season to be better as well.

    Even though production value was higher, the Second Raid…. just didn’t have the same feel as the first season.

  9. HK-47 says:

    Count me in on the people who prefer the first season of TSR. I just hate it when a series concentrates way too much on characters going emo.

  10. Pax says:

    I can’t say i remember everything in detail about this one since i saw it a few years ago,but i definitely liked it a lot,also even if i do agree with your review, all those things did not bother me at all,not even the angst that i usually hate or the deus ex finale,i found the 2nd raid to be very entertaining.

    As for Fumoffu,i love it, i even rewatched it and it’s still incredibly funny, this is what a comedy should be like,most anime that are labeled as comedy are not really that funny, if i want to watch a comedy i would not choose an anime,sitcoms are way funnier,so far i have not found a comedy anime that manages to be as good as Seinfeld, Friends ,Curb Your Enthusiasm…

  11. kun says:

    Psgels, now that you said it, I don’t exactly remember any jokes in TSR so if you say that it is not funny, well, it might have been! But if you want to skip fumoffu because of it, somehow I’d feel that you might miss something big.

    Fumoffu is pure school life comedy that’s much funnier than the 1st season. When Sousuke declared his intention to still enroll in school (shouldn’t be a spoiler I guess, since everyone knows that there’s third season), well, fumoffu makes it shine. As usual, Sousuke have not adapted to the normal Japanese society yet. But now, with a lot of free times because Sousuke only part timing and don’t have to save the world using Arbalest all the time, he and Chidori instead use their spare time to do a lot of hilarious acts worthy of epic proportion. All episodes are stand-alone just like Doraemon and Gintama, and a great lot of them deliver more than expected. No mecha and definitely no emo; pure laughter.

    Psgels, and pretty much everyone else who has not watched fumoffu I guess, I think there’s a solution to whether you should decide to watch the full season of fumoffu. Try watching episode 7, titled “War Cry That Has Gone Too Far” / the rugby team. If you don’t find it funny, then I guess you made the right decision not to watch it. But you might want to check that first before deciding to skip the whole series.


  12. Drask says:

    Actually the original series and the sequel TSR (forget Fumoffu) follow the novel plot. These two animes follow the novels fairy accurately so any weakness in the story comes the novels. I have read fan translations of the novels covering TSR and can say that there is very little difference between the novels and the anime.

  13. Greenthy says:

    wasn’t too fond of the action in s1, and mainly enjoyed the humor of the sidestories :)
    so fumoffu was like a present from heaven
    and TSR a drag :)

  14. Scamp says:

    FUMOFFU is nonsensical and that’s where its charm lies. However I can easilly see why one might not enjoy it.

    On the other hand, I’m delighted to see the amount of people that prefer the first season of FMP. What made FMP was how much fun it was to watch and TSR killed that entirely. I never really noticed the change in Sagara but now that you mention it, he did become even less socially competent in the second season

  15. shogun22 says:

    I actually enjoyed Fumoffu.
    I read that some of the stories here were actually based on FMP side stories(comedy) which were serialized in Dragon Magazine.

  16. lostty says:

    I really should watch FMP soon…

  17. Reltair says:

    Wow, you didn’t like Fumoffu? I found it to be quite amusing.

    The ending to the Second Raid was disappointing to say the least. I found the first season to be vastly superior.

  18. theone says:

    Funny thing is that I watched fummoffu first before I knew anything about the first two seasons and I found it hilarious!

    I think that it was because I knew NOTHING of the first series so maybe that helped lol

    I didnt like the first OR second season of fmp …

  19. zz says:

    Any series even the most successful will have its faults and harsh critics (death note, code geass, lucky start).

    Personally FMP is one of my top 5 if not 3.

    Generally it is a good franchise and recommendable solely because it sold well and was largely popular, while most of the negative views tend to be the minority (like I said even the best series can be criticized)

    Wont go any further as to why it was popular just still hoping that they will animate the rest of the light novels XD

  20. Immelman says:

    Wow. So I thought that everyone would prefer TSR over the Gonzo season, I find everyone thinking the contrary… It’s a shock. I prefer TSR, and I liked Fumoffu too (I liked the first season a lot too).
    First, I don’t understand why everyone is talking about the comedy in TSR. Except the first two episodes, there isn’t a single joke. TSR is quite a serious part of the FMP story. So we can’t really judge these episodes based on the comedy. For me, TSR is superior in the action. The first season had too many boring episodes; I concede that there are also twice more episodes.
    As for Sousuke, he is also much more interesting in TSR. He may have become angsty, but it is a new side of his character. I consider that this new feature makes Sousuke much more developped as a character. After all, he is teenager, and he never had his rebellious period; he begins to understand that he’s totally being exploited by Mythril, and that orders are not the only thing in life. He’s becoming a real man.
    TSR also develops a lot Chidori. As a reader said above, the episode where she becomes paranoiac is excellent.
    The villains were enjoyable; their quirks quite matched Gauron’s immovable smirk.
    As for the end, yeah, ok…

  21. The Sandman says:

    Anyone know if there is going to be a continuation to the series or is this the end?

  22. Ferdinand says:

    I disagree completely with the reviews. full metal panic original was boring as hell, especially at the second half between episode 15 to 20. i found every single episode in tsr is more entertaining and the action scene is far better than the first one. also Fmp Fumoffu is the best romantic comedy anime i have ever seen. i remembered laughing very hard in all episodes, of course i been watched another comedy anime too like school rumble, tora dora, ouran highschool, et. still fumoffu its the best.

  23. Anna-ime says:

    Reading this review made me expand about the thoughts I myself had when I recently finished TSR. Although the ending does leave a feeling of expectation, most of the TSR series wrapped up the first series and Fumoffu INCREDIBLY. Considering the amount of war scences in FMP and relief in Fumoffu, the creaters were finding a balance, in addition to building characters and showing the wathcers that “heart-breaking, heart-racing, and soul-searching” end of a series. It makes you consider a teenager who never experienced a life with emotion and choices until meeting Chidori. And Chidori, in response to those amazing paranoic scenes of TSR, learns to really embrace her emotions for Sousuke that (in my opinion) were not truly as powerful back in that fishing scene ending of FMP. I truly enjoyed the TSR series that led up to an end that, yes, made me want to scream, “SO DO YOU END UP BEING WITH CHIDORI OR NOT?!?!? TELL HER YOU LOVE HER, OR KISS HER, OR SOMETHING!!!!”, but also gave a sufficient ending to the end of the FMP trilogy (so far) that seemed to make me feel complete as well. If it had ended differently (like with a kiss, or a promise of some sort to always stand by her side), I might have felt that the Sousuke I love and the Chidori I adore have changed into the average anime teen couple I usually can’t stand. Overall, all 3 series were one of the best anime I have watched in a long time, and started with a beginning of many expectations and action, took a break of comedy relief to prevent the eye sore of only sad or violent or emotional scenes, and ended with a kind of conflict that kept you watching ’til the end. I loved them all, and can’t say that FMP, Fumoffu, or TSR are better than the other because they WORK TOGETHER hand in hand, but can still be enjoyed on their lonesome nonetheless.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:46 AM)
    @Kaiser: so far it’s good. I’ve been hearing the buzz but I wished someone had nodged me to watch it sooner.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:42 AM)
    You’ve reminded me Bam that I’d been meaning to pick up ash vs the evil dead sometime.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:39 AM)
    @Kaiser: the remake was still pretty entertaining, but it lost the silly comedy edge the series was known for. I still think that the 2nd film had the most unique and prominent voice of its own, and all of that is present in the new series’ pilot. If anything Raimi cranked it up a couples of notches here and there.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:35 AM)
    There was a mean spirited feel to the remake I found pretty appealling.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:27 AM)
    @Kaiser: the original Evil Dead was playing the horror genre straight, but it had a strata of slap-stick that was partially unintended. With Evil Dead 2 he doubled down on the strange horror/comedy dynamic and it became fantastic. Army of Darkness was very entertaining, but it strayed very far from the series’ roots. The remake was only produced by Raimi, while he got back on the writer/director chair for the pilot of the new series, and proved that he still got it sharp as ever.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:19 AM)
    Then again I believe Raimi was fairly involved with the remake.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:18 AM)
    The remake as far as remakes go should have been worse but it worked much better than I would have thought and I say this as someone who hates reboots/remakes.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:16 AM)
    @Bam: I’ve only partially seen the first evil dead but I don’t think its aged well, the second one I’ve seen and its hugely entertaining later on but its army of darkness that was the most enjoyable of the three for me.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 03:47 AM)
    Wow Ash Vs the Evil Dead 01 was a blast; I really should’ve gotten into this sooner. I was smiling thru most of it, either because it was funny or slap-stick gory, or because it was a blast to see that Sam Raimi still got it. I guess the only time that Evil Dead works is when he’s involved. Seeing Bruce Campbell again with the chainsaw was a treat which I didn’t know I needed in my life.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:31 PM)
    I’m trying not to get my hopes up however, given that it wouldn’t be surprising if he gave us another filler chapter like he did with that pointless flashback.

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