Publisher: Fujimi Shobo
Genre: Action, Comedy, Mecha, Military, Sci-Fi
Release: S1 (2002), S2 Fumoffu (2003), S3 The Second Raid (2005)
Ever since high school, I was already listening to both the opening and ending songs of Full Metal Panic! since a friend shared them to me, though I really never got to watch the series. That is until after reading a blogger’s top-5 funniest anime, I opted watching its second season – Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. Next thing I know I was curious about the other two seasons and got hooked up on them as well!
Synopsis: With the constant advancement of global terrorism, a secret multinational organization dubbed ‘Mithril‘ was formed – a group composed of highly trained and specialized mercenaries equipped with the latest and most advanced technology up to date. The show features the Mithril constituents of TDD-1: Tuatha De Danaan, a mobile submarine base commanded by Teletha Testarossa. In a parallel universe of our 1998 – where the cold war is yet to end, is where the story begins.
The origin of such sophisticated equipment used by Mithril came from people called “Whispered“, human data-banks of the mysterious “Black Technology.” To keep a certain Whispered named Kaname Chidori from enemy hands, Mithril assigns Sousuke Sagara, a 17-year old sergeant of TDD-1, to enroll in Chidori’s high school and protect her by all means. Unfortunately, with Sousuke having experienced nothing but guerilla combat since childhood, troubles to fitting in a normal non-war society are bound to arise.
Non-spoiler summaries of each season:
Season 1 – a well-balanced set of 24 episodes, introducing viewers to the universe of Full Metal Panic. The blending of comic and dramatic elements is quite amusing as they never fail to punch in something hilarious out of a very serious situation, and vice versa. Season 1 focuses on the various life-threatening predicaments and sentiments facing Chidori, Sousuke and the members of TDD-1, as well as the revelation of the conspiracies behind the unknown group aiming to kidnap the Whispered.
Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – Completely taking off from all seriousness and emotional constraints, Fumoffu shows the complete side-splitting hilarity that Full Metal Panic can be. Though beneath all that laughter, lies subtle elements that intensely develop the uncanny relationship between Sousuke and Chidori. New characters are also introduced that are exclusive for Fumoffu.
The Second Raid – The third season employs a rather much more serious and politically-driven aspect. Also included in the TSR mix are added gore, violence and ecchi. Focusing more on the civil war between North China and South China, an unknown organization – also possessing Black Technology – divulges from the midst of all the confusion. To make things worse, Sousuke is caught in the battle of choosing between the path of a soldier who only functions through orders, or one that has a heart.
Overall, what I liked about the series is how it kept me glued to the screen with its interesting mix of drama and comic relief. There’s also the uncanny and unique relationships between Sousuke’s comrades- the blunt Melissa Mao and the perverted Kurz Weber. The fictional mecha part is also well-rationalized as all technicalities are deduced in a way that viewers can logically digest. So yeah- it’s a classic that’s a must-watch!