Ichibod presses your Panic Button
Sun, 10 June 2007
Full Metal Panic (FMP) is a series with everything. Guns, Girls (in those oh so short school uniforms), Psycho lesbian sisters, and Giant robot suits with big guns.
Hell, I'm in heaven. Why call it Panic? It's more like a joyous sexual experience sent from up high. Sent from Madman to our glorious Buttonhole leader who bestowed the great honour of Full Metal Panic upon me.
Ok I admit before I saw Full Metal Panic - The Second Raid I was very much a Panic virgin. This series has had a lot of hype surrounding it and as such (me being me) I have avoided it all costs!
Excessive hype for a product can put our expectations too high, and often that product doesn't live up to its reputation and is not worthy of trading for our hard earned dollars. I could go on for hours about this but well, as usual, I am wrong.
Full Metal Panic! is well deserving of the hype it has received.
" Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid is well deserving of The Hype. "
Full Metal Panic was originally based on a book by Shoji Gatoh which also led to the spin off series Full Metal Panic: Fumoffo. The Fumoffo series took more of a light hearted approach to things, relying on humour to carry it along.
The Second Raid however, is a return to the more serious storyline.
|Got an Anime haircut, on my mind... |
Following the exploits of Sousoke Sagara - an undercover high school student and member of the mercenary group Mithril. Mithril is an organisation set up to protect Tokyo and the world against terrorist organisations.
What we learn from the beginning of the first episode is that all is not well in the Mithril world. It seems someone has a grasp on their technology and wants to take possession of Sousoke Sagara's robot suit Arbalest. The episode begins with a bang as we are thrown into a major battle with a group of struggling refugees.
Like Sousoke, a little mass slaughter of defenceless refugees always makes me want to kill everything in site.
After a little research on the earlier Full Metal Panics it would seem that they lacked a decent evil character. The Second Raid has no end of Baddies introduced throughout the first four episodes. The first bad guy we are greeted with appears in the first few minutes of episode one: (no definitely not that notorious Star Wars episode) - 'The End of Day By Day.' I didn't catch his name but imagine a Columbian drug lord that sounds like every Russian bad guy from every movie with a Russian bad guy in it and you have this guy. Although only a passing character I got a few chuckles from him.
It's not long before we are introduced to Mr Gates. Our Capital "E" for Evil, Evil Evil "Yes I want attention, and say evil three times for dramatic effect…" bad guy.
I'm loving Mr Gates. He is the cause of the most death and destruction. It is he who controls the two psycho lesbian sisters.
Interesting fact #1 - The psycho lesbian sisters were originally not so lesbian and were actually brothers… (awaits the collective ewwww!).
Mr Gates has possibly the strangest and funniest line in the four episodes I have seen. Imagine a scene as Mr Gates escapes amid much fire and explosions giggling like a little girl at Christmas as she receives that role defining
'My first shove the baby in the oven toy'...... He turns to his driver and excitedly proclaims "I find big fireworks just as invigorating as tiny asses"
The Second Raid is quite a violent serious affair but still manages to throw in a few good doses of humour. From what I have read of the Fumoffu series it was mainly based on Sousuke's antics in the classroom with his charge Chidori.
There is a history with these two that well, I guess you'd have to read the book or rent or buy the first two series to totally understand this. Fumoffuseems to have really pushed the humour angle to the point of American Pie stupidity. Fortunately for me The Second Raid uses a more cerebral humour that helps with the flow and avoids the boom boom joke.
Now for the round of applause to Kyoto Animation (deafened by the sound of polite golf claps). This is the first Anime DVD I have reviewed that has actually had some decent extras worth talking about. I know I always live in hope that as a series progress that the extras will miraculously appear in some form to blow our minds. But in reality they often drag out the extras over the series offering probably as much as Full Metal Panic - TSR offers up in the first DVD volume in the series.
Extras include the bonus episode #000. This is basically a trailer that includes some footage not seen in the first episode. Second up is the audio commentary for the first four episodes. I didn't actually listen to any of it so I'm not going to tell you how great it is. But if the rest of the featurettes are anything to go by, I'm sure you and I will love it like it was our first born.
|Sure to be a cause of New Pollution |
The featurettes kick off with a tour of the Japanese self defence force. The creators of the series embark on a day of watching military vehicles in action and provide some funny comments on their experience. We then move off to location scouting in Hong Kong Part One. The creative team move around Hong Kong scouting locations in what becomes an interesting look at Hong Kong and again is quite funny. This quote kind of sums up the commentary on the first two featurettes; "Please look forward to hearing more of our ridiculous conversations"
We finish off with the Dawn of Light novel, but not forgetting the good old textless songs intros and episode credits. Can you believe I have written all this before I even mentioned the cheesy songs? No, I'll leave that topic alone for you to discover.
Animation is handled superbly by the Kyoto animation team and the insight gained in the featurettes really gives you a sense of just how hard these studios actually work on getting their details right. It's this attention to detail that makes FMP-TSR one of my newest favourite shows. Again Madman has conned me with a free DVD, but I need a bunch more to actually see it through to the conclusion. It will not be with any regret that I pursue the rest of the series.
Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid is one to watch and watch now. Volume's #1-3 are available now through all your usual Anime suppliers or online via Madman's website. Volume one is now available in a standard and deluxe edition with a bonus collector's tin.
So now is the time to 'Panic!' - get out there and buy it!
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So close to perfect, but I still have Hellsing Ultimate to watch