The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Full Metal Panic!

Title: Full Metal Panic!
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Gonzo
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 8 Jan 2002 – 18 Jun 2002

Synopsis: In an alternate future where the Soviet Union is as strong as ever and the Cold War rages on, a secret organization known as Mithril must protect the Whispered from terrorists. The Whispered unwittingly possess knowledge of Black Technology, a power so great that it can produce very dangerous weapons and disrupt the balance of power. Sagara Sousuke, a Mithril sergeant is sent to a local highschool to protect a young girl, Chidori Kaname, who is a potential Whispered. Unfortunately, Sousuke has some trouble “fitting in”.

The Highlights
Presentation: Superb animation and music.
Characters: Excellent chemistry.
Entertainment: Topnotch action scenes and laugh out loud comedy.
Plot: Vague ending with many questions left unanswered.

Full Metal Panic! is by no means your average mecha anime. A more comedic premise with an excellent story sets this anime apart from the more action orientated Gundam series. Laughing is unavoidable when the naïve Sousuke attempts to protect Chidori through any means possible, using guns, smoke grenades, and live explosions. However, when the laughs stop the amazing action sequences begin, they are always top notch.

The entire presentation of this series is awesome. As with other Gonzo works such as Vandread, Full Metal Panic! has impressive music. An amazing opening theme song as well as the background music during battles or even normal school days all prove to be phenomenal. Along with the grand music comes excellent animation. Gonzo is a company known for excelling with visuals and Full Metal Panic! is definitely not the exception to that rule. The sharp animation and pleasing character designs accentuate the already gripping action scenes.

Although the story is something to be spoken of in and of itself, the real gem in Full Metal Panic! is the character relationships. Sousuke and Chidori comprise what is among the best couples in anime. Even though they seem like exact opposites, at a deeper level their respective difficulties with general “fitting in” actually makes them very similar. Of course, this is more apparent in Sousuke… however Chidori is also noticeably different from the other girls at their school. They’re back and forth relationship is what really makes Full Metal Panic! remarkable.

Just like any other anime though Full Metal Panic! does have it’s flaws. The biggest problem I had with this show was the ending. The vague conclusion left too many questions unanswered. “What exactly can the Whispered do?” “What is Black Technology?” “How does the Lambda Driver work?” These questions and more were still left floating around after it was over. Perhaps if it had lasted a couple of episodes longer it could have been wrapped up in a respectable fashion.

Full Metal Panic!’s unique characters and relationships places it among of my favorite series in anime. Unfortunately, the questions brought up by the story were never answered and left a huge hole in the series that could not be easily filled.

The Rating: 8
8/10

Reviewed by: DarkKanti

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