The 2nd Dimension

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Fullmetal Panic? Fumoffu Review

Anime comedies seldom ever get me to laugh. That's not that I don't enjoy them immensely or even that I don't find them funny in a way. It's just that most of them aren't total laugh-out-loud funny. For instance, Project A-ko is one of my all-time favorites (quite possibly because it was one of the first anime I ever saw), but I hardly ever got much more than a mild chuckle from viewing of the film. Most anime comedies just seem heavy on exaduration which can be funny in a cathartic kind of way, but they are usually light on wit or surprise, which are the two things that -- for me anyway -- tend to elicit the genuine hardy belly laughs.

To be even more precise, up to this point there have been only 2 anime series that I can ever remember having gotten me to laugh consistently: GTO and Excel Saga (subtitled version!). But now, thankfully, I can add a third title to that list: Fullmetal Panic? Fumoffu.

When the original Fullmetal Panic came out, I thought it was pretty good in a split-personality kind of way. If you have ever seen the show, you probably know exactly what I mean. There are basically two faces to the show: the serious sci-fi action part, and the light-hearted high school comedy part. Each aspect was fine enough in their own right; but the constant shift between moods was, more than anything else, just frustrating.

Fumoffu recognizes and rectifies that frustration by concentrating fully on the lighter side of the show. And what you get as a result is an effective laugh-out-loud situation comedy.

The comedy relies almost entirely on the hard-core but naive militaristic attitude of the main character Sousuke Sagara and his constant misinterpretation of high school life in terms of battlefield strategy. You'd think that it would get predictable after a while, but with such perfect comedic timing, I find myself constantly caught off-guard by just how much Sagara's reactions clash with other characters expectations. Whether he is blowing up his locker out of a suspiscion that it may be booby-trapped, or dressing up in a giant teddy-bear costume while packing a high-powered rifle; however over-the-top his antics may be, Sousuke does it all with a strait face and unquestioning attitude.

Suffice to say that I am enjoying this comedy more and more with each episode. (I'm currently watching episodes via Comcast On-Demand so I'm at around episode 6.) And I am happy to finally be able to sit down with an anime and not have to worry about a heady analysis of life from characters with over-abundant teen angst. I can just sit back and enjoy a few good laughs.

1 comment:

Mark Treitel said...

Here's another "Situation: Comedy" airing on Bravo on Friday nights.

You can vote for your favorite comedy and I can win $50,000!!!

The Sperm Donor co-writer
Mark Treitel