The 2nd Dimension

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Viewing Journal: Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid (complete)

Series Overview
DVD Info

Overall= B+
Story = B+
Video = B
Audio = B

This series is set about two months after the events occurred in the Tuatha de Danaan at the end of the original series. Mithril becomes aware of a secret organization that has technology able to counter the ECS (Electronic Cloaking System) mode. This organization, known as Amalgam, also has "Black Technology", obtained from "Whispered" like Kaname Chidori, and like the other intelligence agencies, they intend to obtain more. However, when Sousuke's mission to protect Chidori is terminated by Mithril, all seems to be in place for Amalgam's plans... Like many of its fans know, it is based of the FMP novel "The End of Day by Day." (Source: ANN)

After having finished this latest entry into the Full Metal Panic! continuity, I think it's safe to say that FMP works much better when it either focuses fully on the comedy aspect (as in Fumoffu) or the more serious drama/military action aspect (as in Second Raid) instead of trying to mix in both at the same time (as in the original series).

It did take me a while, though, to make that mental shift from the wacky antics from Fumoffu to the relatively serious story and unexpectedly graphic violence in The Second Raid (TSR). But it wasn't too long because the new villains in TSR have some pretty extreme personalities that are easy to get absorbed into. First you have the wickedly violent twins Xai Yu Lan and Xai Yu Fan, who appear to be numb and apathetic to all the world short of each other and their "sempai". Then you have the insane and giddily sadistic Gates who can be so giddy probably because he kills the source of his frustrations the very second they start to annoy him.

The show brings out some new dimensions from the regular cast members personalities' as well. Sousuke Sagara and Kaname Chidori still start out with some of the same high school antics from the original series, but I think that's just to set things up for the dramatic moment when Sousuke is forced to give up his watch over Kaname and the both of them are forced to deal with their new and frightening situations. Teletha “Tessa” Testarossa also comes off as a much stronger character than in the original series, which I was thankful for because in the original FMP, she seemed so weak-willed, especially for a submarine captain.

Although the plot was engaging, I still had the same issue with it here that I have had in the previous series'. That being that there is not much of any explanation for what the Whispered are or where they come from or where they get their understanding of the "Black Technology". I know that there's probably more explanation in the original novels, but considering that I'll probably never get around to reading them, it's frustrating that the show keeps those mysteries unresolved.

The art and animation are constantly high quality and impressively detailed. And the music is a great compliment to the show, with a appropriately military-action feel to the show's score.

After this show ended I was kind of disappointed because it ended in such a way as to suggest that this may be the last entry into the series. And even putting aside my disappointment with the original series and frustration with some mysteries that are still unsolved, I really think I'll miss the characters who have started to grow on me.

In addition to the original TV episodes, the last DVD of FMP! TSR has an extra OAV episode. The story covers a "leisurely" day on Mithril's Tuatha De Dannan submarine where Tessa is looking for a particular item. It's a pretty nice easy-to-watch storyline that again brings out a few new dimensions to the characters, and overall is a nice little cap to the series.

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