Sousuke Sagara is an elite soldier who belongs to an independent special force named "Mithril". Mithril is a self appointed military force that fights terrorism across the globe. With technology that is far superior to that of normal nations, Mithril intercedes on behalf of justice. Sagara, a Second Lieutenant under Mithril's command, is assigned to the duty of protecting a girl named Kaname Chidori, who attends high school in Japan. To accomplish this task, he pretends to be a transfer student attending at Kaname's school. As Sagara settles into his new role as classmate, a massive plot unfolds beginning with the kidnapping of Chidori. What is Chidori's role in the conspiracy? Why does she seem to be born with knowledge of technology that has only been recently invented?
Cast & Seiyuu:
Animation - Typical character designs. Sosuke is the "ice king" and Chidori is the "overhyped queen". They do fit together.
Story and Plot - Mysteries, technology stuff, terrorism, but inadequately explained. Very detailed scenes, yet not thoroughly justified in the end. Forced comedy. Too many military words and abbreviations to be amusing.
Music - Waai! *happy face* I like the OP/ED.
Enjoyment - It lacks depth, and the story just goes on circles.
Full Metal Panic has many different faces which are unique and interesting on their own. The whole thing is - if I may say so - "strangely realistic", as if foreboding a certain event in the future. I do wonder why Animenfo considered FMP under the "schoolkids" genre, for personally speaking, I find the issues about "terrorism", "KGB" and "Mafia", a too sensitive case to be recommended for the younger audience.
I gave it a 4/5 rating, why?
Like my tradition, I'm going to enumerate the "ups" of the anime first. Full Metal Panic has a very good plot, the music/background is excellent and there is progress among the characters. Mostly, the episodes have enough spices of mystery, humor and action - all of which contribute to the success of Full Metal Panic - as one of the most favorite animes with the highest-rated fansites. (Last time I checked, it's also in the top ten best-selling anime series in the Philippines: thedarkhadou).
I like the characters, specially Chidori Kaname. She's strong-minded, and the fact she's hiding the "black technology", makes her all the more interesting. Sagara is the "whole humor" of the anime. He's the poker-face, the oblivious one, the ice king. He's so intelligent but at the same time so naive that you'll probably find him like some huggable cowtoy. These made the episodes very enjoyable.
The first few episodes are addictive and exciting - there is development on the story (a little slow-paced, but not very detailed), also between Chidori and Sousuke, and the other characters. The series was able to focus on most of them - which I'd like to consider a plus, because only a handful of animes were able to suceed on developing that much number of characters. ^_^
Mithril is a secret organization that works outside the government. It's technology is known to be ten years ahead - and this advantage helped them to destroy certain illegal chemical facilities and other underground terrorist works. Sousuke is (perhaps) the youngest sergeant ever. At the age of sixteen, he's assumed a lot of difficult military misions. He traveled to places and killed so many people (at least, the bad ones). He's such a simple-minded guy. He follows orders and thinks as organized and as intelligent as any soldier can be. Sousuke is so much like Soujiro from Rurouni Kenshin: he feels no emotion at all and simply does what has to be done. He belongs to the team under the supervision of Lieutenant Seargent Mao, with his companion, a sergeant like himself - Kurz Weber (your typical pervert who likes dating as much girls as he can). Then one day his life did an ironic twist when their team received a mission from Major Kanririn. They were asked to protect a certain highschool girl (that's Chidori Kaname) who's been targeted by another terrorist group because she was believed to be one of the "Whispered" - those who have "black techonology" hidden in their memories that once unleashed, could overcome any kind of human weapon.
And so is the start of Sousuke's life as a teen-ager...your normal highschool kid..
Now, for the "downs". Personally speaking, I didn't find FMP as a total overwhelming experience. I guess I expected too much. If there was success on the characters, well..there isn't on the storyline. It only revolved around Sousuke, Chidori and Gaul (include Arbalest, the so-called "lambda drive" and "black technology").
So here are some disappointing things that pushed me into giving Full Metal Panic a 4/5 star rating:
One, the lack of attention on the supposed-to-be the most important facts. They presented "Black Technology" as something worth-watching for. I was actually curious and excited about it - wondering who's the person behind all this. But unfortunately, they didn't reveal much, like what I expected with Chidori seeing things, mumbling things and KNOWING things in the first few episodes (military techniques and terms that even Sousuke doesn't know...the fact she's only sixteen and a normal highschool student with zero exposure to these stuff!). You'd probably expect a certain intensity about this issue, but NO, there isn't. Another one - the so-called "Lambda Drive" - ability of the pilot to manifest thoughts or moves and release them physically through a mecha known as "Arbalest". It's intriguing as the "Black Technology", yet they failed (again) to adequately focus on it. What they did is focus too much on the characters - leaving the storyline behind. Some episodes are simply predictable and became too highschool-like that should be better placed in Boys Be or Hana Yori Dango instead.
So it all went down to Sousuke just beating up Gaul. And, I found the last episode disappointing, terrible.
But of course, I'd still recommend Full Metal Panic to mecha-lovers or those who go for the action-comdey genre. The originality of this anime is something you won't want to miss.
Highlight for some spoiler:
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