I usually do not do reviews of shows that have been out there for a while. I am either going to merely join the praising chorus and agree with reviews that have gone before me of how fabulous of a show it is, or I will be a maverick and strike out into territory where I decry the wretched nature of this show and condemn anyone who has the temerity to like it.
Now, this is the kind of show I detest, as it has….wait for it….giant fighting robots! And the first two season of “Full Metal Panic” presents itself as hard, harsh drama as our combat hero, Sousake, has to struggle with balky machinery and his mental limitations to be able to remain in his mercenary force.
I am here to discuss the third season, “FUMOFFU”. Now, this violates every law of anime, in that you have completely changed the pitch and tone of the show, until the only thing it has in common with the previous seasons are the characters. Yet, this works and is the most consistently hilarious, off-center romantic comedy out there. Well, maybe not a real romance.
OK, let’s bring the rest of the people up to speed.
Sousake Sagara, our green-rimmed guy, was a child soldier, and earned a reputation of being paranoid. Paranoid? He’s just ‘cautious’. After having spent so much time in guerilla forces and then with Mithril (a mercenary group for good), it was felt by his higher-ups that he could benefit from trying to live a regular life, and so they send him to a regular school. You might as well have given him a basketball filled with nitroglycerin. He still brings him military mentality with him so, if anything is out of place, he responds by, oh, blowing it up. Better safe than sorry.
A person he cares for is Kaname Chidori, the one with the fan, but she has little to no tolerance for his actions and clobbers him constantly with the fan, much to Sousake’s confusion. There may have been a bomb in the shoe locker, but all it was is a love letter. Still…………..WHACK!
Kyoko Tokiwa (glasses and ribbons in the back), is Kaname’s best friend and is always looking out for her, but this doesn’t stop her from getting into all caliber of problems. Adding chaos to the mix is Teletha “Tessa” Testarossa (gray hair at the right), who is as young as Sousake, but is his commanding officer from Mithril, so when she transfers into the school, and into Sousake’s class in particular, it’s mayhem city.
What is so wonderful about this show is that it is a screwball comedy, much like “Bringing Up Baby” or “Our Man Godfrey”. Reality is just a word as we play things for laugh. The Bath House episode is ridiculous and the very last episode is the most incredible use of fan service. It is also one of my “Top 10 Best Single Episodes.” There is nothing scary or frightening, not like the first two seasons of this show, save for the unrelenting nature of Sousake’s mind, who puts 2 and 2 together and comes up with the solution of C4.
Sousake’s attempt to be a ‘normal’ student is thwarted at every turn, as he cannot think outside of the box for a non-military solution. He is his own worst enemy. I could trust him to infiltrate behind enemy lines, sabotage vital nerve centers and leave without being caught, but I would NEVER loan him my homework, as he’d forget it. This guy is truly a fish out of water.
If you want to see the first two seasons, you can, if only to help establish both the characters and the Sousake/Kaname relationship. Otherwise, you can just jump right in and enjoy the destruction. Oh, they will fully explain FUMOFFU, but for me to do so now robs you of some of the most corny aspects of this series. If this show was any more corny, it might as well be Kansas.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (A good art design)
Plot 8 (Goofy as it gets)
Pacing 8 (Keeps a balance well between calm and chaos)
Effectiveness 8 (It tells a very good story)
Conclusion 8 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 4 (A similar show would be “Gurren Lagaan”)
Overall 8 (He is just never going to learn)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Blowing things up already?