I took a break from playing Bioshock 2 for the last couple of days and just watched all of “Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU” It’s a 12 episode anime split between 4 disks. Most episodes stand alone with one two episode story and a few half episode stories where each 15 minute segment is it’s own mini-episode. There are a couple threads that tie the series together including the romantic tension between some of the characters. That makes it a great anime to watch if you can only fit in one 30 minute episode at a time but if your like me I couldn’t stop putting in the next disk until they ran out since it’s that good.
If you’ve seen “Full Metal Panic” this whole series is like one of the high school comedy episodes from that series. More generally it’s a character driven comedy with moderate action an a touch of romance. If you haven’t seen the original series picture a slice-of-life high school comedy where the main premise is trouble gotten into by the very under socialized commando sent undercover there to protect one of the students.
The animation is great. Every character looks distinctive w/o resorting to wild hair colours or distinctive cloths and that includes the people in the background and on the streets. Motion is fluid and no using speed lines or fast pans over a stationary pictures as far as I recall. Facial expressions and body language especially for the main character are superb adding greatly to the impact of scenes. Only a small amount of fanservice but no nudity.
Audio is 5.1 and sounds pretty good. Some occasional LFE and mild surround sound use mostly when people are yelling in crowds. Music is ok but nothing stand out, so I’d say it does it’s job w/o calling attention to itself. Where the audio really shines is in the voice acting. The dub is great. Lines are delivers so well especially the timing and integration with the “cinematography” (not sure how else to describe it) that it’s easy to forget your watching animation. Some foul language in one scene is not completely “bleeped” out for comedic effect. And some sexual innuendo but those old enough to get it probably would be bothered by it. I can’t stress how well the English dub is written and lines are delivered. If timing is everything in comedy this one gets the timing just right.
There is also a lot of parody. Not just of other anime but also major movies. One that works really well is a take off on the “Austen Powers” nude scene where things just happen to keep blocking the naughty bits.
I’d give this 4.5 stars or an “A.” Just misses top marks for a couple reasons. It’s to damm short. I liked these characters and want to see more of them in this environment. Also, it doesn’t really have an ending so to speak. While that’s understandable from a stand-alone episode format I was hoping they would do something more with the romantic thread to sort of punctuate the ending. This is definitely an anime I’ll be watching again. AnimeNewsNetwrok T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews