Full Metal Panic (Season 1) Anime Review

You know that feeling when a favorite anime is revived. For the last year since the announcement of Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory, the fourth installment of this franchise, my rising excitement levels have reached their peak to a point where I cannot take the wait much more. This Spring 2018 season, IT WILL AIR. This is one of the first ten anime I ever watched and a big introduction to the mecha genre.

This new Full Metal Panic we’re getting shows the same traits as the original series: it seems to be full of non-stop action. Before you turn off this page and say hell no to military robots, especially if you are not a fan of the mecha genre in general. read my review and learn why this series is a go-go from the first shots fired.

Synopsis

A part of the private military group known as mithril, soldier Sousuke Sagara is sent to guard sixteen-year-old Kaname Chidori who is a suspected target of another mysterious organization which wants to kidnap her.

Plot

Full Metal Panic is full steam ahead right from the first episode and that’s one of the things I love about this series. It’s go, go all the time. This series just does so many things right to keep you engaged. From all my re-watches over the years, I come back to the same feeling from my first enjoyment: Pure excitement.

Our main man of this series, Sousuke, is what you call a fish-out-of-water. A unique oddball. Sousuke has known nothing but military his whole life. The concept of having to adjust to regular society for his mission to protect Kaname is absolutely hilarious throughout. The aid of his fellow comrades, Kurz and Mao, who are trying to teach him such normal things since the dude doesn’t even know to use a condom. Yes, there is such a scene and wait till you guys reach it. It’ll become apparent that Sousuke’s solution to every problem is through military means.

We haven’t even got to the next best character yet. Kaname will blow you away with that feisty, short temper of hers. She is a woman you wouldn’t want to trivial with, and this becomes clear within the first five episodes. Kaname and Sousuke’s interactions are pure gold to witness. It’s usually Kaname scolding Sousuke for how much of an idiot he is or for what Sousuke has misunderstood or has blown up. Kaname is always mad at him for something. It’s bloody hilarious.

The comedy aspect of Full Metal Panic is so strong, even when there is chaos going on. Even in a dire military situation there is something, Sousuke, Kaname or other characters will say or do stupidly that will break up the tension.


Bland characters in Full Metal Panic are non existent except some of the background characters who don’t matter that much. The entire cast of characters are more than likeable and bring their great chemistry to the plot. Especially Sousuke’s main nemesis, Gauron. I’m giving this cold twisted ass a compliment because he really is brilliant. Gauron brings vital appeal to the main military action with his twisted schemes. He’ll get under your skin easily. I hate the guy, still yet I love him. It’s complicated.

Being a military series, you’re probably fearful of complex details of robots and guns. Military is a whole other language, I hear you. There are specific details that still confuse me to this day. The explanations of operations that happen are fairly simple to understand and follow. If you’re someone who is not a fan of over complex details in a plot, you won’t have to worry too much about Full Metal Panic.

It’s also really interesting to learn about Sousuke’s background and how his group, Mithril, operates. The series does well to incorporate this background learning, and not just be about all action. To define this series as boring, would be an insult. Full Metal Panic knows how to keep you interested.

Art & Music

We’re talking 2002 here and it still holds up pretty damn well. Gonzo Digimation animation style is very detailed in the finer specs of things. To highlight this fact would be in the mecha designs, especially during the close-up shots. I had never noticed that Sousuke’s machine, Arbalest, that he comes in possession of has a huge dagger hidden away to look like a mouth. Sousuke has used this dagger many times. I seem to forget that Arbalest’s mouth is a dagger. It blends too well, and doesn’t seem to be there even when you look closely. There are moments when the animation is not up to par but the finer details and the bold animation bring excitement to those epic fight scenes.

Music is most on point and blends well with the military action. When things are about to go down, that military vibe sets in and gets you excited. The OST ranges from cherpy instrumentals to darker pitches that set when the mood is about to change. The opening and ending themes are both catchy to listen to. Especially the ending theme, with that solo guitar playing in the backing the whole time. It is a beautiful tune to listen to.

Themes and Trivia

Sousuke And Kaname Romance: It’s never made fully clear but there is something between these two. The romance element is a tad weak in the first season. It’s clear to notice that Sousuke starts thinking of guarding Kaname as more than just a job.

Light Novels: The first season of Full Metal Panic is an adaptation of the original light novel series and covers the first four arcs.

Comments

Full Metal Panic is a series without much fault. It ticks all the boxes for engaging plot and fights and it has a hilarious cast of characters. Everything is brought together nicely. I can remember the time I first watched the first four episodes. It was bang bang, girl gets kidnapped, and the whole terrorist plot has already unfolded. I’m like WHAT!! Already. I was hooked so bad. Full Metal Panic makes for a fun military anime that is explosively crazy. I can never put into words how much this series has become a dear favorite.

Military Madness

Plus:

– Kickass mecha battles and four arcs full of action. 
– Comedy elements. Great character chemistry.
– Kaname and Sousuke interactions are hilarious.
– The villain is a devious psychopath that you’ll come to love and hate.
– There is a clear enough understanding in what is going on. 
– Both sub and dub version have great voice acting.

Minus:

– The romance between Sousuke and Kaname is weak. 
– Minor characters just blend right into the background in certain situations. They’re boring.
– Military protocol finer details when it comes to learning about mechas, mission operations might be a turn off as it can become complex at times.

Full Metal Panic! Season One is a crazy introduction into this action packed franchise. They will be nothing more entertaining to you than watching soldier Sousuke Saraga thinking he can solve everything through military means and get the scolding of his life from Kaname. Sousuke and Kaname for me are the heart of this series and the main reason I’ve loved the series for such a long time. I like all the other characters, each with their genuine quirks and funny side. This series never stops the actions through the first season and it can easily cater to those who are not into mecha anime with its strategic, high energy battles and missions.

If there is one thing I can guarantee you is that you won’t be bored for a second. That’s Full Metal Panic’s hidden weapon.

Full Metal Panic!

Official Site at Gonzo

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