Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

9 April 2018: I'm looking forward to Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Tessa and Leonard
I guess you need to watch The Second Raid
to know who the person on the right is.

There has been a running gag for years about Full Metal Panic! fans in anguish about Kyoto Animation working on other projects instead of animating another sequel to follow Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. To some extent, I fit that category of disgruntled fans in the sense that I did want another FMP season, although it's not accurate to claim I harbored Kyoani any ill will, if only because I had long ago concluded no such sequel would ever be forthcoming. Surprisingly, there is going to be a fourth season after all: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory. (Get it? Full Metal Panic! IV. Anyway....) Xebec is making this one, and it starts on 13 April. Do you need to watch the first three seasons before watching FMP IV? I dunno. Probably?

Brace yourself for more Chidori faces.

The first Full Metal Panic! anime was a Gonzo Digimation production from 2002 (although I believe it was supposed to air earlier, only to be delayed following 2001's September 11th attacks because of the show's terrorist-heavy subject matter). This was a light-novel adaptation from an era before light-novel adaptation developed their current reputation. It juxtaposed slapstick comedy with gripping war melodrama, although I'd say it was more successful at the former than the latter. I believe there were also a few questionable liberties in the show attributable to Gonzo's adaptation.

Looks like someone is skipping school again.

Kyoto Animation took over the following year with Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, which dropped the gripping war melodrama altogether to exclusively favor comedy instead. Fumoffu is one of the funniest anime comedies I've seen, and can probably be enjoyed without prior knowledge of the first series, although at least knowing the basics may be helpful to contextualize the characters' mannerisms and the setting. Incidentally, ADV's Region 1 DVD release of Fumoffu carries the dubious distinction of being one of the more infamously bad U.S. releases from a technical standpoint. (I bought it anyway).

Chidori and Sagara
Dude needs a haircut again already.

In 2005, Kyoto Animation followed up Fumoffu with Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, a 13-episode series much more in line with the Gonzo cours. If anything, Full Metal Panic! TSR leaned even heavier on the drama elements than ever before. Despite being probably beter known for some of its more brutal and discomfiting scenes, I still remember The Second Raid best for its Yamakan-directed haircut episode, which I believe did an exceptional job capturing the developing romance between Chidori and Sergeant Sagara, exemplified in her growing awareness of the intimacy of the moment as well as the comfort he reveals at the end of that scene.

There are going to be a bunch of 3DCG helicopters, aren't there.

Based on what I've heard, I understand Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory will be closer in tone and content to Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid than to Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. Reportedly, there will be a greater focus on the mecha aspects as well. While I can't promise Invisible Victory will be good, seeing as how the Gonzo-helmed anime was notoriously uneven, and even TSR had some questionable components, I can tell you I am pretty stoked about getting the characters back.

It's not just because we might get to hear
Yukana holler, "EMERGENCY BLOW!" again.

Sousuke is a deeply neurotic male lead with a lot of compulsions he can't control, but he's easily better than the vast majority of his pan-anime competition. As Kaname's love interest, it's a relief he's not one of those shitheels who seem to dominate anime romances. Kaname, I need to point out, is the franchise's real treasure thanks to the exceptional work of Yukino Satsuki. There is not nearly enough Yukino Satsuki in my anime these days (did y'all catch her in the first season of Overlord as the girl who gets a red potion to replace the ruined one she was working on?) and getting her back in one of her best roles guarantees this is a must-watch for Spring 2018.

Go on, Kaname. Curse the bitches out.

Incidentally, those of y'all who have heard Kaname is tsundere should bear in mind that she is a Classical Tsundere, not one of the later variants. In unrelated news, I really need to get around to integrating my old Full Metal Panic blog entries into its WordPress category.

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