Sousuke’s locked, loaded, and ready to attack – which would be awesome if he was going into battle. But he’s just going to high school, and all the qualities that make him a good soldier make him an amazingly awkward classmate. Poor Kaname knows that better than anyone, since Sousuke’s her undercover bodyguard. The guy’s supposed to protect Tessa too. But how “top secret” can he really be when he’s sneaking around in a teddy bear suit, blowing up lockers, striking out with every girl in sight, and taking a mech to the hot springs? Sure, Sousuke’s methods are a little intense, but high school’s tough. Collateral damage is to be expected, right?
The popular broadcast series Full Metal Panic
(2002) began as a rambunctious mixture of mecha
, magical girl, and high school romance genres. Student council vice president Kaname Chidori was a Whispered, an individual whose untapped psi powers made her a target for sinister organizations. To protect her, the antiterrorist mercenary corps Mithril sent Sergeant Sousuke Sagara to Jindai High, where his military bearing, hair-trigger reflexes, and extreme literal-mindedness always got him into trouble. For the second season, Fumoffu
, the filmmakers dropped the mecha
and magical girl elements to focus on the mismatched romance between Kaname and Sousuke, with hilarious results. When a girl leaves him a love note, Sousuke notices his locker has been tampered with and blows up the bank of lockers; when he gets stuck in line at the cafeteria, he fires off a pistol and shouts out his order. Sousuke infiltrates a local amusement park by disguising himself in a plush walk-around suit of their school mascot Bonta-kun, who looks like a giant hamster. The martial arts attacks are a wonderful foil for the character's super-cuteness, and the result is like watching Hamtaro go postal. Kaname, whose temper makes Yosemite Sam look serene, screams at Sousuke and belts him with an outsize paper fan. As Sousuke and Kaname, voice actors Chris Patton and Luci Christian create the funniest anime couple since Ranma Saotome met Akane Tendo. The character-driven slapstick and take-no-prisoners silliness may remind American viewers of old Hollywood cartoons. (Rated TV PG V: comic violence, nudity, alcohol and tobacco use, risqué humor, including real and fake profanity) --Charles Solomon
(1. The Man from the South / A Hostage with No Compromises, 2. Hostility Passing By / A Fruitless Lunchtime, 3. Summer Illusion of Steel, 4. The Hamburger Hill of Art / Single-Minded Stakeout!, 5. The Pure Yet Impure Grappler / Trespassing on Good Faith, 6. The Hard Sell Fetish / The Patient of Darkness, 7. The War Cry of Excessiveness, 8. A Goddess Comes to Japan (Part 1: The Suffering), 9. A Goddess Comes to Japan (Part 2: The Hot Spring), 10. A Fancy Without Honor or Humanity, 11. Uncontrollable Bluebird, 12. 5th Period Hot Spot)