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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2003
Format: DVD
After battling secret organizations in his invisibility and hi-tech-armed mecha, Sagara Sousuke finds he and his crew of Melissa Mao and Kurz Weber...trying to blend into Jindai High School as a bodyguard 16-year-old Kaname Chidori.
Writer and director Gatou and Chigira not only pull off, but master the art of mixing giant robots, secret agents, battles in the Middle East and goofy high school adventures all in one pot. Think of it as Evangelion meets Spriggan meets GTO, without all the super heavy philosophical flavoring.
The first third of this series (meaning the all the episodes in this box set) deal mostly with Sousuke, a sergeant in the super-secret Mithril organization, as he tries to pass himself off as a high school student to make guarding Chidori much easier. Not so fast. Not only is Chidori the school's most popular girl, Sousuke isn't your regular 16-year-old either. He's a hardened veteran, fighting in the Middle East since he was eight; he has tremendous fighting skills, nerds out and pilots an Armed Slave, the giant, cloaking mechas that every army in the world now uses. And it shows as the class watches slack-jawed as he introduces himself as "Sergeant Sagara Sousuke" and lists off his interests as Armed Slaves and military tactical magazines. He realizes his error and finally corrects, reluctantly, by pretending to be a fan of music equivalent to Britney Spears. Backups Mao and Weber laugh the whole time, monitoring from a nearby Armed Slave and monitoring station.
This type of hilarity easily carries the first third of the show, never getting old, no matter how many times the principal doesn't realize that the guns Sousuke keeps bringing to school aren't toys. All the characters stay true to form: Mao and Weber as the older brother/sister types, trying to get Sousuke to fit in; Chidori as popular girl who would never date, but seems intrigued by Sousuke; and Sousuke as the dysfunctional teen, ever paranoid that everyone's trying to attack Chidori.
Which, generally, they are. The series turns much darker as the episodes crack into the teens. Turns out Chidori is a "Whispered," psychics blessed with an in-depth knowledge of "Black Technology"--of course the most valuable information ever--that they cannot comprehend, but have known since birth. That being the case, everyone from the KGB and various terrorist sects wants to get their hands on Chidori.
Enter Gaul, the main villain of the series, survivor of multiple explosions, stab wounds and even a direct sniper shot to the temple by a young Sousuke. This is one of the vilest, wickedest villains ever: ruthless, perverted, highly-skilled and nearly invincible. If Hannibal Lecter was ever allowed to pilot a giant armed robot, his name would be Gaul. Sousuke dispatches most everyone he comes across, but Gaul proves an eternal thorn in his side, right up to the series' climactic end.
The art, particularly in this first boxed set, is incredible. Although the art goes from a 10 to a 9.7 from the first set to the rest of the series, it's a hardly noticeable aspect. CG effects are in quite a few of the shots, especially of the Mithril moving super-submarine base the ToyBox. The fights are ninja-quick and visually dazzling. The music is one of its weaker points, leaning on poppy, guitar-riffed backgrounds, but this isn't a bother either.
It's just the right mix of things; enough tragedy to balance out the comedy, enough fighting to balance out the romance and enough character development to balance out the technology. It's a very surface-level story, not heavily-splashed with philosophy as Evangelion is. The series is self-containing and provides closure, but doesn't close itself out to the possibility that another Full Metal season could be in the works. Recommended for all anime fans and newbies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2003
Format: DVD
Welcome to a world were the Cold War never ended. Cruel experiments are conducted on human beings, soldiers working for an autonomous agency known as Mithril guard the peace, and a high-spirited high-school girl may hold the key to world peace, or world destruction.
Chidori doesn't know it, but genetically imprinted in her is vast amounts of dangerous information for super technology. Unfortunately for her, the KGB does know, and they want her.
Enter the shining knights of Mithril, dedicated to protecting the peace of the world and stopping any threats before they start. One of their agents, Sosuke Sagara, is assigned as Chidori's twenty-four hour body-guard, and he takes this job seriously.
Too bad that Chidori thinks that Sosuke is a pervert stalking her through the halls of her high school. Too bad the teacher at the high school thinks that Sosuke is a delinquent out to make trouble. Too bad that Chidori and 400 other people have just been kidnapped by the KGB's most ruthless mercenary.
This is some of the finest animation I've ever seen, with vivid colors, and smooth motion. And the series not only looks good, it's got the ability to go from comedic to dramatic without any sort of stumbling or hitches. While we laugh at Sosuke's plight as an undercover high-school student, we also cling to the edge of our seats as we watch the cruelty of their arch foe. Graphic violence, including gunshot wounds, blood, and some harsh physical violence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 15, 2003
Format: DVD
Full Metal Panic is not the height of originality. It doesn't try to be. In feel, it's similar to other shows by the studio Gonzo, such as Vandread, and focuses much more on execution than originality.
Full Metal Panic is an alternate-world science fiction show in which the major powers use giant robots to fight, and a secret organization called Mithril fights terrorism and illegal drugs. The episodes on this first disc (of 7) move easily and smoothly between this serious aspect, and the show's comedy side, in which teenage Mithril sergeant Sousuke Sagara is ordered to guard high school girl Kaname Chidori without her knowledge. Sousuke is a great hero--as perfectly competent in his own military arena as he is incompetent in the social setting of high school. Kaname, who is the beautiful girl that no one wants as a girlfried because of her temper, is the perfect match for him. As is typical of these shows, we see this immediately, while the characters do not. But, as I said, FMP is not about originality.
If you want mind-bending shows with delusions of grandeur, FMP is not your show. But, if you want an enjoyable romp with likeable and attractive characters and an enjoyable setting, FMP is your show. This is what FMP is trying to be, and where it succeeds.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2004
Format: DVD
I've only watched this DVD and a couple episodes of Mission 02, but I was not really that impressed. Maybe it gets better. The good things about it are the visuals and some good character interactions. I really don't understand why people are rating it so high. The plot is..well..childish. And while it may be geared for teenagers, it doesn't mean you have to make it unbelievable and cheesy. It's almost as if the writers are trying to expunge all their schoolboy fantasies in one cathartic script.

Sousuke is a teenager in an elite military organization that is sent to high school to protect a beautiful girl named Kaname, who harbors secret abilities and is a possible target of kidnapping. By the KGB. The KGB. I was waiting for the sneering moustached villain to show up, and he does, except with a bristle 5 o'clock shadow. And military and robotic technology has progressed enough to have giant piloted robots, Arm slaves, and cloaking devices.

Sousuke is a dangerous and cunning fighter with an efficient and professional organization behind him. Which, however, fails to tell him how to act or not act in high school. Like not bringing guns to school. And that thinks sending in a 50 foot robot, albeit cloaked, is good way to go undercover. It's just so cheesy.

I wanted to like to the show I really did. But what was over top were the peek-a-boo shots of Kaname's [...], legs, or [...]. What are the writers 13?! It's just too much hormone-filled school boy fantasy to even have fun with. And the funny parts are just too predictable to be comical.

But they do a good job of cliffhanging the episodes to make you want to see what's going to happen. And the characters are likable enough that you're not too bored. But there are better series out there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2003
Format: DVD
Previously, on Full Metal Panic!: When we left off, Chidori had been kidnapped, the students were trapped on a jumbo jet with a bomb on it, and Sosuke was charging into danger to rescue Chirori after he heard a gunshot. A villain who should have been dead was still alive. And MITHRIL was mounting an all out rescue operation.
We pick up with Sosuke executing a dangerous rescue, commandeering a Soviet mecha, and making quick work of their kidnapper's forces. Unfortunately, Gauron, Sosuke's mortal enemy, has a newer model outfitted with Black Technology. He succedes in wounding both Sosuke and his ally, Kurz Weber (no relation to this reviewer ^_^)
Sosuke, Kurz, and Chidori are trapped behind enemy lines, and only a high-risk operation can rescue them.
We begin to learn the secrets of the Black Technology, technology that can actually manifest physical force based on human emotion. Outfitted with a highly experimental, and untested mech, Sosuke and Gauron battle each other once again. Aided by Chidori's waking knowledge, Sosuke manages to defeat his foe.
And so, he is sent out on a new mission...and to quote The Who "Meet the new boss/same as the old boss." Once more, he is assigned to protect Chidori from those who might try to use her for evil purposes. Sosuke and Chidori understand each other a bit better than before, but that doesn't mean there aren't complications.
Returning to the humor element of the show, Sosuke must not only protect Chidori from the KGB and other terrorists, he must also safeguard her against lecherous perverts, and defend her honor from graffiti written on restroom walls.
Sosuke has no clue when it comes to women. Dumped by a dating sim, taking lessons on love from a girl whose boyfriend dumped her to pursue Chidori, and failing to understand just how truely unsensitive he is (though, not in a sexist chauvenistic way, but rather in a boorish, single-mindedness kind of way) Sosuke has his work cut out for him.
The art is top notch, and the voice acting is good on both the English and Japanese language tracks.
And as an added bonus, we get the Japanese disclaimers on the bonus features. We also get them read to us in English by the actor who plays Sosuke on this disk.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2004
Format: DVD
Believe me when I say that if I could give a review of 6 stars, I would for FMP. I wasn't really into very many series of anime, and to tell the truth, I randomly picked this series up without knowing a thing about it. The four episodes on this dvd will let you feel just how the story twists and turns. Not knowing anything about the series, I popped the dvd in and started episode one. It left me with a feeling of wanting more, sort of this, "This story could be good if they take it in the right direction" type of feeling. Episode by episode, it just kept getting better until the fourth episode left you with a cliffhangar so big, I didn't just want to see Mission 2. I NEEDED TO SEE MISSION 2!!! (Which reminds me, when you buy mission one, I suggest you also buy mission 2, or else you will be stuck with the hunger for more.) The graphics are stunning in every aspect. CGI blends in beautifully with the graphics. Sound is great, and the music will intensify the feeling ten fold. Character development happens all at different times, which makes the story that more interesting. Sure, I want good graphics/sound/ect. However, the thing that I want the most is a good story, and FMP gives me a story like no other. This series is a masterpiece!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2003
Format: DVD
At first, the title for this anime seems a bit silly. Well, please believe me when I say that the series is the opposite of that. The series combines amazing action with a solid plot. Lemme break this down for yah:
Animation: Top quality is a phrase, I feel, best sums up this section. It's perfect in every form. It really brings the action scenes to life.
Sub/Dub: Honestly, I am a dub guy, but the subs are great. The dubbing, however, is amazing. This title offers a giant leap in the quality of voice acting.
Plot: The plot swings back and forth from serious to slap stick through out the many episodes I have seen. I find the underlying subplots really balance well with the romantic notes that start to appear as you progress through this series.
Sound/Music: I love the music score from this. It, like the rest of the qualities, is quite proffesional. The music doesn't inhibit the scenes at all. Sound quality is amazing as well. Combat really comes to life with it.
Overall: A definate keeper and series for the ages. Only draw back is that sometimes things take a full volume to escalate. With a second season coming soon, it is worth the hard earned money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I hesitate to call this a mech anime, though that's what many classify this as, because, at least in this volume, they are rarely ever in their mechs, and when they are they aren't using them for anything in particular. I don't, however, hesitate to call this series funny or action-packed, because it's definitely both of them. The comedy, coming at odd moments most of the time, is genuine and never actually forced, like anime sometimes does (like when characters fall over in surprise). And the action is spaced nicely between each episode, and not all of it is meant to be serious. In fact, a lot of the action goes in conjunction with the comedy.

The story in this volume introduces Sousuke Sagara, a young sergeant of the anti-terrorist group Mithril. He's an expert on weapons, on arm-slaves (the name they use for their mechs), and on military tactics. What he's isn't an expert on is everyday life. On the other end is Kaname Chidori, a regular Japanese high school girl who, for some reason, has become the target of some rather evil looking terrorists. Therefore Sousuke is charged to go undercover as a high school student and protect her. It doesn't start well. First, his guns are confiscated (but luckily the teacher thinks them as toys), he almost blows his cover, and he just creeps out most of the girls in the school. Still, he sticks with it, and eventually he's able to gain Chidori's trust.

It appears to me that GONZO has yet another masterpiece (let's count em: Last Exile, Chrono Crusade, GANTZ, Samurai 7, Gankutsuou, and that's from the ones I've seen). So, if you're a fan of GONZO, or just high-quality anime, then Full Metal Panic is an anime for you. Also, if you enjoy mech anime, I can also recommend this, though be warned that the mechs aren't used so often that I could consider this a true-blue giant-robo anime. It's early yet, though, so that doesn't mean anything.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2003
Format: DVD
When I purchased Neon Genesis Evangelion, I thought ADV did a less than satisfactory job of both licensing and producing an otherwise brilliant series. That's why I was crestfallen when I heard ADV had gotten their greedy hands on Full Metal Panic, another stellar anime series. To my complete surprise, ADV did a fantastic job with FMP mission 1, and I hoped they could keep the trend going with Mission 2. They surpassed my expectations.
Full Metal Panic alone is a fantastic work of animation. The production quality is high, and the plot keeps getting better. However, I would have to say that I would give these four episodes alone a 4.5/5. That isn't to say ther series is declining, but these episodes in particular were a little misleading. It should be noted that although some language problems need to be worked out, I still enjoyed these episodes thoroughly.
ADV, surprisingly, is the reason why I'm giving this DVD a solid 5/5. ADV went the extra mile with the FMP DVDs, giving owners who want to emmerse themselves in the FMP universe a little something extra. They included a slideshow of production scetches that are actually fun to watch. ADV also included a pamphlet which doubles as a poster and a information booklet, giving you info on everything from the Arm Slaves to new characters and props in the show. I even like the way the case itself looks, with the clear plastic...
For those of you looking for an action, mystery, or comedy series, Full Metal Panic is what you've been waiting for. Check it out, you won't regret it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2004
Format: DVD
This is an interesting Anime in that it is both the silly, funny style that is so prevelent in shows like Ramna and Tenchi Muyo, and the serious psychological war flick like Macross and Neon Genisis Evangelion. The really interesting part is that Full Metal Panic manages to be not nearly so good as any of the Anime I just mentioned.

A lot of reviews for this Anime coin the words unorigonal and shallow. Well...they are right. The mecha, while being a more prominent aspect in later episodes, are basically nothing new. The unorthadox guy and ill tempered girl combo is just as tired. Full Metal Panic milks every aspect of its two stolen genre for everything they are worth too, trust me. Any student of either silly anime or mecha/war anime will probably see direct rips from their favorite show in these DVD's somewhere.

After this brutal assault, some may wonder why I have given this DVD a 4? Well...its hard to expalin. Even though I scoffed frequently at the bad military lingo and obvious mis-understanding of war, I still was entranced by the combat sequences. And even though I have never been a big fan of stupid funny Anime, I kinda enjoyed the short bursts of it intermixed with the more serious toned fighting. I also give this DVD a 4 because I mean for it to apply to the entire series, which does pick up.
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