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on August 12, 2003
The fourth "mission" of "Full Metal Panic" perfectly exemplifies the series' best qualities: the ability to seemingly combine genres and effortlessly pull off the mixture of serious, giant robot warfare with the lighter day-in-the-life-of-a-teen aspect. Mission 04's first two episodes display the amusing half of "Full Metal," while the three-part "Rising Wind In The Homelands" tale shows maturity on the part of the series' directors, who manage to develop the story well enough to emphasize the tragedy of war, a rarity in the usually apocalyptic world of anime.
What's the series about? Simply put, organizations the world over are after Kaname Chidori, a 16-year-old with innate knowledge of the powerful Black Technology that could revolutionize everything. MITHRIL a group dedicated to maintaining justice, has its top agents, including 16-year old Sagara Sousuke, protecting Chidori.
Two episodes that are borderline filler open the volume. First off, physically adept, battle-worn Major Melissa Mao and clumsy, ditzy-yet-intelligent Captain Tessa Testarossa (who, like Chidori, is a Whispered) find themselves at odds, and agree to settle their differences by having an Armored Slave paintball battle. The Armored Slaves (AS) are the giant robot factor of the show, two-and-a-half story-sized robots armed with guns and knives. The MITHRIL base eagerly awaits the winner of the Mao vs. Testarossa battle as both have agreed that the loser walks around the base...naked.
One of the more useless episodes of the entire series follows. Chidori's hopes of a summer at the beach are dashed when she unthinkingly agrees to a local AS exhibition with two girl buddies, Sousuke and AS fanatic/nerd and classmate Shinji Kazama. Shinji has a strained relationship with his father, the commander of the local AS troop that often gets thrashed at the exhibitions by another group called the Nerima Dragons. Armored Slave relay races and ping pong follow in a story that doesn't further the series, but adds flavor by emphasizing that despite their special capabilities, Chidori and Sousuke are still just high-schoolers.
Then comes the real meat. Seemingly indestructible bad guy Gaul (or Gauron) is spotted once again in Sousuke's homeland of Helmajistan. The man is considered, and rightly so, the most dangerous terrorist in the world, made worse by the fact that he controls an AS armed with Black Technology-driven Lambda Drivers. As such, a squad of five M9 AS are dispatched to assassinate Gaul, with arch-rival Sousuke in tow. Other than the squad's only female member, who goes by Grey, the rest of the AS pilots treat the much younger Sousuke with disdain to the point of verbally harassing him and sticking a lollipop in his mouth. Things change when the group's attack plan that Sousuke so strongly objected to falls apart and the squad goes on the run from Gaul and a small army of AS.
The three-part "Homelands" story is arguably the best the series has to offer, an experience that will stick strongly with Sousuke for the rest of "Full Metal Panic." "Homelands" plays strongly on the connections of four characters to Sousuke: his never-ending personal battle with Gaul; a temporary but powerful bond he builds with Grey; the mixed emotions brought on by the re-appearance of Zaidou, once his closest friend during his days as a Helmajistan child guerilla; and of course the central relationship to Chidori. The battle scenes are effectively laced with short flashes to Chidori walking listlessly on a beach, her mind obviously on Sousuke. The wordless (okay, she says one word) flashes act as a superb tension-building tool. "Homelands" is the darkest and most poignant of all the "Full Metal" episodes, and is accentuated by the fact that it comes right after two "happy" stories.
"Great Teacher Onizuka" meets "Spriggan" meets "Neon Genesis Evangelion." The art is at its best since the pilot episode, and the music is also in top form. A superb effort; if you want to recruit a new "Full Metal Panic" fan, Mission 04 is the recommended volume, which showcases both sides of the series, and can be enjoyed by someone with little or no knowledge of the show.
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on November 26, 2012
FMP is the story of Kaname and the Mercenary Sousuke. Kaname is a high school student that holds the key to black technology. An advanced form of technology used in military applications. Sousuke is a mercenary assigned to guard her. The problem is that he has been fighting battles since he was a young boy, and he has no common sense or social skills. He is always causing trouble for her, but he's the best candidate to keep her safe. The story follows their adventures from their high school all the way to the battlefield and back again.

FMP has everything you could want out of an anime series. Action, comedy, drama, sci-fi, and a bit of romance. The animation, story, and soundtrack are all awesome. It's a 5 star series in every possible aspect. It also stars the best voice actors in the business. I have always loved this series and I hope you do too.
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on November 30, 2003
Why the heck are there only three episodes on this disk? I just don't understand. I thought ADV was better than that. I mean, what am I supposed to do with three episdodes? Give me four at the very least, darn you!!
Okay, enough of that. Anyway, this volume was very, very mediocre. This dvd (with only three episodes!) had two filler episodes, with only the last episode actually having any story to it. Don't get me wrong. Usually I really like fillers because most animes fill them with romantic fluff and that's usually a lot of fun. However, the extremely addicting romance between Sousuke and Kanami has been kind of dying since the second volume (which was possibly the best set of episdoes IMHO and where they're relationship really seemed to be building wonderfully).
Instead, the last volume (volume three), and the first filler episode of this volume seem to center around that extremly annoying captain girl. Yeah, the one with the white hair and big boobs. She's decided that she's going to be Kaname's (who I happen to like a lot) little rival in Sousuke's affections. And my favorite character Kaname was hardly in this volume at all too! She seriously got cheated out on this deal. I swear. Why is that white haired girl getting all the attention? And, with two filler episodes, why the heck did ADV only put three episodes on this disk!
Okay, getting off topic again. So anyway, the first episode on this disk, like I mentioned earlier, was a filler about Tessa (annoying white haired girl). She gets this attitude that she's as good as any pilot, despite the fact that she absolutely no idea how to use the mechas, and despite the fact that all she does is sit in her little submarine spouting out orders and has no idea what its like on a real battle field. So, she makes a bet with Melissa and they decide to have a battle to decide who's better. So, Tessa panics because she can't fight for crap and needs Sousuke to teach her what to do. All the while, Kaname is totally ignored in this episode while Tessa is falling more and more for her hot instructor.
The second episode, (yet another filler) was just plain bad. At least in the first one, Tessa kind of learns something from the experience fighting Melissa and not all is lost. This episode however, was pretty pointless, though somewhat entertaining. They all go off to a lame mecha, army type festival, much to Kaname's dissappointment, since she really just wanted to chill at the beach. While there, Shinji (kid with glasses) reveals that he hates his dad because his dad never learned how to operate an arm slave mecha and instead became secretary of the army (which is a pretty ridiculous reason to hate your dad if you ask me). So, the episode becomes a lame, cliched, after-school special about learning to love his dad no matter what and that "even secretaries are important too!" (cringe).
The last episode is pretty good, but since its only the first episode of an intense three episode arc, you're left in the dust just as its starting to get interesting. Once again, Kaname has a very small part and there is literally no Sousuke/Kaname interaction at all, which really disappointed me. The action, is of course, awesome though and you can tell its really going to get exciting. Overall, a disappointing volume. However, I look forward to the next one because I'm know it'll pick up from there.
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on April 13, 2014
Love Full Metal Panic! I enjoy watching all the DVDs over and over. Can never get enough of it! Highly recommend this show to anyone who loves Mechs/Robots and high school romance/comedy!
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