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Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 21, 2010 by  



“Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – The Complete Series” focuses more on the comedy side of the series than the action, less serious but very humorous and crazy.  A fun and enjoyable addition to your anime on Blu-ray collection if you are a big fan of “Full Metal Panic!”

Images courtesy of © Gatoh Shoji/Shikidouji/Jinda High School Student Committee. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – The Complete Series

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

 

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 4:3, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

 

RATED: TV PG

 

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

 

RELEASE DATE: October 19, 2010

 

Originally Created by Shoji Gatoh

Directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto

Script by Fumihiko Shimo, Shoji Gatoh, Yasuhiro Takemoto

Music by Toshihiko Sahashi

Original Character Design by Shikidouji

Character Designs by Osamu Horiuchi

Art Director: Jouji Unoguchi, Kikuko Tada

Mecha Design by Kanetake Ebikawa, Toshiaki Ihara

Anime Production by Kyoto Animation

 

 

Featuring the voices of:

Satsuki Yukino/Luci Christian as Kaname Chidori

Tomokazu Seki/Chris Patton as Sousuke Sagara

Yukana/Hilary Haag as Teletha “Tessa” Testarossa

Tomoko Kaneda/Tiffany Grant as Bonta-kun

Akio Ohtsuka/Mike Kleinhenz as Lt. Cmdr. Andrey Kalinin

Ikue Kimura/Monica Rial as Kyoko Tokiwa

Mamiko Noto/Greg Ayres as Shinji Kazama

Masahiko Tanaka/Mike Macrae as Gauln (Gauron)

Michiko Neya/Allison Keith as Melissa Mao

Shinichiro Miki/Vic Mignogna as Kurz Weber

Tomomichi Nishimura/Andy McAvin as Cmdr. Richard Mardukas

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?

 

In 1998, Shoji Gatoh along with illustrator Shiki Douji began work on the “Full Metal Panic!” light novels. The individual chapters were then published on Monthly Dragon Magazine and then were released via paperback compilation.

By 2006, three anime TV series were created “Full Metal Panic!”, “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” and “Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid” by Kyoto Animation and a total of five different manga series. With FUNimation Entertainment having released “Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid” (the third series on Blu-ray), in September, FUNimation Entertainment released the first season “Full Metal Panic!” and now in October, the second series “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” will be released in HD.

“Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” first aired on television back in 2003 and was directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto (“Lucky Star”, “Nurse Witch Komugi”), the screenplay adaptation was co-written by Fumihiko Shimo (“Burst Angel”, “Gravion”, “Kanon”, “Prince of Tennis”), Shoji Gatoh (“Lucky Star”, “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, “The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk”) and Yasuhiro Takemoto (“The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, “Nurse Witch Komugi”, “Lucky Star”).

Music for the series is by Toshihiko Sahashi (“Fatal Fury” OVA’s, “Ghost Sweeper Mikami”, “Gunslinger Girl”), character design is by Osamu Horiuchi (“New Cutey Honey”, “Burst Angel”, “Last Exile”, “New Cutey Honey”) and art direction by Jouji Unoguchi (“The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, “Air”).

The concept of “Full Metal Panic!” revolves around a covert anti-terrorist private military organization known as Mithril who must protect Kaname Chidori, a teenage girl that happens to have special “Whispered” abilities (abilities that allow these special individuals have knowledge of advanced mathematics, engineering and physics beyond human comprehension) and now the terrorist are after her for her abilities.

But Mithril must keep their identities private and so they assign Sgt. Sousuke Sagara, Melissa Mao and Kurz Weber to watch over her. But the primary duty will be for Sousuke to disguise himself as a school student and to be close to her. The problem is that Sousuke doesn’t have any social experience and didn’t grow up like most people and has been fighting in wars since the age of 8. So, he does find it a bit difficult to fit in at the high school and everyone thinks he is a bit weird.

But somehow, through their time together, Kaname begins to trust Sousuke and starts to become attracted to him but since Sosuke is not a normal guy, he is unaware of her feelings towards him and most of the time, his mind is on battle.

In the second series “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu”, it’s almost a 180 of how the first series was in the fact that it’s more or less humorous, stand alone-episodes versus continuing, humorous/serious episodes.

If anything, the series is more comedy driven and for the fans who wanted more lighthearted, fun episodes with the characters.  There is no mecha action, there is no serious tone to the series.

Also, unlike the first series which featured animation from GONZO, this series features animation by Kyoto Animation.

For episodes, a noticeable difference is that some episodes feature two stories and thus online people may see each of these mini-episodes being treated as separate episodes (bumping the number from 12-episodes to 17).

And last, the series has a “?” instead of a”!” after the words “Full Metal Panic” to differentiate the two series.  It is important to note that the “Fumoffu” is an adaptation of the short stories featured in Shoji Gatoh’s original manga.

“Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu features the following characters:

  • Sousuke Sagara – A young man who grew up in a war setting. At the age of 8, he has been involved in fighting in a guerrilla movement and is now a member of Mithril, the covert anti-terrorist private military organization. He is the main member assigned to protecting Kaname Chidori’s life.
  • Kaname Chidori – A popular girl in high school and a girl who speaks her mind. She is also a teen who has “Whispered” abilities and while being protected by Sousuke, starts to become attracted to him.
  • Teletha “Tessa” Testarosa – Although a 16-year-old, Tessa is the Captain of the Tuatha da Danaan. Because of her young age and bubbly personality, many have a hard time believing she is only 16.
  • Melissa Mao – She is the superior officer of both Sousuke and Kurz and is also a woman who likes to have fun by drinking and smoking a lot.
  • Kurz Webber – A lady’s man (who tends to fail in getting close to his superior officer Melissa) and an excellent sniper for Mithril. Kurz tends to give Sousuke love advice since Sousuke has no clue about romance or social activities.
  • Gauron – The main antagonist of “Full Metal Panic!” who can command the lambda driver and pilots the Venom. He has bought or blackmailed his way to the top.

“Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – The Complete Series” features episodes 1-12 on two Blu-ray discs. Here is a basic, spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – A secret admirer has been leaving love letters in Sousuke’s locker and Sousuke thinks it may be a terrorist.  In the second mini-episode, Sosuke goes after a gang who has kidnapped Kaname.
  • EPISODE 2 – Sousuke causes problems at school with the school’s bread stand and now Kaname and friends have to fix the problem.   In the second mini-episode, Sosuke forgot Kaname’s school notes at home and both try to retrieve it before lunch is over.
  • EPISODE 3 – Kaname and friends go to the beach but when Kaname leaves because she is upset at Sousuke, Sousuke looks for her and thinks she has been kidnapped.
  • EPISODE 4 –– The class go on a field trip to the park and the teacher asks for Sosuke to be a model but thinks she means something different (and deadly).  In the second mini-episode, Kaname goes on a date with a former guy she had a crush on and Sousuke spies on her.
  • EPISODE 5 – A karate school is being demolished and Sousuke and Kaname try to vacate the school but they will not vacate it unless they are beaten, so Sousuke decides to teach them a lesson.
  • EPISODE 6 – Some mysterious assailant has been going to girls and giving them a ponytail, now Sousuke and Kaname try to trap him.  In the second mini episode, Kaname wants to teach Sosuke fear, so she takes him to a haunted hospital.
  • EPISODE 7 – The school’s Rugby team need to disband but Sousuke and Kaname try to help them out by training them.
  • EPISODE 8 – Tessa goes on leave for R&R and so she goes to Jindai High to learn more about high school life.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 9 – “Dangerous Safe House” – Part two of Tessa’s R&R at Jinda High School.  This time she invites everyone to the Hot Springs, meanwhile Kurz will do all he can to see the ladies naked.
  • EPISODE 10 – Tessa checks to see who Takuma Kugayama is and Mithril suspects he pilots a Lamba driver for the terrorists.
  • EPISODE 11 – Ren Mikihara is a yakuza member who is asking for Sousuke and Kaname’s help.  So, Sousuke tries to train the yakuza as Bonta-kun.
  • EPISODE 12 – A classmate accidentally opens Sousuke’s biohazardous container which causes a quarantine at Jindai High School.

VIDEO:

“Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – The Complete Series” is presented in 4:3 (SD Remaster), 1080p High Definition. It’s important to note that FUNimation Entertainment is releasing the three series on Blu-ray and while “Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid” was an awesome looking upconvert, because “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” was released on television back in 2003, with that being said, one should not expect spectacular, vibrant animation. You are going to see edge enhancement but I will say the picture quality is definitely a step up from the previous released DVD series.

In fact for episode 11, the animation for some reason changes and it starts to look like its age and seems quite a bit hazy compared to the other episodes.

For those looking for the true anime HD experience, this title is not the best (considering the series age). But “Fullmetal Panic? Fumoffu” is a hilarious and fun series and because it’s a fan favorite, many FMP fans will probably want this series in HD.

AUDIO:

“Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – The Complete Series” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. And like the video, this is an older series and while you do get a Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack, for those looking for an immersive lossless audio experience will not find it in “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu”.

It’s an older series and if anything, the soundtrack was good but not fantastic.  Some scenes utilizing music or characters and background crowd noises which utilize the surround channels but the series is center and front channel driven.

With that being said, it’s still a major improvement from the original DVD release. I detected no hissing or anything audio problems.

I watched the series both in English and Japanese.  Of course, the English dub track tends to utilize the surround channels at times but for this series, whichever soundtrack you select, voice acting is well-done for both and of cours,e the 5.1 lossless soundtrack uses the surround channels much better but it’s a good lossless soundtrack but not very active since this series is not as action-driven as the first or third series.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – The Complete Series” comes with the following special features on Disc 3:

  • Original TV Spots – (:51) Featuring three original Japanese TV commercials promoting the series on television in standard definition.
  • Textless Opening Song – Featuring “Sore ga, Ai deshou?” by Mikuni Shimokawa
  • Textless Closing Song – Featuring “Kimi ni fuku kaze” by Mikuni Shimokawa
  • Trailers – Upcoming FUNimation Entertainment Trailers.

Before I get into my review, I just want to say that I loved “Full Metal Panic!” when it first came out and I purchased the DVD when it first came out. I loved the series, its characters and that it was a series that provided us with humor and also mecha action. And when I first reviewed the DVD a long time ago, I scored it pretty high.

When “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” came out, I also gave it a positive review and despite it being different, any fans of series like “Tenchi Muyou” are familiar with series or OVA’s that go from serious to lighthearted and more comedy driven.   So, I looked at this series as different but more or less side-episodes that focused on high school life between Kaname, Sousuke and friends.

Here we are in 2010 and I’m reviewing “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” on Blu-ray but at the same time, knowing that those who are purchasing anime via HD are wanting the best video and audio presentation of the anime series but most of all series that take advantage of the technology. And I have always felt that anime TV series released post-2008 are series that benefit in Blu-ray as there are a good number of series created for HD.

With that being said, “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” is a 2003 anime TV series. It’s an older anime series that is being re-released once again in the US but for the first time on Blu-ray. But the series is an upconvert and simply for those who are wanting to focus on anime on Blu-ray and getting rid of their DVD’s.

As I do feel this series is still quite enjoyable, this Blu-ray release is for the fans who want to upgrade to a Blu-ray release and for those fans who have purchased the other two “Full Metal Panic!” series.  Granted, I know there are those who didn’t like the more comedy-driven episodes of “Fumoffu” and would rather focus on the first and third series and leave this one out.   That’s understandable. But I do feel “Fumoffu” is a worthy addition to your anime collection, especially for your “Full Metal Panic!” on Blu-ray collection.  These are fun episodes that will make you laugh!

But in the end, this is NOT a release for those who are picky about PQ and AQ and the fact that this is an older TV series, is going to push those hardcore video and audiophiles away from “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu”, otherwise fans who are familiar with the series and loved it, will definitely want to purchase this series.

Overall, “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu – The Complete Series” is an enjoyable, fun and wacky anime series.  If anything, I look at this series as more as a bonus for the fans who loved the first series and have been wanting more of the high school based episodes with crude humor and even some fan service.

So, if you are one of those fans who did enjoy the first series, then you can’t go wrong with “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu”.






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