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REVIEW: Full Metal Panic! Blu-Ray


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Otaking09



Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Posts: 636
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:11 am Reply with quote
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Whether or not the Blu-Ray version is the one to own is debatable, but its worthiness to be owned is not.


Damn Key... you sure know how to make a point...

I haven't finished the 1st series yet because of that point you made: it's not an an important watch.
It is one of Gonzo's highlights, both in widespread appreciation, and in popularity, but... I just didn't feel like finishing.
Even IF just to get to the supposedly superior sequels.

That being said, prices nowadays are the def. of the word "reasonable", and, like Lance said on ANN Cast, nostalgia is one subtle but POWERFUL force...

Good review Key, this'll be on my mind for a bit.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 14082
Location: currently stalking my waifu
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:47 am Reply with quote
Otaking09 wrote:
Even IF just to get to the supposedly superior sequels.


Suppose no longer; the sequels are significantly better, though in their different ways. Fumoffu is one of the best Anime comedies out there (the rugby episode is my favourite all-time Anime comedy episode, albeit tied with Cromartie High School's fifth episode). The Second Raid takes the opposite approach (barring the comedic OVA). It is arguably darker than the first series, more serious with better drama and some choice story and relationship developments. It has its flaws, and some characters (namely spoiler[Tessa]) make teeth-clenchingly stupid decisions, but overall it is still a grade or two better.

----------

Chris Patton's Sousuke, I'm not a fan. he sounds too much like he does in many other works. On a technical level his performance is perfectly fine and solid, but he doesn't have a great range. Sometimes having a voice that is instantly recognisable is a bad thing, although I'm sure fans of Kugimiya Rie will disagree with me on that one. As for Lucy Christian's portrayal of Kaname, to me it pales in comparison to Satsuki Yukino's performance. It's the difference from "gets the job done" to "holy moly that's good voice acting", although you'd have to look to Fumoffu to see where the gap is its most stark.
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pachy_boy



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
Posts: 1050
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:13 am Reply with quote
I remember Full Metal Panic being one of the very first Anime series I started collecting single disc by single disc back in the day, back during Newtype USA's prime. It's always been an old favorite even with the thousands of titles that I'm still collecting now, and I do consider this series a classic in many ways, both for its solid comedy (although even more so with Fumoffu) and blending of genres that make up a rather unique story for itself. I've always loved the wondeful opening theme song, and I always felt sentitmental listening to the closing song, particularly while combined with its imagery. So it's no surprise to me that it still holds up well today.
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The King of Harts



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 6712
Location: Mount Crawford, Virginia
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:25 am Reply with quote
Absolutely. This review could not be more spot on. Full Metal Panic is one of my favorite franchises and it really does have good rewatch value; I've seen all three seasons 3 times in two years. However, while I do like the entire franchise, I find the first season to be the weakest link for this reason:
Quote:
As one of the rare mecha titles which successfully crosses genre lines, it succeeds almost as well as a school-based romantic comedy as it does as a more serious, mecha-based action-adventure tale, though the dichotomy between its two principle genres typically forces it to alternate between modes rather than smoothly blend them; that is, in fact, arguably the series' biggest flaw, although it is likely more directly the product of the series being based on multiple entries in a popular lite novel series.

The way it goes from serious to comedy felt awkward at times. While the action is great and the comedy is funny, the transition between them didn't work. But like Theron said, it's not a glaring flaw that keeps you from enjoying the show; it's just an issue. It's a big pimple, but it's on your back and not your face.

And for the record, this how I rank the franchise:
Fumoffu
Second Raid
Full Metal Panic (first season)
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DangerMouse



Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 3581
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:30 pm Reply with quote
Good review, I too loved this franchise.

I'm more of a mecha fan so I think I enjoyed the original and Second Raid best, there were some really funny parts in Fumoffu but I liked the mixing in of the good mecha action in the other two too much for Fumoffu to be as good for me. In the end I think I liked Second Raid best, but I will always remember how much I enjoyed the first season when it first came out.
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Greed1914
It's Over 9000!It's Over 9000!


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 3170
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:40 pm Reply with quote
For some reason, this continues to be a show where I plan on watching it, but I never get around to it. I'm not sure why, either.
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vashfanatic



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
Posts: 3452
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:14 pm Reply with quote
The King of Harts wrote:
And for the record, this how I rank the franchise:
Fumoffu
Second Raid
Full Metal Panic (first season)

Assuming that's a "first place, second, and third," then I concur.

Quote:
Black Technology has allowed for the existence in modern day of what once seemed like sci fi elements, most notably mecha, super-submarines, and devices like the Lambda Driver, which can convert a mecha pilot's thoughts and impulses into reality. The Whispered are special individuals who have an innate comprehension of Black Technology, which makes them highly sought-after by certain interests intent on exploiting their abilities.

WOW. If I recall correctly, that's more of an explanation than you actually get in the series. I spent the whole 24 episodes trying to figure out just exactly what Chidori's knowledge was, only to never get an answer. Which made the finale... strange.
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The Naked Beast



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 1028
Location: A Blue Planet
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:31 pm Reply with quote
To double dip for the Blu-ray release (of all three Full Metal Panic series) or not, that is the question.

The Full Metal Panic franchise is one of my favorite series when referring to the mecha genre. It was a different outtake on the genre with the alternate history route they used. Still, the first series was entertaining though flawed in its execution. But it will always have a place on my shelf.

Theron Martin wrote:
That the series was first broadcast in early 2002 means that it was not made with film or high def in mind, so the Blu-Ray picture still comes in a 4:3 aspect ratio and the ability to improve the picture quality is limited; the colors in this upscale are definitely brighter in the Blu-Ray version compared to the DVD version, but that's about it.

With this line, it sways my answer towards a "maybe not" if that is all there is to this upscale. Still, it is a Blu-ray re-release. Arrgh.
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jmfsilenthill



Joined: 31 Aug 2009
Posts: 1863
Location: Chinese cartoons are srs biz
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:22 pm Reply with quote
Although the Bluray doesn;t seem to be a big upgrade, I think I'll still go for it because some of my Adv discs are in bad shape Sad.
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egoist



Joined: 20 Jun 2008
Posts: 7762
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:51 pm Reply with quote
vashfanatic wrote:
WOW. If I recall correctly, that's more of an explanation than you actually get in the series. I spent the whole 24 episodes trying to figure out just exactly what Chidori's knowledge was, only to never get an answer. Which made the finale... strange.

They did explain it. I just don't remember if it was season one, two, or both; in fragments, or at once. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I think they did explain it on season 1, even if indirectly. I'm too lazy to unbox my DVDs just to check this, but doesn't it mention that in the back?
That finale was strange regardless of your knowledge of her power...
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archaron



Joined: 10 Oct 2006
Posts: 1024
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:55 pm Reply with quote
If I remember correctly Chidori spoiler[was something called the whispered and her power was more about knowledge about the mechs invisibility field (I forget the official name sorry) and its weaknesses.]
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Crisha
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Joined: 21 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:40 pm Reply with quote
pachy_boy wrote:
I remember Full Metal Panic being one of the very first Anime series I started collecting single disc by single disc back in the day, back during Newtype USA's prime.


I completely relate. DVD 1 might have even been the first DVD I ever bought during the switchover from VHS to DVD.

I will say though that I concur with what King of Harts quoted - that was the series biggest fault. The two random comedy episodes thrown in the middle of the series (one I remember being a fighing mech competition where Kaname joined the opposing team in order to beat Sousuke) threw me off so much. I preferred the drama, though I did like the light-hearted moments.

I have yet to see Fumoffu or The Second Raid. I imagine I'll get The Second Raid some time, but I lost interest in the franchise before it was released (the fact that Fumoffu was pure comedy, which is the part of the original that I favored least, turned me off - though I may buy it someday when I'm in the mood). I'll probably need to rewatch the first series again before I buy the second. But for now, I'm content with what I watched.
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Letthemeatraep



Joined: 16 Dec 2009
Posts: 155
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:58 pm Reply with quote
Damn but I wish they'd just make a fourth series of this already.

What makes the desire for this all the worse was that Second Raid had at least one running plot which served no purpose other than to set up a further seriesspoiler[Specifically Leon Testarossa and has gang of human sized mechs, all of which felt like such a random drop out of nowhere in the show that went... nowhere. Frustrating.]
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Zetabag



Joined: 30 Mar 2009
Posts: 197
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:50 pm Reply with quote
Letthemeatraep wrote:
Damn but I wish they'd just make a fourth series of this already.

What makes the desire for this all the worse was that Second Raid had at least one running plot which served no purpose other than to set up a further seriesspoiler[Specifically Leon Testarossa and has gang of human sized mechs, all of which felt like such a random drop out of nowhere in the show that went... nowhere. Frustrating.]


I disagree, while it is true that the purpose of introducing Leon was basically to establish him as the future antagonist, TSR has more to offer than that. TSR as whole is the first time that Sagara has any major character development. Before TSR he never really cared about his future because he spent all his life in the military, so he's always done what other people told him to do. Now in TSR, for the first time in his life he is conflicted between what he wants to do and what he is told to do. In a way, TSR is about Sagara forging an identity for himself.
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zensunni



Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 1248
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:11 pm Reply with quote
Zetabag wrote:
Letthemeatraep wrote:
Damn but I wish they'd just make a fourth series of this already.

What makes the desire for this all the worse was that Second Raid had at least one running plot which served no purpose other than to set up a further seriesspoiler[Specifically Leon Testarossa and has gang of human sized mechs, all of which felt like such a random drop out of nowhere in the show that went... nowhere. Frustrating.]


I disagree, while it is true that the purpose of introducing Leon was basically to establish him as the future antagonist, TSR has more to offer than that. TSR as whole is the first time that Sagara has any major character development. Before TSR he never really cared about his future because he spent all his life in the military, so he's always done what other people told him to do. Now in TSR, for the first time in his life he is conflicted between what he wants to do and what he is told to do. In a way, TSR is about Sagara forging an identity for himself.

Absolutely true! The character development, for both Sagara and Kaname, is fantastic in TSR. The episode where she cuts his hair is about the sweetest episode of the entire series. However, it does scream for a fourth season! The relationship is left at a place where it begs to be explored in greater detail. Of course, the fact that the light novels are there with the storyline just asking for the animators to apply light and sound to it makes it even more maddening that they haven't announced any further seasons. (It seems like most of my favorite shows are like this...) I hope the economy turns around soon, at least in Japan, and we get more of our favorite stories rendered in paint and pixels.

As for the first season on BluRay, I expect I will buy it eventually, because I love the story and the characters, and I see no reason not to get it on BluRay, since I don't have the DVDs.

As for the Whispered stuff not being explained in the first season, it is there, you just have to pay attention to it the whole way through. That is one spot where I disagree with the review. I found FMP to be a strong SF story, with sufficient complexity to keep me interested through the slower spots and the sometimes rough transitions between comedy and action. Frequently there are small comments that mean something several episodes later. Very little is wasted in the telling of the story, with the exeption of a few panty shots, and who am I to complain about that? spoiler[Later in the show, it explains much more, such as how each whispered has a specialized area, though they can overlap and share. Kaname appears to have some kind of power ganeration knowledge, that is hinted at in the very beginning of the first episode, as well as talked about by Gauron and others. I expect that it will be important to the completion of the series, but we will have to wait for the author to decide that!]
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