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Full Metal Panic Novels 4 & 5 to Ship in U.S. Next February

posted on by Gia Manry
Tokyopop to release volumes 4 & 5 as 1 book after 2+ year hiatus

The North American publisher Tokyopop revealed via Twitter (in response to user x20mar) that it will ship Full Metal Panic! novel volumes 4 and 5 on February 1, 2011 — more than two and a half years after volume 3 shipped in the United States (on June 17, 2008), and more than 10 years after the fourth volume's Japanese release (November 10, 2000). Volumes 4 and 5 combine to form a single arc titled Ending Day by Day, and Tokyopop will release these two volumes as one book.

Full Metal Panic! centers around a mercenary group called Mithril. The story is set on a parallel Earth in which the Cold War did not end in 1991 — resulting in a different global political makeup, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. The series originally took the form of light novels written by Shoji Gatoh, illustrated by Shikidouji, and published by Fujimi Shobo.

The novel series launched in September of 1998 and is still ongoing in Japan. Gatoh announced in January that he is currently working on the last volumes (#11 and #12) of the series, which will ship in July and August. Tokyopop released the first Full Metal Panic! novel in September 2007, but production of the titles went on hiatus in 2008 when the publisher cancelled or postponed many other light novel titles.

In 2002, studio Gonzo created a television anime series based on the novels, ADV Films released the anime in North America between 2003 and 2004. The television series was followed up by Kyoto Animation's 2003 Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu!, which focused less on the robotic mecha battles and more on the romantic comedy storyline of protagonists Sousuke Sagara and Kaname Chidori. Fumoffu! was also released by ADV. The 2006 TV series Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid and its subsequent OVA, also by Kyoto Animation, were licensed and released by FUNimation in 2007.

Retsu Tateo adapted the story into a manga which Fujimi Shobo's Monthly Comic Dragon and Dragon Age magazines serialized from 2003 to 2005; ADV Manga released its nine volumes between 2004 and 2006. ADV Manga also released the 2001 Full Metal Panic! Overload comedy series in 2005 and 2006. Three additional manga remain unlicensed in North America: Full Metal Panic! Comic Mission (2003), Full Metal Panic! Surplus (2003), and Full Metal Panic! Sigma (2005).

Mandalay Pictures acquired the film rights to Full Metal Panic! in 2009, and actor Zac Efron of Disney's High School Musical series was in talks to play Sousuke. However, the actor downplayed the project's chances.

Thanks to Rachel for the tip.

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