Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Episode 3

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 3 of
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory ?

I'm really looking forward to hearing Funimation's simulcast of the FMP! IV English dub starting May 6th, especially now that they've confirmed that all the key voice actors are coming back to reprise their roles. The Japanese performances aren't bad, but for me Chris Patton will always be Sousuke, Luci Christian will always be Kaname, and Hilary Haag will always be Tessa. These characters just don't sound right to me without those voices.

But that has little to do with this episode. While last episode leaned much more on what was going on with Sousuke and Kaname, this time around they only get the last few minutes of screentime, outside of one important short scene before that. This moment is significant because Sousuke finally admits that Kaname has dramatically changed his world in ways that scare him, while Kaname acknowledges that her abilities as a Whispered seem to be growing in ways that also frighten her. Meanwhile Kyoko's fears are more immediate after being laden with bombs, but at least the new villain isn't just another callous nutcase. He gives off a “nothing personal, business is business” kind of attitude, a sentiment reflected by every other aspect of his plan so far. Sadly, we won't get to see a showdown over Kyoko and the booby-trapped school until next episode, since too much is going on elsewhere. My one little quibble is that Sousuke and Kaname seem to be acting a little too casually given how seriously Kyoko is in danger.

The first 75% of the episode instead chronicles what's going on at Merida Island. This gives us our first mecha-on-mecha action of the season as Kurz, Melissa, and their Uruz crew confront the Behemoths and take one down at a significant cost; our would be-traitor gets crushed, and it's not hard to feel bad for him. Melissa also gets de-mech'd, but that just assures that she's involved in the ground-based resistance to the attackers. Though the Behemoths can be devastating on their own, they're actually just cover for the parties flying in on helicopter. Kurz savages some of the latter group, but enough get through to wreak havoc in a hangar and let troops out to storm the base, forcing the timetable for the Tuatha de Danaan's departure forward to a level that could be detrimental later on. Amidst all of this tense conflict, Tessa reacts oddly to Kalinin at one point. This isn't our first indication this season that something's up with him, and now I'm curious to see how that plot thread plays out.

There will undoubtedly be complaints about the CG helicopters and mecha, but I still find them both to be effective at supporting some strong action, including a nice mix of ground-based and underwater combat. The artistic effort also gives us some great perspective shots, such as the pictured screenshot of Tessa at a crucial moment or the interior shots of mecha cockpits when their pilot is on the verge of getting crushed to death.

Overall, this episode provides a lot to like and even more to anticipate for this long-awaited continuation to Full Metal Panic!.

Rating: B+

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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