Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Episode 4

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 4 of
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory ?

Episode 4 brings to fruition the moment that you had to figure was coming ever since this season started: Kaname winds up in the hands of Amalgam, probably as part of some effort on her part to protect Sousuke. It's a classic scenario that we've seen from innumerable series over the years, but it works because it's so efficient. It shows the strength of the bond between the central couple, as they each try to protect the other before the eventual catharsis of a rescue mission. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that it took Full Metal Panic! this long to bust out this plot.

The triteness of Kaname's move to protect Sousuke when he's clearly being overwhelmed by Leonard's mecha is one of only a couple minor negatives in an otherwise a stellar episode. After so much focus on one side of the Amalgam attack or another, this one fully covers both angles. As Sousuke and Kaname execute a plan to rescue Kyouko, Tessa and her people have to escape Merida Island base. Of the two, the latter plot is more successful, with Melissa arriving back at base in the nick of time to save Tessa's butt. Tessa again acquits herself well with her aggressive push against an underwater Behemoth, although the scene where the Tuatha de Danaan launches out of the water with the rammed mech on its nose was my other minor nitpick, as the moment where I felt the CG animation of these massive war machines was truly inadequate. I also thought it was odd that Tessa wasn't showing more concern for leaving Kalinin behind as well, even though she knows from experience that he can handle himself. Unless the two of them had some scheme cooked up that wasn't apparent to the audience?

The sequence involving Sousuke and Kaname was ultimately far more harrowing. The close-range action scenes between mecha were excellent, and the rooftop scene where Wraith gets involved was engrossing as well. The new villain guy being thrown off his game was quite satisfying, as was seeing Kaname apply her burgeoning Whispered power to the cause, and it was somehow fitting that Kyouko would winding up badly injured out of the deal. Prior to this, FMP! has skirted around the potentially serious consequences of Sousuke's actions on his fellow students, so that scene made a strong impression, as does the follow-up where Sousuke reveals at least some of the truth to his classmates and deals with their reactions. The retiring Student Council President getting in one more good appearance was also welcome.

So that leaves us with the next big plot going forward, where a battered MITHRIL attempts to rescue Kaname. I'm definitely curious to see how they pull this off, and I'm eager to see if Kaname being taken into Amalgam's clutches will reveal more about them and their goals, since they've remained rather obtuse so far, unless I'm forgetting any major details from The Second Raid. Whatever ends up happening, it should be fun to watch things unfold.

Rating: A-

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

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