Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Episode 5

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory ?

With Kaname temporarily out of the picture, Full Metal Panic! does something it hasn't done since the introduction of Tessa: toss a new girl of Sousuke's age into the mix. Nami provides a stark visual and personality contrast to any of the female characters and represents an interesting new angle for the story to run with. Whether she ultimately proves to be an enhancement or a distraction remains to be seen, but based on her first episode, I'm betting this is a positive change. The story doesn't exactly need someone like her, but it should benefit from her presence nonetheless.

Visually, Nami's face shape isn't much different from other characters, but the red hair in a ponytail definitely stands out along with her more slender yet tougher build. She also stands out by being more depicted as more overtly sexy than her peers, from her skimpier clothing to the camera's pronounced focus on her hips. Personality-wise, Nami represents a far more grounded and streetwise presence, with a generally friendly disposition that bares occasional brittle edges. It will be interesting to see how Sousuke responds to her given what he's used to dealing with from Kaname or Tessa.

The plot's new direction isn't as fresh. At loose ends after last episode and having lost contact with the Tuatha de Danaan, Sousuke winds up in Namsac, a southeast Asian city which seems roughly equivalent to Thailand, not unlike Roanapur in Black Lagoon. There's an Arm Slave dueling arena here, Nami's the owner of a shoestring operation, and Sousuke gets involved as her pilot when the person he had come to see turns out to be Nami's deceased pilot. The rough rival team responsible for their death unwisely tries to cross Sousuke, which goes about as well for them as might be expected. A foreign photographer who bears a striking resemblance to Kurz also gets involved as a sponsor. It's all pretty standard, but the execution gives this plot just enough edge to stand out.

So the new arc is going in a promising direction so far. As much as I like Nami though, I do hope the series won't take too long to get back to Kaname and the others.

Rating: B+

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

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