Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory ?
After delivering its second recap episode of the season last week, the series needed to throw something great out there to make up for it. Thankfully this episode doesn't disappoint, as it covers nearly all its bases before ending on a suitable cliffhanger. It also shows that the extra production time allowed by the recap episode didn't go to waste, as the artistic effort is fully up to the series' higher standards.
Essentially, this episode provides a snapshot of who's doing what in the fight against Amalgam, and everyone's scattered all over the place. Up in Anchorage in the first short scene, Wraith and her redhead assistant have the next Arbalest model at least semi-active, with the mildly amusing observation that Al is taking on some of Sousuke's personality (or it could be looked at as a jab at Sousuke's robotic attitude). Meanwhile, Kaname is apparently doing well in her luxury “prison” in Michoacán state in Mexico, where Leonard is still trying to win her over to not much avail. Given that months have passed since she went with Leonard, I'm a little surprised that she hasn't been pressured more. Yes, she's valuable as a Whispered and Leonard is clearly intrigued by her, but Amalgam as an organization has proven to not have much patience with those who defy them.
Also meanwhile, Sousuke has been on the mend in Polynesia for nearly two months courtesy of Mr. Lemon, who also saw to Nami being properly buried and clearly wants to know what Sousuke knows about Amalgam. If they really are on an isolated island though, then how did the attackers get there without more warning? The big question is whether they're Amalgam or Mithril, and the cliffhanger is that Sousuke is in no shape to do anything about it.
The star of this episode is definitely Tessa, however, who once again proves that people underestimate her at their own peril despite her cute demeanor. I suspected that she was up to something when she started spilling about how she ended up there, as even a dazed Tessa wouldn't give up info like that without a plan and her description of the mutiny sounded too fishy; her underlings adore her way too much. It was a slick play that also allowed Melissa (in her second stint in disguise as a nurse), Kurz, and the guy who pilots Urzu-1 to get back into action. Her verbal slam on Fowler was a thing of foul-mouthed beauty, and hearing him be utterly taken aback was quite satisfying. The mecha battle between Urzu-1 and the Lambda Driver-equipped Amalgam mecha was also sharp, and seeing the Lambda Driver get defeated by tactics rather than overpowered by another Lambda Driver was also satisfying. This highlights a potential weak point of the Driver, that it isn't as effective when facing off against opponents attacking from two different directions.
In other words, this episode delivered nearly everything that fans could hope for coming out of the recap. Aside from the cliffhanger ending, the big lingering question is the whereabouts of Kalinin, since he's the only prominent Mithril character who has yet to reappear. That will apparently have to wait for a future episode.
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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