Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Episodes 1-2

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 1 of
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory ?

How would you rate episode 2 of
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory ?

Note: Since I registered my thoughts on the first episode in the Preview Guide, this review will primarily focus on episode 2.

The first episode of Invisible Victory promised a lot of things: familiar visuals, a darker and more serious tone, the potential for intense action, a major role for Tessa, and significant steps forward in the relationship between Sousuke and Kaname. The second episode delivers on the first four factors in a big way and simply doesn't have time for the last; so much is going down that there isn't a moment to spare for a hint of romance. I have no complaints though, because I honestly don't know how this episode could have been done better beyond the limitations of its TV budget.

Granted, none of these story strokes are anything innovative yet; the surprise assault on the fortified base is a staple of mecha series, and the fleeing vehicle with person-sized Arm Slaves trying to break in hearkens back to the Terminator movies in particular. However, the taut execution keeps the thrill factor high and the sense of danger ever-present. It helps tremendously that the animation does not shy away from depicting brutality. Once Sousuke finally gets to Arbalest, the way he rips through his assailants is stunning, which only makes sense given that this is like watching the world's most powerful tank turn on ordinary foot soldiers. Depicting a bystander who got caught in the crossfire is also a welcome touch, as it acknowledges that this level of spraying gunfire would likely have unintended collateral casualties. The vehicle chase scenes are still too distractingly CG, but they still make better use of it than most similar scenes in other anime, and convincingly showing the level of damage that Sousuke's vehicle should be taking.

On the Merida Island front, the waves of missiles and following threats of oncoming attackers make for a satisfyingly tense scene as well. The arrival of multiple Behemoths (the giant mech featured in the second story arc of the first season) raises some practical questions, such as who they got to pilot machines that require a Lambda Driver just to offset its own weight, but that's a point to be addressed later. They definitely provide an overwhelming threat, as does the knowledge that the enemy can predict sunspot activity well enough to take full advantage of it. (Learning that it was a natural phenomenon and not something created by Amalgam was a surprise.) Of course, the star of the episode here is Tessa, who sets aside any hint of her meeker personality to firmly take charge of the situation when a subordinate loses his cool. The bit about marrying Tessa afterwards provides the episode's one bit of levity, but even that seems fitting for the situation.

So does the move at the end, where we see Kaname's best friend Kyoko held hostage. This provides yet another hook going into the next episode – as if we needed another one to get more hyped at this point. This episode also debuted the series' opener and closer. While both are respectable numbers, I'd narrowly classify closing theme “yes” as the stronger and more memorable piece.

So are we having fun yet with this season? I know I am. The new FMP looks great, sounds great, and delivers great action and a compelling story – what more could you ask for?

Rating: A

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

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