The third addition to the Full Metal Panic (FMP) series - The Second Raid (TSR) focuses on the increasingly complicated life of Sousuke Sagara, our 17-year-old professional soldier who is employed by the anti-terror organization Mithril. For starters, Sousuke must continue his job as the undercover bodyguard of Kaname Chidori, while somehow mastering the unreliable Lambda Drive within the Arbalest proto-type (think mecca unit) so he can continue to do battle with rogue terrorist organizations; all while at Mithril's beck and call! Of course, TSR wouldn’t be complete without creating a secondary love interest for Sousuke in the very cute form of Tessa Testarossa, the 16-year-old captain of Mithril's technological marvel of a submarine upon which Sousuke is assigned.
The story itself revolves around the ever-changing political landscape of a futuristic Earth, where behind every news-worthy event lies at least one covert terrorist or anti-terrorist organization. In essence, the heart of TSR is about how these covert organizations struggle for power to either maintain the current political balance or to de-stabilize things in their favor. Add to this the evolving personal dynamics between Sousuke, Chidori, and Tessa, all of which is constantly muddled due to the title each character holds (ie Tessa is Sousuke’s boss and Chidori is his assignment). As a result, what you have is an extremely complex plot that is totally worth your time, but in order to really get what’s going on you should start from the beginning with the first season of FMP.
Unlike like a lot of American animated pieces, TSR really does a nice job of blending CGI scenes within the course of the piece in such a way that they don't stand out like a sore thumb. Beyond that, the colors are vibrant and the imagery was extremely realistic as evident to the high attention to detail paid to in the shots of the Hong Kong skyline. On a whole, FMP TSR is truly one of the better animated pieces I've seen, and would highly recommend it based on production value alone.
Like other aspects of this anime the soundtrack does a great job of reinforcing the mood of the series. The opening theme is a very up-beat and establishes the inherent optimism that's found within the series. The closing theme is a much slower and reflective piece that describes the bond that forms between Sousuke and Chidori. Beyond that the soundtrack is quite lively and appropriately sets the mood throughout the series, as well as provides all the necessary background sounds that makes the user feel that they're right in the middle of the war zone.
Similar to the previous FMP series, the three key characters here are Sousuke Sagara, Kaname Chidori, and Tessa Testarossa; and like the previous series, TSR continues to evolve and define their relationships. However, the one over-arching constant in this series is that the characters must mature as individuals in order for their relationships to survive. As a result, all of the characters are isolated and then placed in very difficult situations that they must each see their way through.
It is worth mentioning, however, that unlike other series which rely strictly on circumstances to drive character development, TSR actually relies on a whole host of secondary characters -- some of whom are re-introduced from the first series. As a result, I would not recommend watching TSR without first seeing FMP â€“ though it should be noted that FUMOFFU doesn't really play much into the plotline of this series except for one or two recounted memories that Chidori shares.
TSR is really a great series because unlike a lot of other anime, this series is not simply about evolving the character. It instead focuses on Sousuke, Kaname, and Tessa actually growing up and learning to make decisions for themselves. In that way, the series does a great job of conveying the message that teenagers are still teenagers no matter what they do or how talented they are. And in the end, maturity only comes from stepping up and making decisions while being fully aware of the consequences involved. All of these things are wrapped up in a complicated storyline that both introduces new characters and gracefully re-introduces old ones from the first series.
In short, TSR was a series I had to finish once I started and it did not disappoint. It's a must watch for any fans of the FMP series as it does a great job of extending the story and continues to evolve the characters, while still delivering the usual hi-jinx and FMP humor.
ANIME MINOR JEWELS SERIES
Full lit of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
This is a review of all three different series.
When you think of sequels, you would imagine that they are mostly the same as before, with perhaps more action, more fan service, less story, and so on. In this regard this trilogy is one of a kind because each segment has an entirely different feeling to it. The first is an almost run-of-the-mill teen action/adventure (simply called FMP), the second is a comedy (Fumoffu), and the third is a drama (Second Raid). The reason for this turnaround is because the original material was deliberately separated into these three different sections, presumably for a better consistency and flow of the story. The result is three very different shows.
If we are to place them in a line of importance, the most entertaining is Fumoffu and the least interesting FMP. The reason is rather simple; being a story based on light novels means that it takes things… light. The story is simple and full of convenience and the characters lack overall complexity. Thus by nature it better suits to be a light comedy. Plus, the first season was made by GONZO, the company famous for ruining everything it touches with its horrible CGI and incompetent staff at the storyboards. KyoAni taking over the production in the two other shows saved the franchise from certain doom.
STORY SECTION: FMP: 4/10, FUM: 1/10, SR: 7/10, AVERAGE: 4/10
As I said, the story part is simple and with weak reasoning; it’s just there just an excuse to have things happening for the sake of happening. There are people who are supernaturally born with hidden knowledge, there is a secret military organization with mecha protecting them and some random villains trying to abuse them. Don’t try to see past that because nothing amazing is ever going to happen beyond that; it’s to the most part the chemistry amongst the characters that matters and the comedy. The military missions will feel almost boring after awhile and the meat of the show is the funny school events.
- For the sake of reviewing, the first season is a simple teen adventure with a very loose plot around Chidori being stalked and protected by Sagara.
- The second is one of the same, with a lot more humour and no story continuity at all; it’s pure aimless comedy.
- The third returns to its original premise and has now a far more tight story, better developed characters, interesting twists, and even adds drama and gore to the lot and creates a nice overall season. The scenario is still full of convenience but the far less dead time and the seemingly powerful finale make it far more interesting. For some silly reasons, it was not received very well from the community because they saw it as a poor attempt at making something tragic out of something light.
Just in case you wonder, the story continues further in the novels and it is unknown if they even adapt the rest of it in anime.
CHARACTER SECTION: FMP: 6/10, FUM: 7/10, SR: 8/10, AVERAGE: 7/10
In effect, there are only three interesting characters in this trilogy.
- Chidori is your average energetic school girl, who strives to be perfect in everything. She also has that weird hidden knowledge inside her which makes her better without even knowing it. She is very active and dynamic as a character, a thing rather rare in anime, which love to humiliate females and present them as frail and useless. Although there is a rather high degree of fan service around her, that still does not take away her charm.
- Sagara is a teenager boy raised in the battlefield. That makes him acting as a completely distant and militaristic character, acting suspicious all the time and carrying lethal weaponry even in school. He is assigned to protect Chidori and thus he turns to a stalker and a freak, always causing a ruckus even around the most trivial event. It’s his interaction and overprotection and anti-social behaviour that makes him a highly comical character. As expected, he and Chidori gradually start having feelings for one another and it is very humorous to see how he is unable to express even the slightest feeling without making it look ridiculous.
- Testarrosa is a young girl and Sagara’s superior in the organization. She is there to provide a romantic triangle and frankly she hardly seems to be leadership material. It’s her powers that somehow make her important but you end up caring about her silly behaviour and her rivalry with Chidori.
All the rest of the cast are not interesting; mostly stock material of students and other military staff, just so the story will have more variety. They help to colorize the main trio nicely.
ART & MUSIC SECTION: FMP: 7/10, FUM: 8/10, SR: 8/10, AVERAGE: 8/10
All three series look and sound very appealing to the senses, as they have pretty good visuals and nice songs, appealing character figures and fitting voice acting. There is no innovation or even experimentation in here to offer the trilogy some sort of artistic bonus to the scores; it’s a pretty much mainstream take on mecha action and school comedy. I give FMP a bit less though because it is made by GONZO. Their CGI is making everything look worse. Plus, aesthetically speaking the bright colours of Fumoffu and the dark ones in Second Raid helped to establish a sort of unique feeling to them, a thing that misses entirely from FMP.
VALUE SECTION: 7/10
This trilogy has by all means nothing exceptional about it. It is an above average time killer thanks to the strong chemistry around the main trio as well as Sagara’s weird behaviour. Plus, the different feeling of each season make it more memorable.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: FMP: 6/10, FUM: 8/10, SR: 8/10, AVERAGE: 7/10
FMP is an almost average teen adventure with loose plot that has very little to remember it about. Fumoffu is very good as a comedy, with several hilarious scenes. Second Raid is also good if you see it as a whole, as it strengthens and progresses the relationships of the characters, offers new aspects of the setting and even presents a darker side to the light and silly feeling of the previous instalments.
VERDICT: FMP: 6/10, FUM: 6.5/10, SR: 7.5/10, AVERAGE: 7/10
It is not by any means a masterpiece but it is very enjoyable in overall and does improve along the way instead of getting worse, as it usually happens with sequels.
Now this is what I am talking about. The first series sucked, the second series was a romantic comedy that had no action, but really good slice of life kinds of episodes, but this series. The second raid, was awesome. If all of Full Metal Panic was this good then it could have been a 9 or 10.
Story: was awesome, it gave me chills when the plot twisted. The problem with this series though, was that it was waaaaaaay too short to get all the goodness in. that is why this gets and 8. It was great, but not enough time to explain everything that needed it and not enough time spent in the goodness. The last episode returned a little to the crap from the first series, which sorta sucked, but I give the series props for making some big changes. The whole thing was more deep, more logical, but more intense. I really liked it.
Animation: The animation was awesome. They clearly spent time to make the action sequences look great. I was extremely impressed, but disappointed that it was only 13 episodes of it.
Sound: much better then the first series, more unique music. the voice acting was great everywhere. The laughs and tortured screams seemed very legit. The opening and ending still sucked for an action anime.
Characters: This series won in a big way. The character development was awesome. there was plenty of time spent on showing the fear, the desparation, the anger, the awkwardness between characters after an argument. It was great. I loved the way the characters grew up and changed. especially Sousuke, Kaname, and Tessa (before the last episode at least).
Overall: the ending kinda got a little weird, they put the tsundere back in with goofy music at a point where it should have been more serious. Also there was a lot of story that seemed to be missing, but the story that was there was so good that I really wish the series was longer. Unfortunately it seemed that everything ended prematurely, that is why this gets an 8 rather then a 9 or 10. If they had started off being that awesome from the beggining this would have been a waaaaay better anime.
So finally Full Metal Panic! lives up to what it should have been the first season and in that silly mess fumoffu.
Positives: Everything you liked about Full Metal Panic! is back, but this time there's actually a good story, some character development, and things happen that matter.
My favorite part of most anime is the relationship between characters and finally with this series we get some real development between Sousuke and Chidori. The rest of the characters also are starting to come into their own and the world finally is coming together. It's a shame that we aren't seeing more episodes in this season though.
There are a few great episodes and a number of really well planned out and executed scenes including those towards the end of the story which I can't get into without dumping a pile of spoilers. But just be aware that if you're actually someone watching the show for more than the comedy then you're finally going to have something to look forward to. Seriously, I really enjoyed the last half of this season. Somehow it was just very fulfilling and while I hope there will somehow be more coming out at some point I'm happy with how things have ended up.
Negatives: I didn't really have a lot of compaints with this season. If you've been following my reviews you'll know that I'm not a big fan of mecha or fighting anime but I do on occasion let that slide when there's enough to watch in addition to those bits. Thankfully this season is more along those lines.
If I have to dig up some complaints then I would say that the weaknesses of the overall story are finally coming to rear their heads, but we all knew going in that the story was rather silly. It was created to be so and thus it ought not be surprise now to reap the fruits of our labors, right?
Overall the best season for Full Metal Panic! in my opinion. All the humor is there, but overall it seems to have a bit more serious tone and a whole lot more developement for the characters which I really enjoyed.
Spoiler Free Review
Well, as pretty much every anime watcher knows, the best way to ruin a good story is to give it a cheap rushed ending. Sadly, thats what they did here. The story continues 3-4 months after FMP left off (fumoffu fills in that gap, there are a few references to it, but if you skipped it, you won't be clueless). The majority of the series gets a 8-9, the story is new, somewhat develops characters, and it interesting. The last couple, get a 2. The ending is extremely rushed, and it feels like they simply ran out of time. There are numerous unresolved parts, and what they did do was rushed to the point that it lost credibility. I'll occasionally accept a deus ex machina ending, but this one made no sense, as there was no explination of how the triggering factor knew were to be, or how it managed to get there (given the situation illustrated in the previous 2-3 episodes). This would have worked better as a 26 episode series, making it 13 really hurt it. I'd have prefered a less rushed story with some filler over what it ended up as.
First off, I'm not much of an animation critic. Everything looked good to me, bordering on great. They didn't recycle footage, there wern't any parts that felt 'cheap', so basicly no issues here from me. Defiantely a strong point.
Knock off 1-4 points if you watch it in english, the voices (particularly Chidori's) lose a lot of emotion. Other than that, the sound worked.
Most returning characters remain about the same. There's some development with the command crew which I liked. Chidori developes some, but it isn't particularly believeable. Sousuke... changes, but the reasons given are flimsy at best, and the deus ex machina ending that I already mentioned messes this up even further. Villinous characters have an acceptable combination of being deveoped and remaining mysterious (to hide a very easily guessed secret). The new 'good guys' are pretty hollow, but the new neutralish one was interesting. All in all, character development suffers the same issues as story; too much to do, and not enough time. End result: they cut corners, and it shows.
Definately could have been better. If you liked the first two series, I'd recommend watching this. If you thought they were alright but nothing special, don't make this a priority. While the majority of it isn't bad, the ending is towards the top of my lists of lousy endings.