Reviewed by: The Dave
Released by: ADV Films UK
Age Rating: 12
Region: 2 - UK
Volume 1 of 4
Length: 75 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
As a reworking of the anime series 'Full Metal Panic! FUMOFFU' follows its predecessor's basic fish-out-of-water premise with the same zany blend of action and comedy. But while popular teenage schoolgirl Kaname Chidori is still being protected from the machinations of an evil terrorist organisation by undercover secret agent Sousuke Sagara, this time around the emphasis is on the series' comedic, rather than action-oriented, elements. The main thrust of the comedy stems from the military-trained Sagara's inability to blend into normal teenage society, his overzealous protection of Kaname (everything from impromptu gunfights to poorly planned explosions), and a strangely sweet romance between the disastrously mismatched couple. Directed by Kouichi Chigara, this volume introduces the sequel anime with the series' first three episodes.
Having not seen any of the Full Metal Panic series before, I expected to find FMP?F unwatchable and full of characters that I’d be expected to know the complete history of.
I was completely wrong.
Before the credits to the first episode it is established that the main character of the series, Sousuke, had been a guerrilla fighter since the age of 8 and was sponsored to attend the school in which the story takes place, and the relationships with other characters are established without unnecessary exposition and are allowed to develop naturally through the series.
Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu is a high-school romantic comedy, in which Sousuke is placed in situations that are typical for the genre, but turns them on their heads through our clueless hero’s borderline sociopathic unilateral actions which unexpectedly had me laughing my head off. The romantic tension between Sousuke and Kaname, the female main character, is portrayed with the awkwardness expected from a romantic comedy, with Kaname embarrassed by her feelings for Sousuke, whereas he is completely oblivious to her. In many respects, this series reminds me of Ranma ½ by Rumiko Takahashi, with the awkwardness and over-the-top violence being the driving points of the series.
The Volume 1 DVD comes with three episodes of the series, accompanied by a variety of extras, including Japanese TV-spots, character biographies and notes regarding some of the controversy during the Japanese airing of the series, which arose from episodes not being shown due to the similarities to real-life news events.
The voice acting in the English dub is actually very good, and I’d go so far as to say that some of the choices made regarding casting are pretty much perfect, with the Student Body President in particular standing out with excellent delivery of borderline nonsensical dialogue.
The image transfer for this series was also particularly good, with the colours being extremely vibrant, and the line-work very sharp.
I really enjoyed Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, and will have to watch the series which preceded it. Although the setting could be described as generic, the introduction of unexpected character behaviours made it highly entertaining to watch.
I highly recommend this series.