Full Metal Panic! Episode 19

Full Metal Panic!

"Engaging Six and Seven"

The CG submarine is looking worse and worse as this series goes on, but I think that might have something to do with the fact that it is being used in more scenes, doing different things.

New opening and closing credits in this episode, though it's nothing really to write home about. Just different collages of pictures and scenes.

In this episode we get to flashback to a topic that didn't occur to me to explore. While the ladies of Full Metal Panic! lounge in the women's bath on the submarine, Mao tells the story of how Sousuke and Kurz went from rookies to full-fledged members of Mithril. Apparently, they were both toiling in obscurity because they refused to acknowledge their actual skills (Sousuke purposefully getting mediocre scores, and Kurz lying about his shooting ability). I suppose that's kind of interesting, but it's never really explained why they did that (after all, who would want to stay in training?).

With only a few more episodes left in the show, I think that this (and the previous episode) are the calm before the storm, a last chance for some humor and silliness before we go into a serious mission.

A fun (slightly fanservice-laden), filler episode. It was supposed to flesh out Sousuke and Kurz's characters, but doesn't really do all that much. (We already knew that Kurz was a womanizer and most of the series has been fleshing out Sousuke's character.)

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

Full Metal Panic! Episode 20

Full Metal Panic!

"Venom's Flame"

And here we go into the action! Okay, it's a little understated in this episode, actually. There's some action, but Mithril's AS's take care of business so quickly it's kind of anticlimactic (guess those new Russian AS's weren't that big of a deal after all). It does still bother me, though, that the AS's seem to have such widely varying degrees of manuverability. In one scene, we hear them plodding along, ungainly, and in the next, they're defying the laws of physics by sliding around, running, diving, etc. Ah, the realities that are mecha shows.

Either way, giving a mecha a knife to hold in their hand seems kind of silly.

We're at episode twenty at this point, so I'm not really expecting any big surprises. The animation is still exceptional and the music adequate. The thing that bugged me, as I said above, about this episode is the actual battle itself. There's a lot of foreshadowing about how if Sousuke can't complete his mission, it'll be bad news for everyone involved, but even Gauron doesn't seem to put up much of a fight.

Except that the AI cuts out on Sousuke for some, as-yet-unknown, reason. Not to mention that Gauron seemed to have given up pretty easily (it just took a building collapsed around him).

I'm expecting a surprise next episode.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

Full Metal Panic! Episode 21

Full Metal Panic!

"Deep Trap"

If you're going to reuse frames, please let at least one minute go by before we have to watch the same thing twice. Call it a rule of thumb.

There's a lot of CG in this episode, and it's not very good. My standards are high, but if you can't make the two styles mesh well, then you really shouldn't do it. Cut corners, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Now that we have the gripes out of the way, let's move on to the good stuff. As you probably suspected, Gauron's up to no good. At this point, it seems like the show is turning into something like a sub movie, with betrayal, a big powerful sub in the hands of the enemy, and all that related goodness. In the midst of it all, I like how the relationship between Kaname and Sousuke are being handled (unfortunately cut short by the emergency).

This was a pretty fun episode, and it's nice to see that Mithril was suspicious of Gauron's easy defeat (even if they are totally taken off guard by his counterattack). Just a few more episodes to go!

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

Full Metal Panic! Episode 22

Full Metal Panic!

"Jack in the Box"

Full Metal Panic! moves into its last three episodes, picking up right where the action left off in the previous episode. Watching this episode, it's seems kind of unfortunate that with such a good and visible bad guy already established (Gauron), the show decides to make the American navy almost just as bad.

Either way, this episode is about Kaname (with an assist from Tessa) doing her part to rescue the submarine from Gauron's control. Of course we have Kurz and Sousuke also slinking around, so she's not completely on her own!

There are two good stories going on here, with the individual heroes trying to take back the submarine, while the technologically superior submarine attempts to evade and destroy the destroyer and submarine in pursuit (which is of course the underlying concept behind all submarine films). Also, there's some tension between the trigger happy American navy (none-too-subtle political statement) and Mithril over why they're being fired on.

Oh, and apparently those special powers the girls have enables them to speak to each other telepathically (okay, it's really through "resonance").

All in all, an entertaining episode, and the tension keeps up going into the last two.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 10:01 PM | Comments (10)

Full Metal Panic! Episode 23

Full Metal Panic!

"Field of Giants"

More of the crazy Americans in this one, "Remember Pearl Harbor!" being the nice battle cry in this one.


The end is so close you can smell it, and there's still enough that needs to be resolved that it seems like a substantial episode is unlikely. My prediction is the standard ending-in-the-credits with most of the episode given over to the last fight between Gauron and Sousuke.

After twenty-three episodes of vaguely dealing with Black Technology and exactly what the Whispered are capable of doing (for a core motivation, it sure gets very little screen time), there's a lot more explanation (or at least demonstration) in this episode with Kaname taking control of the submarine. But in the end, this is all just window dressing for another fight between Gauron and Sosuke, which in the past have pretty much all come out as draws (with Gauron slightly ahead).

The show still looks and sounds good, and the intensity makes the episode fly by, but it's missing that intangible that would elevate the show from entertaining to great.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

Full Metal Panic! Episode 24

Full Metal Panic!

"Into the Blue"

Weird, did they add a writer to the show in the last two episodes that just loves baseball? That's all I can think of to explain all the sudden baseball references.

The best thing I can say about the ending to Full Metal Panic! is that it does actually give you a bit of closure. Sure there's no real ending to the relationship stuff between Sousuke and Chidori, but the show wasn't really about that, so the way the ends are wrapped up is rather nice. On the down side (at least from the show's perspective), it doesn't exactly leave you begging for more.

Being that this is a last episode, I suppose I should do a little bit of looking back. This is probably my favorite mecha show ever (not a big fan of the giant robots, to be honest). It had a good combination of production values, humor, action, romance and sheer wackiness. The side episodes were all fun, and it was a genuinely entertaining show. It wasn't spectacular, but you won't go wrong watching it.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 11:18 PM | Comments (2)