Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid
2009 TV Series (episodes 1-13 plus OVA). Director: Ryuta Nakagami. 320 minutes. DVD, bilingual, $59.98. Distributor: Funimation.
In an alternate world where the Cold War is not over and China is divided like post-war Germany, the para-military outfit Mithril utilizes their bio-mech suits to play the role of international police. Whether it is the desert of North Africa or the streets of Hong Kong, they defend human rights and battle the rogue organization called Amalgam.
Sounds serious? Indeed. But let’s not forget that Mithril’s star pilot is teenage Sousuke Sagara, who must live the double life of an average high school student – yet another teenager destined to save the world. Between impromptu missions, midterms, and secretly guarding the pugnacious high school hottie Chidori, what’s a boy to do?
Mecha, mecha, and more mecha! Full Metal Panic is reminiscent of those classic mech-oriented anime that began to appear in the US after the Robotech boom in the 80’s. It’s got everything you expect: robot action, advanced technology, war-weary soldiers, and a budding romance beset with the comedy and melodrama that is high school! How can you say no to this?
The popularity of this series is no surprise, nor that Mandalay Pictures has flirted with a film adaptation.
But I should also mention something else. Amalgam’s mecha squad is run by a sexual deviant and all around mad man: Gates. Now, throw in the twin teenage, incestuous assassins Xia Yu Lan and Xia Yu Fan and the techy sex appeal of Full Metal Panic becomes slightly disturbing. And the OVA, unfortunately, is nothing more than a filler episode.
So, as good as this series is, sometimes it’s like a lap dance in a very dim club. Pray the lights don’t turn on. Just sit there and enjoy it.