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Fumoffu" is packed full of the high level zaniness you have come to expect from this series...
Full Metal Pandemonium!
Review by Matthew Anderson
12 Episode TV Series
Company: ADV Films
Running Time: 75 minutes (3 episodes)
Rating: PG-13 (Language, violence, adult situations)
Sergeant Sousuke Sagara is an elite member of Mithril, a top secret, special missions force, created to defend freedom against evil terrorist organizations determined to rule the world. Sousuke has been assigned to protect Kaname Chidori, a high school student who may or may not be the target of terrorists. While Sousuke is a capable soldier, he is a bit over zealous when it comes to his duty.
Way, way over zealous.
So busy in protecting Kaname, he fails to notice the everyday things going on around him, including the fact that his charge is in very much in love with him. No, he just plugs away at his mission, blowing up potentially dangerous love letters, shooting up video games, or blasting away watermelons with his riot gun.
One thing is for sure, Kaname's life will certainly be interesting!
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: The transfer is pretty darn good. There are no pixels, wrinkles, or blemishes anywhere to be found. There is some noticeable edge enhancement at times, which may detract from your enjoyment.
AUDIO: Well done for both the English 5.1 and Japanese Dolby 2.0 tracks. The English track has a fuller sound, but the Japanese is louder in volume. On both versions, the audio is crisp and rich, full of surround sound during the action elements.
EDITS: The clean open and close are used. No other edits to the series has been noted.
EXTRAS: For this first volume, we have a bunch, both on the disc and in the case. For the DVD, we have a montage of production sketches, original Japanese promo spots, a text based feature called "The Mysteries of FUMOFFU", and of course, clean open and close animation.
Included in the DVD is a "Bonta-Kun" game, and a discount coupon worth 50% off your purchase of the "Full Metal Panic!" thin pack box set (but only if you purchase directly from ADV Films).
STORY: A sequel to the incredibly popular "Full Metal Panic!" TV series, "Fumoffu" is packed full of the high level zaniness you have come to expect from this series, but it does scale back on the drama. Series Composers Shouji Gatou and Fumihiko Shima, combined with the directorial talents of Yasuhiro Takemoto, make every episode a gut-busting, action packed, insane joy ride that you won't want to end.
ACTING: This is one of those anime where trying to pick the best voice cast is like trying to decide which Olsen twin is sexier. Both are totally hot, and both match each other in skill and ability. It will truly depend on what you prefer, dub or sub!
FAN SERVICE: Surprisingly, there are very few references to events from the first series. With the exception of a guest appearance of Testarossa, none of the Mithril folks appear in this volume.
Now, if you wanted to see most of the female characters in swimsuits, well then, check out episode 3!
Full Metal Panic returns, but not in the way you expected. Gone are the Arms Slaves, the insane terrorists, and the psychic subplot. Instead, FUMOFFU concentrates on the relationship between Sergeant Sousuke Sagara and his unwilling bodyguard assignment, the volatile Kaname Chidori. It's like Jet Li's "The Protector", only with a lot more explosions.
I really like how this series tackles the typical conventions of high school anime in its "guns a blazing" style. In the first episode, Sousuke receives a love letter from a secret admirer. In a typical series of this type, Kaname would try to find out about her rival, and check up on them. Okay, she does that anyway, but the way Sousuke handles things a little different than most boys. He blows up the letter, and then lies in wait to see if his admirer is a sweet girl, or a hard core killer.
It doesn't stop there. A day at the beach, missing homework, a fight between street punks, and so many other staples of high school anime are blown way out of proportions. In my favorite episode, Sousuke, in an heavy handed attempt to procure food from the school bakery, causes a riot. Instructed to take over at the bakery until the sales people recover, Kaname and Sagara become the target of a teacher, who thinks that Sagara is a bad influence. Again, in a typical "FUMOFFU" twist, what would be a simple battle of wits between student and teacher becomes an all out war involving electric traps, tear gas, and acupuncture spikes. Throw in some non-sequiturs and Sousuke's typical thick headedness, and you have something even the most "anti-high school romance" anime fan will love.
At its heart, "FUMOFFU" is a love story. Sure it has action, adventure, and broad physical comedy to keep the guys interested, but if you look closely, you will see that these two kids do love each other. While it appears that Sousuke is only interested in protecting Miss Chidori, the thought of her being hurt fills him with dread. Even though Kaname is constantly getting on Sousuke about his extreme tactics, she feels bad when she goes too far in her bitching. If you add up all the little things, it's painfully obvious that these two were really made for each other.
It's either that, or they are both a couple of loons!
While the situations are incredibly funny, and the physical comedy will have you peeing your pants, it's the voice acting cast that makes "FUMOFFU" so entertaining. Luci Christian and Chris Patton once again return as the beloved Sousuke and Kaname, and just like before, they knock it out of the park. The chemistry between the two is absolutely wonderful. They play off each other incredibly well, making the physical comedy even more hilarious. Chris Patton is in his element here, his deadpan delivery for Sousuke makes him the perfect, stoic straight man. Luci Christian's reading is youthful, energetic, and down right sexy, just like her character. Major props to the supporting cast on also doing a great job.
Everything I said about the American cast goes double for the Japanese cast. Like Luci and Chris, Yukino Satsuke and Seki Tomokazu are a perfect match for Kaname and Sousuke. Along with the supporting cast, this is the best that Japan has to offer.
The ending theme "The Wind that Blows to You" performed by Mikuni Shimokawa of FLIGHT MASTER reminds me of some of the love songs from the 1970. Her voice isn't too high, and there is a passion that comes through. I hope that someone releases the single in the US one day!
While there are only three episodes on the disc, there are actually 5 different stories, as the first two "episodes" are broken down into to vignettes. The funny thing is, you really don't notice how short they are. Your laughing so hard, you need the break to recover.
I am so completely addicted to "Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU". The comedy, the writing, and the excellent voice acting is so perfect, having to wait for the next volume will be excruciating torture. I'm sure Sousuke will be pleased to hear that.
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