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Full Metal Panic! - Season 1 - BD [Blu-ray]
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Kaname Chidori’s one of the most popular girls at her high school – unfortunately, it’s her growing popularity off campus she should be worrying about. Unbeknownst to Kaname, terrorists are plotting her abduction, believing she possesses the rare and coveted abilities of “the Whispered.”
That’s where Sousuke Sagara enters the picture. He’s a hotshot soldier from the clandestine counter-terrorist organization known as Mithril – and he’s going undercover at Kaname’s school to try and keep her safe. He may be an ace in the cockpit of an Arm Slave mech, but there’s no training in the world that could prepare him for the warzone of high school.
Contains the full 24 episode series with both the English dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles.
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This series is a fascinating example of genre mixing, trying to combine high school comedy with giant mecha action. Set in an alternate reality where the USSR never fell and the technology known to the Whispered has revolutionised warfare, 'Full Metal Panic' delivers serious warfare with hyperactive silliness. And, for the most part, it works, no tall order given the product. The animation is crisp, the characters attractively drawn and the dub very well done, with just the right blend of romance and antagonism between Sousuke and Kaname, who could carry the series on their own. The point is, Sousuke, a former child soldier, has no idea how the real world works, and his attempts to protect Kaname often go horribly wrong, as he points guns at innocent people, convincing Kaname that he's a dangerous lunatic, even if she kind of likes him. And so, what does Kaname do? Up to the point where she discovers that Sousuke is a mercenary, mostly beating him up and losing her rag. Kaname's rages are a sight to behold, and normally completely justified. When on the battlefield, things change, but not that much, and understandably so.
So, why only four stars? Well, the blending of comedy and drama is not always wholly successful. At times the comedy and drama are strictly separated, something carried through in the sequels, one of which is wholly comedic and the other much darker. There is also a dearth of exposition. It would be nice to find out a little more about the Whispered and so on, for example. But on the whole, Full Metal Panic! is a joy to watch. A little, life affirming gem.
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When the Mithril organization learns that an unsuspecting high school girl is being targeted they send one of their top guys to protect her there is only one problem... the man they've chosen may have a brilliant military mind, but he is completely socially inept. The series blends comedy, drama and action together with expert precision transitioning from comedy hijinks to dramatic dilemmas that culminate in amazing action sequences.
The animation is top notch, the characters are intriguing, the story is both hilarious and compelling with an excellent English dub making this series a must own for any anime fan and one of my favorite mecha animes!
For the $20-30 it costs for a whole blu-ray show, that's not bad. And considering the future blu-ray packs are the same price, you can drop $60 on the entire blu-ray series - which isn't too shabby considering the price some of us paid for the whole thing when it was first released.
Video wise, it's fairly sharp. Keep in mind this season was animated when all broadcast TV's were still 4:3 screen ratio, and the blu-ray's keep this ratio. Granted they have been upscaled to fit the modern HDTV it still retains the 4:3 scale, so you'll have black bars on the left/right of your TV. This is a better choice than trying to stretch to widescreen and ruin it. I haven't watched the ADV release in years for a picture quality comparison, but considering I'm watching this on a 65" HDTV with very few instances of the images getting pixelated (and even then you won't notice unless you're looking for it), I'd say it's a win.
Audio is fairly typical, english 5.1 and japanese 2.0. Both use a surround system (if you have one) fairly well, as the audio has been touched up, but since it wasn't a theatre release, it doesn't fully utilize 5.1.
New or old fans, spending $25 on this box is a deal you can't go wrong with.
If you are into the comedic aspects then watching or purchasing Full Metal Panic!? Fumoffu is for you, not much action in that series.
The animation is great for having been produced in 2002, especially compared to shows being produced at the time With that let me discuss the reason for the title above, while the english dub sounds good and no actor is bad, I personally felt that Sousuke's personality and the fact that he is oblivious to everything he is doing wrong is lost with the english dub. Even with the Japanese audio being in stereo I would say stick with that, but if you dislike reading subtitles then the english audio is perfectly fine.
I really enjoy when a show or anime can blend together multiple genres and make a successful final product, the only genre that ends up lacking a little bit is the romance but that is a result of the characters personalities and interactions aka Sousuke is again oblivious to everything not military related.
Sousake and kaname are hiliarious together and the supporting cast is just as witty and times comical. There's also much action and drama to the story as well. This is a story I recommend to anyone who enjoys a well rounded story with thought out characters.