This show made me laugh out loud often, but it can't be descried as pure comedy, and at times it had me on the edge of my seat, but it isn't straight drama. 'Full Metal Panic!' follows the adventures and misadventures of Sousuke Sagara, a hard-bitten mercenary, member of the mysterious military organisation 'Mithril', guardians of right and good, assigned to watch over Japanese high school student Kaname Chidori, rumoured to possess the mysterious knowledge of 'the Whispered', people born with psychic abilities and the possession of mysterious knowledge which has enabled the world to advance in ways beyond imagination. Strange and powerful forces are gathering, their eyes fixed firmly on Kaname. But can Sousuke survive long enough to be there for her? And can he adapt to the life of a Japanese High School Student?
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.
This is a great series that I watched when I was younger a bought again to rewatch. I have been looking to see from reviews if the american copy would work here and I am glad to say my copy has worked on my ps4. I would recommend this series to the new and old fans alike.