Funimation // 2005 // 320 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Power (Retired) // December 16th, 2009
Save the world, get good grades. Not a problem for Sousuke Sagara.
Full Metal Panic! returns to its roots after an ill-advised comedy sidetrack threatened to derail the hit series. The Second Raid is more of what made the original series so popular with the anime crowd, but does it change things up enough to remain engaging, or is it too much of the same?
Not much has changed since we last left our heroes; Sousuke is still attending a Tokyo high school, balancing his responsibilities with the secret Mythril organization and his role as protector for Kaname with all the trappings of High School life. Change comes quickly, however, when a group called Amalgam comes out of the shadows. They quickly prove to be a ruthless and effective opponent, every bit as capable as Mythril. Dissention spreads and Sosuke finds his role in the war changing rapidly.
The first season of Full Metal Panic was something of a cult hit when it hit North American shores. The show's mix of action, situational comedy and Government conspiracy combined with some slick animation and awesome mecha designs really stood out in a sea of new series whose quality was generally substandard. An ill-conceived spin-off series, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, didn't do much to endear itself to fans of the first series, its densely Japanese humor lost on all but the most hardcore of otaku. Thankfully Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid handles things a little more appropriately.
Not much has changed when the show opens, but by the end of the first episode, you know this isn't going to be a rehash of Season One. Things get dark quickly, and while the status quo doesn't change to a great degree, the show does a great job of raising the stakes and creating considerably more drama than was found previously. Yes, the tone is much more urgent, and some of the lighter stuff from Season One is gone, but FMA: The Second Raid feels like a logical and natural progression. There's not a lot here to complain about. Fans of the original series should have no trouble jumping in, and much like the 2nd gig did for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, The Second Raid does a fantastic job of remaining true to the original series while at the same time amping things up considerably.
Funimation puts their typical polish into the audio and video presentation. The English and Japanese 5.1 tracks are both top notch, with no complaints to be found. The video is also rock solid, with no flaws or issues observed. Where this set really surprised me was in the extras department. Not one, but two bonus episodes, a pretty lengthy multi-part feature about location scouting the Hong Kong scenes in the series, and of course, the usual textless opening and closing stuff. It's actually a thorough bunch of extras for an anime release, getting thier own dedicated disc in the set. As Full Metal Panic is one of the more popular offerings in recent years, it's nice to see it get exemplary (for the medium) treatment.
Fans will be happy! The uninitiated may be better off tracking down the first series and then moving onto this one, which is definitely worth the effort.
Review content copyright © 2009 Steve Power; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 320 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Textless Songs
* Bonus Episodes