ADV Films // 2002 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // April 22nd, 2004
"I used to fight on this land." -- Sousuke
Full Metal Panic! returns to form with Mission 05. Sousuke is back in his "beloved" homeland, where he was in constant danger to life and limb. The conclusion of "The Wind That Blows at Home" is full of action and suspense, pitting a doomed team of soldiers against two malicious Arm Slaves. The peek into Sousuke's back-story is heart wrenching. It is no longer hard to believe that he is so wooden around normal teenagers.
* "The Wind That Blows at Home, Part 2"
The Mithril assault team finally begins to take Sousuke's advice into account, but it may be too late: Gauron has one of Sousuke's old comrades predicting what Sousuke will do. The attitude of the soldiers towards Sousuke, combined with the game of fox vs. hounds, gives this episode more levels of tension than most episodes. "The Wind That Blows at Home" is remarkably realistic, giving it an edgy subtext in today's climate of terrorism. Those who like anime for the fantasy aspect may find this one too close to home.
* "The Wind That Blows at Home, Part 3"
The subplot concludes with a full-out blast of fireworks. Nothing says Full Metal Panic! like opposing squads of Arm Slaves gutting each other in the desert. Sousuke and Gauron have a grudge match that is everything you could hope for. Once again, this episode is short on emotional subtlety and more about tense combat situations. I found Sousuke's repeated escapes/triumphs unrealistic: a perfectly positioned AS on higher ground with a bead on Sousuke would have little chance of missing. Later, the Arbalest is surrounded by a ring of Arm Slaves but he somehow takes them all out? It's a stretch. We are also treated to one of my "favorite" action movie clichés: hero thinks he has taken out the bad guy, but ten minutes later the bad guy crawls up just in time to attack him. If you are in a massive warrior robot and your mortal enemy is lying at your feet, how hard is it to pump a few extra rounds into the dead carcass to make sure the job is done?
* "Deep Sea Party"
For good measure, this DVD includes "Deep Sea Party," which is the precise opposite of "The Wind That Blows at Home." This episode is slanted towards humor and relaxation, with the mixed up triangle of Sousuke, Tessa, and Chidori in the middle of it all. Though there are tense moments, the air of celebration is a welcome oasis amid the violence. I'm starting to get impatient with Chidori's development. After a whirlwind introduction and a couple of dramatic uses of her hidden power, Chidori has been shoved into the background. When the Captain and crew of the Tuatha de Danaan take time to honor her, it seems like Chidori may be moving back into the forefront. This episode is musically distinct from the rest of the series, particularly the party scenes. Kaname and Tessa do a singing performance together at the end that will put a smile on your face.
With two episodes of action and one of character development, Mission 05 finds a nice balance. I noticed softness in many of the scenes that may be due to 3:2 pulldown errors, or may just be focus problems. In addition, there were frequent but minor examples of shimmer. Despite those niggling flaws, Mission 05 maintains the impressive visual style of Full Metal Panic!. The problems I have with this DVD are the same problems I have with Missions 04-07: they contain essentially identical extras and there are only three episodes per volume. If you've come this far, Mission 05 shouldn't disappoint you.
Review content copyright © 2004 Rob Lineberger; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Reversible Cover
* Fold-Out Poster with Background Information
* Clean Opening and Closing Animations
* Production Sketches
* Japanese Piracy Warnings
* ADV Previews
* Official Site