Now that the mission is complete, you'll find Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger on a rock by the sea, fishing with a beautiful girl.
Our reviews of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: Full Metal Pandemonium! (Volume One) (published November 10th, 2005), Full Metal Panic: Mission 01 (published August 13th, 2003), Full Metal Panic: Mission 02 (published April 7th, 2004), Full Metal Panic: Mission 03 (published April 8th, 2004), Full Metal Panic: Mission 04 (published April 14th, 2004), Full Metal Panic: Mission 05 (published April 22nd, 2004), Full Metal Panic: Mission 06 (published April 22nd, 2004), Full Metal Panic! Season One (published November 28th, 2010), and Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid: The Complete Series (published December 16th, 2009) are also available.
"Remember Pearl Harbor!"
What makes a really good finale to an anime series? Action, of course. Resolution of the show's relationships is good, too. Less definable is a sense that all of the pieces have clicked into place, giving you a last minute "a-ha!" moment. Full Metal Panic! has action in spades, a forte of the series. It fares well in the resolution department as well, closing or addressing most of the show's loose threads. In terms of Gauron's fate, and to a lesser extent Kaname's destiny, these episodes are satisfyingly informative. As for the "a-ha!" moment, it has been postponed. It is as though the creators weren't sure if there was going to be a second season, so the finale has one foot in "The End" and another foot in "To Be Continued…" Such hedging reduces the dramatic impact the conclusion could have had, but it isn't enough to ruin what is otherwise a fast-moving and deeply layered season/series finale.
Now that all is said and done, it is time to process the net effect of the series's many threads. As per the rest of the Full Metal Panic! reviews, this one has plenty of spoilers.
Over the last few Missions, I've had a feeling that Kaname's Whispered powers have been sidelined for too long. In this Mission, she uses her powers almost continually, in an appropriately nebulous and mysterious way. It works well, yet I can't help but feel that the entire thread could have been given more drama. She showed her potential very early, which was a neat reversal of the usual formula. Why didn't they use her more, show her learning to master her gifts? Then, when the final confrontation took place, she could have really let loose. This is conjecture, of course. As it stands, Kaname is still given plenty to do: outrun enemies, find her way into a secret chamber, and wrest away control of Dana, the sub's operating system. Perhaps I'm just frustrated that the Whispered aren't given any firm form; it is all still vague. At least she figured prominently, in a believable way.
On the other hand, there's no arguing with Gauron's resolution, unless he mysteriously comes back later. He took everyone to the brink of destruction, and did it in style. In the end, he was simply bored and suicidal. Paradoxically, that works fine.
I appreciate how the events in the last three episodes are sharply impacted by the events in Mission 06. We saw Sousuke and Kaname get into a tiff; remorse is why Sousuke is even around to help her. Kaname and Tessa are both drained from an extended sauna session, which is bad timing if you're suddenly a hostage. Mao is nowhere to be seen…perhaps because she passed out from drinking all of that beer in the sauna? And let's not forget the angry sub captain in pursuit of the Toy Box. It is really neat to see these details suddenly figure prominently in the season finale. Let's look at the episodes:
• "Jack in the Box"
• "Field of Giants"
• "Into the Blue"
If you look at the events crammed into the last few episodes, there is a lot of action and drama. Nonetheless, I can't help a vague sense of disappointment. Is it because the series is over? Could be.
Full Metal Panic! has been remarkably consistent in providing adrenaline-spiked action, humor, and tension. The animation has been stellar, as well as the sound. Like the rest of the volumes, Mission 07 has little in the way of extras, which is particularly disappointing in the final volume. Also, I don't appreciate the decision to switch to three episodes per volume in mid-stream. Otherwise, this series has delivered an entertaining ride from stem to stern. Court is adjourned.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
• Reversible Cover
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