Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $44.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Meet Sergeant Sousuke Sagara … expert in military combat and terrorizing his classmates.
The two seasons that make up the Full Metal Panic! series is one of the best action series around that mixes some amazing action sequences with a comical twist that is reserved for the main characters’ high school life. Then there’s The Complete Series of Full Metal Panic?: Fumoffu, a series that removes the ARM Slaves and Gauron from the picture and, instead, concentrates on the comedy that is Sousuke Sagara and Kaname Chidori’s high school days that are just as dangerous as anything Mithril throws at them.
Oh yeah, you heard me right, Fumoffu is a 12-episode comedy of epic proportions that feels like a different show altogether. It’s basically a high school comedy series with familiar characters but that won’t stop Full Metal Panic! fans from loving this one anyway. As I mentioned in the beginning, the series concentrates on Sousuke and Kaname’s other life that includes their Jindai High School life.
What remains true to the series is Sousuke’s determination to watch over Kaname as well as his uncanny ability to misinterpret the simplest school task. Sousuke deadpan delivery and his unreasonable response to things he doesn’t understand is what makes him such a hilarious guy to watch and in Fumoffu it’s as if he’s been unleashed and – believe me – this makes for a big part of what truly makes Fumoffu an absolute gem in terms of comedy.
In the opening episode, a simply love letter from a secret admirer of Sousuke is interpreted as a terrorist plot to assassinate him thanks to the fact that he blew up a row of lockers that contained said love letter. To Kaname’s horror, though, president of the Student Council (a senior named Atsunobu Hayashimizu) is actually encouraging Sousuke’s over-the-top handling of this situation that turns out embarrassingly for Sousuke. Then, thanks to this misunderstanding, Sousuke find himself an actual target of gang members that he had thrashed in the opening story thanks to their tough female leader who wants revenge. Oh, but Sousuke has a plan of his own to get the gang off his back and it is enough that it shocks Kaname.
When Sousuke opens fire to get the attention of some bakers selling their treats outside the school, Sousuke ends up causing the poor bakers some misery so it is up to him, Sousuke and a fellow classmate to help them sell their goods but the surly P.E. teacher wants to teach Sousuke a lesson only to fall victim to Sousuke’s traps. In another episode, Sousuke borrows Kanme’s notes only to forget them in his apartment. What begins as a quick jaunt to his place ends up being a race from a fired up female traffic cop who chases them all over the city.
There are few mishaps outside of school as well, such as when Kaname and her friends head out to the beach with Sousuke only for the young military specialist to think Kaname has been taken captive. Then, in another episode, Kurz Weber and Melissa Mao make an appearance to take them to a hot springs where Sousuke sets a trap for Weber and two of Sousuke’s male classmates that are looking to get a peek at the girls. A personal favorite has Sousuke and Kyoko following Kaname on a friendly date with a guy she once liked and thus introducing us to Sousuke’s latest ultimate weapon … a cute plushy suit modeled after a theme park mascot called Bunta-kun.
Sousuke ends up actually helping his classmates as well, such as when he decides to help Kaname toughen up some effeminate rugby players who are afraid to get their hands dirty. At one point, he helps the Photography Club when all the clubs compete over a room to hold their meeting. Of course, since this competition involves flirting our boy just doesn’t get the idea.
Fumoffu also brings back another familiar face, that of submarine captain Teletha Testarossa who decides to take her vacation by spending it with Sousuke … who she still has a major crush on to the point of seeing Kaname as a rival. We also meet a new character, Issei Tsubaki, a farsighted young martial arts genius who sees Sousuke as a rival as well seeing as he develops a monster crush on Kaname.
There’s also lots of craziness in this series as well, such as an army of Bunta-kun going up against a yakuza clan and Kaname finds herself being used as bait by the same crazed female cop who is out to bust a pervert who happens to have a fetish for giving girls a pony tail … and did I mention that said pervert is wearing a pony head mask? Oh yeah, it’s that crazy but it doesn’t fail to get a laugh out of you. It’s just that funny and the great part is that this show’s sense of humor remains intact throughout the entire set.
With the right blend of high school romance and humor that comes close to comedic brilliance, The Complete Series of Full Metal Panic?: Fumoffu is everything you can ask for in an anime comedy. In fact, I would even go as far as describing this as the perfect example of what a comedy show should be like and those returning Full Metal Panic fans will find this series as a refreshing companion piece to the main series.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Sousuke Sagara is back in school still watching over Kaname Chidori and he’s still handing her security in the most excessive manner that leads him to do things like helping the rugby team by putting them through military training or unintentionally sending the P.E. teacher to the hospital. Oh, and some familiar faces show up as well and Sousuke does some real damage … dressed like a cute theme park mascot.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
On Blu-ray the series takes on a sharper and more colorful picture that makes it worth the extra bucks if you don’t own this one. The animation in this series is still excellent and even more so when the action in the series involves a shotgun-wielding Bunta-kun.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The familiar voice cast for the original Japanese voices as well as the English dub voices are back again for this series and that’s a very good thing. Even the score in the series is excellent throughout and the funny A-Team inspired Next Episode tune is a nice touch. The opening and closing songs by Mikuni Shimokawa are true classics.
There aren’t many real extras here except for clean opening and closing theme songs and a few trailers as well. The only real treat here is that the episodes are in high-definition and looks damn good.
Sure, the action takes a backseat in Full Metal Panic?: Fumoffu but what we get instead is comedy anime series that not only does justice to the genre but also is not afraid to be over-the-top in its slapstick antics. You know you’re watching an extraordinary comedy series when every episode has the power to make you laugh out loud more than once. Full Metal Panic fans, this is one collection you need and on Blu-ray.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment