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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid Box Set
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid Box Set
FUNimation // Unrated // May 20, 2008
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted May 23, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

The original Full Metal Panic series hit mecha lovers like a tsunami. From the manga form to the animated one, this franchise became an instant success and it has remained popular ever since. With that being said the first season lasted 24 episodes and the follow up FMP? Fumoffu was more of a side story than an attempt to satisfy fans looking for more FMP action. It wasn't until Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid hit the airwaves in 2005 that fans really got the sequel they desired.

This thirteen episode program essentially picks up right where the first series left off. If you're new to this franchise you'll definitely want to find the original season somewhere because many things will get lost in translation. Characters and their roles are never fully touched upon here and the whole story truly feels like a continuation of the first season. This is a great thing for fans of FMP but it's all fairly damning to someone who decides to test the waters.

If you're familiar with the show then you can skip this next section because I'm going to get people brought up to speed. The first season of FMP follows the exploits of Sousuke Sagara who is a soldier for the secret anti-terrorist organization known as Mithril. Joining Sousuke is a host of other characters such as Melissa, Kurz, and Teletha, but the most prominent personality next to Sousuke is Kaname Chidori. Chidori possess an ability called Whisper and it's connected to something known as Black Technology which is a high commodity in the timeframe of FMP. Together with Mithril this company fights terrorist and in particular a guy named Gauron who surfaces early on in the series.

Without giving too much away towards the end of the first season of FMP Gauron and Sousuke had a climactic battle at Tuatha de Danaan. Three months after that conflict The Second Raid kicks things off with its first episode. Right out of the gate one thing that this follow up season has going for it is the fact that it doesn't really have to set the pieces. Because there is very little to no explanation about the world, the characters, and plot the show is able to gel right away and the action gets started almost as if Sousuke and Kaname never stopped. It's a very fluid way to begin Second Raid and it's another key component that wedges it in quite comfortably with the rest of FMP.

Almost immediately Second Raid throws you right into the center of a plot where Mithril attempts to find those who betrayed them. Sousuke, Kurtz, and Mao are eventually shipped to a small country where a dictator has gotten a hold of some powerful Arm Slave (AS) units. As you'd imagine there's quite a lot of fighting and the tension builds as the enemy has some equipment that causes the Mithril fighters some difficulties. Much like the rest of the franchise after the battle dies down the show slides back into its comfortable, amusing, and altogether well-balanced high school element. I always found this particular part of FMP fascinating because it kept the show from getting too serious and provided a nice contrast to the battlefield. Naturally I was happy to see it return here.

The rest of this season follows a similar pattern set by the first FMP and much of the first couple of episodes here. The Mithril team is sent on mission after mission and there is a whole lot of mecha fighting with Sousuke and Kaname being the focal point for character development. The tone feels somewhat more adult this time around though it's still jovial at times to cut back on the intake of seriousness.

Through the course of this show a familiar enemy from the first show comes back around and ushers in events that lead to the end of the show. This was a nice throwback though this particular foes return did leave me scratching my head. At any rate there's plenty going on in the 13 episodes to keep Mithril and company busy.

Probably the most impressive thing about this season isn't the glorious battles or dramatic moments but rather the journey of Sousuke and Kaname. They really begin to grow up in this series and their feelings for each other become stronger to the point that they seem to realize that they love each other. I don't want to give too much away but let's just say if you enjoyed their banter in the first season of this franchise then you'll definitely love what comes in the second set.

Overall Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is a solid sci-fi adventure that will please fans who loved the original. Familiar characters make a return and the creative team from the first release comes back as well. The show feels very similar in tone and its creative methods which definitely helps make it better than Fumoffu. If you're new to the series you'll most likely be lost right out of the gate with regards to some details but even so there's still plenty to love. Check out the first season then pick up Second Raid and you'll come to understand why this show is adored as much as it is.

The DVD:

Video:

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. To say that FUNimation did a great job bringing this show to our shores would be an understatement. The video for this release is gorgeous with crisp details, sharp resolution, and no grain or compression to complain about. A touch of aliasing does appear every once in a while but those moments are so minor that it's barely worth mentioning. This is a fantastic looking show that keeps up with the design and animation standards set in the first season.

Audio:

Keeping up with the great presentation values this set comes with English and Japanese tracks which feature both 2.0 and 5.1 offerings. The dubbing quality for both tracks is exemplary and the English cast in particular did a great job of capturing the range of emotion that runs through this season. As far as the technical aspects are concerned the 2.0 tracks are decent but flat when compared to the 5.1 obviously. This is a series with a great amount of action and you want a sense of immersion that keeps in step. Thankfully both the Japanese and English 5.1 mixes offer just that and you'll definitely want to crank your system's dial up.

Extras:

Unlike some other publishers, FUNimation knows how to put together a complete series box set. Their packaging is always unique, attractive, and loaded with the bonus content the original releases enjoyed. Thankfully Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is no different.

Included in this four disc set are the original art booklets which feature interviews, character profiles, and a lot of production art. In addition to those you can find textless animations, trailers, and art galleries. The real meat of the bonus content is spread across all four discs and you can trust me when I tell you that they are truly a labor of love. For starters each of the thirteen episodes of this series includes an audio commentary with the Japanese cast and staff. If you're a follower of anime bonus material then you realize that by itself is a rarity and it's one that thankfully FUNimation seems to supply whenever possible. The quality of these commentaries varies but you'll definitely want to sit through each of them to get the most out of The Second Raid.

Two bonus episodes are included here as well. While Episode 000 is more or less a preview of things to come for the second season the Bonus OVA brings the series to a close in an appropriate way. This particular episode is about the length of a regular one which was definitely a surprise. Not only are those features present here but there are also seven location scouting features in Hong Kong with the production crew, a tour at the Japanese Self-Defense Force, and a look at the dawn of the light novel. There's so much to do with this set after you watch the show in its entirety that it's ridiculous. This release by FUNimation is a labor of love and there's such quality found in every department that ignoring it would be a crime.

Final Thoughts:

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is a fantastic follow-up to the original series. While it's only 13 episodes in length it maintains the personality and atmosphere of the first season to the point that it truly feels like a continuation of the main plot. It goes without saying that lovers of the first FMP absolutely must buy this if they haven't already. Newcomers should not blindly jump into this set; go back to check out the first season and then come to this. All around this is a solid box set with great presentation quality and some fantastic bonus content. FUNimation outdid themselves with this one!


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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