Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid

Also Known As: FMP! TSR, FMP: TSR, TSR
Genre: Drama/Action
Format: 13 Episodes
Allegiance: Kyoto Animation/Full Metal Panic! Film Partners
Director: Takemoto Yasuhiro
Vintage: 2005
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Three months after the Tuatha de Danaan Incident, everything appears to be back to normal at Mithril. The de Danaan has been fully restored to complete operational status, and SRT missions have recommenced. However, during a hostage rescue operation in a poor nation torn apart by civil war, Mithril is shocked to discover that the military government possesses anti-ECS weaponry, something that was previously thought to be only in the arsenals of the superpowers. Signs point to another force attempting to bend international politics to their will, and this is all too well confirmed by a shocking incident that threatens to incite further conflict in a divided China clinging to a shaky ceasefire. Mithril must now venture into the unknown with a familiar pilot and his unreliable Arbalest unit for the sake of world peace.

Field Agent Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Overall 8.50
(not an average)

Full Metal Panic! was one of those rare GONZO productions that actually turned out pretty well, and was popular enough for at least one spin-off series to be produced. Considering that there was plenty of source material still remaining, it was only natural that an actual sequel would eventually be made. And so Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid was born, exceeding FMP! in all the important aspects: plot, characterization, animation, and most importantly, mood.

For Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu and now for Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, the producers chose to go with Kyoto Animation rather than GONZO, and the difference certainly shows. Kyoto Animation has managed to make the action smoother, the movement more fluid, and the scenery more detailed, while maintaining a much appreciated consistency in character design. Meanwhile, Shimokawa Mikuni is back with another set of generic J-pop OP/ED songs that aren’t particularly memorable, but get the job done.

Where Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid really supersedes its predecessor is in terms of storytelling. While characterization – that of secondary characters to be specific – is down, Sousuke and Kaname finallyshow a little fluctuation in their personalities. It’s a very welcome change from the old stoic straight-man getting beat by the blue-haired Narusegawa act. The plot is one cohesive arc rather than unrelated mini-arcs, and it works beautifully up until the very anticlimactic finale. Not to say that it was bad in the sense of being open, confusing, or stupid, but rather just really anticlimactic. Most importantly, The Second Raid is serious business, with none of the pathetic attempts at humour that didn’t fit well in FMP! As a result, every other aspect is able to make a heightened impact on the viewer.

If you saw FMP!, you were probably going to see TSR anyway. If you haven’t, then you really can’t watch TSR and enjoy it to its full potential. Nevertheless, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is definitely a very good show, one that rewards people who may not have liked Full Metal Panic! for their patience, and one that will make the FMP! fanboy even happier. A win-win situation if I ever saw one.