Full Metal Panic! Ultimate Edition from All the Anime is here and what a collection, bringing together all three seasons of the anime adaptation. Full Metal Panic! and Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu have previously been released in the UK but this release from All the Anime marks the first release in the UK for Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid and the first time all three have been available to the UK on Blu-ray. It is based on the light novel series, of the same name, that has amassed 23 volumes in a huge 13 year run with the final volume having been released in Japan in 2011. The three anime adaptations, the first by Gonzo and the second and third by Kyoto Animation, were all written by original creator Shoji Gatoh. The last series aired back in 2005, a whole six years before the end of the light novels and so the material is there for future adaptations, one of which is planned at some point in the future.
The Full Metal Panic story focuses on Sousuke Sagara, a soldier of a counter-terrorist organization known as Mithril, who is tasked with protecting popular high-school student Kaname Chidori. Sousuke Sagara may be an ace in the cockpit of an Arm Slave mech, but there’s no training for the warzone that is high-school. Kaname Chidori has no idea that she is the target of terrorists plotting her abduction, who believe she possesses the rare abilities of “the Whispered”. There’s no end of comedic moments and great action as Sousuke Sagara takes down terrorist threats. But always manages to find himself in some very unfortunate situations, much to the annoyance of Kaname Chidori.
Having originally seen the series some years ago on DVD I was pleasantly surprised at how great it looks on Blu-ray and is easily the best way to experience this classic series. It should be noted that while The Second Raid is a native HD production, the two earlier seasons are upscaled. The first two series were animated in 4:3 aspect ratio and have been pillar boxed on this release to retain this aspect ratio. Everything is how I remember it, but utilising the blu-ray format to be both cleaner and crisper, and the Arm Slave’s look great. A cause for concern going back to a series of this age is the use of CGI when CGI is used in any form within anime it’s not always received well mainly due to how “out of place” it may look. This goes double when revisiting an older title as CGI of ten years ago will undoubtedly look worse compared to today’s standards. FMP, however, appears to have, very luckily, avoided this issue and while the CGI is noticeable it doesn’t feel that dated.
Full Metal Panic! Is one of those series that I just can’t help but watch with the English dub. The dub itself isn’t particularly that great but some of the voice actors are just a joy to listen to and it would be a shame not to experience what they bring to the series. The series also cast Chris Patton in the lead role and we love Chris Patton here at Japan Curiosity. That’s not to say that the Japanese cast is not as good, far from it; the Japanese cast features some of the best voice actors and a few of my own personal favourites such as Tomokazu Seki.
This release features, not only the Ultimate Art Book containing art from all three seasons but tonnes of on-disc extras. Including but not limited to special interviews, Japanese piracy warnings and of course textless opening and closing animations for each season. Fans will no doubt be looking to see if the two bonus episodes from The Second Raid are included and we can confirm that they indeed are. When putting together an “Ultimate Edition” you had better make sure you include everything and it certainly looks like All the Anime have done just that.
FMP Extras on Disc 3:
– Koichi Chigira x Shouji Gatou Special Interview
– Japanese piracy warnings
– Original TV spots
– Textless Opening and Closing title sequences
Fumoffu Extras on Disc 5:
– Original Japanese TV spots
– Clean Opening and Closing title sequences
TSR Extras on Disc 7:
– Bonus Episode 000
– Bonus OVA episodes
– Dawn of the Light Novel
– Location Scouting In Hong Kong
– Textless Opening: Southern Wind
– Textless Closing: I Wanna See You Again