FMP! – 4 Year Journey

May 27, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Posted in Anime | 3 Comments

So, it took about four years, but I’ve finally seen every animated release for the Full Metal Panic! series. Seriously…it’s taken over four years. I checked.

Full Metal Panic!

I’ve been a fan of this series since the first time I saw it. It’s just great. Each season (or sequel maybe) was better than the one before it. And of course, Kyo-Ani worked on Fumoffu and Second Raid, which just automatically lets you know that the animation was great. And it was.

Oh and the characters. And the story! It’s all just great. Humor, action, everything.

So why did it take me four years to finish? To be honest…I don’t know.

I first saw FMP when I was still a cute little anime noob with pigtails (that sounds like a joke, but I really used to have my hair in pigtails all the time). I was…thirteen I think, and still mostly watching anime that was available on TV. I didn’t use the internet much and only had money from a paper route since I wasn’t working-age yet. And all that money went to my new manga obsession.

Ah…the good old days. Everyone at my school who liked anime used to pass around the same copy of Chobits volume one. And even though I didn’t read manga at school, I very obviously carried volume 5 to show them how much farther along I was. I got lots of, “You have up to volume five? Can I borrow it?” from complete strangers. Heh, as noted in my rant from last week, I don’t even give manga links to noobs online. I’ve always believed you have to earn your manga!!! Or something.

But let’s set all that aside. I can brag about what a bitch I was later.

So my brother came home from the mall with his friends and a shiny new copy of Full Metal Panic! volume 1. I can’t remember exactly, but I believe our conversation went something like this:

“Hey! You’re home! Help me find that website again.”
“What website?”
“The one with the webcomic. I can’tHey…is that a Best Buy bag?”
“What did you buy?”
“A DVD.”
“Is it an anime DVD?”
“Oh! Can I?”

But obviously, I was not one to take no for an answer. I snuck my way out into the living room that night when he was watching it on our big family TV. Gave him a story about how I couldn’t sleep because I felt sick. And successfully navigated my way to the spot in front of the TV.

That was when I watched Full Metal Panic! for the first time. It was in Japanese, subbed, and just plain awesome. I was used to my brother bringing mecha anime home, but FMP! was an anime I could enjoy for more than just the, “OMG! That giant robot just exploded in such a cool way!”

So my brother picked up all the DVDs as they came out…of course stopping before he got the final volume and forcing me to watch the dub on demand six months later when that showed up. Though, the dub isn’t really bad, I’d say it’s one of the better ones out there. I was just pissed that it wasn’t what I was used to.

But still, I completed it. And I completed Fumoffu in the same way once it came out. On demand, dubs, sulking. The usual drill.

Then I just…forgot about Full Metal Panic!…completely.

Or rather, I forgot about the awesomeness. I still read people chatting about it in forums sometimes, and I acknowledged it as something that I had watched…but…somehow in my mind it was classified as something I liked, but didn’t love. I guess because I never paid any money to watch it myself.

Then when I finished Kanon a while ago (maybe a little over a year), and having watched it after Air, I concluded that KyoAni was an awesome studio. So I went ahead and checked out what other anime they did. I remember being mildly surprised that they worked on Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, and it might have been the first time I even heard of Second Raid, but that knowledge was completely overshadowed by finding out about Clannad, an anime based off of a Key game to look forward to in the spring.

But the more I checked out the various anime from KyoAni, the more FMP! popped up. Finally I stumbled onto a random rant about how Full Metal Panic! needed another season. And I asked myself, “Was it really that good?” I honestly couldn’t remember. It took a while, but after stumbling onto a blog where someone said they wanted a FMP! season more than Haruhi season 2, I realized…maybe it was that good. Or at least, Second Raid, the one I’d never seen and the one I found incredible reviews for was.

And so I put it on my watchlist. And it stayed there until I forgot again. But then! Miracle of miracles! I saw volume 1 of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu used, but in incredible condition (there was even one of those promos that I always throw away still inside) for eight dollars. Eight dollars!? I found it at FYE where I had recently bought that “backstage pass” that gives you 10% discount. So, me being a crazy bargain shopper, I bought it.

Went home, watched it, finally realized, “Oh snap! It was that good.”

Or maybe I was just overjoyed of being able to hear Satsuki Yukino rage again. It’s been missing from my life since I last heard Misae shout in Clannad. Either way, finally watching Fumoffu in Japanese was awesome.

So then I looked into purchasing the rest of the series. I decided I’d buy the Full Metal Panic! original boxset at some point in the future…when I had money or found an awesome bargain. I got a coupon code for half-off the series with my Fumoffu DVD, but it wouldn’t work so…meh. Decided not to buy it for the meantime. I did however, purchase the other 3 DVDs of Fumoffu after they went on sale at RightStuf. Overall, I think I paid about 35 dollars for the series. lol, sometimes one DVD can cost that much. I am the bargain master!!!

While I waited for my DVDs to arrive, I took the original series off my “plan-to-watch” list and proceeded to marathon through it. The story was there, but the animation wasn’t as good as I remembered. Or rather, I did remember a little and went, “lol, awkward animation” where before I was kind of like, “Is that supposed to look like that?” (I was an anime noob when I watched FMP the first time)

I knew KyoAni didn’t work on the original Full Metal Panic! series, so I set out to find out who did this
“lazily or weirdly animated at important times and extreme detail and motion at the most random of times” animation? Also…random CG.

lol gonzo

That’s right. lol, gonzo. But I must state in all seriousness, I did laugh out loud. Because “well-animated and random times and lazily-animated at important times” kind of explains that studio perfectly, right?

Oh Gonzo…

Well, I got my DVDs in the mail shortly after, marathoned through them despite my parents being all, “Don’t just watch them all at once” and promising them I wouldn’t. But in my defense, I rewatched all my DVDs right after. So that took me four days with the rewatching.

So…now I had reviewed everything I’d seen the first time. All that was left to do was to watch TSR, the series that got all the crazy-good reviews. But I finished rewatching Fumoffu a week before the boxset was due out. I’d already pre-ordered the boxset, so there was nothing I could do but wait. That was brutal. Then add onto that the amount of time it took for it to ship…ugh. It was only three days, but I still has such a hard time. Especially since I forgot I had it shipped through UPS instead of USPS and kept checking the wrong website. I found out the truth the day before it came and went all crazy for it.

But I got it over a week ago as I’m writing this. Watched it, loved it. And I am currently in the process of rewatching it so I can write up yet another crazy-good review to add to its legacy.

Now…all that’s left is for me to pick up those translated light novels that TokyoPop has been releasing. Maybe I can con my parents into buying them for me since they are actual “books.” Either that or I have to wait and get some money. I’ll be sure to go on about them once I buy them though.

But I guess that’s it. I felt the urge to share my sad noob story, considering how often I make fun of noobs myself. It just seems so lame. Forgetting how good an anime is. Though, I now know it happens. I’ve also recently realized it’s pretty easy to forget an incredibly bad anime too. At least when you watch this stuff during your noob days.

I guess you don’t trust your judgment from those days so you just forget all about it. Like I’m sure someday some of these Narutards will watch some awesome anime and wake up the next morning and go, “OMG! Naruto isn’t the best anime.” And then as time goes on, they’ll become ashamed of their tardness. I know I’m reluctant to talk about some of the anime I liked way back when.

So, just a small story about myself. Feel free to laugh at my past pigtail-ed anime noob self. Heh, and if anyone has any similar stories to share, I’d be glad to hear them. I promise I won’t laugh (maybe).


  1. I love this series!!!!

  2. daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang, 4 years?!?! You must be exausted XD

  3. This series is just one of the best. After seeing the first season I was dubious about Fumoffu seeing as it was going to be purely comedy.

    But that fear was gone about a minute into the first episode. The rugby episode just about killed me I laughed so hard, I’ve seen it so many times now and I still laugh out loud.

    I’m a little disappointed that the next season of this got put on hold for the next installment of Haruhi Suzumiya. I like Haruhi, but I LOVE FMP.

    Plus its one of those shows where you really can watch it in either language because both casts of voice actors are just amazing.

    Chris Patton is fantastic as Sagara and Vic Mignona is brilliant as Kurz. Oh remember him in his little red speedos in the hot springs episode of Fumoffu? You have to love a show that gives fanservice to the girls as well as the guys!

    And I love that despite how vulnerable Kaname is she can totally kick butt when she needs to.

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