Let's Talk About: Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

This summer I have had a fair bit of free time so now and again I have been watching anime. What's nice is that I am finding it easier to watch full episodes all the way through without getting distracted, pausing and doing something completely different (the fact I say this is ironic, as I have an anime episode paused as I write this) which is a very irritating habit I have and is the reason it took me so long to finish the anime Little Busters!. The anime series I have been watching recently is Full Metal Panic!, an anime that I have watched in the past but never finished. I enjoyed it a lot when I watched a few episodes many years ago, so I decided to watch it and a week or so later I've seen all 24 episodes! Good for me. That's perseverance, anime-style.

Anyway, it isn't the first season of Full Metal Panic! That I want to discuss today, but in fact, its companion series Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu which takes place between Full Metal Panic! and it's sequel, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. Despite the first season of Full Metal Panic! being fairly serious with a little (although hilarious) bit of comedy added in, Fumoffu's tone is completely different and focuses on the high school romantic comedy aspects of Full Metal Panic! which were personally my favourite parts of the first season, despite there being so few, so this anime is great for me. There's no politics or mecha combat to see here, folks. Despite enjoying these parts of the first season too, there is just something I enjoy more about the ridiculous banter and antics that go on between the series' gun-toting hero Sousuke Sagara and its fiery heroine Kaname Chidori. I just can't get enough of it!

In case you are not sure about the plot of the first Full Metal Panic!, it is slightly relevant to understanding Fumoffu.

Sousuke Sagara, a seventeen year old military specialist working for the secret organisation MITHRIL, has been assigned to protect Kaname Chidori. To complete this task, Sousuke will have to deal with enemies from his past as well as the occasional panty thief. Unfortunately for Sousuke, the toughest part of his mission isn't only protecting Miss Chidori but also getting used to living an average High School students life, no easy task for someone raised on the battlefield.

Note the last bit in particular, as this is where Fumoffu draws its humour from. Sousuke is totally oblivious to most normal social convention and is more or less coded to deem everything as a risk or a threat to Chidori's safety. He evaluates every situation with a military mindset, even if it is something as simple as a girl leaving a love letter addressed to him in his shoe locker (seen in the first episode of Fumoffu). He notices that his shoe locker has been tampered with and whips out the plastic explosive to detonate a potential 'bomb' that he believes may have been planted in there. Of course your average Japanese high school student would perceive this as nothing but a love letter left in a shoe locker, but that is what makes Sousuke so funny, and then Chidori brings the pain in the form of an ass kicking to knock (literally) some sense into him.
A lot of things like this happen in Fumoffu, and I find it so hilarious. When I watched the first episode I just couldn't stop laughing, in fact, I laughed so much that I started coughing. You know an anime is truly funny when you find yourself laughing for the majority of the scene that comes directly after an amusing one.

When fellow Alt:Mag writer James (Mac) told me that he'd seen this anime, he described it as '12 episodes of filler' and despite being someone who usually despises filler episodes in anime, I enjoy Fumoffu because this series of filler is actually funny and enjoyable to watch, because it actually has a purpose, and that is to make people laugh, while most filler episodes are just poor, uninteresting excuses for anime makers to fill up extra episode space with because they overestimated the amount of episodes it would take to explain the story they were trying to tell.

Humour aside, the anime is animated extremely nicely and everything looks bright and colourful. In fact, the animation is clearly much better than that of the first season, which suffered in places. All the characters look amazing and (cute) scenes like the one below really show off the amazing animation this anime has going for it.

Fumoffu is a fast paced ride of hilarity from what I personally think is a very nostalgic era of anime. As it is a romantic comedy, you get to see your fair share of cute scenes too, as the romantic tension between Sousuke and Chidori builds up gradually. I haven't seen The Second Raid yet, but I have my fingers crossed that all of this leads to something! After I've finished watching the entire Full Metal Panic! series I want to revisit other anime series that I still need to finish watching, such as Ranma ½, Sailor Moon S and Azumanga Daioh. Let's just hope there's enough time to do so!

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