Full Metal Panic Vol. #5 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, July 22, 2004
Release Date: Monday, June 21, 2004
What They Say
It's never easy being the new guy. Ask Sousuke-proving himself to a squad of teammates at least ten years his senior will be an uphill battle. But when the mission drops them deep behind enemy lines with no support, it's going to take everyone's cooperation just to stay alive. Suffice it to say, not everyone cooperates. Nor does everyone who dies actually stay dead.
And speaking of things that won't die, the rivalry between Kaname and Tessa finds new life on Tessa's home turf. It's the de Danaan's first birthday, and Kurz has taken the mike to MC a racy game of bingo for the crew-promising the winner a red-hot kiss from Captain Testarossa! Will Sousuke win the big prize? Everything is turned up full-blast in the fifth scorching volume of Full Metal Panic!
The previous volume left us in ?cliff- hangar? land (or should that be a ravine?). Can this volume pick up the story again and run with it?
I listened in English 5.1, English 2.0 and Japanese 2.0. I have to say that the 5.1 is very good and carries a decent depth in the playback, so don?t feel obliged to stick with the stereo options. In fact my wife complained about the 5.1 explosions (reviewer smiles and pats the subwoofer). Also, is it just me, or does the incidental music sound a bit like the "A-Team" theme?
Opening theme is called "Tomorrow", closing theme tune is called "Never Dying Flower".
Very good video, clean, sharp and plenty of colour. No problems were seen and the only thing that could have improved this presentation would have been widescreen.
Excellent box (transparent) with an AS adorning the front. The reversible covers are very welcome and make for a great read. The foldout poster is once again full of information about characters and weapons contained in this volume, although you may want tot read it afterwards as it contains a spoiler. The other side of the poster has a full sized picture of Shadow AS.
The disc itself is nicely printed with a graphic of the menu.
Menus are really cool looking, with sliding metal panels when you select an option. The opening menu links are Languages, Extras, Episode and Scene selection. I had no problems with the menu options, and all links worked quickly.
We get clean Open and Close animation, Production sketches (around 20) and a collection of funny, but very serious anti-piracy warnings from the series characters (in Japanese).
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The 16th \17th episode finds R heroes out gunned and the run from the local military, as well as Gauron, whilst trying to dispose of the nuclear weapon they recently confiscated. After suffering more damage Susuke suggest a possible hide-out where they can tend the wounded. Eventually the assault team arrives at an abandoned rebel base and begin to make preparations against the enemy forces that will catch up to them.
Although Sousuke?s intimate knowledge of the terrain is a formidable asset, what he doesn?t know is that Gauron has brought someone along who not only knows the territory equally well, but Sousuke?s personality to boot. What this means is that Gauron can not only predict Sousuke?s plans, but also formulate how to beat him. Who is this ace that Gauron has up his sleeve? Well that would be telling, but we do get plenty of flashbacks to fill in the details as the battle commences.
The end to these episodes is quite sad, so I cannot say much more, suffice as to say that it has some cracking good fight scenes before it concludes.
Episode 18th opens with Gauron closing a failed business deal with his usual convincing argument and spent shells. Only this isn?t a throw-a-away scene as such, as it hints at the next story that is to follow.
Then we are back to school and the usual Kaname- Sousuke confrontational interactions, which after the seriousness of the previous three episodes is a welcome relief. It seems that the school is having a festival, and Sousuke has taken upon himself to ensure that the celebration gets maximum security (military spec) for everyone?s protection, much to Kaname?s annoyance. After a few more accidents happen to Kaname, which makes her very mad, Sousuke invites her to a vacation on a south sea island, as a way of showing that he can be sensitive to her needs. Is this the romantic opening Kaname has been waiting for?
Meanwhile the Mithril submarine is on maneuvers in the Ocean, much to the annoyance of the US Navy and they play chicken at 90 fathoms. Only their fun is short lived as an attack on a chemical base means that Mithril have break off and investigate. This change of plan also necessitates that Kaname and Sousuke must also re-route in order to join the Mithril crew, much to Kaname?s displeasure.
Once aboard the Tuatha de Danaan, Captain Tessa does her best to make Kaname feel at home, and throws a party in celebration. During the Mithril party Kurz organizes a bingo game, where the first prize is a little something from the Captain. This is quite hilarious to watch, and certain individuals subconsciously display their true feelings during the tenser moments.
Meanwhile, back at the chemical plant, bad boy Gauron is making his presence felt as he uses his superior AS to devastating effect. Now only Mithril can save the situation, but this is exactly what Gauron wants to happen!
This disc is another three episode outing (boo), but we do get some excellent fighting and some quite moving moments. As such this disc delivers another worthwhile purchase. Of course I?m still waiting to find out how Gauron keeps coming back to life.
English 5.1 Language ,Japanese 2.0 Language ,English 2.0 Language ,English Subtitles ,Fold-out poster with in-depth background information printed on the reverse ,Clean opening and closing animations ,Production sketches ,Japanese piracy warnings
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21? Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Full Metal Panic