Full Metal Panic Vol. #6 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Paul Jacques
Review Date: Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Release Date: Monday, August 16, 2004



What They Say
Things are steaming up! We open on a hot bath with three hot babes: Sergeant Major Mao, Captain Testarossa and Kaname. The lovely sergeant major exposes her past-and then some!-when she tells the story of how she first met Kurz and Sousuke. Funny how little has changed since then...

Meanwhile, the Tuatha de Danaan is racing full steam ahead to the Pacific island of Berildaobu. Terrorists have taken over a U.S. chemical weapons dismantling facility and taken the island residents hostage. Mithril's entire Special Response Team and the de Danaan are committed to the mission, but sudden shifts in the power structure threaten to tear the crew and the ship apart. With hidden agendas and splintering loyalties at work, can Mithril pull together and get the job done?

The Review!
The episodes in this volume have less humour, more back story and some very tasty AS v AS action, so buckle-up for three episodes of pure entertainment.

Audio:
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".

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Excellent box (transparent) with Gauron’s red 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 mini poster is a picture of Captain Testarossa (hubba, hubba).

The disc itself is nicely printed with a graphic of the menu.

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.

Extras:
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 19th episode opens on the three main female characters chilling out in a communal bath (aboard the sub). This is just a vehicle to allow Melissa to recount the tale of how she recruited Sousuke and Kurz, whilst throwing in a tiny bit of fan service. It does at least explain the strong comradeship between Melissa, Sousuke and Kurz.

In episode 20 Captain Testarossa (finally) explains to Kanami what being a “Whispered” really means, and drops a few plot points which will become pertinent later. Meanwhile Sousuke is getting more than a little nervous about engaging Gauron after the losses he suffered in his previous encounter. This nervousness manifests itself much more strongly as Sousuke engages Gauron’s cronies on the island, culminating in him messing up big time due to his self doubt. Luck is on Mithril’s side and after a short battle they manage to capture Gauron.

Episode 21 has Gauron aboard the Mithril sub as a prisoner, to be taken back for interrogation. Only during the previous pitch battle Melissa is seriously wounded leaving Sousuke in shock over his failures. This anxiety leads to a big bust up between Sousuke and Kaname. Elsewhere things are not what they seem, and through treachery Gauron reveals his real raison d'Ítre for attacking the Chemical Plant. As this is a major plot turn, I can say no more, suffice as to say that we are left in a cliff-hanger situation whereby Gauron has total control of everyone’s lives.

In summary-
This disc is another three episode outing (grumble, grumble), with the emphasis on back story and character development, and only a few characteristic funny scenes are included. This penultimate volume sets things up very nicely for the finale.

Features
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

Review Equipment
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: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Full Metal Panic