Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU

Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     July 11, 2005
Release Date: July 12, 2005


Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Sousuke’s in for the fight of his life! A simple art assignment turns deadly as the entire class gangs up on the mercenary-turned-model. Then he has to defend Kaname against Yakuza thugs, battle karate masters, escape a chainsaw-wielding janitor, and rein in a super-creepy stalker. And just when you thought it couldn’t get crazier, Kaname and Sousuke head to a haunted hospital, where blood-spattered ghosts teach the pair a frightening lesson in deception. The combat and comedy never let up in the second volume of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu! Hold onto your seats (and your sides), because this disc packs a full metal punch!


The Review!
Keeping up with the school humor mixed with the mentality of a young man who knows only war, the comedy continues with positive results.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Having followed the first season of the show in this format it only felt right to continue with the cast we've known. The stereo mix for the show is fairly standard for this kind of series in that it does have some good action sequences where things do stand out and a good bit of directionality, but a lot of the show is also just dialogue, though with plenty of varying levels as characters go from whispering to yelling, and it's all coming across very well here. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The first volume of the series was extremely frustrating in its quality level since much of it looks great but it was so heavily afflicted with cross coloration that it was highly distracting. The rest of the presentation looked spot on though and with great looking fluid animation and a very colorful palette it was definitely pleasing in a number of regards. The second volume manages to eliminate a lot of the cross coloration issue but it's still visible in a number of scenes as is the dot crawl. It is not anywhere as prominent as the first volume which is a real boon and made this one far easier to watch but it does retain elements from how that transfer looked. The bulk of what's there is still related to mid-range characters and hairlines but it doesn't feel like it's in every scene anymore, though it may just be highly minimized.

Packaging:
Continuing with the colorful and attractive character artwork as opposed to the mecha that made up the first series, this volume has a nice looking shot of Kaname jumping on Sousuke's back as he's got his pistol ready for action. The photorealistic background is softened up and adds to the very appealing colors and layout. The back cover plays with a particular character in terms of layout design and has a few shots from the show laid around the other areas such as the summary, the discs features and the technical/production section. While there's little here that's actually set horizontal, it's all easy to read and easy to find the key technical information. The insert is rather cute as it folds out to a four panel Bonta-kun calendar.

Menu:
The menu layout is pretty similar in design and feel to the original series though again it feels like it's a bit lighter in color and tone as well as the addition of a small super-deformed Sousuke or Kaname walking around once in awhile as the music plays along. The angular listings of the selections makes reading some of it a bit awkward at times but otherwise it's pretty well designed and I like the consistency of it from the first series. Access times are nice and fast and it's easy to navigate. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets and played properly.

Extras:
The extras continue on as expected and are essentially the same as the first volume. The main unique piece is the first one, entitled Mysteries of Fumoffu. This goes into brief detail about the way the show aired and delays and how those affected people. In addition to the text section, we get the standard clean opening and closing sequences, some commercials from before the show aired and a round of characters sketches. Decent solid extras but nothing that's really out of this world.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the shift from a more serious show with some light comedy to an outright comedy may not have pleased everyone, especially since it removes several popular characters, the first installment of Fumoffu was certainly something that had us laughing and enjoying it quite a bit. With just three episodes it didn't overwhelm you and you didn't get the feeling of it being too much, as much as you may have wanted more.

The episodic nature continues on fairly well with the second volume though it splits the episodes left and continues with the same theme more often. The opening episode is a lot of fun right from the start as the class is taken out to do an art project about man and nature, essentially picking a model from each group and finding a way of placing them in nature and then sketching that. For Kaname's group, they end up picking Sousuke and he of course just takes it too far by going into camouflage mode. Even better is when various people from his group set out to try and find him he lays down the traps and tries to eliminate them since his objective is to be one with nature. It's a fun little jungle warfare type event with a lot of the classmates getting the snot kicked out of them.

Sousuke's dealings with the ordinary things in the life of your average high school student continue to be the main focus of things. One split episode deals with a couple of standard items in most shonen shows, such as dealing with a sexual stalker in the park. This one of course is slightly strange from the start in that the victims report being attacked by a horse and its attacks aren't quite so much violent but still scary as the predator brushes their hair out and ties it into a super-tight ponytail. Kyoko ends up a victim of the Pony predator and Sousuke and Kaname take an active part in trying to take it down. The oddity of it revolving around ponytails is amusing though as is the over the top way Sousuke continues to try and do things.

My favorite material on this volume involves the karate club though. Sousuke and Kaname are assigned to remove the karate club from their dojo so that the club can be shut down for a number of reasons and its dojo be destroyed. Naturally, the three guys in there get into a match with Sousuke with Kaname as the prize and he has to fight them one by one or lose her. In typical fashion, they come at him with their moves and he either shoots them outright, gasses them or more. Sousuke's view of win at all costs continues to be his primary motivator and it allows him to deal with threats by using the best weapon available to him, often his beanbag gun. It's like the Indiana Jones moment in the first movie with the whip and gun. It's probably clichéd but I'll be damned if it doesn't make me laugh each time.

In Summary:
Fumoffu's really just playing the same gag over and over while providing a few tangents here and there that are amusing such as the school student council members or some of the secondary casts involvement. The bulk of it really focuses around the basics of the fish out of water military geek trying to survive in school while having no social skills or common civilization skills at all. Being familiar with the characters from a more serious setting allows this show to play a bit faster and looser since there's an established familiarity with their more reserved sides and it keeps its focus on doing just that. With lots of Bonta action in this volume and more of what made us laugh in the first volume, it's a show that just had us enjoying it from start to finish.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,“Mysteries of FUMOFFU” booklet,Character artwork,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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