Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU Vol. #3 - 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     September 09, 2005
Release Date: September 13, 2005


Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
Bring it on! Sport is war. At least, that’s the attitude Sousuke takes when he and Kaname get enlisted to help Jindai High’s flagging, pacifist rugby team. Against Kaname’s will, Sousuke decides to bring the spineless squad up to speed with a little over-the-top, all-out-hilarious “basic training.” And while school may be in session for Sousuke and Kaname, vacation has just started for Tessa. Her destination: Jindai High…and a nearby hot spring! Mao and Kurz are there to provide backup for Tessa, but it may be Sousuke who needs it! Tessa has her sights set on him, and nothing – not even Kaname – is gonna stop her! Sports, skirmishes, slapstick, and skin – it’s all here in the third pulse-pounding volume of Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU!

The Review!
Three more episodes roll along here continuing the same kind of humor but thankfully bringing in a few more of the much needed cast from the original series.

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 third volume is like the second volume in that it 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:
Taking the tough lead girls and putting them in positions like this is a normal tool of the trade and it works well here as both are in cute schoolgirl uniforms, blushing and looking all innocent and slightly nervous as they hold each others hands. It's pure fanboy material but it works just like it should. 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 four panels and is an amusing eye-chart provided by Bonta-kun that will destroy your eyes. After you stare at this for a few minutes you'll never see any video problems again.

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 previous volumes. New to this volume is a brief promo for the first Japanese DVD release of this series which is cutely done by Tessa. After that, the main unique piece is entitled Mysteries of Fumoffu. This goes into brief detail about the way the show was made in regards to these particular episodes with a sense of Japanese humor to them that's evident. 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. These are decent and solid extras but nothing that's really out of this world.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While still in a very large sense playing to a one note gag, Fumoff's three latest episodes pull them off just right as we get an entertaining single episode storyline and then a really fun two part one that brings in characters from the previous series to engage with. This is definitely what's needed at this point to bring some new fun into it without letting it feel like it's getting too repetitive with the same crowd.

The opening episode deals with one of the continual problems any student body president has and that's dealing with the ever growing number of clubs that want to be active and do things and the long term ones that seem to just hang on. Using his scary arts of persuasion to rope both Kaname and Sousuke into his bidding again, the sights are set on the rugby club as they haven't won a game in ages and are going to be shut down if that does change. Kaname finds herself in the position of the club's manager now and is given some of the staples of it, such as the hot water kettle and a more traditional sailor suit that reaches to just above her knees. She's completely against doing this and doesn't want to spend time managing big burly rugby boys.

So you can imagine her shock when the club room looks like a ladies rotary club room and is filled with flowers, nice chairs and plenty of talk about various pastries and deserts. These huge guys are all pushovers. Even when on the field, they spend most of their time looking for rocks that could hurt them and just doing calisthenics. To practice tackling and other moves would cause them to be hurt. With the thought of losing the club combined with the abuse they get from their next opposing team however, they fall under Sousuke's tutelage after he reads up on the rules and puts them through some severe training. This is almost like boot camp and they all fall heartily for it. It's just very amusing and comical as it barrels toward its ending with the actual match and its results. It's not original but it's so well executed that you can't help but to enjoy it.

The two part piece that follows it is probably my favorite material so far in the series and it is because they bring in so many of the other characters. With their main submarine ship being put under for heavy repairs and upgrades, Tessa's told to take a vacation so like the teenage girl she is she decides she wants to experience normal life for a bit and will stay with Sousuke, attend school and just be close to the boy that she really likes. This puts Sousuke in the unenviable position of having to be completely on guard for whatever may threaten her – coming after being up straight for three days already – as well as the heavy guaranteed threat of punishment should he abuse the situation and take advantage of Tessa in any way, not that he would. Sousuke's hit his limits before but this method of pushing him is just priceless since a threat is around every corner and half the time the threat is Tessa herself as she pushes herself onto him.

Kaname does not react well to this but all the other girls in the class fall in love with her and her polite ways while all the guys are drooling and ready to hit on her, which of course makes it all the more difficult for Sousuke. The school portion is a lot of fun as they just go through the daily grind but Tessa brings a light and airy breeze to all of it. The real fun begins though when at the close of her vacation, she decides to spend a few days in a hot spring in the mountains as any good visitor to Japan would do and she invites a few people from school. With Kurz arriving here and Mao arriving in the previous episode, they get in on the action and it's hilarious as the guys try the usual routine of trying to sneak a peek while Sousuke has set up massive sentries everywhere. This episode even goes a step further by providing so much near-nude scenes that are barely tactfully covered that the fanservice level goes through the roof. No panties to be found here but a lot of ass. I mean, a lot of ass is shown here. It's surprising but it's a great change of pace even with some of the cute cuts they pull.

In Summary:
Though this series is really just a comic offshoot of the original, I'm most definitely enjoying the hell out of it. A lot of series could benefit from taking a few episodes out of continuity and just having fun wit the cast and letting them let their hair down and just be goofy or human. Fumoffu's third installment thankfully brings it past the one-note gag that it's been by bringing more of the original cast into it which only expands the one-note since so many more people are in on it now. Kurz fans are happy, Mao fans are happy and those that hate it when panties get in the way are very happy. Now they just hate rubber ducks. Each volume always feels like it's more fun than it should be but I can't help smiling and laughing throughout just about all of this.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character artwork,Japanese DVD Promo, Mysteries of FUMOFFU,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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