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

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • 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? FUMOFFU

Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU Vol. #3

By Bryan Morton     April 19, 2006
Release Date: May 15, 2006

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

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!

Episodes Comprise
7 - The War Cry of Excessiveness
8 - A Goddess Comes to Japan (Part 1: The Suffering)
9 - A Goddess Comes to Japan (Part 2: The Hot Spring)

The Review!
I guarantee: by the end of this volume, you'll never look at a rubber ducky in quite the same way again...

Audio is presented in English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 " I listened to the Japanese track for this review. The soundtrack is nice and clear, with good use made of the left & right channels to position what's happening on-screen. While FUMOFFU doesn't do "action" in quite the same way as the original FMP! series, there are some scenes where the show gets the chance to use the soundtrack to full effect. Dialogue is easy to pick out, and there were no apparent problems.

FUMOFFU is presented in its original 1.33:1 full-frame format, with heavy use made of bright colours to bring a really lively feel to show that's perfectly in keeping with the style of the series. The animation itself is very smooth and a decent amount of detail is used in the backgrounds. There's still a noticeable amount of cross-colouration on fine lines, but it's not quite on the level of volume one & is less of a distraction this time around. It's still a disappointment that it's there at all, though.

Tessa fans will love this cover, as she and Kaname sit in their school uniforms wearing their best "please be gentle" expressions. The rear cover has the usual promotional blurb, screenshots and technical information. The back cover has a few shots from the show along with the usual blurb & technical information. Inside is another Bonta-flavoured extra, this time a rough-and-ready eye exam chart.

The disc menus are the same as volume one's " a high-tech, serious affair until mini-Sousuke begins his patrol. FUMOFFU's "A-Team"-style theme plays in the background, with menu options provided for direct access to each episode, a preview clip for volume three, and for the language and extras submenus. Selecting an episode triggers a transition animation featuring Bonta-kun, but other than that working through the menus is quick and easy.

Along with the usual clean versions of the opening and closing sequences, this disc has more Mysteries of FUMOFFU (the story of an unusual recording session and some musings on THOSE shots from the hot-springs episode), the original Japanese DVD promo video and a short character artwork slideshow.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
The Jindai High rugby team has fallen on hard times - mainly as they're a bunch of lily-livered wussies who are more into flower-arranging than scoring tries and couldn't tackle a flea, never mind win a match. It's gotten to be so embarrassing to the school that the principal is planning to wind the club up, but the team are to be given one last chance to break their 10-year losing streak in a practice match against local powerhouse Garasuyama High. Normally they'd have no chance - but Sousuke's just been assigned as the team coach. Can his special training methods turn the team around in just five days? You betcha - in fact, "bloodbath" is more the word by the time he's through with them.

I'm quite a dedicated rugby fan, so this episode ticked a number of boxes for me " and truth be told, with it being quite a physical game it's the sort of thing you can see Sousuke really getting into if he had the chance. The "problem" here is that he doesn't seem to have bothered reading the rulebook, so when the new-look, lean-and-very-mean Jindai High team take to the field the result is total carnage. All in the funniest possible way, of course.

If it had appeared on any other disc, I'd probably be praising this as the funniest episode I'd seen in quite a while, but no sooner has FUMOFFU excelled itself than it really hits its stride.

With the de Danaan undergoing heavy maintenance, its young captain Tessa finds herself at a bit of a loose end for a few weeks - so what better way to spend her unexpected vacation than to torture.. er, visit Sousuke for a while? And so Tessa comes to Jindai High as a foreign exchange student, and makes herself at home in Sousuke's apartment. But how will Kana react to Tessa's unexpected appearance? Will Sousuke survive the conflicting expectations of the two girls? It doesn't take long before dealing with Tessa gets to be a bit too much for him, even with Mao on hand for backup. A relaxing trip to a hot spring doesn't look like it'll be much help, either - especially with Kurz planning 101 ways to catch the girls naked. Dedicated to his duty as ever, Sousuke takes steps to make sure Kurz and his new friends are thwarted at every step.

Tessa's appearance spans two episodes. The first is based in school and has a lot of Tessa and Kana's rivalry over Sousuke " who's been warned in no uncertain terms not to so much as lay a finger on Tessa and is really under pressure. Watching the two girls' barely-concealed fighting over him is funny enough, but it's so rare to see poor Sousuke almost in a state of fear over being caught in an inappropriate situation with the captain " and he inadvertently ends up in quite a few of them " that you almost start to feel sorry for him. Almost.

The trip to the hot springs is easily the highlight of the series so far, though. What Kurz, Ono-D and Kazama would like to see is presented to the audience in glorious detail " except for the small problem of strategically placed rubber ducks, fence posts and dragonflies. It's not a new idea - Tenamonya Voyagers kept the same trick going for a full episode a few years back " but it's done so well you just have to love it. Sousuke's array of traps keeps the random violence level quite high as well, and leads to more comic moments as the boys will try anything to get through them.

In Summary:
From a good start, FUMOFFU just seems to get better as it goes along, and I'd be willing to bet the production staff had as much fun making these episodes as I had watching them. This is one series that will never win awards for depth " that's simply not what it's about " but for pure comic value, it's hard to beat.

Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Bonta-kun Eye Exam Chart,Mysteries of FUMOFFU,Clean opening & closing sequences,Original Japanese TV Spots,Character Artwork

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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