Full Metal Panic! Vol. #03 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 170
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0007-0
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Full Metal Panic! Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 16, 2004
Release Date: February 01, 2004

Full Metal Panic! Vol.#03
© ADV Manga

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Gatou Shinji/Tateo Retsu
Translated by:Kay Bertrand
Adapted by:

What They Say
Kaname Chidori is back, and just trying to be an ordinary high school student. Sosuke Sagara, that hard-bodied special agent of Mithril, goes back undercover, posing as Kaname?s classmate to protect her from those who covet her "Whispered" abilities. While being an ordinary student is fun for Kaname, so far it?s been sheer torture for the commando-trained, gun-toting and all around butt-kicking Sosuke.

But wait is there romance in the air?! Is it finally dawning on Kaname that she?s got a thing for Sosuke? The moment of romantic truth for these two arrives when Tessa, a beautiful and sexy foreign exchange student from America, comes to their school and flashes her winning smile at Sosuke! Now we?ll really see Kaname?s true feelings for Sosuke!

Experience the whirlwind of Kaname and Sosuke?s tumultuous (and hilarious) high school life in Full Metal Panic Vol. 3!

The Review
As you can see ADV uses the same cover art as the original. Once again wonderful stuff from Tateo. This cover features an interesting image with Tessa and Kaname holding hands as they float in space(?).

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... the original logo is kept on the back cover and it has an English subtitle, unfortunately ADV passed on it and gave use the logo they use on their DVD's. Its okay. Some people on these boards say they like it but, I'd rather keep the original (its got English on it, come on!!)

For some reason they changed the font on the volume header (the first colored page). It was just like the font on the contents page which has a military look and works better in my opinion than the stylish font they replaced it with (yup, the title was in English even in the Japanese header page).

Colored pages is a nice touch that I wish was more common. In this volume ADV keeps the original fold-out that was present in the Kadokawa Shoten version. This type of thing is still something of a big deal out in North America so I am glad to see this included.
The printing is a little too heavy here. You cannot see the detail in most uniforms as well as expressions of characters when they are in toned shadows. The screen tone turns to black when it was gray so I found a few instances where some fine detailing was missed.
Once again, readers miss out on some inside dust-jacket art. In the Japanese version you see Teletha Testarossa lingerie on the opposite side of the dust jacket. Shame. Which they would give us that art instead of the highlights they give after the ato-gaki. The ato-gaki is in there and complete. So those wondering if the mangaka really talked about western stars like that.... yes he did and its almost a completely straight translation (impressive!!)

Tateo's art is pretty solid. Character designs are cute and stylish. Personally I enjoy these designs a lot more than the anime version. While I enjoy Gonzo works the faces are not quite as detailed as Tateo's designs and this really helps a comedy like this. Backgrounds are pretty detailed and the layout is very nice. So far action scenes are very fun (sometimes darn right hilarious) and the perspective used in the layout really makes for a fast read with a good flow.

The SFX are still translated a little weird (they still mix onomatopoeias and actions here and there) but at least they are translating all of them. SFX are often subbed (many of them are shadowed), the size is good and they do not distract too much.
Right to left orientation for an A5 size GN (just like the original!!)

The translation for this volume is very good. I only noticed one line that was completely off and that revolved around the school year (they Americanized the dates and made a possible issue for future volumes). I was really impressed by how they translated the ato-gaki and with the few translator notes they typed up at the end of the GN.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After her scary experience in North Korea, Kaname is pretty happy with enjoying the rest of her junior year. Nothing can be more enjoyable than doing fun stuff with your friends. This spring her class will participating in a school-wide basketball competition to defend the title that they won the year before. Kaname's team is favored to contend for the title but that is not enough for her. She wants to win with style. So while everyone else is practicing hard her class is working on their drama skills to give the fans something else besides athletic talent to enjoy.

This type of attitude was not taken well by others, though. Some people have limited sports skills and they dread this type of event. Having people experience first hand how poor you are athletically is frustrating and embarrassing. It can be too much to handle for some. Others just hate the way Kaname goes about this type of thing. They think she takes these events for granted as she is popular, attractive, and naturally athletic; she appeared to be making fun of them as she worked on tricks and scenes. This whole thing was too much to handle for one person and she was set on stopping the event by threatening to commit suicide.

Something like this could not stop Kaname. Her personality is such that she hates having others ruin her high. Some might consider that a character flaw but most people around her accept that energetic magnetic quality and appreciate the effort. With the support of the student body president and Sosuke she began the search for this "terrorist" (as Sosuke called her) to keep her school life genki and full of good memories. Just like she gets frustrated with Sosuke's mercenary attitude she cannot stand doom and gloom. Therefore her search was relentless. As she went on thoroughly going class by class Kaname would come to the realization that there are quite a few people out there that hate sports. In her mind none of them would be the suicide type and the search was about to come to a halt. But right across the basketball court from her, the last person you would expect, was behind all of this. Miss Shoji might be the captain of the girls hoops team but she is ashamed to have to lose every year to a group of goof-offs. Shoji trains hard everyday to keep her game up and she hates being made fun of. So much so she could go through with the threat she gave to the student council. Sosuke would not have any of this. He would easily kill Shoji before the hoops star could take her own life. Simple as that case solved - given a choice of death on concrete or by Sosuke's gun the choice was easy... give up and game on.

A few trips turn out to be full of exciting and potentially dangerous moments instead of fun relaxing times. When all of Kaname's girlfriends cancel on their date to the zoo she is left alone with "safari" Sosuke (w/gun toting grip, safari outfit and hunting brain). Hard to tell what could be more dangerous the wild animals or her classmate. And with his background he can only consider animals as dangerous beasts, food or sport (keep away from the petting zoo). Will it be a fun time out for this "couple" or will there will be a total stampede?

A trip to the sea would only further test the strength of the bond between Kaname and Sosuke. Hanging out on the beach might mean volleyball, watermelons, and swimming to some but Sosuke can imagine land-mines, shooting things and possible kidnappers. Evil never takes a break. So when Kaname runs off furious Sosuke must use all of his skills to bring her back - scaling cliffs, fighting former legionnaires and parachuting to safety along the way. But the terror does not let up when Kaname is rescued. This group of friends does not wait for trouble; they make their own. Fireworks, ghost stories and trips to haunted islands should be enough for a summer vacation but shooting off one's gun should make it perfect.

After all the action and suspense of the first clash with Gauron in volume two the story settles down and moves into high school comedy mode. There still is plenty of action - Sosuke shooting his gun and Kaname acting her usual violent self. Unfortunately the story has become completely episodic now. All of the tension and suspense that is present in the animated version is lost here. A chapter with Kaname meeting Tessa was completely bland. By having them meet without incident (the anime version has a kidnapping attempt) the pace slowed down and the character relationships started to feel weak. There was little tension and while Kaname was quite emotional she appeared to be self-fish and immature instead of lonely and confused. By continuing with the high school theme, Sosuke who was growing so much earlier was now just comic relief. All of that would be fine if the characters were a little stronger but right now Kaname is completely one-sided. Still these episodes were pretty fun even though they do not seem to lead anywhere.

For those looking for a nice high school comedy this volume presents an interesting twist on that concept. Sosuke's personality really carries this series but with him being used as comedy relief he is not quite as strong as he has been. On the other hand he still is completely out of his environment and his reactions are quite often amusing and occasionally shocking.

For those who are looking for more of what the anime presented this volume could be disappointing. Most of these chapters while funny are not full of the action and thrills that Gonzo's version delivered. But this series does have one thing on its side - better character art.

With all the excitement and growth that was established in volume two I was a little disappointed with the direction that the series turned to here. High school comedies are so common and the best ones generally rely on excellent comedy or well developed characters. This series really has neither. Sosuke was really close to becoming a character to carry this title but as his role regressed to comedic relief the manga's mood in general turned from exciting and unique to old and awkward. Kaname as a lead character does not bring much to the story. She is always obnoxious, immature and short tempered. When the story demands her to be strong she Gatou's writing has her appearing confused and weak.

Everytime I feel this series is moving closer to its potential it takes a step into the wrong direction. If the characters were better developed the stories could become endless but right now I really would rather there be more fighting just to see Sosuke in his element again - which has been the only time this title has really been in its element.



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jnager 3/13/2012 10:58:35 PM

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