Full Metal Panic Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Full Metal Panic

Full Metal Panic Vol. #2

By David Rehfeldt     September 14, 2003
Release Date: July 22, 2003



The Review!
Continuing where the first volume's cliffhanger left off, Full Metal Panic! kicks into gear with action, drama and comedy coming out in full force.

Audio:
Having already seen the show in Japanese once, I listened to the English track. Actually there are two different English tracks presented here, one in 5.1 surround sound and a stereo 2.0 mix. Upon listening to the 5.1 track I noticed more sound effects and dialogue being thrown to the rear speakers in this volume than the last, but that might be because there are more action sequences in this volume. Either way, I didn't notice any problems with the track at all and upon spot-checking the Japanese and stereo English track both seemed fine as well.

I wrote my comments on the English adaptation in my review of the first volume, and they hold true in this volume as well. Chris Patton and Luci Christan (as Sagara and Chidori) were already well adjusted in their roles, but the chemistry between the two builds and they play off one another very well. Oddly enough the ADR director changes with episode 6, which is right in the middle of the story arc, but I honestly didn't even realize it until I saw it in the credits. The only complaint I have is it seemed that the actors were putting emphasis on the wrong syllable in Chidori's name and it sounded a bit odd.

Video:
Amazing transfer here, no problems that I could notice at all. No rainbows to be seen, and colors come through beautifully (watch for the scenes where Chidori's Whispered abilities are surfacing to see what I mean). Flawless.

Packaging:
The cover of this volume follows the trend of the last with a close-up of the Arbalest, a new mecha introduced in this volume set against a dark background. The back cover is the basic screenshots and episode description with a metal framework type of layout. On the reverse side of the cover is a recreation of the Region 2 DVD cover, Sagara running with gun set against a white and blue background. Aside from the translation of the back cover and the insertion of the ADV logo, this is exactly the same as the Japanese DVD and I switched my copy to this right away.

I bought my copy from Amazon.com and I don't know if this is individual to that retailer or a problem with all the DVDs, but my cover insert was a bit warped almost as if it was wet at some point. It looks a bit odd in the case but I suppose I could iron it if I was that picky. Still, this was a little disappointing when they bill the reversible cover as an extra.

The insert for this disc is a small poster featuring Mizuki (from episode 8), and on the back another plethora of information about characters, mecha and even props from the show.

Menus:
Very straightforward menus continue the metal framework trend found on the cover. Easy to navigate and fit the show nicely.

Extras:
When you stick the disc in your player you're greeted with Sagara delivering the FBI warning this time (make sure not to use the disc or packaging as a lethal weapon) and I believe this is a direct translation of the Japanese version that appeared on the first volume. Also included are the Japanese piracy warnings as well. The clean opening and closing make an appearance again, but I don't mind as I sometimes get the urge to watch them and it's nice to not have to fish out the right volume. Finally, there is a short video slideshow of production sketches, which range from designs of the characters to the mecha.

Content:
The producers of Full Metal Panic! must be a bunch of sadists, because their sense of timing means that every episode has to end on some sort of cliffhanger. It makes me happy that I can watch this show in bunches instead of having to wait a week between episodes, because I don't think I could take it.

The first volume left off with Chidori being captured and taken to a lab to be experimented on. Sagara notified Mithril and then broke orders when he left to rescue Chidori. We see him bolting from behind a corner as the credits roll. We're treated to the scene again at the beginning of episode 5, and from here things really start to pick up. Sagara succeeds in rescuing Chidori from the guards in the lab, and manages to get a bit of info from the female doctor who was running the experiment on Chidori. After they escape he commandeers an Arm Slave and escapes with Chidori into the woods. Here he meets up with Gauron, whom he has dealt with before (this gets explained later in the show), and gets his Arm Slave trashed. Gauron is just about to strike the final blow but Kurz interrupts him and allows Sagara and Chidori to make an escape. Meanwhile Mithril forces successfully rescue the remaining hostages on the plane and are preparing to escape. Sagara and Chidori rush back to !
the base just as the transport plan
But needless to say, they all end up all right and back in Japan. Episode eight takes a bit of a turn from the action preceding it and returns the story to the high school life we saw in the first volume. Chidori gets hit on by a skirt-chasing boy who happens to dump his girlfriend for her, and the now dumped girlfriend doesn't take this well. In fact she demands a date with Sagara to make up for it, as she needs to impress her traffic light middle school friends. This leads to a number of scenes that were both painful to watch and on the floor hilarious at the same time. Sagara's social ineptitude plays a huge role here and you can't help but cringe at some of the things he says in such a deadpan voice. Chris Patton gets major points in my book here for being able to read these lines so seriously.

But the break is only temporary. After episode eight, the next volume is going to pick up the action again and really the show never slows down to this pace anymore. Oddly enough during the next episode preview after episode eight, both the subtitles and the voiceover list the next episode as episode eight as well.

In any case, this volume of Full Metal Panic! continues to be action-packed, heartwarming, and down right hilarious at the same time. The relationships between the characters really get built up in this volume and from here things start to move quickly. If you saw the first volume and liked it, then this disc is a no-brainer. Very highly recommended.




Review Equipment
Sony DVP S560D DVD Player, Zenith 27" TV, Aiwa Mini-Home Theater System (with 5.1 sound), Generic AV Cables

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