Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU: Full Metal Fracas! Review
True to form FMP: Fumoffu does indeed get crazier as it steps into the realms of the Yakuza, pony-headed serial attackers, disgruntled karate masters, mad janitors and egocentric art teachers. And as usual Sousuke is completely clueless, what with his literal way of thinking which usually sees more damage being dished out than anyone would think humanly possible – unless he was Rambo, and in many ways that wouldn’t be far off.
The structure remains exactly the same as before, but the main draw here are the weird and wonderful secondary characters that make up the six short episodes in volume 2. Now we begin to see that at least two are recurring players. First up is Issei Tsubaki who becomes a rival for Sousuke after Sousuke leaves a bad impression at the Karate club. The second is Yoko Wakana, a police officer who is slowly being driven mad at the expense of getting no sleep, along with her obsession for justice. She appeared briefly in episode four, and its fun to see her back, still obsessed with tracking down Sousuke after the bicycle incident. The Pony Man is one of the most bizarre additions to the series – a serial hair-stylist with the face of a pony, while school janitor Ohnuki goes from being a mild-mannered old man to a chainsaw-wielding lunatic upon learning a devastating truth behind the meal that Sousuke and Tsubaki prepared for him. For fans of Bonta-kun this volume serves up a real treat involving Sousuke and a theme park costume, which becomes progressively funnier as it moves along.
A couple of moments throughout allow the primary characters to express themselves in unusual ways: a fine example being the exchange between Kaname and Sousuke, while Sousuke is still dressed head to toe as Bonta-kun, still presuming that Kaname has no idea who is in the suit. Character relations are still very much an important aspect of the series, and with Sousuke and Kaname beginning to realise that they care deeply for each other it opens up further possibilities. It’s certainly fun to watch them yell at each other, despite having bottled up their feelings for so long. But it’s all part of the fun and there’s a clear amount of affection that seeps through from time to time.
In The Hamburger Hill of Art the kids go on an art trip with Mr. Mizuhoshi, who informs them that they must decide on a model to paint and them place him or her in a natural environment. With the forest to play with they decide to choose Sousuke as their muse, but when Mizuhoshi tells him that he must become one with nature Sousuke begins to take things a whole lot more seriously. Kaname and the other students are about to have a hard time as they try to locate the elusive soldier who has placed traps at every turn.
In Single-Minded Stakeout Kaname goes on a trip to “fumo fumo Land” with an old friend. Sousuke and Tokowa follow them, suspecting that Kaname’s old friend might be up to no good, but when local gangsters turn up to harass Kaname, Bonta-kun leaps into action.
The Pure Yet Impure Grappler sees Kaname and Tokawa being saved from a gang of thugs by a boy named Tsubaki, who just happens to be the leader of a clubhouse that’s set to be demolished. When the clubhouse members refuse to leave Sousuke agrees to challenge them, the deal being that if he winds they must clear out, but if he loses then Kaname will belong to them.
Tsubaki tracks down Sousuke in Trespassing on Good Faith, but his confused state leads him to attack a helpless janitor. Both feeling responsible Sousuke and Tsubaki offer to look after the recovering Mr. Ohnuki, but their rivalry proves to be a problem. However nothing will prepare them for what is about to happen when they present Ohnuki with his evening meal.
A sex offender is on the loose in The Hard Sell Fetish, or so it seems. When Tokawa is attacked it’s soon revealed that the mystery attacker enjoys giving his victims hair makeovers – ponytails to be exact. Officer Wakana is determined to catch the criminal, but she’s also got other things on her plate. She might just get her wish after all when Sousuke enters the fray with his all new warfare suit.
In The Patient of Darkness Kaname takes Sousuke to an old and haunted hospital, where several bloodied children have been scaring away the locals. But Sousuke isn’t so easily frightened. What’s so scary about a ghost who isn’t holding a rocket launcher?
Kaname and Sousuke grace the cover of volume two. Included in the case is a fold-out Bonta-kun calendar.
FMP: Fumoffu is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It’s something of a shame that this series doesn’t look quite as good as the first did, harbouring some noticeable cross colourisation, compression artefacts and Edge Enhancement, along with the usual banding, hint of aliasing and slight brightness boosting. With that said it’s certainly as colourful as ever and detail is generally good. Fans may want to note that as per usual with most anime in the UK this is an NTSC-PAL transfer.
Sound wise we’re given the original Japanese 2.0 Stereo track and a newly recorded English 5.1 Surround mix. I opted to go with the former, which although is far more dialogue based than it is action it still manages to offer plenty of strong effects. Dialogue then remains clear and has a decent range, while some of the heavier action scenes that lend themselves more to comedy have a decent amount of rear coverage.
In addition there are optional English subtitles. These are of the bold and yellow variety, with white being used for sign translations. The subs are well timed and pose no difficulties.
“The Mysteries of FUMOFFU” offers a couple of brief insights, followed by clean opening and closing credits. An original Japanese preview, character artwork and ADV trailers for Madlax, Cromartie High School, D.N. Angel, Get Backers and Peacemaker round off the disc.
Same ol’ same ol’, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Actually FMP: Fumoffu is as much fun, if not more so than the previous volume. There’s a lot of wonderful moments to be had here, with some class visual gags involving some of the strangest characters to ever appear in the Full Metal Panic universe.