Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU: Full Metal Fervor! Review
The gang’s all here for the third outing of FMP: Fumoffu as Captain Teletha Testarossa decides to take a vacation at Jin High, aided by Commander Mardukas, with support from Kurz Weber and Major Mao. Sousuke and Kaname’s relationship is about to meet further strain when they’re required to look after Tessa, but not before managing the pansy-assed school rugby team.
FMP: Fumoffu breaks away from it’s two tales per episode structure for the entirety of volume three; kicking off with Jin High’s rugby team having the threat of being disbanded looming over their heads we’re taken into another fun episode as Sousuke and Kaname are appointed coach duties. Due to their consistent losing streak the principal must take appropriate action, unless they can sort themselves out and defeat the fearsome Garasuyama High team. As to be expected this gives Sousuke another opportunity to bring into play his military experience as he drills his pathetic team into becoming fighting machines. “Overdone Warcry” proves to be one of the series most ambitious episodes to date, particularly in relation to just how much the crew are willing to get away with. This episode is filled to the brim with expletives, which although are deliberately censored make for some hilarious bouts of dialogue from a serious Sousuke. The series could have so easily become tiresome with so much relying on a character who predictably uses military methods all the while, and yet the writers and animators manage to constantly think up new ways for him to engage a plan of action. Things here are also amusing due to the ever popular theme of losers coming out on top with their display of fighting spirit, which has often made its way into Japanese comedy films such as Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t, Waterboys, Swing Girls and Shall We Dance to name several. When Kaname simply informs Sousuke that watching losers win is uplifting, despite his lack of understanding, it makes for another nice take on this long standing tradition.
A two-parter makes up the rest of the volume as Tessa comes to visit Sousuke during her vacation. This is the first time that we’ve seen her outside of the original series, along with Mardukas, Kurz and Mao, and her implementation is used as something of a test for the series’ stock characters; it brings out the catty-ness in Kaname and gives Sousuke a little something to think about. But “A Goddess Comes to Japan” is of course played for laughs and as such things get pretty whacky. Sousuke is ordered by Mardukas to take care of his captain at his apartment while she spends two weeks at Jin High, which then sees him having to shape up in order to impress while not giving out the wrong signals. But it’s the second part of this episode where fans are going to find the most laughs. As is tradition in many anime the classic onsen scenario gets a work out. With the boys and girls heading out to an open hot spring it makes for a perfect opportunity for the guys to do a spot of peeping, which as we know turns us all into real men and we must take up this god given right which can surely only be complimentary toward the ladies…
And so for fans who have clamoured to see their favourite girls almost stripped to the waist we find plenty of fan service within, which means panties and strategically placed objects that don’t show anything that might be deemed offensive. However the highlight of the piece is Kurz Weber instructing his friends Kazama and Ono-D to storm the hot spring by running through woodland filled with gun turrets, while he snipes from a distance. It’s all so sad and pathetic but undeniably funny as it reaches its huge, clichéd war finale.
In Overdone Warcry Sousuke and Kaname must turn around the Jin High rugby team, who haven’t won a game in over ten years. Things aren’t looking good at all when comparing the whimpering scaredy-cats to the hard edged Garasuyama High, but Sousuke has a foolproof method of training – which is probably going to backfire.
A Goddess Comes to Japan (Part 1: The Suffering). It’s time for Tessa to take a vacation from her usual submarine duties, and what better place to visit than Jin High? Good for her perhaps, but bad for Sousuke when Commander Mardukas orders him to take good care of her, and that doesn’t mean hitting on her or placing her in compromising situations. Perish the thought; Sousuke just needs to clean his apartment once in a while.
A Goddess Comes to Japan (Part 2: The Hot Spring). Major Mao and Kurz Weber meet up with their old pal Sousuke and decide to take a trip with him and his friends to an open air bath house. It all seems like a jolly fun day is to be had, but with Kurz around the only thing these boys will be getting up to is trouble.
Volume three features a provocative cover, with Kaname and Tessa, while a Bonta-Kun Eye Examination Chart can be found inside the case.
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. A four minute Japanese DVD promo, character artwork and ADV trailers are also included.
FMP: Fumoffu continues to provide plenty of the ol’ fun and frolics, and this time throws in a bit of fan service to boot. With only one volume to go I’m confident that it’ll end on a pleasant note; great stuff if you’re after a quick break.