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ADV Films presents
Full Metal Panic!: Mission.02 (2001)

"She'll be scary later."
- Sgt. Kurz Weber (Miki Shin'ichirou)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: October 08, 2003

Stars: Tomokazu Saki, Satsuki Yukino, Shin'ichirou Miki, Michiko Neya, Chris Patton, Luci Christian, Vic Mignogna, Allison Keith, Hilary Haag
Other Stars: Yukana, Ootsuka Akio, Tanaka Masahiko, Kimura Ikue, Noto Mamiko, Natsuki Rio, Monica Rial, Mike Kleinhenz, Mike MacRae, Andy McAvin, Greg Ayres
Director: Susumu Fukushi

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (15+ for mild sexuality, mild language, violence)
Run Time: 01h:31m:08s
Release Date: July 22, 2003
UPC: 702727044922
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A A-AA+ C+

DVD Review

ADV's second installment of Full Metal Panic picks right up where the last one left off, as Kaname is subjected to tests by her captors to see if she is truly a Whispered. However, she is not exactly the passive type, so takes the opportunity to try to escape when the opportunity arises. Meanwhile, Sousuke is in rescue mode, trying to free the girl from her captors. Eventually they manage to get away from the lab, which leads to a new set of challenges trying to get off the base, as Mithril launches their recovery mission, but leaves Kaname, Sousuke and Kurz behind.

The story begins to gain some depth, as the mystery behind the Whispered begins to be revealed, along with a little information on the Black Technology behind the mecha Arm Slave units. If there is one truly notable aspect to this series, it is the short time span it actually covers, especially on this collection, which plays out the single mission begun on disc one across the first three episodes. This doesn't mean there is any shortage of action, or that it feels slow, quite the contrary, but what it does allow is a lot of character development in the relationship between Kaname and Sousuke, and their mutual understanding of one another. It also allows the introduction of some of the back story and themes that will likely play a bigger role down the line.

The majority of the disc is fairly serious in tone, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for some comedic relief, as the fourth episode switches gears putting our main characters in a different kind of awkward situation, demonstrating the fact that for all his intensive military training and professionalism, Sousuke hasn't got the first clue about real life, and especially women, leaving Kaname to either cover his slip ups, or kick his ass. A new character, Mizuki Inabe, is introduced, who give Kaname something to think about when she employs Sousuke as her stand in boyfriend. All in all the show is shaping up to be quite enjoyable, and while there isn't really all that different about Full Metal Panic! than some other mecha-based series, the execution keeps things moving, the characters are interesting and the story intriguing. I don't know what more I'd ask for to keep me entertained.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Being a Gonzo show, this is pretty much up to par with what I've come to expect. Image quality is very good, with strong, vibrant colors and rich blacks. Compression issues are nonexistent, aliasing is very minimal, and the source is pretty near flawless. This is one fine looking piece, no complaints here.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in original Japanese 2.0, plus both English 2.0 and 5.1 formats. The Japanese track is strong, with a good use of directionality and atmosphere. Dialogue is clear, and there is no sign of technical deficiencies. Of the two English tracks, the 5.1 version is hotter, and more enveloping, and as is typical of these surround tracks, the top end is noticibly more dominant.

Audio Transfer Grade: A+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring You're Under Arrest: The Movie, King of Bandit Jing, Aura Battler Dunbine, Blue Seed Beyond, Sakura Wars TV.
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean opening and closing credits
  2. Japanese piracy warnings
  3. Production gallery
  4. Mini-poster
  5. Reversible cover
Extras Review: Once again, the second disc comes with a reversible cover, with what is essentially the Japanese release artwork on the back.

A foldout mini-poster features the new character Mizuki in her school girl uniform, while the back has several panes with background info on characters, props and mecha seen in the show. This is a feature I'd like to see more of, especially when dealing with large casts, since digging through menus for the info isn't nearly as easy as having it supplied in printed form.

On disc extras include clean opening and closing credits, a production gallery (presented as a 1m:45s slide show), a pair of Japanese piracy warnings, and trailers forYou're Under Arrest: The Movie, King of Bandit Jing, Aura Battler Dunbine, Blue Seed Beyond and Sakura Wars TV.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Full Metal Panic! has all the glitz and gloss one expects from a modern mecha anime, plus a decent mix of action, intrigue and plenty of comedy. The story is moving along nicely as the character's personalities and relationships are given more depth. It is easy to be jaded by the near endless number of similar shows these days, but I'm quite enjoying the ride here, and look forward to what is yet to come.


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