Full Metal Panic: 2nd Raid
The attempted takeover of Mithril's submarine raised a lot of questions. While Mithril is an organization which relies on its superior technology to deal with hostile situations, it appears that there is an organization set against them with at least an equal footing. Their armaments may even be superior, as their armslaves are equipped with a lambda driver; and the only armslave with one equipped in Mithril is the Arbalist piloted by Sergent Sagura.
While still in the shadows, this organization is starting to move. Sagura is considered too valuable to sit in a high school in Japan, but at the same time Kaname needs to be protected. He can't be everywhere at once, and with the pressure of how things are now, Sagura is starting to crack. What is more important to him? Can he choose between Mithril and Kaname?
There are a lot of different opinions of Full Metal Panic. Some liked the comedy, some liked the giant robots, and some managed to like both. There was also Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu, which won over people who didn't even like the comedy in the first one, but doesn't have much to do with the first season or The Second Raid (TSR). Basically your opinion of the first season will be about the same for the second. Not to say some don't like one season more than the other, but I haven't met anyone who liked the first and suddenly hated the second or the other way around.
The Second Raid (TSR) picks up where the first season left off, and I started to immediately dread the entire giant robot thing. Not to say that FMP is bad at the mecha stuff, it just does nothing new and it's been done to death. The good news this is only a focus at the beginning and end of TSR. The rest is a character based military style drama. Despite FMP having some of the worst villains in all of anime, the rest of the cast is interesting to watch.
Sosuke Sagura has been fighting since he was 8 years old, and in TSR starts wonder if he even has a future. He's always drifted in life by simply "followed orders" and starts to wonder what his life is about. Submarine captain Tessa Testarosa is in love with Sagura but put in a tough spot with her duty to command him, and faces a lot of pressure from her superiors. One thing I can appreciate is anime touching on a topic that few series have, and that happens with Kaname in TSR. As a valuable asset, she's been allowed to continue living her high school life, but only with Sagura as her over vigilant bodyguard. When Sagura is called away Kaname has a brush with danger, making her understand how vulnerable she is, and causing her to become crazy paranoid. As I wasn't impressed with most of the other features of TSR, it was these three who basically held the whole thing together for me, and did a decent job of it.
I have to hand it to FMP. They took a character disaster like Gauron and managed to make another villain just as stupid. Could it get worse than that? Yeah, Gauron isn't dead. This dude has had his death implied how many times now? Surviving his mecha's self destruction at the climax of the first season pretty much invalidates any sense that death means ANYTHING in this show. Am I pissed? Yeah I am. Even though I realized he was the only one who could have played the needed role against Sagura, I hate him. Gauron isn't a character, he's a shell of general evilness that is a pathetic villain template with no depth. And they bring HIM back? Screw that. And don't think they can appease me with hot girl on girl villain action, because as much as I like lesbian twins... actually who am I kidding, that did almost appease me, but I'm pretty close to calling it quit on a series with such terrible characters.
While I get down on the whole mecha thing, the action (mecha and otherwise) is quite impressive, and certainly a step up from the first season. There isn't much comedy in TSR, which is just as well since it often feels forced whenever it's bundled with anything else in FMP. The exception is the last episode which is a perfect fan service that ends everything on a much lighter note. I have no idea why, but there are people who only like the "serious" stuff in FMP who didn't like this episode, but they really shouldn't be watching FMP to begin with. This is a series that needs to be taken as it is, since it's such an odd mix of everything at once, packaged with a setup that doesn't make much sense. From the 16 year old submarine captain, to the "military" organization who just happens to gallivant around the world with their super technology saving people in distress. I could gripe on the plot forever, but it wouldn't be because it's bad, it would be because it's so... anime. So it would be pretty dumb to complain about an anime title being anime. FMP tries to glue a lot of those anime things together in ways that sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't but you need to accept it for what it is. It's an oddball formula started with season one and continuing in TSR. Overall it's a decent title, but by no means exceptional.
* Also, there's Andrei's cooking in the last episode. He replicates his wife's old recipe of cream borscht and decides it's miso based... This is one of the few times I cringed at just hearing the description of a meal. Man that must taste awful.
Sagura: What are you doing?
Chidori: I'm taking you back with me Sgt. Dumbass.
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