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Full Metal Panic
by AstroNerdBoy on April 24th, 2006, 9:19am

Rating - 8 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 4 out of 5
Characters - 5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 3 out of 5
Enjoyment - 4 out of 5
Overall - 4 out of 5

Click here for series information

Plot/Story

The "Full Metal Panic" manga basically takes some of the early novel and short story work by GATOU-sensei and gives them to illustrator TATEO Retsu to come alive. In many ways, it is the story told in the first "Full Metal Panic" anime series with some differences. Also, a couple of stories seen in "Full Metal Panic ~Fumoffu~" are in this manga.

The story itself tells of Sgt. Sagura Sousuke, who's a teenaged member of the mercenary group known as Mithril. He’s been assigned to protect the teenaged girl Chidori Kaname, who’s being targeted by parties unknown as she is suspected of being a “Whispered” – someone who somehow has advanced technical knowledge beyond normal human understanding. Thus, Chidori is introduced into a new world where things aren’t as simple. She has to survive a kidnapping plot, the near destruction of Tokyo by a giant rogue mecha unit, and Sagura’s constant goofs in public.

The story flows a bit better in the manga than it did in the FMP anime and there are a couple of short stories which have not been animated yet. However, I’m not sure that’s enough to warrant purchasing the title. If you loved the anime enough to buy it, you might want to own the manga as well.

Characters

Chidori Kaname – She’s the teenaged heroine of the title. Her life is turned upside-down when she learns that her “military otaku” classmate is really a mercenary assigned to protect her.

Sagara Sousuke – He’s the teenaged hero of the title. He’s assigned to protect Chidori no matter what the cost, including how much it might annoy her.

Captain Tessa Testarossa – She’s the teenaged captain of the giant submarine “Danna.” She is a whispered, and while a bit clumsy, she’s very good at her job. She’s not so good at showing her feelings for Sagura though. She’s fluent in Japanese due to having spent time there as a child.

Garon – He’s a mysterious fellow who shows up frequently to oppose Mithril. He and Sagara have a long history from Sagara’s childhood days of fighting.

Melissa Mao – She’s the head enlisted person in Sagara’s mecha group. She’s a of Chinese decent and has a past with Tessa.

Kurz Weber – He’s also in Sagara’s mecha group. He’s of German decent and is a sniper expert. While he’s a bit of a playboy at heart, when the going gets tough, he’s the one you want fighting with you.

Drawing Style

The drawing style is similar to that of the anime. TATEO-san does a really good job at bringing the characters to life. While I prefer the anime character designs, TATEO-san’s designs are fine. Her art is clean and nice to look at.

Enjoyment

The story I enjoyed and the short stories were funny. As such, I did enjoy the title. My enjoyment was lessened because of ADV’s refusal to respect the Japanese culture by mostly ignoring all Japanese honorifics. None show up and most of the time, the “translation” of the honorific is to pretend it wasn’t there. So for those who say that honorifics in the translations are a cop-out, how much greater of a cop-out is it to pretend they don’t exist?

Interestingly enough, the manga has a glossary to define naval terms or weapons shown in the manga. I guess there were no worries about readers being confused, even with a glossary, like they would with honorifics.

TATEO-san did a bonus section at the end of each volume (of which there are nine total) which I found to be very interesting.

Overall

Bottom line: Not bad, but nothing special. It could have been better with the honorifics left in tact, but even then, it still isn’t anything special. Too bad we don’t have the original novels officially in English.
 
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