It’s been two months since Sagara Sousuke fought with Gauln, and life has returned to normal… until another mission comes along. It turns out there’s someone else with the same black technology owned by Mithril. Sousuke is tossed back into protecting Chidori, but first he’s got to deal with killer twins, a psycho, a mysterious Arm Slave and his own doubts.
summary by Ender
Highs: Continuation of story; character development; awesome action scenes
Lows: Lame new characters; pacing was off at times
Based on two of the Full Metal Panic! manga written by Gatoh Shoji, The Second Raid is one of those rare sequels everyone hears about, the ones that are seemingly better than the original. I make this statement with complete confidence: this is how to make a sequel.
Typically, when an anime decides to go the sequel route, it does so for the sheer purpose of creating new stories and new adventures with the same old characters. Whether this works or not is a 50/50 shot. The Second Raid manages to not only add more dilemmas and a whole new plot to the Full Metal Panic! spectrum, it also manages to add onto previously mentioned ideas and plotlines left hanging in the first series. The reduced number of episodes makes it impossible for the series to go off on random plot threads like its predecessor had. This all helps to establish a tighter and much more compact anime. Sousuke and Chidori did not grate on me as much as they had before, and all it took was a little bit of well-placed character development and a nicely shot and quiet scene between the two. In fact, Sousuke comes off like a Peter Parker/Wally West-type character in this series as he seems to be facing truly confusing powers and responsibilities.
The supporting characters from the previous anime help out when they can, but the new characters don’t really do much for the story. Psycho Gauln from Full Metal Panic! is replaced with three equally psychotic adversaries; the insane Gates, and the twins Yu Lan and Yu Fan, all who prove to be more boring than entertaining. The problem is that the series doesn’t give them much to do, and at 13 episodes the villains only encounter our heroes twice or thrice. This is the same problem for the new allies, too. Despite the new characters and a tighter story (or perhaps in spite of), this anime still feels rushed; in later episodes, new characters pop up and a conclusion is reached faster than a dragonfly on caffeine. Luckily, The Second Raid still boasts quick and seamless action scenes, integrated well with the solids and stripes of the shaky progression. And sometimes, all one needs to keep glued to the screen is an exploding robot.
The Second Raid does get the job done, and fans of the first Full Metal Panic! should by no means avoid this title. There is still a lot left over to produce a third raid, but by this point I say bring it on. I wish more mecha shows would follow the lead of this one and concentrate on what made the genre so popular in the first place: action and drama. This show delivers by the nuclear submarine-load.
Highs: Decent action; drama-packed story
Lows: Romantic copout; some reused music
After I finished watching The Second Raid, I couldn’t stop chuckling for several minutes. It wasn’t because what I had witnessed was actually funny, but rather, that the anime in question just could’ve been far better with a few minor tweaks.
Don’t get me wrong: as a continuation of the original Full Metal Panic!, I’m glad that much of the action carried over and that the comedy shifted mostly to drama. The action is probably the selling point for most people and has the visuals to back it up; with explosions by the barrel full and mecha flying all over the place, there’s hardly a pause when the fighting heats up, not to mention that the scenes have varying locations and complications. The comedy in the original was done well and is replaced with drama here, which I believe is a step in the right direction. This drama does a good job of adding badly needed depth to many of the characters, as well as intensifying the action and romance. The occasional prolonged outburst of emotions had the potential to turn melodramatic, but they’re focused and allow the story to continue smoothly. Thanks to the lack of filler, everything keeps chugging along at a reasonable pace.
And what of the romance between Sousuke and Chidori? With great frustration, I must say that it was screwed up again despite one excellent scene. This is the third Full Metal Panic! anime, and you’d think that their relationship would finally go beyond being good friends, but nay. In the final minute of the series, Chidori is crying on Sousuke’s chest and he doesn’t even bother hugging her; isn’t this the same guy who spent half of the show brooding over this girl?! Even a quick smooch on the cheek or holding hands or damn nearanything on either character’s part would’ve immediately struck gold. Other than that, I was mildly dismayed that there were numerous musical tracks used here that were also in the original anime. Is it that hard to spend a few extra Yen and have some new music? Perhaps.
I had higher hopes for The Second Raid. Although it doesn’t have enough comedy to keep painful memories of Fumoffu from resurfacing, the lack of romantic resolution was a true killjoy for me. Well, here’s hoping that a fourth anime will fix that, and I might as well stick around for that one, too.