Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is the fourth series in the Full Metal Panic! franchise. The last Full Metal Panic! series premiered 13 years ago. This latest season is not a reboot of the franchise but a continuation of story from The Second Raid (FMP! Season 3 that concluded in 2006). I had heard of Full Metal Panic! because of it’s popularity back in the day but had never watched any of the prior seasons myself.
“Then why are you reviewing this show if you have no knowledge of the characters or their backstory? What make you qualified to review Invisible Victory?,” thought the angry FMP! fan.
It’s been so long since the last Full Metal Panic! series that I imagine modern anime fans have never seen the original Full Metal Panic! seasons either and I wanted to see if Invisible Victory could make either me or newer anime fans go back and check out the previous seasons. I have watched up to episode 5 as of the writing of this review, so here goes.
Are You a Gundam Fan? Then You’ll Love Invisible Victory
Our main character is Sousuke Sagara, a no nonsense military soldier who has a keen intellect in strategy and both developing and understanding advanced technology. It’s Sousuke’s job to protect high schooler Kaname Chidori, one of the “whispered” people. A good comparison to the “whispered” would be the Newtypes of the Universal Century Gundam series’. In addition to that, there are a lot of similarities between the Gundam franchise and Full Metal Panic!; two organizations who are constantly fighting each other, mechs being the primary method of combat, and a strong yet cold male protagonist. Those who don’t find Gundam-type series’ appealing should probably check Full Metal Panic! Season 1 and Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu instead. A friend of mine who has watched the entire franchise as told me the first season and Fumoffu are more focused on the school setting and have a more comedic tone than Invisible Victory.
The Action Sequences Can Be Hit or Miss
The action scenes that haven’t involved a mech have been boring so far. The car chase with Sousuke and Chidori in episode two looks like something from a Jason Bourne or James Bond picture ten years ago. That and the CGI makes the car chase look like it could have come out of an Initial D episode in 1998.
Those complaints aside, the mecha battles have been great. The battle between the Behemoths and the Mithral mech pilots in episode three reminded me of a “David vs. Goliath” type fight. The Mithral pilots know their conventional weapons won’t take down the behemoths easily, but dammit if they aren’t going to try! The Mithral pilots try everything from missiles to sniper rifles to regular rifles to torpedoes to direct attacks. All those armaments do some damage but it doesn’t take any of the three Behemoths down. The fight is brutal (with some truly gruesome deaths), but it kept me engaged and made me care for the well being of the pilots.
The Secondary Characters Should be the Focus
The main problem for me is Sousuke and Chidori. Sousuke is the cookie cutter trope of the “cold character that can’t express his emotions” that is tried and tried again. Considering how often this is done in anime, I find it very tiresome. Chidori on the other hand is frustrating because so far, she is resistant to the role of the damsel is distress. It’s hard to engage with Sousuke and Chodori when they act like character types I have seen before, without having the familiarity with them that would not put off an older FMP! fan.
For me, the secondary characters stole the show. Teresa Testarossa absolutely shines as the Mithral’s commander. She is decisive, responsible, and cares for the Mithral troops. There is a scene where one of the mech pilots says they should betray Mithral and give Chodori to Amalgam. Teresa hears this and just takes out a gun and commands that she will shoot him on sight if he leaves. Go Teresa!
Teresa knows that because of her young looks, people assume she will behave in a certain way, but she proves time and again that she will do anything to protect Mithral and her soldiers, and that she demands respect while doing it!
Overall, the show has kept me engaged and I want to see where the story goes. Hopefully Invisible Victory! will flesh out Sousuke and Chodori some more and steer clear from those non-mech fights. The show does good job not bogging the viewer down with past Full Metal Panic! continuity allowing for a new viewers to jump right in. If you’re looking for a solid mech show, I’d say give Invisible Victory! a shot.