The Military Man and the Maiden

June 29, 2011

By Avi Green

Full Metal Panic, 2002

Koichi Chigira
Fumihiko Shimo
Koichi Chigira
Masashi Sogo

A perfect example of how surreal some anime series can be, FMP is about a 17-year-old military expert named Sousuke Sagara, an operative for an outift named MITHRIL, who’s been assigned by his commanders to guard Kaname Chidori, a beautiful 16-year-old Japanese school student who’s been targeted by terrorists, possibly because she’s one of the “Whispered”, a species of telepaths.

Sousuke and Kaname don’t get off on the right foot at first. He’s fairly clumsy in dealing with social matters, and while unintentional, he initially outrages Kaname by accidentally doing some perverted actions that get her to punch his lights out. Indeed, gettting used to regular high school life is even harder than protecting Kaname, at least initially.

Kaname isn’t the only girl to figure in Sousuke’s life – there’s also Teletha Testarossa, a 16-year-old officer (like I said, this is as surreal as you can get!) who’s a leading commander of operations for MITHRIL, and who also cares about Sousuke.

The villain who’s really a thorn in their side is a slimy terrorist named Gauln, who first tries to abduct Kaname and later takes over the submarine Teletha is in charge of, in hopes of starting a war between Japan and America.

FMP is a pretty entertaining comedy drama adventure based on the Gatoh Shoji series of novels, and Kaname is depicted very charmingly as the young lady whom the teen military officer is assigned to watch over. There are several other characters who come into focus here, as does the use of mechas – the source of the title – as a backdrop. Naturally, depending on your viewpoint, it does require that you overlook the very surreal notion of teenagers as senoir military officials, but does it very well. It’s a very worthwhile story that’s 24 episodes long.

Copyright 2011 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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