If you don’t understand why Full Metal Panic has so much appeal to me, the end of episode 7 and the beginning of episode 8 will probably help clarify. This anime uses the emotional cliff-hanger to bring us gut wrenching trauma in the first few minutes of this episode that then launches us into nearly non-stop action for the remainder of the episode. Clearly spoilers coming if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
Last week I was overjoyed to see Sousuke back in the field even though it came at the cost of the newer and softer Sagara we’d seen with Chidori at school during the first few episodes. Still, Full Metal Panic is at its best when it points Sousuke at an objective and we watch him run at it. Mostly because the writers of this anime really like hurting Sousuke emotionally. As an audience, we never really have to fear for his life. As the main character he’s pretty much guarded with impenetrable plot armour, however that isn’t a safe-guard against either physical pain or emotional trauma and he’s been put through huge amounts of both (and I will need to get around to reviewing the earlier series of this sooner rather than later I think).
Episode 8 of Invisible Victory brings us the perfect culmination of everything that is great about this series (except of course any interaction between Chidori and Sousuke because Chidori is still missing in action save for a very brief mental hallucination Sousuke has later in the episode). The first few minutes of the episode dump us straight into the stand-off from the end of episode 7 and rather than drag it out or have some implausible victory for Sousuke then and there, they literally pull the trigger on a character who we’ve only known for three episodes and yet part of me assumed that of course she would get rescued.
Even then, Sousuke’s Rambo act is not the only determining factor of victory as Lemon’s group are still on the move and they briefly converse before Sousuke takes off in pursuit of Nami’s killer. As we see the rampage in the city, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the first fight of this season when Chidori cautioned Sousuke more or less at every turn about property destruction and civilian lives. As Sousuke blows holes straight through the sides of buildings to take down his pray, I wondered if he could also hear her voice or if he had shut down everything except the absolute need for victory in the here and now.
When we finally get to the show-down at the arena, we’re reminded once again that Sousuke is a soldier through and through. And a smart one who has a lot of field experience. Couple his natural talents with an absolutely unshakeable will and you can almost anticipate him simply kicking a grenade to the side as he charges after his foe. The final fight and the final shots are wonderfully done and then we go to the closing credits.
My only complaint then would be the post credits moments where we get exposition for the sake of it and information that kind of kills the mood of the end of the episode when we really could have just seen this sequence at the start of the next episode. But that would be a very minor complaint in the face of an episode that was just a ride from start to finish.
- Episode 7: There’s Something Really Satisfying About Watching Sousuke Pull A Helicopter Out of the Sky
- Episode 6: There Is A Plan
- Episode 5: Restart
- Episode 4: The Early Failure
- Episode 3: Combining War and Battle with Teen Drama
- Episode 2: The Weight of The Drama Is Real
- Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory First Impressions
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