Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid
If at first you don't succeed, Add more twins!
Studio: Kadokawa Shoten/WOWOW/Kyoto Animation
Format: 13 episodes
Released: 7/13/2005 to 10/19/2005
Written by: Aisakku
Taking place several months after Sousuke defeated Gaulun on the deck of the Tuatha de Danaan, The Second Raid continues following Sousuke and Chidori through school, daily life antics, and most importantly: new missions. An organization known as Amalgam has surfaced with the ability to render Mithril's advanced technologies useless, and multiple AS frames modeled off of Gaulun's Venom.
Sousuke, having trouble keeping up with his school work, sortie missions, and protecting Chidori is beginning to show signs of fatigue. As his performance begins to suffer in all areas, concerns are raised from both his friends, comrades, and superiors. Falling into depression, Sousuke must fight his way out, and deal with the new threat sent by Amalgam.
Typically, I'm not one to be too fond of mecha series. Far too much emphasis is placed in the wrong areas, and most series tend to become long and drawn out with super-human pilots fighting epic battles every other episode. The Second Raid seems to avoid most of those problems and shows itself to be a rather entertaining series... not without its own patch of problems however.
The drama may be decent, the comedy refreshing, and the mecha action itself well animated without giving off a "super-epic" feel, but the problems of the series lies within several plot holes, weak characters and poor planning in several areas. Gates, the main enemy, as opposed to Gaulun in the first series comes across as being a perverted lunatic more than anything else. On top of that, he doesn't even reveal himself to be especially skilled and/or intelligent enough to truly pose a threat.
In addition to Gates, the two sisters Yu Lan and Yu Fan, while appearing to be skilled mercenaries are treated far too rashly to develop a real sense of character. Attempts at using them to foil Sousuke and his issues are somewhat evident, though the two sisters are far too easily discarded and not nearly developed enough for that to work.
Other problems rise from plots holes, such as: people randomly appearing in just the right spot "knowing" that the other person would be there, or telling them that they followed them when the fact of the matter is there really is no way for that to be possible. How exactly is the Arbalast able to be landed right next to Sousuke when they need him to use it the most? I can deal with small issues, but things like this really should be thought out better. Rather than jumping to stupid explanations, plan things out and make the story that much more competent.
The Second Raid does have its share of issues, but it would be a lie if I said that I didn't enjoy watching it. It may be a bit cliche, and with more planning it definitely could have become something much better. All in all, it was a good series to sit down to and enjoy.
* * * (Average)
Posted: March 8, 2007