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Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory – 05 »« Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory – 03

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory – 04

「オン・マイ・オウン」 (On Mai Oun)
“On My Own”

Why is that, in so many romantic comedies, the main couple don’t get together until the very end of the story even though it’s clear that they were made for each other? Why is it, that a long-running anime will tease us with the will-they-or-won’t-they throughout the entire season despite obvious chemistry and then end without resolution? There are many reasons for the infuriating tail-chasing anime romances usually subject us to, but it’s probably mostly because it sells. In the world of episodic storytelling these — whether it’s volumes of light novel, chapters of manga, or weeks of anime — it’s accepted wisdom that nothing gets audiences coming back for more quite like these kinds of tantric relationships. We are whipped dogs, basically, lapping up every step of the development and getting unreasonably excited whenever we’re thrown a bone. If they actually give us the big payoff, what will they have left to feed us with? The confession scene is where the fireworks are, anyway; everything after is just messiness. Actually exploring the ups and downs of a normal relationship is usually too much touchy-feely baggage for most shows. That’s why, when the main couple gets together and you can’t end the story right there, there’s only one thing to do: break them apart again.

That’s what made this episode so hard to watch for me: it was set up so thoroughly for pain and heartbreak. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the source, you may have noticed that all signs pointed to failure. There’s the fact that Kaname and Sousuke explain their plan in full before the execute it, and we know that ever nothing goes according to plan. There’s the symbolism of hands again, making the hand-holding scene in episode 01 one big metaphor. And there’s that Al and Kaname can basically see the future and more or less spoil the ending anyway. So when smarmy bastard ex machina dropped form the sky and ruined everything I hope none of you were too surprised. Every hero has a point in the journey where they are at the lowest and things looks bleakest, and Full Metal Panic! seems very insistent on driving home that feeling of utter defeat. The symbolism isn’t exactly subtle here. The bad guys get to lord over the good guys, the silver-haired man-child wins the entire pot, and we all leave with a bad taste in our mouths.

It’s a bit of an extreme move if FMP! just wanted an excuse to break up the main couple. Sure, since Kaname and Sousuke have managed to get together, but there’s still quite a bit of FMP! left, they need to be split up again. To severely misquote Romance of the Three Kingdoms, couples long united must divide. I get that. Again, standard romantic comedy practice, and FMP! was always, in part, a romantic comedy. But Invisible Victory is not just breaking up Kaname and Sousuke, it’s breaking everything. It’s as if all we’ve come to know and love from the earlier seasons of FMP! have got to go. Sousuke and Kaname are separated. Mithril is dismantled. The school is exploded. Even the comedy has been jettisoned as Hayashimizu takes the usual Fumoffu gag seriously and Sousuke’s classmates finally take him to task over what kind of dangerous individual he has never pretended not to be. So it’s not just about pulling about Kaname and Sousuke apart; I mean, she got kidnapped all the time, but this time it’s different. The entire premise behind their relationship is dead. The romantic comedy is over. Whatever mash of genres FMP! was before, now it is something different. Invisible Victory has swept out all the old and is now ushering in the new.

At least we had one last moment of triumph from the Mithril side, so that we may hold our heads high as we step tentatively into whatever FMP! will be now. I am reminded of CLANNAD ~After Story~, which didn’t really start until 10 episodes deep. These first four episodes of Invisible Victory were similarly only to drop the curtain on the FMP! of more than a decade ago. And now, for something completely different. I’ll see you here for the start of that next week.

May 5, 2018 at 12:00 am
12 comments »
  • May 7, 2018 at 1:09 amandhaka

    Good, they are keeping true to the original material… Even though I read the novels ages ago I’m still quite happy to have the anime versione FINALLY on the air. :)

    Keep it up, Sousuke!!!

    Cheers

  • May 7, 2018 at 9:45 amLyfe

    And that’s a wrap for Volume 7 of the LN.

    I felt sad for Sousuke but thought it was great for character growth and a good way for him to get a new mecha. The way Sousuke was at his lowest point when he apologized to his classmates and resolved to make things right was so great.

  • May 7, 2018 at 9:34 pmIncognito

    http://randomc.net/image/Full%20Metal%20Panic%20Invisible%20Victory/Full%20Metal%20Panic%20Invisible%20Victory%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2034.jpg
    I knew this moment was coming thanks to reading the Sigma manga beforehand, but even if I do, that doesn’t lessen the impact when it hits. Kyoko getting a potentially life-threatening injury, Sousuke’s secret life getting unraveled in front of his classmates, the Arbalest getting trashed by Leonard’s Belial, and Kaname giving herself up to Leonard so that Amalgam’s forces have a reason to withdraw… Damn.

    Over at the TV Tropes forums, I’ve been comparing this season of FMP a lot to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Heck, some scenes in Invisible Victory are reminiscent of scenes from that film (the car chase in episode 02–questionable CG aside, and Wraith disguising herself as Ms. Kagurazaka and then dispatching Kurama’s goons in this episode). Though another general theme that makes Invisible Victory comparable to Winter Soldier is how it radically changes the status quo with the antagonist group gaining the upper hand (Amalgam/HYDRA) and the “Big Good” protagonist group that has kept the peace all those years (Mithril/SHIELD) being forced to go on the run (but still leaving a faint ray of hope). Not to mention its direct effect on the main characters and the civilians caught in the crossfire.

    http://randomc.net/image/Full%20Metal%20Panic%20Invisible%20Victory/Full%20Metal%20Panic%20Invisible%20Victory%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2036.jpg
    This scene could have gone a LOT worse for Tessa if Xebec followed a one-to-one adaptation of the same scene in the Sigma manga (and/or was broadcast during the so-called “Otaku O’Clock”). Fortunately for Tessa in both cases, Melissa arrives in the nick of time to ventilate the Amalgam goons. (Phew.)

    http://randomc.net/image/Full%20Metal%20Panic%20Invisible%20Victory/Full%20Metal%20Panic%20Invisible%20Victory%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2041.jpg
    Captain Juzo Okita would be proud. Also, while I thought this scene was awesome in the Sigma manga, it’s still better seeing it in animated form.

    Time to begin Sousuke’s long journey to bring back Kaname.

    • May 10, 2018 at 8:54 amboingman

      Guess I’ll need to check out the Sigma manga…

  • May 8, 2018 at 8:24 amewok40k

    This is the darkest hour of Mithril, similar to the one rebels faced in Empire Strikes Back. Hidden base destroyed, few survivors flee, and there were heavy losses.
    In fact the situation is similar on another level, with Kaname playing the carbonized Han Solo, while Sousuke will have probably to get some level up to face dark side of the Testarossa family.
    Someone call Yoda?

    • May 8, 2018 at 11:58 amLyfe

      One word, and I’ll spoiler tag it. When it appears, everything will be happy.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • May 8, 2018 at 3:05 pmRenaSayers

    Because if the writers don’t add in some kind of conflict, the main couple will be right as rain. Nothing will be wrong with these couples which will mean these couple’s will need no development in there character.

  • May 10, 2018 at 8:53 amboingman

    Great episode.
    It feels like with this episode and Kyoko severely injured Fumoffu has been killed off for good.
    Had already gotten spoiled about them getting separated due to some trailers for the upcoming FMP PS4 game, but why not. Let’s see what kind of powerups he’ll receive to get her back.

    Mostly very happy with FMP IV so far and although the characters don’t always look exactly like they did in TSR due to slight changes in charadesign the Mecha CGI is done well enough that I’m fine with the overall look of the show. Hope they keep it up.

  • May 10, 2018 at 9:09 amWorldwidedepp

  • May 11, 2018 at 11:05 pmPasserby

    Episode 4.5 is a recap. Come back next week for actual content.

  • May 20, 2018 at 7:49 pmdropped

    I . . .didnt watch this episode.

    I watched up to the episode prior and realized they would go down this route.

    This is l a zy writing period. I ALREADY knew all this would happen once I saw the phone message of the school girl in danger.

    That is when I dropped the series.

    If the mithril idiots had sent the heli and robot THAT NIGHT, 3 or the last for episodes wouldn’t have needed to happen. this is terrible writing, If I can predict teh story from one scene (the school girl in danger phone message) AND facepalm because of how many times that plot line has been done over and over again. . .

    Fire your writer.

    Oh and Kaname is REALLY fucking annoying, if people dying protecting you is that bad. . .after three seasons of this shit you either need to

    a)join the enemy

    or

    b) kill yourself.

    to me, this series is over, I am happy stopping it here. The bad guy wins and Im not intrested in seeing stupid protagonists try to fight back. Hell, I can get behind Bad guy wins plots, but not bad guy wins because the good guys are stupid. that’s annoying AF. I simple dont care what happens next anymore.

    Basically, Im dropping this piece of Hot Garbage

  • May 31, 2018 at 7:43 amToasty

    This is nit-picky, but in the manga, Kurz shoots the Behemoth before the TDD hits it. This makes sense because the Behemoth is focused on what’s in front of it (The TDD), so it’s head is exposed. Kurz then shoots it, effectively disabling the lambda driver and allowing the TDD to plow through it.

    If we are to follow the in-universe logic, the TDD should have been sunk when it rammed into the Behemoth at the end of this episode.

    Also, I don’t think I ever saw any AS jump that far anywhere in the prior series. It looks very odd here in CG for Kurz and Clouseau to jump that far and land on the TDD. Maybe I’m wrong, but I remember the TDD being closer to shore in the Sigma manga.

    I’m also disappointed in the lack of dialogue between Kyoko and Sousuke. It makes his final words to her feel very out of place. The dialog in the manga made a lot more sense (and also made Kyoko look much less like an airhead).

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