「腐敗のまどろみ」 (Fuhai no Madoromi)
“Rotten Repose”

Big week in Full Metal Panic!. This episode, for one brief, shining moment, we got: 2D mecha! Yeah, okay, said mecha was more a twisted heap of metal than giant robot, but I’ll take what I can get. I’m not an anime purist who thinks CGI is nothing less than new age heresy, but the 2D is what I grew up with and I do miss it sometimes, especially for FMP! where the 2D mecha were done pretty well. I think Invisible Victory and its jump 3D — it goes right back to it when the Crossbow is up and moving and the model is usable again — should be a reminder of how cost-inefficient anime production is. The artists are evidently still capable of drawing detailed mecha, but the actual animation — making those mecha move — is dear in man-hours. Actually, animating anything takes a lot of time, but I guess they can get away with 3D easiest with mecha, so that’s what they do.

The mecha aren’t really the main point of this episode, though. Sure, there’s this big bad mecha tournament going on, but was there any doubt that Sousuke wouldn’t be crushing everybody? This is just some amateur tournament while Sousuke, as he likes to remind us, is a specialist. I would frankly be insulted if he lost to that rabble, even if he’s stuck with an old frog-bot. So, since the outcome is a given, let’s just montage our way through all that. It should have been obvious, I think, that Sousuke was hunting bigger game. As I mentioned last week, there must be a reason why he’s drawing so much attention to himself. Sure, he seems to have a surprising sentimental streak, but his entire shtick is constant paranoia. Painting your mech in Arbalest colours can be nothing but openly taunting Amalgam, and what do you know, here they are. It’s a familiar face, no less, and considering how much of a ruthless bastard he was the first time his arrival can’t be good news. But for Sousuke, this was probably exactly what he wanted. He’s a man with a mission, and we all know Sousuke is one to kick down even the gates of hell for the mission.

But Sousuke faces a problem that many edgy anti-heroes run into eventually: he’s happy. I call it the Batman Problem, because it’s in the Batman mythos where I see it expressed the most clearly. Batman, as you no doubt know, is driven by the murder of his parents. Childhood trauma and vengeance-by-proxy keeps him on his crusade against crime. Sof if he ever finds happiness and fufilment, he loses his entire character motivation. And so, he’s never allowed to be happy — and the best writers for Batman explore how he never allows himself to be. Contrast Superman, who as a beckon of positive virtues is allowed his Lois Lanes. Batman, on the other hand, has his affairs with heroes and villains alike but never settles into a fufilling relationship. Now, Sousuke faces a dilemma, too. Nami is a good girl, and has obvious affections for Sousuke. She was the blatant Kaname stand-in, but could easily be a Kaname replacement. Sousuke could have settled down with her, become a professional mecha sportsman, and probably do pretty well out of it. But he doesn’t. He can’t. Yes, Kaname went with Male!Testerossa by her own will, Mithril has been destroyed, and Sousuke was just a mercenary. This isn’t his war anymore. But that’s precisely why he can’t allow himself to be happy. All he has to keep him on his mission is the resentment and the hurt and the loss. The pain keeps him going. Amalgam. Happiness is dangerous.

That’s the fundamental conflict of Sousuke throughout all of FMP!: his identity as a cold-blooded supersoldier and his rightful happiness as a normal teenager. His Batman vs his Bruce Wayne. For Batman, though, Bruce Wayne is always a mask. It isn’t real. Hopefully, Sousuke’s story will find a less tragic note.


  1. Yes, Kaname went with Male!Testerossa by her own will,

    “Come with me or we’ll kill the people you care about” does not seem to be a “by her own will” situation to me. That’s what’s known as agreeing under duress, and agreements made in those situations are not considered in any way binding.

    1. Perhaps I should have phrased that as ‘she gave herself up willingly’. Kaname chose to make the heroic sacrifice to keep Sousuke alive. Sousuke can either make peace with that or reject this ending and throw himself into danger yet again.

      1. My point was that he is justified in attempting to rescue her from that situation, since it isn’t one she wanted to be in. The mere fact that she wasn’t dragged away screaming doesn’t mean that she wants to be there.

    2. Binding contracts is what we call legal agreements in civilized society. When in a situation where violence is the first option in getting what you want, agreement is agreement whether you want it or not, just the capacity for violence really dictates binding.

      So, she really had a choice, let Sousuke die and then be forced to go anyway or go willingly, cooperate and we won’t kill the guy you like.

      In this light, she really choose to go. And it’s Sousuke’s fault.

      Man With a Mission
  2. I am delighted to see Sousuke being still clueless and pulling off reverse Han Solo:
    Guy 1″Somebody is inlove here…”
    Sousuke: “Who and with whom?”
    Guy 2 “Nami, and with you… didnt you notice?”
    Sousuke: “Yeah it is pretty unavoidable”
    Guy 3: “Whew arent you bold”
    Sousuke: “She is team owner and I am ace pilot, it is obvoious she would appreciate me”
    Everybody but Sousuke : FACEPALM

      1. To be fair, he knew absolutely nothing about the girlmysterious person who planted the love letterunknown object in his shoe cabinet. 😛

        At least here they have an established relationship (paymaster and pilot).

        Magnus Tancred
  3. Episode was okay and we got the explanation, why Sousuke was taking part in these amateur battles, but there were quite a lot of QUALITY faces. I don’t remember having that in the previous TSR series, so I’m a bit disappointed in that regard. Xebec is no KyoAni, after all.

    1. After all? Hahaha that was never in the cards to begin with. I also find it funny that some comments questioned Passerby the nose asumption about production issues being afoot after the recap, when in actuality he was right the whole time. Something is going on with FMP IV’s production schedule and it’s starting to hurt the visuals in a clear way.

  4. https://randomc.net/image/Full%20Metal%20Panic%20Invisible%20Victory/Full%20Metal%20Panic%20Invisible%20Victory%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2010.jpg
    Funnily enough, Good Smile Company does sell a Moderoid of the Savage Crossbow:

    Though screw that… Tessa Nendoroid when?

    No “Shanghai Instruments” for AS parts? Hehe, I guess even Nami doesn’t trust anything “Made In China”. (P.S.: Though IIRC, China in this alternate universe is split between North and South like present-day Korea IRL. However, tensions eased after Mithril stopped Amalgam’s forces in Hong Kong during The Second Raid‘s tail end. So what else happened after that? Peaceful reunification? Or did civil war continue until one side prevailed?)

      1. Indeed. Whatever happened to “as seen on TV”? (Though to be fair, that Moderoid was announced before the Namsac Arc aired.)

        And before I forget:

        “This episode, for one brief, shining moment, we got: 2D mecha! Yeah, okay, said mecha was more a twisted heap of metal than giant robot, but I’ll take what I can get.”

        Well, there are brief scenes in Episode 3 where one Behemoth (the red one) and the Arbalest are drawn in 2D. For the former, it’s a closeup shot of its head after receiving minimal damage. For the latter, it’s the scene where Kaname and Sousuke are at the shrine.

  5. one thing just popped into my mind… GoT reference
    Jamie Lannister compared Barristan Selmy to artist, using red paint of blood with brush of his sword
    Sousuke is artist of AS combat
    sculptor of mangled metal?


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