「堕ちた魔女」 (Ochita Majo)
“The Fallen Witch”
Looks like we’re having a recap episode after every arc. I’ve already voiced my concerns about the use of recap episodes before so I won’t repeat myself here, but let’s try to put a positive spin on it. It’s better, in my opinion, for an anime studio to recognise it needs more time and take that extra week than for a studio to insist on pushing out an episode when it, frankly, can’t. I quick google will easily give you plenty of examples of complete art and animation disasters and the countless memes they spawn. I don’t know about you, but I would rather wait than to have a series I enjoy soured by poor time management and the horrible, suspension-breaking mess that will inevitably come out of it. Sure, usually these rushed jobs and outsourcing snafus are fixed for the BD release, but the first time watching an anime is always the most impactful so I would rather they not screw it up. Sure, throwing up a recap is hardly optimal, and even then Invisible Victory is not going to be earning any animation awards any time soon, but as a matter of practicality it’s better to do what you’ve got to do than to overestimate your own capabilities and end up with a pile of anime-like substance that nobody is happy with.
As a matter of hindsight I’m going to say that the wait was worth it, because this new arc begins with a brief return to Tessa, which was exactly what I asked for and never a bad thing. Mostly, it’s because I love me some Tessa, because she’s awesome. Isn’t she awesome? After the villains having had their way for all of Invisible Victory I think we all needed somebody to tell off those smarmy bastards to their faces (well, over the phone, but whatever). And from the usually polite and collected Tessa the anger is made even more potent, and made for the most cathartic moment of Invisible Victory so far. Which, really, was the entire purpose of this little diversion towards Tessa and their crew; they and their story are the most angst-free, the most focused, and the most fun of Full Metal Panic!. In a way, this was the exact opposite of the Sousuke arc that we had just left (and will momentarily return to). Tessa’s story was about keeping it together despite seemingly not having it together at all, while Sousuke’s arc was about him seemingly doing useful things while in reality he’s really just flailing about. I’m not saying that things will always go well for Tessa, but she’s definitely our main source of positivity in this show. I mean, she more or less loses in this episode as well, failing to capture even one arrogant git but at least she kicked a lot of arse while doing it. I don’t know how it’s possible to look cool in a hospital gown but Tessa somehow manages it. The helicopter helps, but still.
While I’m always glad to see Tessa, I’m afraid I can’t really say that same about Kaname, only because these days Kaname inevitably brings with her Leonard. I freely admit that I don’t like the guy and I don’t think we’re supposed to. Usually he just pops in, acts smarmy, then pops out. Unfortunately Kaname will have to bear with that for a while as she serves as a glorified hostage/plot device hybrid. She’s keeping the faith for now, and absence makes the heart grow fonder, but as it wears on it’s going to be a trial. Hang in there, girl.