「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.


  1. If this is what we get for an extra week’s wait then it was well worth it. And this episode coming out in the same week as The Carter’s new “Apeshit” video is interesting too because both of them are creating tableaux in front of great artworks.

    But here it’s existential angst in both the AI and Sousuke that is being highlighted, even to the point of getting Al to inadvertently quote the title of Gauguin’s self-proclaimed masterwork, a copy of which we see hanging over Sousuke’s bed. And the inscription on the AI core (or whatever that is) comes from the Sermon on the Mount, which is thrown into sharp relief by the crucifix on the wall in Sousuke’s room.

    Even Speck’s attempted mutiny back in episode 2 falls into place now, because we needed to believe that Tessa’s crew was actually capable of mutiny in order for us to fall for the yarn she was spinning.

    As for Kaname, things could have been worse, I was half expecting her to be cooking hadaka epuron style by now…

  2. These 24-minute episodes pass by too damn quickly… Oh well, I’ll be happy if Invisible Victory gets to its season finale on time with no more hiccups. (Though I dread the incoming cliffhanger nature of that season finale. Light novel and Sigma readers will know what I mean.)

    And considering what Kadokawa did releasing the “Director’s Cut” version of Date A Live, I’m hoping they’d do the same later on with the Blu-Ray/DVD release of Invisible Victory. Anyway…

    It took nearly three seasons plus Fumoffu, but it’s good to see you again, Mira Kudan. Also, Al asking this:

    “Where do we come from?
    What are we?
    Where are we going?”

    Hmmm…I recall Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova asking that same set of questions as well. Al will eventually find the answer later on, but not in this season.

    Glad Xebec also toned down this scene from the Sigma version. I remember reading that scene in the manga and my heart sank to see Tessa abandoned like that with nothing but tattered clothes and written off by a psychiatrist to be delusional, only to reveal later on that it was all a gambit by Mithril to capture one of Amalgam’s commanders and get intelligence. One heck of a way to pull a 180 from depressing to awesome.

    Tessa delivering a swear-heavy message to Lee (and indirectly to Leonard). Best way for the best girl to cap the scene.

  3. Magnus Tancred
    1. “Wow, a Walther WA2000. Kiritsugu had one of those.”

      I remember Kurz using that same rifle to snipe at a Behemoth’s gun port (from a moving vehicle, mind you) back in season 1. (Though he temporarily trades it for a VSS Vintorez in Fumoffu.)

  4. I’m not sure it was worth it since I didn’t feel the visuals were great in this episode. How bad was this episode going to look without that extra time? That scene on the phone near the end was kind of creepy with how badly Mao and the other soldier’s faces were drawn. It’s basically a still image being used for a whole conversation, put more effort in.

    But regardless the episode itself was good. I loved seeing Tessa again. Even if it was really obvious that this was just a ploy to lure out Amalgam (oh yeah I buy Mao and everyone just betrayed her) it still was a good trick. Even a trick that feels like bait is too much to ignore. Amalgam couldn’t just avoid checking this out.

  5. I don’t think the recaps are meant to buy time to touch up the visuals. Xebec produced plenty of spectacular looking Fafner Exodus episodes without the use of recaps. I think they’re just using recaps as arc transition things.

  6. I loved the Paul Gauguin reference / AL’s conversation. It’s more described in the novels, but for those who asked what did Al mean by those words (‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?’), that’s precisely the title of that piece of art.

    Also, did anyone else realise that the contents of the webpage explaining all about Mithril that the doctor was looking at are practically copied from the first paragraph of Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithril)? Except they changed and invented new names for all the Lord of the Rings references.

  7. Yeah, there were still a couple of off looking shots.
    Other currently airing shows are doing a better job of more or less having the same looking characters in every episode, which doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy this episode. I loved seeing Tessa & crew again.


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