Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Full Metal Panic!
Full Metal Panic! (Katakana: フルメタルパニック!, often abbreviated to FMP!) is the name of an anime series which originally aired in 2002. It is based on a graphic novel of the same title and was produced by GONZO Digimation.
There also exists a manga, which was serialized in Newtype. Different parts of the manga form the basis for the Full Metal Panic! anime and the sequel, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. The manga is published in English by ADV Manga. The anime is a combination of near-futuristic combat and teen antics and relationships. Despite the similar name, it has no relation to the anime and manga series Fullmetal Alchemist.
The series is set in a post-modern, parallel world where the Cold War has yet to end and the KGB and other secret governmental agencies are running rampant. It follows the events of Sagara Sousuke, an unduly disciplined member of Mithril (an anti-terrorism organization which often operates under the guise of the UN), and Chidori Kaname, the schoolgirl whom he was assigned to protect. Chidori is considered to be one of the "Whispered"; that is, she possesses a inherent understanding of advanced Black Technology. Such knowledge was implanted genetically upon birth, of which she herself initially remained unaware of and consequently which she has access to only when in a near-comatose frenzy (which is generally induced through fear of harm). The Lambda Driver is an integral part of Black Technology which allows pilots of select Arm Slaves (combat mecha) to manifest their desires in defensive and offensive manuveurs. Therefore, the knowledge of the "Whispered" is highly desirable to both terrorists and governmental agencies alike.
While carrying out his mission in an environment previously foreign to him, Sagara assumes the identity of a high school student at Jindai High School. His inability to "blend in with the crowd", however, is quickly made transparent by his peers (though ultimately to no consequence as they continue to refer to him as being strangely militant). Chidori had initially mistaken him to be a stalker of sorts as he was always "coincidentally" nearby. The fish-out-of-water Sagara continues to pester Chidori -- albeit with good intentions -- until she finally realizes his purposes in doing so.
Throughout the span of the anime, Sagara's battle-hardened demeanor is matched -- often accompanied by a quick blow to the head -- by Chidori's overtness of discontent towards his lack of any experience outside of military fanaticism. It is this attitude, however, which drives potential suitors away from her, appropriately rendering her "the most popular, yet dateless". As the story unfolds, their lives intertwine through a series of dramatic events, and both are able to gain insight into the other's composure and state-of-mind, as well as some facets of life which were previously incomprehensible to them.
Ultimately, the relationship between Sagara and Chidori is perpetuated by Mithril's ongoing war against terrorism, particularly the A21 faction. Chidori gets into some rather extreme situations, though she is rescued each time by the steadfast Sagara and the crew of the Tuatha de Danaan (TDD-1), a billon-dollar submarine and the pride of the Mithril fleet, first envisioned and then brought to fruition by Teletha "Tessa" Testarossa. Tessa, the Captain of the TDD-1, is similar to Chidori not only in age but in that she also possesses the "Whispered" traits, although she is much more proficient at having access to those skills. At a later point in the anime, she is revealed as being involved in the unlikely love triangle between Chidori, Sagara, and herself.
An important subplot revolves around the rivalry between Sagara and Gauron, a diehard terrorist who happens to be highly adept at utilizing the Lambda Driver, and who also happens to see Sagara as a "nuisance" to be disposed of. For this and other purposes, he goes to such lengths as hijacking a plane and employing use of Sagara's onetime comrade-in-arms. He is ruthless and self-absorbed, quick to act and often with pensive judgement, which makes him a deadly foe. He is presumably a member of A21, although it is in his personality to not acknowledge any authority other than his own. Sagara manages to overcome difficulties onset by this worthy enemy, however, having been empowered by his difficult past and having the full backing of his two fellow soldiers, Kurz Weber and Melissa Mao.
The main female protagonist of the story, she is often found in tight situations which require the battle sense of Sagara to get her out of.
Seiyuu: Yoshida Sayuri
A classmate of Chidori who initially blames her for having stolen her boyfriend. She becomes one of her closer friends later on in the story.
Seiyuu: Otsuka Akio
Sagara's commanding officer and one of Tessa's military strategists. He is also the foster father of Sousuke. He and Souske where once enemies, as mentioned in a two part episode by Souske himself. The foster father status may be on the school's official papers only but Kalinin is certainly a very fartherly figure to Souske.
Seiyuu: Miki Shinichirou
An over-the-top fellow soldier of Sagura's who makes numerous failed attempts at hitting on and/or peeking at girls. Depsite his eccentricity, he is -- oddly enough -- Sagura's most trusted individual and friend. He is part of team Urzu (the callsign of their regiment), callsign Urzu 6.
Seiyuu: Nishimura Tomomichi
An overly protective aide of Tessa's who insists on guarding her with his life.
Seiyuu: Neya Michiko
Sagara's confided-in "bigger sister" who provides him keen insight as to how to attract members of the opposite sex. She is the leader of team Urzu. Her callsign is Urzu 2.
Seiyuu: Tanaka Rie
By first glance, one would never expect this charming schoolmate of Chidori's to be the daughter of a Yakuza boss. Nevertheless, she remains dignified and upstanding (though somewhat naive), especially when placed in comparison with Chidori.
Seiyuu: Seki Tomokazu
Sousuke is the unwitting hero of the story who is a member of the Urzu regiment of the Mithril anti-terrorism force. Having been raised as a guerilla fighter since the age of eight, he becomes involved in a lifestyle previously unknown to him when assigned to protect Chidori.
Seiyuu: Nogami Yukana
Being the charming yet seemingly fragile Captain of the revered TDD-1 "Toy Box" submarine, she is a child prodigy who rose to such a high rank at the age of only sixteen. Her high level of mathematical and scientific adeptness is dwarfed only by her brother's, which seems to have given her a sense of inferiority. It is later revealed that she is also one of the Whispered.
Seiyuu: Kimura Ikue
Chidori's camera-touting best friend. She is constantly trying to bring Chidori and Sagara together, however impossible it may have seemed given Sagara's tendency to blow things up at whim.
Effect of 9/11 on Japanese Release
Full Metal Panic! was to premiere shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks, however it was delayed due to a terrorist plane hijacking being an integral part of the first major plot arc.
The anime was continued in 2003 with the release of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, which focuses (almost entirely) on the high school life of Sagara and Chidori. Although it does include more slapstick humor and randomness, it is not a complete spinoff of the series as its events develop the relationship between the two main characters. The series is said to be further continued in 2004 with another sequel (this time paralleling more closely the events of the original). The name is said to be Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid, and it is expected to be a serious adaptation of two of the "Full Metal Panic! Owaru Day By Day" novels.
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