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I hesitated when writing this one at first, but It has to be done. Finally, it’s time to end the Full Metal Panic anime run for Mecha March after four years. It’s kind of amazing to think about really and I barely have an idea on how I will advance from this point forward without. There is a lot of complicated things to think about here. Can I find another series to replace Full Metal Panic? For four years, FMP has been my flag ship series to review on Mecha March. Do I start looking for some light novels to read after Invisible Victory? Probably not, that would only be a temporary fix. But now, let’s finish this off by talking about Invisible Victory, the roman numerals for four. I am sure you guys already knew that already, but encase you didn’t, there you go.
Last time on Full Metal Panic, we were on the Second Raid chapter of this franchise. Read my review right here if you want to know more because I already linked it. That chapter was a rough time for so many people. Sousuke struggled with his existence after the secret military organization he’s a member of, Mythril, took him away from his beloved Kaname for a while. Kaname was only attack by the mysterious group Amalgam who was waiting for this one change to get her. Plus, Garon was still alive and causing trouble with the twin sisters he train. Kaname showed all the skills she learned from Sousuke and also managed to knock some sense into that him at Hong Kong allowing Sousuke to fight with Alphonse and won. Invisible Victory is what happened after that fact.
Invisible Victory is when the hammer of everything Sousuke and Kaname has done finally hits. Returning home after Hong Kong, there is a feeling of something horrifying in the air. In that tension, there is romance. Sousuke and Kaname hold hands for the longest time and it’s everything these past seasons have led up to in one romantic moment. School life is also moving on. The student council president is graduating soon and there is a sense of forward momentum everywhere. Of course, that’s when Amalgam makes its move. The normal is destroyed. Kids are taken hostage. Sousuke kills tons and tons of people protecting Kaname. In the end, Kaname decides to sacrifice herself and go with Amalgam and Tessa’s brother Leonard, so it doesn’t matter. The Arbalest was also destroyed and so many people died for her sake already. Nothing will be the same again.
After those very dramatic opening episodes, everything went to hell. Not just for Kaname and Sousuke, but all of Mythril because they were under attack as well. Like everything from mecha with lots of lamba drivers. There wrere impossible odds for everyone including the members surviving on the Danaan (the submarine) under the command of the young girl Teletha (Tessa) Tessarosa, but they survived. Well not only survived, but thrived. Mythril was able to overcome the powerful mecha that had Lambda Drivers with shear tactics and taking the enemy by surprise. In a seemingly weak position with the death of their organization, Tessa and friends attacked an Amalgam headquarters location to find more information. Being separated from a large organization allowed them to keep a lot of discipline and its great material. I’m glad each one of them made it out alive.
Sousuke had a more difficult path. He seaked single minded vengeance and did everything he could just to find an opening to Amalgam as a first step to find his long-lost love, Kaname, once again. That involved going to a city that has recruited pilots into Amalgam from Armed Slave tournament combat. This happened in small nation called NAMSACS (Singapore?) where Sousuke’s selfishness was on full display. He didn’t have a care for all the lives’ he ruined because everything was a means to an end. The Armed Slave tournament unit he met up with had no choice but to recruit him at that moment. Not to mention he broke himself and all of his body just for a hint to where he could find Kaname maybe. Where could Leonard capture him? It was a fun arc, but its conclusion was crazy.
The last portion of Invisible Victory was perfect in how it was executed for the story going forward. A perfect meeting of three parties. Sousuke and help from his friends, Mythril showing up later, the newer Arbalest ARX-8 Laevatein waiting for him, and Kaname having her own growth moment following a love confession between both of them and wanting Sousuke to find her no matter what the cost. A major thing considering how she was afraid from all the violence for her protection’s sake. It’s beautiful. The crazy thing is Sousuke himself hasn’t changed that much from the conclusion. Despite all he went through, all he did was join the Danaan crew again. He still followed his arc and his plans just align with theirs. I just want to say that there is nothing wrong with this fact, just something that I wanted to point out because it works for him at this moment.
Before talking about some of Invisible Victory’s production issues, I want to mention how great the villains are this time. The void of Gauron will never leave, but Invisible Victory’s villains were better than what the Second Raid provided besides Gauron at least. Kurama is a very silent villain, but he has plenty of small quirks here and there that make him interesting. Small moments like him eating carrot sticks because he stopped smoking or how passive aggressive he is says so much for his character. Leonard Tessarossa finally making his large stand finally after so many vague and threatening things before. Especially since this is now a sibling war. Tessa is after her brother with both barrels despite her lack of resources and it’s going to be crazy to see what happens going forward. Too bad we don’t have access to it right now in anime form.
In a lot of ways, the production design of Invisible Victory is the same as The Second Raid from a character perspective. The character designs are the same or very close to what Kyoto Animation did, the character animation is solid because nothing has changed (excellent), there is a lot of beautiful settings and locations, and the direction in general is very good. The show is very well thought out and has all sorts of dramatic shots to create the needed tension and everything. It’s too bad that the mechanical animation was lacking. I do think that this new production team captured a lot of the weight of these armed slaves move and crush everything smaller than them besides the impossible quick turns that would kill pilots. The lack of texture in these cg models of the armed slaves was off putting. I know that you were working on 2202 while working this, Xebec, but come on. I know you can do better than this. Is that why you are working under Sunrise now?
The lack of textures in armed slaves were my only major complaint from Invisible Victory besides the fact that we are left with an eternal cliff hanger that needs at least one more series to resolve. At this moment, nothing has been announced so far and it’s been a few years. That good conclusion of The Second Raid has been pushed aside to progress the story enough to create an infinite cliff hanger. Great. But the story itself is very good and shows the costs of the chaos of the world Mythril lives in, how war and single mindedness can cause chaos for everyone around the toxic individual, and a lot of really cool mecha fights too. This is a solid series and should be watched after the first season, second raid, and even Fumoffu obviously. This is the sequel and everything matters up to this point.