Jindai High School was a relatively safe place, right up until Sousuke Sagara transferred there. A total nut, he wreaks havoc on the school's student body and gets into a world of trouble with the teachers! But there's more to Sousuke than meets the eye—not just a hell-raising student, he's actually a member of an elite military unit, on an undercover mission to protect the beautiful schoolgirl Kaname Chidori from the KGB.
Full Metal Panic! was published in English by TokyoPop from September 11, 2007 to February 1, 2011. 5 volumes were released before publication was discontinued. The fourth TokyoPop volume is a compilation of the original fourth and fifth.
The series got 1st place on the Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! ranking under Best Light Novel category in 2008.
These reviews are for novels 4-9 and are mostly spoiler free however the review for “Burning One Man Force” will contain major spoilers. ^_^
~ END OF DAY BY DAYS : 9/10 ~
A Mecha, Sci-fi, Action, Romance, Drama light novel that’s a very exciting read. Those who enjoyed the anime adaptation for the story would certainly enjoy the slightly different experience this novel offers.
The story continues some time after the events from FMP! Into the Blue; with the main focus, this time being on the Mithril organization itself and the relationship between Sousuke & Kaname. There’s plenty of exciting action that is easy to follow and heaps of developments that will keep readers on edge, like the sudden separation of Sousuke & Kaname and the events that follow.
With this the characters also receive a lot of development, namely Kaname & Sousuke who go through dramatic changes. Even some of the supporting characters play more of a major role, while others are pushed aside to make room for the new antagonist. What I particularly liked was how we get a detailed explanation on the character’s train of thought, letting the reader become more accustom with the character in question.
~ DANCING VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS : 9/10 ~
A Mecha, Sci-fi, Action, Romance, Comedy, Drama light novel with the main focus being on the very controversial mission that Mithril’s TDD-1 crew decided to undertake. All the traits that made FMP a very entertaining series in the first place are fleshed out in this action-packed novel.
Two months after the events of ‘The End of Day by Day’; the story continues with the 2nd year students of Jindai High, planning to go on an overnight Christmas Cruise. There’s always the worry that another dangerous incident may occur, but the beginning mostly focuses on Sousuke & Kaname’s rocky relationship and the affect Tessa has made. Sure this non-progressing romance is fairly tiresome however the story becomes more engaging, when TDD-1’s mission involves the overnight cruise. The way the mission was carried out felt like the TV series ‘24’. It had an interesting way of dealing with several events, occurring at the same time, with the author assorting events in a way that the reader wouldn’t get lost.
There’s also the assortment of all the old FMP! characters, plus some new ones and the excellent dialogue used during their conversations with each other is one thing to look forward to in this novel. Even though the main characters like the Kaname, Mao and Kurz are pretty much the same as always, a lot of the characters seem to have undergone slight changes in their mannerism. The most noticeable change is Sousuke who is more casual, especially around Tessa.
~ CONTINUING ON MY OWN : 10/10 ~
A Mecha, Sci-fi, Action, Romance, Drama light novel about the biggest threat to Mithril and to Sousuke & Kaname’s relationship. COMO is the major turning point in the story and is in no doubt the best novel amongst them all.
The story takes place sometime after the Pacific Christmas incident, when things are slowly returning back to normal for the students of Jindai High; yet the incident has left a big impression on Amalgam. Now Amalgam have become serious and takes decisive action on both Mithril and Kaname, which is the biggest threat Mithril has ever faced and could also jeopardise the relationship that Sousuke & Kaname has taken so long to forge. Following the initial chapter that just introduces the situation, the reader can expect a lot to happen, as an all out attack by Amalgam ensues. Expect high speed car chases, hostage situations, epic AS battles, anything thrilling you can think of and of course shocking developments.
Along with these shocking developments, a lot of the characters change and develop with the moment. Sousuke expresses the feelings he has kept bottled up, Kaname realizes her fate and Tessa is no longer the meek Captain, as they all adjust accordingly to the situation. This time round we also get characters that have played minor roles so far, making such a huge impact on the story, such as: Leonard, Hayashimizu and Kyouko.
~ BURNING ONE MAN FORCE : 9.5/10 ~
A Mecha, Sci-fi, Action, Romance, Comedy, Drama light novel that will have you asking a bunch of questions like: what on earth happened to everyone? You can expect numerous changes from the usual FMP experience you’ve had so far, since things have become much darker.
***Warning the following paragraph may contain spoilers***
Following the major turning-point that was ‘Continuing on My Own’, the situation has considerably changed for everyone involved. To begin with we are taking to some war-torn city in Southern Asia, introduced to some AS tournament, with no idea about what this has to do with the current story. However it’s not long until you, the reader, learns the severity of the current situation; how Mithril is no more, how Sousuke has to struggle to survive and how Kaname is no longer with him. Little is known about the condition of the TDD-1 or Kaname, as it’s mostly about Sousuke’s endeavour to get her back. BOMO is definitely one of the darker novels, since that’s the direction the story’s headed and even though it doesn’t lead of perfectly from the previous thrilling instalment, the story remains engaging once all introductions are taken care of.
Due to the drastic change in the story, most of the time it focuses on Sousuke’s character and how he has change, after suffering such a great loss. However for the first time ever neither Kaname nor Tessa seem to appear much in this instalment, on the other hand now a new girl’s involved (Nami). This novel also introduces a plethora of new characters but really only focuses on Sousuke & Nami. There’s also a new antagonist this time, carried over from COMO, but unlike the previous ones Kurama is plain ruthless and will be remembered for a certain thing he did.
~ COME MAKE MY DAY : 8.5/10 ~
A Mecha, Sci-fi, Action, Romance, Drama light novel that finally answers the unanswered questions on most reader’s minds, in what is another exciting read.
Some time has past since Sousuke’s personal adventure in Namsak (Southern Asia) and we are taken to San Francisco (North America) where some light is finally shed on the situation of Mithril’s Tuatha De Daanan and crew. It begins with Tessa laying in a hospital bed, after supposedly being betrayed and abandoned by her subordinates but it’s merely a sting operation to kick start this amazing novel. CMMD is certainly a change of pace from the previous novel, which focused purely on Sousuke in some god forsaken land, because now the gloomy atmosphere is no longer here. All the main characters, be it Sousuke, Kaname or Tessa, are here and are clearly racing forward towards their individual goals. This adds some depth to the progressive story but the novel feels more like a build-up to something better, since it focuses more or less on developing the story than its characters.
From the end of Continuing On My Own there’s been the looming thought of “who’s still alive?” but that thought is put to rest in this novel. Most of the favourites are back in action and Tessa fans would certainly enjoy seeing this new fiery personality of hers. It’s true that a lot of the iconic characters are back and new ones like the hilarious John George Courtney are added, nevertheless Sousuke still manages to steal the limelight. At least others like Leonard & Kalinin get plenty of time and development, as they’ve been mostly pushed aside throughout the duration of this epic story.
This being a set of light novels, there isn’t much to say about the artwork. Though occasionally there are times when a detailed picture is used to portray some important situations, with each novel varying in detail and even though they look really good the character designs do seem a bit off, at times.
Overall Full Metal Panic should in its right be claimed as the “best mecha anime of all-time”… that’s if these novels ever get a chance to be animated. The set of FMP light novels may have a straightforward storyline but it still manages to offer up a variety of experiences, since each novel goes for a specific theme. EoDBD offers plenty of drama and anguish, showing fans what should have happened during TSR. DVMC showcases the characters in an action-packed set-up, with plenty of humorous exchanges between the characters. COMO is a non-stop rollercoaster ride of unexpected thrills, which completely abandons the light-hearted comedy and solely focuses on the serious drama and intense action. BOMO sets the dark tone for future volumes, whilst featuring the new badass Sousuke. CMMD is full of some surprising revelations and feels like a build-up to something spectacular. So fans who just can’t wait to see what happens after TSR would undoubtedly be please with what you get.