[REVIEW WITHOUT SPOILERS]
Full Metal Panic! is a particular anime in every aspect.
Is it a robot/mecha anime? I expected so, after all there is a "Full Metal" right in the title, cover images show you those robots, so it has to be a mecha title.
Well, yes and no.
Mecha's are present and are a good part of the action, you will find battles and strategies and more. Yet, that is not the primary focus of the anime.
What is it about then?
It's really all about the final part, "Panic!": mind the exclamation mark ("!"), because that's the most important part. Let's see better.
THE FULL METAL: STORY, ART, SOUND (8)
The story is rather interesting, although it is not particularly complex. It flows well, there are good and evil ones, battles and more, but don't expect particular twists or surprises. Art is also good, with very nice drawing and an entertaining color palette: this is a nice anime to watch. The soundtrack does its job: it has a set number of themes that are repeated on and on, but they are spot on and nicely shape the atmosphere.
THE PANIC!: CHARACTERS and ENJOYMENT (10)
That's what makes this anime special and different from the many others: the characters, and the enjoyment level they bring in. This is really an anime about people and their reactions. Sure, sometimes it's exaggerated. Sure, sometimes it is strange. But oh well, it is just pure fun. It takes people (like the two main characters) and sets the stage for a human comedy. A comedy of fun, passions, thoughts, social interactions. It fills your heart and your soul, and succeeds in what an excellent anime should do: make you wonder what happens next. Not so much for the mecha's and the battles, for the technologies or the mysteries: the plot line is just the background behind, because it's the actors that fill the stage. This anime is addictive, and grows within you. It's like an exclamation mark after a word: it's not just words that matter, but how you say them.
And so at the end of the ride you will be left with those sensations that only the best anime leave: enjoyment for the show, and sadness because it's ended. Until the moment you go on with the sequel, that is, when that ride of emotions will start again to roller-coaster, and capture again your heart.
Always with an exclamation mark!