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Episode 1: The Guy I Kinda Like is a Sergeant

 

Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal

June 6, 2010

 

Summary

 

Kaname Chidori is babbling incoherently in her sleep when her alarm goes off and tells her to wake up. Somewhere in the Soviet Union, a Hind attack helicopter is chasing a man and a girl in a jeep. The girl appears to have been tortured into insanity, and the man has to stop from her from continually biting her finger. He says that they reached the rendezvous point. The Hind fires a missile at the jeep. It flips over and the girl falls off. She grabs a disk from the dead man's hand just as the Hind hovers above her. It blows up the jeep and starts shooting at the girl. Suddenly a large invisible creature throws an anti-tank dagger and impales the Hind. The M9 decloaks, grabs the Hind and tosses it aside. The girl recognizes the robot as an arm slave. The pilot steps out and approaches her while two other M9’s engage the reinforcements. The pilot tells the girl that he's taking her home and drugs her. She asks for his name before she passes out, and he answers that his name is Sousuke Sagara. In the sea of Japan, inside the hangar of the Tuatha de Danaan, Sergeant Kurz Weber tells Sousuke that he wouldn't have survived if his arm slave was an old M6 model, then he brags to the repair crew about how Sousuke destroyed a Hind. Sergeant Major Melissa Mao interrupts and says Lieutenant Commander Kalinin wants to see him and Sousuke. Weber brags to Mao about how he was a cover model for the Japanese fashion magazine Tag. Mao couldn’t care less, and Weber threatens that he’ll have her clawing at his back one day, earning himself a painful cheek pinch. Inside Kalinin’s office, he gives them their new mission: To guard and protect a girl named Kaname Chidori from the KGB and other organizations, who have the intention of kidnapping her, without letting her or the Japanese government know. They start forging documents so Sousuke can infiltrate her school posing as a transfer student. They board a helicopter and head for Japan. Mao asks Sousuke if it’s okay to use his real name and he doesn’t mind because there are no records of him in Japan. Mao also mentions that Captain Tessa Testarossa is worried about Sousuke, and the latter thinks it’s because of the importance of the mission.

 

Chidori finally wakes up and takes a shower while Mao listens in on her from an apartment in the adjacent building. Sousuke prepares for school and Weber boards the M9 hidden in a delivery truck and activates the ECS, becoming invisible. At school, Chidori scolds her friend Kyoko for setting her up with a boring date yesterday. She's appalled when the teacher discovers a sub-machine gun in Sousuke's bag and thinks it was a toy. Chidori’s outburst turns Weber off. Sousuke’s military upbringing causes a lot of awkward moments when he's introduced to the class. He reveals his hobbies to be fishing and reading, and his exposed interest in arm slave publications catches the attention of Kazama Shinji. In the girl's locker room, Chidori tells Kyoko that she suspects Sousuke's stalking her. Kyoko notes that Chidori seems to have an interest in Sousuke, which Chidori flatly denies. Sousuke then casually walks into the room and causes the girls to scream in panic. Thinking someone is behind him, Sousuke impulsively pulls Chidori down to the floor and points a gun at the entrance. Sousuke then apologizes for all the ruckus and asks to join the female soft ball club, promptly getting beaten and handcuffed to a chair. While still cuffed, Sousuke manages to drag himself back to the safe house in time to listen in on a phone conversation Chidori is having with her friend. Chidori mentions that Sousuke is very weird yet interesting, and Sousuke seems glad that she doesn’t completely hate him.

 

Commentary

 

Here we're introduced to most of the major characters. Sousuke's soldier behavior and lack of any high school life experience is quite hilarious to witness. Weber is a pervert, Mao is the tomboyish girl and Chidori is the short-tempered tsundere. I would have liked to have seen more action and what happened to the red head in the opening minutes. Doesn't it seem kind of sadistic for Chidori to have a live hamster trapped in a ball and rolling it around? Overall it's a good start. If you look closely at the objects Mao shows to Sousuke, you'll find a blue Wonderswan handheld and Lina Inverse from Slayers on the cover of the top magazine.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Full Metal Panic Episode 1 Full Metal Panic Episode 1

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Buy the collection (eps 1-24) on Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon

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