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Episode 1A/B: The Man from the South/A Hostage with no Compromises

 

Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal

August 13, 2010

 

The Man from the South

 

At Jindai High School, the head teacher brings to the principal’s attention the repair costs incurred by Sousuke’s destructive acts in the school. The principal reminds him of Sousuke’s past as a child soldier and says that as teachers they must guide him. Realizing that the principal will overlook this, the head teacher tells her that there are rumors of Sousuke’s transfer coinciding with a large donation to the school, but she denies any relevance. A secret admirer puts a love letter inside Sousuke’s shoe locker, unknowingly loosening a planted string. Chidori and Kyoko are walking into the school grounds when an explosion rocks the entrance. Realizing the cause, Chidori angrily storms in and smacks Sousuke with her paper fan while demanding an explanation. Sousuke tells her that someone had broken into his locker and he suspected a booby trap, so he blew it up to be safe. Chidori starts berating him for his reckless act when the tattered but somewhat intact love letter falls into their hands. At the student council room, secretary Ren Mikihara lists off the amount of damage and president Atsunobu Hayashimizu asks Sousuke for an explanation. After hearing it, Atsunobu deduces that Sousuke’s actions were quite natural, much to Chidori’s shock. His convoluted hypothetical scenario only frustrates her further, after which he announces that he will explain the situation to the school staff. Later on, Sousuke is trying to piece together the burnt shreds of the letter, and the combination of the remaining words lead him to believe that he’s being targeted by assassins despite Chidori’s explanations. At the meeting location mentioned in the letter, Kyoko asks Chidori why they’re spying on Sousuke from behind the bushes and the latter replies that she has to see this through as vice-president of the student council. When on the receiving end of the same question, Kyoko replies that she thought it would be fun. The secret admirer arrives and Kyoko recognizes her as Saeki Ena, 2nd place winner of a popularity contest held last year. Chidori deduces that she must only have the looks but Kyoko corrects her by saying she had the 5th highest scores on the last tests. Two hours later it’s sunset and Sousuke is a no show. Kyoko decides to call it quits and leaves Chidori to watch on her own. Nightfall comes and Sousuke still hasn’t showed up. Chidori can’t believe he stood Ena up like that. Suddenly a bunch of punks pass by and spot Ena. They start harassing her and Chidori jumps out to stop them. One of them puts his hands on her shoulder and she punches him in retaliation. They all start ganging up on her when Sousuke dispatches them with rubber bullets. Sousuke comes out from his hiding place disguised as a bush with full body camouflage underneath. He asks Chidori if she’s alright and reveals that he’s been lying in ambush all day long. Chidori knocks him down and beats him up for trying to shoot Ena, and the latter asks why Sousuke is dressed up like that. She’s crushed when Sousuke tells her he blew up her letter and Sousuke asks what her target is at gunpoint. Ena calls him mean and runs away crying. Sousuke thinks she’s an odd girl and Chidori smacks him again. The next day, Sousuke finds his locker was opened and tries to blow it up again, but Chidori stops him and opens the locker to prove that it’s safe. Inside, Sousuke finds a packed lunch with a letter from Chidori thanking him for saving her.

 

A Hostage with no Compromises

 

Sousuke, Chidori and Kyoko get kicked out of an arcade because Sousuke destroyed a light-gun game by using a real gun. They’re approached by the punks who harassed Chidori during the shoe locker letters incident. They ask Sousuke to follow them into an alley and the latter complies. Kyoko notes that Chidori must be worried about Sousuke and Chidori replies that she’s actually worried about the punks. The punks try to rough Sousuke up but he scares them off with a burst of machine gun fire. The punks report their failure to their gang leader Akutsu Mari and she suggests that they kidnap Chidori to stop Sousuke from using his guns. The next day, Atsunobu calls Sousuke to discuss the complaint from the arcade. A gang member bursts into the room and vainly tries to threaten Sousuke with revenge. Sousuke puts a gun to his face and the gang member gives him a cell phone. On the other side of the line, Akutsu tells him to come alone to the Sengawa city abandoned factory at five o-clock or they will hurt Chidori. After hanging up, Sousuke locks the student council room with the intent of torturing the gang member for information. Sousuke arrives at the factory and Akutsu orders him to drop his weapons. After Sousuke unloads an arsenal big enough for a small platoon, Akutsu orders her men to attack him. Sousuke tells them to look upwards and Akutsu is shocked to see her younger brother Yoshiki hanging from the ceiling. Sousuke explains that he found out about her brother through his sources and now has him hung by six ropes attached to remote controlled explosions. Sousuke detonates three of the ropes and Akutsu holds a knife to Chidori’s face. Sousuke tells her that if she kills Chidori, Yoshiki will die as well. Sousuke says that everyone has something important to them and then starts listing the gang member’s precious things one by one, scaring them out of the building. Akutsu finally consents and cuts Chidori’s ropes. Sousuke reveals that all he did was a bluff done with Atsunobu’s help and Yoshiki’s cooperation. As Sousuke and Chidori leave, Yoshiki explains to his sister how Sousuke barged into his classroom and asked for his help. Akutsu notes that Sousuke is not as crazy as she thought.

 

Commentary

 

And with that the comedy-only Fumoffu season starts off with a literal bang. If anyone was wondering how Sousuke was getting away scot free with all the damage he was causing, now we know why. He has the principal of the school and the president of the almighty student council (tm) covering for him. And speaking of the latter, I found Atsunobu to be quite funny. Despite having the looks, he’s not your stereotypical white-haired pretty boy villain. For some reason he’s able to rationalize all of Sousuke’s actions to the school staff, but there are probably a few like the head teacher who aren’t buying it. Sousuke apparently still hasn’t learned much common sense and is taking imagining the worst-case scenario to new humorous levels. I couldn’t help but laugh at how he pictured his stalkers as a bunch of creepy muscular men. Moving on, Sousuke uses his brains instead of explosives and manages to save Chidori without firing a single shot. Although unfortunately his method was somewhat questionable as it prevented this part of the episode from being aired due to the then recent incidents of child kidnapping in Japan. I especially liked how he obtained information on each individual gang member and subtly threatened to take each of their precious things. Of course, given the short amount of time he had, Atsunobu probably was the major provider of this information since he probably has a lot of connections to other schools.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Full Metal Panic Fumoffu Episode 1 Full Metal Panic Fumoffu Episode 1

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