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Episode 4A/B: The Hamburger Hill of Art/Single-minded Stakeout

 

Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal

August 13, 2010

 

The Hamburger Hill of Art

 

The school is having a field trip to the park. The teacher informs the students that they’ll be having their art class there with the theme being nature and people. Chidori’s class is trying to decide who will be their model, and Kyoko suggests Sousuke. While they discuss the pose they’ll put him into, the art teacher comes up to Sousuke and the latter asks for advice on being a model. The teacher gives an overenthusiastic and convoluted speech that confuses Sousuke into thinking he must stalk his classmates in the forest, and so he runs off to carry out the task. When the class notices he’s gone missing, Chidori calls him on his cell phone and tells him to come back. Sousuke refuses and confuses Chidori with cryptic remarks. The class tries to pick another model but the teacher won’t accept it, forcing the class males to split up and look for Sousuke. Sousuke has the entire forest booby trapped and takes out all his pursuers. Chidori regroups the remaining students and tells them they must capture Sousuke for the sake of their honor and dignity, but mostly for their grades. They take off into the forest and fall to the traps one by one, but eventually manage to recover and chase after Sousuke. They barge into the art teacher’s house where he and the rest of the staff are having tea. Sousuke tries to hold the teacher’s wife hostage but quickly gets a teacup to the face from Chidori and is eventually captured and tied. A week later the principal stares confusedly at Chidori’s class’ drawings of Sousuke hung upside down from a tree.

 

Single-minded Stakeout

 

Chidori and Kyoko discuss Sousuke’s latest blunder. Kyoko says that Chidori looks like she’s having fun, but the latter replies that she’s starting to get tired because Sousuke doesn’t understand her worries at all. As they board the train, Chidori runs into Fuwa, an old friend of hers. The next day, one of Sousuke’s classmates accidentally releases on of his smoke grenades. Sousuke braces himself for Chidori’s fan, but the blow never comes. Chidori reacts very calmly to the matter. She’s planning on meeting Fuwa on Sunday and doesn’t tell Sousuke about it. Sousuke notes her behavior to Kyoko and the latter asks him to go out with her on Sunday. At the Fumo Fumo Land amusement park, Kyoko and Sousuke are secretly tailing Chidori and Fuwa. Kyoko explains that Fuwa was an upperclassman Chidori was friendly with during junior high. Sousuke makes a silly assumption and Kyoko begs him not to interfere or else Chidori will hate him for real this time. They continue tailing them and eventually Sousuke deduces that Fuwa is clean. Just as they’re about to stop following them, a group of drunken gangsters start harassing Chidori. To avoid blowing his cover, Sousuke swipes the Bonta-kun costume from the park employee and confronts the gangsters. Bonta-kun dispatches the gangsters and quickly runs away when the park security shows up. On the Ferris wheel, Chidori apologizes for her rash behavior during the encounter and Fuwa says that he likes that part of her. Fuwa then confesses his love to Chidori, but after seeing Bonta-kun still trying to evade security she calmly apologizes for not recuperating his feelings. Later, Chidori intercepts Bonta-kun and tells him to hide while she fools the security with false directions. She tells Bonta-kun her story and confesses that she was glad Sousuke was worried about her. She bids him farewell just as the security shows up start the chase anew.

 

Commentary

 

The first part of the episode doesn’t throw a lot of laughs in-between the beginning and the end. It’s one thing to disregard the safety of his classmates, but to hold the teacher’s wife at knife point seemed way too overboard in my opinion. The whole soldier-in-a-high-school setting may seem like a ripe comedy gold mine, but this was really weak and uncreative. The second part, however, is the best of Fumoffu so far. We may have seen bits of Chidori and Sousuke’s attraction to each other before, but this part takes it a step further with Chidori turning down her junior high school crush and Sousuke’s conflicting emotions when he saw her with said crush. There’s also the debut of the much beloved series mascot Bonta-kun, who was so popular he appeared in two Super Robot Wars games alongside the regular arm slaves. What’s not to love about a giant teddy bear beating the crap out of gangsters? And for some reason the cross-shaped scar on Sousuke’s cheek somehow materialized on Bonta-kun as well. Like Chidori’s fan, Bonta-kun is here to stay, at least ‘till the end of Fumoffu.

 

Overall Rating

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

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Buy the collection (eps 1-12) on Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon

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