Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is based on the Full Metal Panic! light novel series written by Shoji Gatoh. The anime was directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto and was produced by Kyoto Animation. The 13 episodes of the series aired on Japanese television from July 13-October 19, 2005. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American distribution rights for Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid.
The series picks up six months after the events of the original Full Metal Panic! anime. Sousuke Sagara is still attending high school and serving as a bodyguard for Kaname Chidori, but he’s finding himself being pulled out of school more and more to tackle other missions for Mithril, the anti-terrorist private military organization that Sousuke is a part of. This also means that he’s not able to guard Kaname as much as he was previously.
A new organization known as “Amalgam” appears, and a crazy man named Gates is the new enemy. It turns out that the Japanese voice actor for Gates is the same person who was the Japanese voice for Jiraiya in the Naruto franchise, which made hearing Gates a little unnerving to me. I’m so used to that voice associated with Jiraiya, and I had a hard time keeping visuals of Jiraiya out of my head even though Gates was appearing on the screen. But Gates is definitely quite crazy, and is a danger because of his mental state. Two of his underlings are a set of female twins named Xia Yu Lan and Yu Fan Lan, and it turns out their sensei is someone that was originally introduced in the first Full Metal Panic! anime. The series also introduces the audience to Leonard Testarossa, the brother of Mithril’s Teresa “Tessa” Testarossa… although he doesn’t seem to do a whole lot by the end of it.
As this series progresses, we see both Kaname and Sousuke struggling with the relationship that they have. It doesn’t help that another agent named Wraith is supposed to be looking out for Kaname but hasn’t intervened because he didn’t feel her life was truly in danger. When Sousuke is told his mission has changed and that he will not only not be guarding Kaname but is not to have any contact with her, the audience sees a change come over Sousuke. The struggles that both Kaname and Sousuke go through after Sousuke is pulled from his bodyguard mission make up an important part of the drama during the last few episodes of Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid.
The original Full Metal Panic! had its serious moments, but it tended to be a series that was more light-hearted in nature. For Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, it felt as if the series was leaning more toward a serious and dramatic side, with some light-hearted moments to serve as comic relief. Also, there is more violence and some shots of female nudity in Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. I don’t know if this was due to the change of studio (Gonzo produced Full Metal Panic!, while Kyoto Animation produced Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid), or if the story in the light novels evolved more in this direction.
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is a good follow-up series to Full Metal Panic!, even with the noticeable shift in tone between the two series. My only real complaint is with the final episode, because Kaname’s appearance felt like it came out of nowhere, and that she was a kind of “deus ex machina” to get to the finale. At the end of Episode 12, it felt like there was still a lot of ground to cover in the story, and then Episode 13 rushes through to the story’s conclusion, which is prompted by the arrival of Kaname. Up to that point, though, the story felt like it was naturally paced. But outside of the story being rushed in the final episode, I did overall enjoy Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. If you’ve seen the first Full Metal Panic! anime but haven’t gotten around to this series yet, I would recommend watching it at least once.