Anime Blu-ray Review: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is a three-disc set that includes all 12 episodes of the series, as well as bonus features. The release has both the English dub and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: December 29, 2020

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory starts up after where Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid left off. The series is essentially split up into three arcs that are four episodes in length. The first arc sees Amalgam stepping up their game by attacking Mithril bases and aggressively trying to capture Chidori. Leonard Testarossa, the brother of Tessa Testarossa, plays an important role in this arc of the story. This arc ends with Amalgam overwhelming Mithril, and Chidori ultimately choosing to go with Leonard in order to save her friends and to keep other innocent people from getting hurt.

The second arc sees Sousuke trying to locate Chidori in order to rescue her. He encounters two new characters: Nami (a teenager who is part of a local AS League in a small country called NAMSAC) and Lemon (a photographer that Nami rescues from some local thugs). Sousuke ends up piloting Nami’s AS in the competition and he wins. In fact, he keeps winning battle after battle. Unfortunately, the fights in the AS League are supposed to be rigged, and Sousuke is throwing off the system… which gains him the attention of the local authorities (who are affiliated with Amalgam). It turns out the police chief has connections to the underground AS battles, which are a battle to the death. This works in Sousuke’s favor, because he wants to participate in this underground league in the hopes of getting answers on Chidori. The battle Sousuke finds himself in is supposed to be a trap to kill him, but Sousuke surprises everyone by getting the upper hand. Nami, who had been kidnapped by Amalgam, is murdered by Kurama (the leader of the operation in NAMSAC) in front of Sousuke. It’s also revealed that Lemon is actually part of a French organization that’s also after Amalgam. After Sousuke defeats Kurama and is wounded, he ends up joining forces with Lemon and his group in order to find Chidori.

The remaining four episodes show the audience what’s happened to Chidori and focuses on her thoughts and actions. This section also shows what’s happened to the survivors of the Mithril attack and how they end up rejoining with Sousuke. Near the end of the series, Sousuke finds Chidori, and this leads to the climax of the series. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end with this series, but as of this writing, another season of the anime has not been announced.

When it comes to the story in Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, it overall has a more serious tone than the previous series in the franchise. There’s a lot of losses and despair for our protagonists. To be honest, the tone of most of the series is on a downer, but it had to be that way in order to make the story work. The main hope the audience gets is right near the end of the final episode. But the character motivations throughout this series make sense, and I think the choice of having the three arcs of four episodes worked well to tell the story. My main disappointment with this series is the fact that the story doesn’t end, and that four years after this series ended, there’s still no indication that a new season is on the way.

The Blu-ray video for this release has 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native), while the audio includes Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 5.1. I had no complaints about either the video or the audio quality for this release.

There are two bonus features on the first disc: an episode commentary for Episode One, and Episode 4.5 (a recap episode that distills down what happened in the first four episodes of the series). The second disc also includes two bonus features: an episode commentary for Episode 12, and Episode 8.5 (a distillation of what happens in Episodes 5-8). I’m glad that these recap episodes were included as bonus features and not as part of the main episode lineup.

The third disc in the set includes the remaining bonus features. First is a video commentary for Episode Four. There are also three location scouting features. The location scouting features run for about 20 minutes each, and it shows some of the anime production staff, along with the author of the light novels, scouting various locations. While I like the idea of the location scouting features, they do get a little wearing after a while. But it’s kind of neat when they display footage from the show alongside some of the locations, because it allows the viewer to see how the locations inspired some of the various backgrounds in the series. There is also a behind the scenes documentary showing the recording of some of the background music for the series, and this ran for about 15 minutes.

The music video for “Even… If,” the opening theme song for Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory was also included. I thought it was interesting to see that this music video incorporated footage from the show in addition to footage of the artist lip-syncing the song. More often than not, the music videos I’ve seen for anime theme songs don’t incorporate footage from the series.

The bonus features also include trailers for Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, textless opening and ending songs (three versions of the opening and one version of the closing), as well as trailers for other releases that FUNimation Entertainment was promoting at the time this Blu-ray set was released.

Overall, I was quite pleased with FUNimation Entertainment’s Blu-ray release for Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory. If you’re a fan of the Full Metal Panic! franchise and haven’t added this series to your anime home video library yet, then I would highly recommend picking up this release.

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