Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU is a companion series for the Full Metal Panic! anime and is also considered the second season of the franchise. The anime was directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto and was produced by Kyoto Animation. The 12 episodes of the series aired on Japanese television from August 15-November 18, 2003. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment is the license holder for Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU in North America, although now that the company has been acquired by Crunchyroll, Crunchyroll might hold that license.

While Full Metal Panic! has included comedy in its stories, Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU has a much stronger focus on the series’ comedic elements. The series starts out with episodes consisting of two stories with a couple of exceptions, but by Episode Seven, the episodes are comprised of one overarching story. There is also not much in the way of plot continuity, with the exception of a two-part episode close to the end. Most of the stories included in this series are adaptations of short stories written by the light novel creator, Shoji Gatoh.

Most of the stories in Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU focus on Chidori and Sosuke and their time at school. During the two-part episode, “A Goddess Comes to Japan,” Tessa, Kurz, Mao, and Mardukas make an appearance, and the story revolves around Tessa taking some R&R and posing as an exchange student in Sousuke and Chidori’s class. So while these other characters do appear in the series, it’s still in a story that focuses on Sousuke’s civilian life cover and not on the military side of the series.

Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU also sees a focus on Bonta-kun, the series’ fictional mascot. We’ve seen hints of Bonta-kun in the main Full Metal Panic! series, but this is the only one where this mascot plays a pivotal role. Bonta-kun becomes important when Sosuke is tailing Chidori when she’s out on a date at an amusement park with a senior she knew in middle school, and Sousuke swipes the mascot costume and diguises himself with it. This costume becomes the inspiration for a personal armor suit that Sousuke creates and is utilized a couple of times in the series. Unfortunately, the only syllables the suit can say are “Fu,” “Mo,” “Ffu,” or “Ru,” and the operating system crashes if the pilot tries to deactivate the voice changer. Kaname has to serve as a translator when Sousuke is using the Bonta-kun armor suit, and this provides some of the humor of the series. This flaw in the Bonta-kun armor suit also seems to be the basis for the “FUMOFFU” in the series’ title.

As someone who has seen the other three seasons of the Full Metal Panic! anime, I have to say that I appreciated the humor in this series. It perfectly captures the essence of the main series but ratchets up the comedy without coming across as too “over the top.” There were moments where I just busted up laughing because it was so funny. However, a viewer will need to have some familiarity with the main Full Metal Panic! series in order to get the most enjoyment from the comedy, since it relies on already established relationships and interactions between various characters.

For the most part, the character designs for the main cast are rather close to their designs in the main series. Mardukas, though, did seem a little more off-model than most of the other characters. While Kurz and Mao were slightly off-model, Mardukas was the most noticeable. I did appreciate that even though Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU is supposed to be more comedic in nature, that the characters weren’t depicted as chibi versions in the main episodes. Yes, we get chibi versions in the ending credits, but not in the main program. Some directors would have decided to go the chibi route to help emphasize that the series is more comedic in order to differentiate it from the main series, but I’m glad that Takemoto decided not to go that route.

Overall, I enjoyed Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU, and it makes for a nice break in the main storyline of the Full Metal Panic! series. Now that I’ve watched this series, I’ve seen all of the anime that has been produced for the series up to this point. Watching this installment of the franchise makes me wish even more that we’ll get news of another anime for the series, especially since the most recent anime, Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, ended in the middle of a storyline.

Additional posts about Full Metal Panic!: