Full Metal Panic new series previewed at Anime Expo

Funimation provided no information about distribution or dubbing of Spring 2018 series.

Anime distributor Funimation hosted a 15-year anniversary of the anime Full Metal Panic, hosting the light novel and series creator Shoji Gouta and illustrator Shikidouji to discuss the legacy of their work–and to give a previously unannounced preview of the series’ fourth anime adaptation, Invisible Victory.

Funimation has prohibited any attendees from video or photograph recording of the preview trailer and accompanying designs for new mechs, new settings, and new and returning characters. Funimation staffers walked along the front of the audience to make sure no electronic devices were recording visual content.

The Invisible Victory trailer itself was made of all new footage, showing all aspects of Kaname and Sousuke’s lives at school, at Mithril, and in combat. Character designs were consistent with those from the previous series, sharing both humorous and serious reactions by characters. The music included assumed a triumphant tone suitable for this action series.

The audience, full of ardent fans, laughed at all jokes and let out gasps at the trailer’s appearance of returning and new characters. Audience members seemed to be receptive of new content shared, although one new character design prompted silence from the audience, followed by a loud, “Huh,” from one attendee.

Audience members were given a poster for Invisible Victory, featuring one of its new mech designs.

The panel also featured a person dressed as Bonta-kun, Sousuke’s cute mascot mech suit, with opportunities for the audience to take photos.

The question and answer session with Gouta and Shikidouji revealed useful information to audience members, bringing new viewers up to date–some of including those at Funimation hosting the panel. Interesting tidbits included:

  • While Gatou is worried returning Full Metal Panic to anime after 12 years, he promised to make the new series work.
  • Gatou also frequently joked that 20 years working on the series has made it difficult to remember everything.
  • Gatou and Shikidouji explained the impetus for the series: someone proposed Gatou make a school series–so he added warfare to make a more interesting mix.
  • While Gatou writes romance for Sousuke and Kaname, he also brings to the forefront the manzai (two-person straight man/funny man) structure for the sake of comedy.
  • Shikidouji explained that Gatou originally wanted Sousuke to have a buzz cut–and after she revised the design, Gatou admits he had to revise how he wrote the character based on her revisions.
  • Shikidouji also explained she was concerned about giving Kaname a ponytail, as another character at the same publisher had a similar design. Therefore, she just moved Kaname’s ribbon down, and an iconic character look was created.
  • Speaking of ponytails, after Gatou joked that he just likes ponytails, an audience member, cosplaying as Kaname, asked whether he was inspiration for Pony Man in Fumoffu. Gatou said the inspiration was an actual person he knew who now illustrates ero manga.
  • Gatou denied any political message to his series, saying he just wanted to create a series akin to an action movie.

Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory, the fourth series, will premiere in Spring 2018. The series continues the story of child soldier Sousuke Sagara protecting high school Kaname Chidori from terrorists, in armed combat involving mechs. The series is available for purchase and streaming at Funimation.

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