Full Metal Panic! All Stories - Special Booklet
CONTINUED FROM PART 1:
With the second part of our review to the newly released Full Metal Panic! All Stories Blu-Ray Box we will focus on the content. All Stories includes all episodes of the previously released Full Metal Panic! Anime seasons, including the 2006 OVA. There are 10 Blu-Rays, 2 CDs, a booklet with 50 pages and a promotional card for the upcoming FMP! themed trading card game.
Japanese FMP All Stories BDs/CDs (White) And The US Blu-Rays
The maximum episode number per disc is six. Compared to the eight episodes/disc of the individual US Blu-Ray releases, this indicates a higher bitrate for each episode. However, so far we were not able to confirm this so it remains questionable, if the episodes come with higher bitrates and if they also show improvements to the already good visual quality of the US Blu-Rays.
We'll run some tests on this in the near future.
All Stories BD 1-4: Full Metal Panic! (2002)
Blu-Ray 1-4 go for the 24 episodes of the first season, six episodes per disc. As with the other seasons, all the special content and interviews got moved to the Bonus Blu-Ray number 10. When playing the disc, after the forced overlong Kadokawa HD opening, that you will also find on the Funimation US Blu-Rays, the episodes start playing right away.
All Stories BD 5-6: Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu
Fumoffu is stored on Blu-Ray 5-6 with 6 episodes each. The language options, as with the whole Box set, are japanese 2.0 Linear PCM (uncompressed) and english 5.1 DTS-HD with japanese subtitles. That's right. With a normal Blu-Ray Player you can not watch the english dub without forced japanese subs. There are also no english subs either. This is no big surprise, as japanese Anime DVD/BD releases, except maybe studio Ghibli, usually do not include any english dub/subs. This still is a let down.
All Stories BD 7-9: Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid
The Second Raid is stored on Blu-Ray 7-9 with an episode limit of five per disc. In addition to the two audio tracks that FMP! and Fumoffu share, The Second Raid also got a japanese 5.1 DTS-HD audio track as well as japanese audio commentarys to each episode in Dolby Digital. The 2006 OVA is stored on BD9 along with episode 11-13.
All Stories BD 10 and CD 1-2: Bonus Content
All Bonus content from the three seasons, including interviews, all textless openings and endings, trailers for the three seasons and Scene 00 from TSR are stored on the tenth and final Blu-Ray. The two audio discs are filled with radio plays.
CD1 is basically the japanese Tessa voice actress talking in character about stuff, with guest appearances of the other voice actors. How old or new these recordings are or what she is talking about, no idea, but the topic is probably nothing of big relevance. It's still cute to just hear her voice talking in the background while writing this ;)
CD2 is the japanese voice actors of The Second Raid and Fumoffu talking bull with little to no connection to the plot of the Anime. Also the TSR and Fumoffu soundtracks are playing in the background.
Full Metal Panic! All Stories - Blu-Ray Specs
To sum this up, here is a picture of the specs for the Discs of this Box set.
As for the booklet, there is quite a lot content stored on the 50 pages, that only hardcore fans/Otakus would probably ever care to read. But then again, who buys this?
To each episode there is a summary, even each half episode from Fumoffu gets it's very own summary. The Tessa OVA from TSR even got it's own page.
In between the episode summarys from the three seasons there are character descriptions to every major and minor character in the Anime, including pictures from the different seasons they appeared in.
All Stories Special Booklet - Tessa Character Description
There are also descriptions to almost every unit that appeared in the series, including the various Mecha, Ships, Planes and Bonta-Kun.
The last page of the booklet shows the Staff, that has worked on the 50 episodes. It's a fairly shortened list but the most important names should be on this.
All Stories Special Booklet - Staff List
IN CONCLUSION: Is this box set the best choice to watch FMP as a foreigner? Hell no! Seriously, if you just want to enjoy the japanese dub but are bad with the language, there are no english subtitles for you. If you enjoy the english dub and want to watch it on a normal Blu-Ray player, well get effd, forced japanese subtitles! If you want to watch the FMP Anime the best and easiest way possible, just download it or buy the from amazon.com.
However, buying the american Blu-Rays at this point does not really support the japanese Studios behind this or Kadokawa, buying this one does! The foreign licenses are mostly one time payments. If All Stories sells well enough, Kadokawa might decide to do more Anime. We're talking about rather small numbers here. If this Box sells 10.000 copies in Japan, that might already be more than enough for Kadokawa to change their minds. There is no guarantee here, of course, but this Box set is a real chance for all those who hope for more FMP Anime. Your call.We will probably do a third part next week to compare the picture quality of this and the Funimation Blu-Rays and as promised, provide the high-resolution scans to the five cover arts. So long.