Greetings Moar Powah, here’s a special edition of my series of articles, where I’ll cover, summarize, and give my thoughts on the Full Metal Panic light novels. Specifically, I’m going to be covering the novels that the anime seasons didn’t, those being novels 6 through 12. Note that there absolutely WILL be spoilers, so I would not advise reading this article if you want to remain completely spoiler-free. Keep in mind that it’s been a few years since I read some of these, so I may be wrong on some of the details.
In Dancing Very Merry Christmas, Mithril hijack a cruise liner that Kaname’s class is staying the night at, investigating Amalgam weapons being delivered. All the while, Kurz has to keep the entire class entertained with his awesome guitar skills, and Tessa dressed up as a maid has to humor a U.S. Navy submarine captain (this captain also happens to be the very one from the third book, which happened to be adapted as the last arc of the first season). Lo and behold, however, Kurz and Sousuke eventually stumble upon an armada of Alastors (the human-sized units that killed one of the twins Gauron raised, Yu Lan Xia), which decided to nearly deck the floor with Kurz. Sousuke comes to the rescue in the Arbalest and destroys many of the Alastor units, but not before one of the Amalgam agents on board kidnaps Tessa and tries to take her to one of Amalgam’s headquarters in a helicopter. Sousuke at this point catches up to the helicopter and gets Tessa back. Mithril saves the day, the class is unharmed, and Amalgam is pissed.
What’s interesting about this one novel is how the dynamics between everyone has changed. Sousuke’s relationship with Kaname has gotten a bit rocky, but his relationship with Tessa has gotten a lot more casual. In addition, he’s more friendly with AL, and doesn’t treat the Lambda Driver system, and the Arbalest itself, as a piece of crap. It’s interesting to see how that he’s recovering from his depression in The Second Raid (which covered the fourth and fifth books, Ending Day by Day), as he’s found direction in his life and, as a result, is a generally better person now. Overall, Dancing Very Merry Christmas is a fun, light-hearted volume that also happens to set things up for the next volume quite nicely.
And here is where shit hits the fan in this series. (Ever notice how there’s always a point in light novels with plot that major amounts of shit hits the fan? This is the spot). Tessa and her brother, Leonard, meet up at their parents’ grave, and have an intense conversation where Leonard warns how Amalgam won’t keep ignoring Mithril forever. Leonard drops in on Sousuke and Kaname later, and warns them about the impending Amalgam counter attack, but Sousuke and Kaname brush him off, and Leonard takes his leave. At this point, Amalgam really does start their counterattack: their first order of business is killing off all the Mithril higher ups, as we see in a chapter where the Sydney headquarters is bombed. From here, there are two settings. The first one is the Jindai high school area, as Sousuke tries to keep Kaname safe while fending off Amalgam Codarls. The other one is the Merida Island base, where Amagalm pulls off a full-scale siege. On the Tokyo front, Amalgam operatives take the entire school hostage, and even take Kyouko to the roof and tie her to a bomb, trying to make Sousuke surrender, lest they blow up the school. Sousuke uses some trickery (which involved getting AL to move the Arbalest autonomously), distracting the operatives long enough for him to subtly evacuate the school and rescue Kyouko, with the help of Wraith. Meanwhile, in Marida, Kurz, Melissa, and Clouseau manage to take out three Behemoths, but by that point, most of the base has been destroyed, and nearly everyone there has been killed, save for most of the Tuatha de Danaan (except for Kalinin, who disappeared in the raid). At this point, the Tuatha de Danaan escapes, leaving Merida Island totally ruined in Amalgam’s wake. Back in Tokyo, Leonard shows up in his Belial, and proceeds to decimate Sousuke’s Arbalest (as the Belial is the first fourth generation Arm Slave, while the Arbalest is only a third generation machine: there’s a large difference in power and performance there). Kaname, however, decides to go with Leonard peacefully if he spares Sousuke, and at that point, he leaves with Kaname, along with the rest of Amalgam in that area. Sousuke has to apologize to the entire class at this point, who now ostracizes him for his double life and the destruction he indirectly caused. Sousuke now leaves, seemingly for good.
This volume happened to be my absolute favorite out of all of them (despite not remembering much of the details). It had amazing drama (arguably better drama than TSR, too), as elements from Sousuke’s military life spilling over into his peaceful one created so amazing a shock, straining him to the limits. This volume also happened to show us the frailty of a peaceful lifestyle, as all of it was destroyed by the might of a powerful entity. If it wasn’t clear before, Sousuke and Kaname have grown extremely close in this novel, as they have placed their full trust in one another. Additionally, this novel further shows Wraith’s protective nature, as she saved Sousuke and Kaname on the rooftop of the school, but she allows Leonard to take Kaname, going against her orders, as doing otherwise would’ve resulted in Leonard probably killing Sousuke. Additionally, we get to see the Merida Island gang in a very tense situation, and how they deal with it: they’re not perfect, as most of them died. Overall, this volume was a fantastic turning point for the series, as it had tons of action, while being incredibly dramatic.
Stay tuned for my next article, where I cover the next two volumes, Burning One Man Force and Come Make My Day!