Hey guys, here’s the second part of my Full Metal Panic! light novel coverage, where I cover two more novels, Burning One Man Force and Come Make My Day. Interestingly enough, this post will also finally reveal the mystery behind my name!
In this volume, Sousuke starts off dreaming about his mom (who died in a plane crash with a one year old Sousuke in her arms, subsequently rescued by a team led by Kalinin). After that, he wakes up, and we find out that he’s in some Southeastern Asian town named Namsak, following a lead on Amalgam. Cut to a photographer from Europe named Micheal Lemon, who is also wandering in Namsak. Soon, he finds himself on the knife end of an infamous thug named Dao, after “disrespecting” him. The thug threatens to take the man’s expensive camera, but a girl named Nami saves him, and instead, brings him to her crew’s base of operations, an old warehouse that houses an old, rundown Savage named “Crossbow” (interesting theme naming they’ve got going). It turns out that this town is famous for hosting illegal AS fights, but no one bats an eye at the legality of it, not even the town’s government. Lemon, in return for being saved, has to go buy parts for the Crossbow. However, Nami’s team lacks a pilot, but Sousuke appears to fill in that role. Sousuke performs excellently, and Nami’s team earns quite a bit of money (enough to improve the Crossbow considerably). While Sousuke feels like he’s settled in, getting chummy with Nami, Lemon, and the team, and even almost forgotten about Kaname, things change quite a bit. However, at this point, the town’s mayor gets pissed at the team’s perpetual winning streak, and arrests Sousuke and Lemon. The mayor gets Sousuke to cut back on winning so often, but Sousuke proposes a match in the VIP games: in other words, a place where all the real players and people of interest go to fight and watch, including some a top Amalgam official, Mr. Kurama. Meanwhile, Lemon is held as collateral.
When Sousuke gets back to Nami, he comes clean about everything, as he wanted to avoid the what happened at Jindai High (him keeping everyone in the dark). Nami programs a new OS for the Crossbow in one night (something that should very well be impossible), and Sousuke sets off for the arena. Once there, he’s forced to fight an M9E Gernsback, piloted by a former member of Mithril who defected to Amalgam. Sousuke, using an amazing amount of ingenuity, destroys the Gernsback. He figures out Kurama’s position, and heads there, but before he can get too close, Kurama, along with the police chief, reveal their hostage: Nami. Kurama tries to coerce Sousuke to surrender by giving Nami a life expectancy of ten seconds. Just as Sousuke was about to surrender, Kurama changes his mind and shoots her anyway. Sousuke rushes towards them in a rage, but at this point, a group of masked men surround the police chief and Kurama (though Kurama does escape). These masked men are led by none other than Lemon, who turns out to be a member of a French intelligence agency, chasing after Amalgam as well. Sousuke pushes the Crossbow to its limits as he chases after Kurama to the normal arena, fighting a few AS along the way. The Crossbow is totaled as it reaches the arena, but Sousuke gets out to fight Kurama in a brutal firefight. While Sousuke does take a seemingly fatal shot (a rifle round in the liver), he surprises the approaching Kurama and shoots him in the lung. At this point, Sousuke asks him where Kaname is, but Kurama dies before he can give a concrete answer. At this point, Sousuke passes out. Meanwhile, Nami has a Whispered conversation with Kaname about Sousuke, and Wraith is working with some men to build a new unit for Sousuke, the ARX-8 Laevatein.
Burning One Man Force happens to be my second favorite volume for a number of reasons. The most noticeable one is that it moves the plot in an entirely new direction, with an almost entirely brand new set of characters, a unique setting, and a general plot direction now, as well. Additionally, you have Sousuke second guessing his mission too, and for good reason: he had a perfectly viable alternative, a life where he can finally settle down without giving up any part of himself. Alas, while that wasn’t to be, Sousuke already made up his mind. As a result, we see the resolve Sousuke now has, as he willingly gave up a perfectly good life for a very perilous pursuit of the one girl who changed his life in the first place. Plus, seeing Sousuke kicking ass in a relatively crappy mech was refreshing: it shows that Sousuke isn’t reliant on superior technology alone (though we already got that from understanding the sheer willpower Sousuke has in controlling the Lambda Driver system). Overall, Burning One Man Force is a great novel, and also promises great things to come.
This novel starts with Tessa in seeing a psychiatrist in San Francisco, as she’s been extremely traumatized by the events in Continuing On My Own. She reveals everything to the psychiatrist, about her role as the captain of the Tuatha de Danann, her Whispered status, how her crew mutinied after escaping from the island, and a few privy details about Mithril and Amalgam. Amalgam, naturally, doesn’t like that, as they soon pick up Tessa, the psychiatrist, and a random nurse. While one of the operatives tries to get Tessa to see her brother’s, Leonard’s, goals and such, it eventually becomes clear that all this was a ploy to draw out Amalgam, as her crew still devotedly follow her, and she never lost her spirit. Additionally, that nurse happens to be Melissa. At any rate, Clouseau destroys a Codarl in his Falke with the help of a cruise missile: an impressive feat, considering the Codarl’s Lambda Driver. The operative leaves, but not before Tessa gives him a few… choice, very surprising words. Cut to Sousuke, who was rescued by Lemon and his forces after Burning One Man Force’s ending. Sousuke suffered some serious wounds (his liver can barely function, so that means no drinking), and Lemon’s group wants information from Sousuke, and are willing to go to great lengths to get it: fortunately, Amalgam forces soon attack the remote island they’re on. Sousuke and Lemon’s group manage to repel and finish off the attackers, and they soon find themselves in Florida, where Sousuke gets some training from a foul-mouthed, former drill sergeant to get back in shape. Meanwhile, Wraith and her team manage to complete and get the Laevatein out of Alaska, outsmarting Amalgam every step of the way. Cut to Kaname, who is residing in some sort of villa on some island near Mexico, as she’s confined there by Leonard and his crew. We also find out that Kalinin survived, and is working with Amalgam now (he previously tried to capture the Laevatein).
Soon, Sousuke and Tessa’s crew converge on the island, Sousuke borrowing an M6 from one of the drill sergeant’s friends. While Sousuke isn’t having much luck with some Codarls posted on the island, he soon gets help from his old buddies Melissa and Kurz. The trio manage to take one down with some clever tricks, and Sousuke runs off to find Kaname. However, his M6 is soon totaled, and he eventually comes face to face with Kalinin. Seeing him alive stunned Sousuke, and were it not for the timely intervention of some Behemoths attacking the villa, Kalinin would’ve killed Sousuke. Instead, Kalinin escapes. Kurz, Mao, and Clouseau are still fighting some Codarls, and eventually destroy the last ones in the vicinity, but they soon confront three special machines with Lambda Drivers, who summarily almost kick their asses. However, those Behemoth attacks call the machines back. Kaname, meanwhile, has been talking with Leonard extensively, as he’s shown her his past: why he joined Amalgam, and the like. While they’re now escaping, Kaname tries to run away, but Leonard tells her that she still feels guilty about running away from Sousuke before, and to prove it to her, he gives her a gun and tells her to shoot him and run to Sousuke. She can’t, and as he was taking the gun back, she accidentally shot him, knocking him unconscious (but not killing him). While she’s stunned, Kalinin and his forces soon take her away.
Wraith and Lemon’s crew drop the Laevatein off for Sousuke, and he boards. Almost overwhelmed by the amazing power of the Laevatein, he reuintes with Al, and summarily proceeds to destroy three Codarls and three Behemoths in the span of five minutes. Unfortunately, Kalinin’s forces already got Kaname and the unconscious Leonard away in a transport craft, but Sousuke manages to open up a two-way line with Kaname, and they finally get to talk. While she can’t give away their position, despite Sousuke’s desperate pleas, she orders him to crush all of Amalgam to get her back. At this point, they both confess their love for each other. Before she gets out of range, however, she instructs Sousuke to look in the refrigerator for an important hard disk. After this, Sousuke officially rejoins the Tuatha de Danann crew, and Lemon’s crew are along for the ride. In the epilogue, back in Alaska, Sarah Miller talks to one of the Laevatein project managers about Sousuke, Al (and his evolution), Bunny, the original designer of the Arbalest and its predecessor, and ponder how their roles are all connected.
While I did like this novel, I did not feel it was as great as the last two. While the last two had some excellent drama and characterization, this one felt more like some sort of setup to the end (which is still three volumes off). We do see how Sousuke, Kaname, and Tessa have changed, and how the dynamics between everyone have changed. We also see Sousuke’s new unit, as well as Al’s return. And that’s all good, but I can’t say the novel had any more than that. Still, Come Make My Day does a great job of getting readers interested in the last few volumes.
Stick around for next week, where I continue with the penultimate volume!
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