'Full Metal Panic!' Season 4 Release Date Confirmed: 'FMP: Invisible Victory' Trailer Shows Light Novel Story

Patrick Frye

The Full Metal Panic! Season 4 release date has been officially confirmed to be rescheduled for April of 2018. The fourth season of the FMP anime was originally scheduled to premiere in the fall of 2017, but the postponement by Xebec pushed the premiere back by several months. In addition, we also know that the original timeline for the Full Metal Panic! light novel series will be the basis of the story instead of the spin-off sequel FMP! Another. At the recent Anime Expo 2017, author Shoji Gatoh and light novel illustrator Shiki Douji both talked about the Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory anime.

The anime series has been on such a long hiatus that there's almost been a full generation gap between the original fans and today's younger anime watchers. Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid originally aired in 2005, and the Full Metal Panic! light novel series, which number 12 volumes in total, was completed in 2011. Even the light novel sequel, Full Metal Panic! Another, is up to Volume 12 as of February of 2016, never mind the short story collections. As Douji puts it, she was "worried that people may have forgotten about the first few seasons" of the anime.

Regardless of naming issues, the Full Metal Panic! Season 4 release date is set for the spring of 2018, with an August 2017 interview with Gatou confirming that the first episode will air in 2018. The premiere date is April 13, 2018. The number of episodes for the fourth season have yet to be confirmed, but this article will be updated once the announcement is made.

The cast of the new FMP anime has been announced as follows.

"In addition to the original staff who have worked on the series since the first season, we have added new members and have sunk our teeth into the production. However, Full Metal Panic! is a title that demands a high level of capability and vitality -- not only from the new members but also from the original ones. We have almost given up the project many times. At all such times, we worked our fingers to the bone in order to deliver the best work we can to the fans. Then, literally, we reached our limit. We needed more time. We realize that we need to ask for more time to continue the production. As a result of various discussions, we have decided to postpone the airing to the Spring of 2018."

It really depends on the pacing set by the writers. The first FMP season adapted three light novel volumes (Fighting Boy Meets Girl, One Night Stand, and Into the Blue) into 24 episodes, although several episodes were anime-original content. The Second Raid adapted two light novels, Ending Day by Day parts 1 and 2, into 13 episodes. Overall, each episode covered a single book chapter or less.

That means there are seven volumes composed of 42 chapters (including prologues and epilogues) left to adapt into 26 anime episodes. Fortunately, a radio drama called Full Metal Panic! Very Merry Christmas was already released in 2016 and it's an audio adaptation of the sixth light novel volume, Dancing Very Merry Christmas.

If Full Metal Panic! Season 4 skipped most of Volume 6 then the anime adaptation would only need 35 chapters need to be adapted, which is still not an easy task. But when Anime News Network specifically asked about this issue, creator Shoji Gatoh said, "The anime is going to take place from Volume 6 and move onwards, and that's about all I can say at the moment." That seems like an impossible task but it seems like the anime will be skipping any filler episodes.

Gatoh is listed as Story Editor for the anime, so it sounds like he'll be picking and choosing what plot elements are relevant to the main story. Condensing the story into 26 episodes may not be possible without major restructuring and cutting, but will that approach do justice to the romantic comedy elements? There's also the possibility that they're planning for a longer three-cour season, which would be unusual, but we'll just have to wait and see.

— TVアニメ「フルメタル・パニック!IV」 (@fullmeta_iv) October 21, 2017

"It has been a long time since I saw you last time," Teresa says at the end of the FMP Season 4 trailer. "And I've made up my mind to see you now. Because it is going to be tough."

The opening of the trailer declares that the terrorist-supporting group, Amalgam, is fiercely attacking Sagara Sousuke. Mithril bases around the world are being assaulted. Amalgam possesses third generation Arm Slaves (AS) and the Whispered in their ranks have created advanced Black Technologies.

— 富士見ファンタジア文庫公式 (@fantasia_bunko) July 1, 2017

Back in the trailer, Amalgam attacks Merida Island, the location of the Mithril flagship submarine, the TDD-1 Tuatha de Danaan. At the same time, Sousuke and Kaname are being stalked by the "hand of the devil." It's likely that the fourth season will open with the silver-haired Leonard Testarossa, an Amalgam Whispered pilot who manages to obliterate Sousuke's AS and kidnap Kaname. (In the original light novel series, Kaname is kidnapped multiple times in the story, but it's possible writer Gatoh may condense these events.)

[Update 10/24/17] Added new preview video trailers and key visual.

[Update 12/18/17] Added cast and new key visual.

[Update 03/12/18] Added exact premiere date.

[Featured Image by Kadokawa/FMP! 4]