The Full Metal Panic! Season 4 release date is coming up very soon, finally bringing the FMP anime series to a close 20 years after Shoji Gatoh published his light novel series. Gatoh sat down to discuss Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory with Anime News Network, giving FMP fans a hint about what to expect.
The third season, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, originally aired in 2005 and was based on the fourth and fifth books of the series. The Full Metal Panic! light novel series, which number 12 volumes in total, was completed in 2011. There are seven volumes composed of 42 chapters left to adapt into 26 anime episodes, assuming that Full Metal Panic! Season 4 intends on finishing the entire main story.
As fans might expect, the first question in the interview was to ask how many light novels Full Metal Panic! Season 4 will adapt. All Gatou was willing to say is that the anime is going to start with the sixth book and move onward, which was slightly surprising. Full Metal Panic! Volume 6, "Dancing Very Merry Christmas," was already adapted into a 2016 radio drama called Full Metal Panic! Very Merry Christmas.
The next question was about the author's research into military technology and protocols. Gatou says that the U.S. military and the Japanese JSDF (Japan Self-Defense Force) both provide public access to documentation, although the Americans are more open with the details. When creating futuristic technology like the Arm Slaves, Gatou was able to find a balance between fantasy and realism because Japanese audiences had largely been trained to accept the premise because of previous properties like Tetsujin 28 and Mazinger Z.
Gatou finds inspiration in watching other movies when writing his scenes, but he feels that modern films rely too much on computer graphics. He did find Deadpool to be interesting, but, otherwise, he harkens back to older movies like Die Hard for his favorites. Apparently, he has a penchant for action, which he finds easier to write than comedy.
"So, the tougher one is comedy, of the two," Gatou said. "In terms of the action segments, again going back to my point previously, there are a lot of resources and military information out there. So, once you start filling in those elements the story kind of presents itself."
Because the FMP light novels were never officially translated into English beyond the events of the Second Raid, many American fans probably will not know what to expect from Full Metal Panic! Season 4. Gatou says the story is going to become "really tough and quite grim" for main FMP characters Sousuke and Kaname. The main male protagonist is "going to find himself in some really tight spots," and Gatou hopes "there are going to be some surprises for the audience, as well."
Almost 20 years have passed since the light novels were created, and Gatou's feelings about his characters have changed over time. Now at 46-years-old, Shoji Gatou finds himself sympathizing with the older characters more than Sousuke and Kaname.
"[P]ersonally, my age is kind of closing in on theirs, and it really kind of puts things into perspective and I can start to understand why they think certain ways or do certain things," he said. "My perspective kind of changed, especially on the older generation like Mardukas and Kalinin. I didn't think they were that cool in the beginning."
The Full Metal Panic! Season 4 release date is set for 2018. For more details and spoilers from Gatou, check out the Inquisitr's older article about Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory.
[Featured Image by Kadokawa/FMP! 4]