Letting my memories be: on not rewatching Full Metal Panic!

December 14, 2018

Back in the days, I watched all of Full Metal Panic! and I remember enjoying it pretty well (although the original FMP more than Fumoffu); I still stand by what I said in my memorable anime from 2002, including there being good reasons that people have always wanted more of it. Then this spring when everyone finally got their wish for more, I completely bounced off of the new season. For whatever reason, FMP! Invisible Victory didn't click with me.

That hurt, and in the aftermath of that hurt, I thought about going back to rewatch the original Full Metal Panic! for the first time since I'd originally seen it. Part of me wanted to enjoy its magic again to make up for Invisible Victory not working for me, and part of me wondered if my fond but vague memories of the original would hold up in the light of a rewatch or if they'd been selectively gilded by the passage of time.

(I'm sure there are shows that wouldn't be as good as I remember them if I saw them again, where today they'd be far less novel and new and I'd be more attuned to their flaws and limitations.)

After toying with the idea a bit, I didn't. I decided that I was better off leaving my fond memories be, as they were. If my fond memories are gilded, I don't need to shatter them by a rewatch. If my fond memories are true to what I'd feel today, the honest answer is that Full Metal Panic! is still not something I think of as a compelling classic, and realistically the first season was a 24-episode 2002 production, so if nothing else I'm sure that parts of it were slow. My wish for a rewatch is more a product of nostalgia and my disappointment at Invisible Victory not working for me than of any fundamental interest in seeing Full Metal Panic! again.

It is, I think, a good thing to be able to leave things in the past. I definitely enjoyed Full Metal Panic! back when I saw it, and that is sufficient in itself. I don't need to revisit and critically reassess it or in fact anything, to re-judge it by my standards today. Nor is my enjoyment of Full Metal Panic! in the past injured by my feelings about Invisible Victory now. Nothing is wrong with enjoying one then and not the other now; it is just that things change. The Sousuke, Chidori, Tessa, Mao, and the others that live in my heart are still there, as fondly remembered as always. I had fun with them back in the days and nothing now changes that unless I let it.

I don't think this is quite nostalgia, I don't yearn for the past when I enjoyed Full Metal Panic!; I just appreciate that I did, and find it sufficient without further questioning of it.

(There are some things where I might want to take a critical look at what I uncritically swallowed back in the days, but I don't think Full Metal Panic! is a show like that.)

(This is part of @appropriant's 12 Days of Anime 2018.)

Written on 14 December 2018.
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Last modified: Fri Dec 14 16:05:22 2018
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