Over the course of a week and a half, I watched the third season of Full Metal Panic, titled The Second Raid. I was stunned. It was a brilliant series. Never before had I seen an anime take on such an important, prevalent, and taboo subject. Kyoto Animation, the studio that helmed both the second and third seasons, are certainly a courageous bunch. It took a lot of guts to use anime as a medium to tackle this embarrassing, yet common problem. While it wasn’t apparent at first, it soon became clear that this series was nothing more than a thinly veiled allegory, a springboard meant to incite meaningful, intelligent discussion about a very important issue. That issue? Erectile dysfunction. The story of The Second Raid is one man’s struggle against ED, and his coming to terms with his shortcomings in order to solve his problem. Of course, this begs the question: Was this merely the pharmaceutical industry’s cheap attempt at making a huge commercial aimed at the otaku culture? Or was it truly meant to discuss the inner demons men must battle in their own individual fights against ED? Sadly, we may never know the truth. We can hope, however, that Kyoto Animation had the best of intentions.
Sousuke Sagara is an average 17 year old sergeant in an elite mercenary group. Just like most boys his age, he dreams of someday settling down with a pretty girl that he loves. Over the course of the last two seasons, he has met that girl, and their relationship has blossomed. It seems as if everything is great. Nothing can mess this up, right? Wrong! At various points in the series, Sousuke is sent away on various military missions. These missions are all as generic as possible, with interchangeable villains and action sequences. The creators of the series did this intentionally, so as to not distract the viewer with too much plot. They didn’t want them to miss the brilliant allegory they planned to reveal. You see, the military missions aren’t really missions at all. They are metaphors. For what?
Sex. Every time Sousuke goes out in his mecha to fight the bad guys, it’s really a metaphor for his burgeoning sexual relationship with Kaname Chidori. That’s why each mission is filled with explosions, they are thinly-veiled references for orgasms. The mecha, known as the Arbalest, is actually a metaphor for Sousuke’s penis. At first, he is in complete control of it, confident, and without a care in the world. Like any young man before he has a sexual partner, all he knows is masturbation. It’s easy to get it up, play with himself, and ejaculate. He lives a happy and carefree life, but deep down longs for real sex. Of course, when real sex finally presents itself, it can be quite intimidating for any young lad of 17 years.
Kaname, like many girls, thinks sex is all about herself. About her getting pleasure, about her demanding specific sexual positions in order to allow maximal stimulation to her G-Spot. She doesn’t really give a damn about the man’s gratification. They are seen as nothing more than pieces of meat, mere interchangeable penises whose whole purpose in life is to satisfy her. Kaname, the archetype for all females, would say, “Oh, he’s a guy, he can get it up any time. He doesn’t care if the sex is good. He doesn’t care if the sex is the way he wants it. As long as he has sex, he’s happy.” Unfortunately for both her and Sousuke, this simply isn’t the way things really work.
Sousuke soon becomes frustrated with his sexual relationship, and he starts having trouble. He has no say in the sex, and he become dissatisfied with it. He soon has trouble operating the Arbalest (his penis). He wants to operate the mecha (get an erection), but no matter how hard he tries, he can’t do it. In fact, the more he thinks about it, the worse it gets! He knows that if he could engage the Lamda Driver (orgasm) just once, everything would be ok again. Sadly, this is difficult for him to do. Eventually, he becomes so ashamed of his condition, he leaves Kaname and goes for a prostitute that looks startlingly similar to her. Again, this is another brilliant metaphor. All women are sex fiends, they all want the same thing (penis), so they might as well all be drawn the same way, too! Wow, Kyoto Animation, does your genius know no bounds?
Eventually, Sousuke comes to terms with his ED. How does he do it? He does not turn to a quick fix like a penis pump or Viagra. (Please note: if you are experiencing ED, please see your doctor today. It may have a physiologic cause, and can only be corrected by medication.) Instead, he talks things over with Kaname. You see, that’s the way to truly beat ED that is psychological in nature. Discussing it with your partner, coming to terms with it together, is the way to start on the road to recovery. That road may be long and arduous, but eventually, with a lot of love and time, the journey will be successful. Sousuke realizes this, and together, he and Kaname are able to defeat his bout with ED. Sousuke successfully operates the Arbalest (his penis), engages the Lamda Driver (has an orgasm), and feels like a man once again.
Wow, just… wow.
Kyoto Animation is truly an amazing animation company. I’m willing to bet that no other group out there would have the guts to take on such a serious topic. I have to commend them for that. It was a big risk, but it paid off. The third season of Full Metal Panic was a huge hit. I am only saddened that so many otaku will watch it and not realize it’s true, hidden message. Perhaps the otaku know, deep down, what it’s really about, and that is why this season was the most popular ever.
Great animation, wonderful story-telling, and a powerful message. The Second Raid delivers in every department. This is one that is not to be missed.
The anime: Average
The hidden message: Awesome