Contrary to what you would expect from the name, this is not the second FMP series. That was Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu!, which focussed on the more light-hearted side of Sagara's life as a student in Tokyo.
The Second Raid is, however, back into the military groove, and much, much harder than the first series -- it had a minimum age rating of 15, due to violence and (some) nudity, and deserved.
The focus of this series seems to lie in China. North and South China have been engaged in a civil war, and of course Mithril wants it to stop. But Venom (MASK flashback!) is staging some actions to destabilise the region, while trying to get their hands on Sagara's Arbalest.
Meanwhile, Sagara is struggling with his own insecurities. He doesn't like using the Lambda drive of the Arbalest -- he lacks the mentality to use it consistently, which puts him at a disadvantage against the killers of Venom.
And then he gets the order to pull out of Tokyo, because the Mithril top brass deems the risks to Kaname have diminished. Of course, they are dead wrong, and Kaname has to fight for her life. She surely kicks a lot of ass in this series.
Fanservice is provided by two 'sisters' who seem to enjoy getting naked and hugging each other...
The missions the unit is sent to are pretty diverse: there is the operation to air-lift refugees out of a hot zone, the underground infiltration mission and urban warfare. This gives a lot of opportunities to show the effect an AS would have on a battlefield, with predictions and tactics that seem quite realistic to me.
The age rating allowed the makers to pull out all the stops. Sure, we get some shots of a naked Kaname, but we also see throats being slit, people being shot through the head and more nastiness -- all the doing of the psychopath from Venom.
The first series was animated by Gonzo, but this series was done by Kyoto animation. I have nothing bad to say about them -- the animation is top-notch, and the blend of cell-shaded and CGI is excellent.
- Realistic look at military situations;
- Excellent production values.
- Sagara's depression is drawn out a tad too long.
There was also an OVA done for this series. Rather than an action-packed side story, the OVA is a humorous look at a day in the life of captain Testarossa. If you can find that one, it comes recommended!