Yuri Anime: Madlax DVD Volume 4

December 1st, 2005

Every time I watch the fourth DVD of Madlax, I think, “This is probably the best work Bee Train will ever do.”

The story doesn’t yet make sense (and doesn’t ever make *complete* sense, but that’s okay) and the characters aren’t resolved (nor do they ever fully resolve) or even developed, but the sense of hanging tension and anticipation is what I think they are trying to do – the later development and resolution of characters and plot is almost anticlimactic. The questions are the point, not the answers. But, where in Noir the questions never get anything like real answers, in Madlax they do – even if they are a bit fantastic. Which is why I say that this volume is pretty much the pinnacle of Bee Train’s work, as I understand it.

What *does* happen in this volume? Well, the link between Margaret and Madlax is drummed into our head in three refrains: hot drinks; red shoes; pasta.

Madlax stares into the eye of Enfant and find her brain leaking out her ears from the mystical words of the book Firstari. Twice. And twice Vanessa saves her sorry possessed ass.

Vanessa and Madlax get all touchy-feely.

Carlossur Dawn realizes that he’s going to have to choose soon, between the truth and his job.

Vanessa gets to play the prince to Madlax’s lost princess, but is way glad when Madlax takes the role back.

Margaret doesn’t have enough brains left to be affected by her own book, Secondary.

Eleanor is still a really strange maid. ^_^

Rimelda is on the cusp of realizing that her life is meaningless without Madlax in it.

Vanessa and Madlax visit the place where it all began, and Margaret knows it, somehow.

Naharu walks around looking mysterious and cool, but adds nothing appreciably to plot or character.

Did I mention Vanessa and Madlax snuggling?

The music in this particular set of episodes is pretty much the same three songs you keep hearing over and over, but at this point they become symbolic, as well as decorative. In fact, Madlax’s own theme becomes so crucial to the plot, Japanese fans apparently joked that the word “Yamaani” which is the repeated opening word of her song, gave Madlax superhuman powers. ^_^

Sometimes a story takes too long to get to the point. To be honest, I don’t really care if there ever is a point in this anime – it’s a fun ride, full of gunfire and other people’s misery and deeply mystical, occult symbolism that means nothing to me. ^_^

My only complaints? Friday Monday is STILL the worst name EVER for a bad guy…and…Firstari? Oh, come *on*! Primary. The word is P-r-i-m-a-ry.

When they use Thirdari, I just start to cry.

There’s no overt Yuri. Vanessa and Madlax snuggle in a comfy, friendly way, but I’m not opposed to the idea that it went further somewhere along the line. Nonetheless, I hold in my heart Madlax x Rimelda and Vanessa x Eleanor.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 7
Music – 8
Yuri – 6

Overall – 7.5

A strong action story, with a little light magic thrown in.

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I watched Noir all the way through and really enjoyed it. But then, it became the very first series that I liked less and less the longer it had been since I finished it (shows almost always grow on me with time, ESPECIALLY if I liked them all the way through). I started to realize how little (in my opinion) substance there really was, and all the flaws just got more and more obvious. Nowdays I wish I could watch any of B-train’s stuff and enjoy it for what it is, but I can’t help but feel that they just use a healthy dose of style to mask a complete lack of plot, writing, character development, etc. I mean, think about it: they’re either making it all up as they go along (and not doing terribly well) or they plotted it out in advance… and it was STILL this incoherent. It’s like they’re the ultimate cynical marketing people: just throw some girls, guns, and sprinkle with Yuri hints everywhere and don’t worry about anything else. Oh yeah, and make a few killer songs, but then repeat them so much they become engraved in viewers minds. Makes me wish for the days of Escaflowne, when you don’t hear the kickass super-dark battle theme Epistle until halfway through the series (and I know I just called a Gregorian Chant kickass, but in context… yeah, it was).

  2. Adam says:

    For my money the very best part of these DVDs is still the “Conversations with SSS” running gag.

    Also, I do wish ADV hadn’t mangled the names quite so painfully. I mean, “Carrosea Doon”? “Don,” maybe; “Dawn,” sure; but “Doon”?

    Ah well: “Enough talk. Back to ‘guarding’…”

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