And it was good. ^_^ (From Sean G, a link to concise, amusing summaries of the main characters.)
I said as I began El Cazador de la Bruja, “If Noir is a knit narrative, then Madlax is crochet and El Cazador is macramé. Each successive iteration of the elements has more holes.” Upon reflection, though, I’m not sure I was right.
Noir spends the most time building the story. More happens in the first episode of Madlax, than happens in the first 6 episodes of Noir.
It’s not that it’s killing time, but Noir is filling in all the details very slowly and carefully, with a lot of time spent in simply watching Kirika and Mirielle function as hitmen. Their relationship is built through this action, rather than through speaking. In fact, of the three series, this one has the most silences.
The music here is a cue mostly only to that they are again in a shootout. It’s awesome music, though and worth re-hearing. And, by the time Kirika and Mirille’s full history is filled in, we kinda guessed already. ^_^ The climax of the series is satisfying and Soldats just ends up looking stupid and ham-handed.
In the end, I realized that I think of Noir, not as Kirika’s story, but as Mirielle’s.
Madlax starts with a completely different pace than Noir. There’s an obvious initial almost-schizoid split between episodes with Madlax and Margaret. Nonetheless long before Margaret goes to Garth-Sonika, we’ve figured out that there’s some connection between the two.
Where Noir takes place in identifiable places in our world, Madlax takes place in places that seem familiar, but are wholly fictitious. Nafrece might be France or England or Japan, but it’s not. This gives the story a lot of leeway to adding fictive elements, like a arms-dealing conspiracy driven by magic and the desire for more magic and allows for the entire climax to happen in a place that isn’t even of the world at all.
Friday Monday is still a stupid bad guy with a ridiculous name.
Although Noir probably still wins for overall body count, there’s more deaths of people we cared about in Madlax than in Noir. In fact, I was pretty surprised to realize how dark Madlax was. Dark and dense. It was slow going, with so many storylines that had to converge.
The music in Madlax is practically a character, it plays such a significant role.
El Cazador de la Bruja almost feels like a reaction to the intense darkness of Madlax and Noir. While there’s still a lot of shooting, the overall body count is much less. Nadie mostly shoots to disarm. And the general tone is much lighter and cheerier.
We’re back in the “real” world for this series, in an American Southwest-ish. There’s a President and a White House and Taco chains, but there’s also magic that works visibly.
This is the only story of the three with a deranged stalker who won’t take no for an answer. Where Nadie and Ellis help each other to become more human, LA ends up being more and more a wounded animal who needs to be put out of his misery. To accomplish this, even some of the initially silliest plot elements end up fitting into the apparently hole-filled puzzle by the end. In fact, as I watched the final episodes tonight, I was surprised to find the climax much more tightly scripted than I remembered.
The music is purely window dressing, without much meaning as it was in the first two series. Rosenberg was a delightfully horrible bad guy whom we will not mourn.
While all three series end with a journey renewed, El Cazador de le Bruja wins for the utter sappy wonderfulness of the ending, which could leave no doubt as to the fact that the main characters are incontrovertibly a couple. Squee.
Top characters of each series for me: Noir – Mirielle, Madlax – Rimelda , El Cazador de la Bruja – Jody “Blue Eyes” Hayward. So Hisakawa Aya beats Mitsuishi Kotono 2-to-1. ^_^
Still three of my favorite series, with some of the best music I’ve ever loved.
Noir – 10
Madlax – 9
El Cazador de la Bruja – 10
This was a long time in coming, but it was loads of fun! I’ll do it again in another 10 years. ^_^