A show of halves (and halve-nots?)
Tarkus | 05/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On the initial pass, Madlax seems to be a show about dualities. In the first four episodes presented in this volume, we are introduced to the two main characters, Madlax and Margaret. The former is a gunbunny assassin to whom the word "deadly" would be an understatement, yet she carries herself with a breezy composure. The latter is a (seemingly) scattered schoolgirl with some sort of deep, dark trauma in her past. The show drops enough clues, even from the opening credits, that the two are somehow related despite their geographic and professional divides, and yet, I'm still drawn in by how this relationship will be explored in the context of the show's backdrop (a protracted civil war in a rather Indonesia-esque country, a shadowy terrorist organization that seemingly brainwashes people via TV and computer monitors) and its cast of characters.
This is a show that doesn't force-feed its plot, and frankly, it does require a bit of patience in witnessing its plot unfold. The action and gunplay is more of a cinematic choreography accenting the story arc, and the seeming lulls in this arc may frustrate those who may desire a steadier stream of slam-bang. For me, the deliberate pacing is a welcome change of pace, and this first volume has made numerous repeat plays in my DVD player. There are a lot of details to trainspot, and the characterizations are as engaging as the lovely visuals and the great soundtrack. And for lazy people like myself who don't necessarily want to read everything in one's anime collection, the English dub is quite solid (the MST3K-esque DVD extra is a hoot, to boot).
In short, your mileage will vary, but I'm definitely enjoying this show."
C. Lin | California | 02/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To appreciate Madlax, one must watch more than just Disc One and Disc Two. This series' beauty is in its subtleties and use of imagery, in the voice-acting as well as the complexity of its background music. (A note about voice acting: If you choose to use the English Dub, you will fail to fully understand the characters).
The following questions will be answered as the series unravel: Why does Madlax have a calm, serene demeanor in the midst of a war zone? Why is she "so darn good" in a gunfight? Why is Margaret so scatter-brained? Who are the freaky kids with strange eyes?
The action plays a supporting role to the drama development. This is not a straight-forward series about "babes & guns", as I had hoped. It is surprisingly more profound and rewarding, and three-dimensional.
Madlax's pacing accelerates at the end of Disc Two. This is a series about existence and presence of mind. By Disc 6, the characters will evoke strong emotions in a keen audience.
(Brief musical analysis)
The music itself is an eclectic assembly of flavors from cultures throughout the world, to symbolize the two fictional regions: The peaceful European city and the war-torn South Asian states. Some tunes will sound like a Celtic or Slavic dance; a few are techno-heavy and sometimes atonal for the demented and evil organization; some have Asian-inspired harmonics and instrumentation; some will remind you of Chant and Sacred music; and some are Middle-Eastern in rhythm and tempo; all are well-layered in instruments, counterpoints, and harmonic modulation... compared to its contemporary."
Lost my interest.
Maegwen | Missouri, USA | 12/30/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The premise sounded interesting, but the characters and plot failed to come through. I didn't care about the characters. Madlax seemed too passive for an assasin plus the fact that she found it necessary to change into an evening gown in the middle of the jungle in order to shoot someone. The little girl just sat around acting strange, but doing nothing to win me over. The anime raised a few questions about how the two girls were connected, but didn't provide enough bait to keep me interested. Seems like it was aimed at an audience more interested in violence and well proportioned women than in a real plot line."