James M. Stafford III | Houston, TX USA | 12/27/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an anime about rugby. Even those who know nothing about rugby will probably enjoy Madonna. Mako is a young teacher, just graduated from college and looking forward to the long summer vacations. Her first teaching assignment, however, is an all-male class of delinquents who would love nothing more than to torment her. Even worse, she is essentially tricked by the principal into becoming the advisor of the school's renewed rugby team. Like many other sports anime and films, the team comes from "nowhere" to obtain the respect of others. It is a long process, as the players - the delinquents from Mako's class - learn more about themselves. Unlike many other sports anime and films, this team does not "win it all" (the national high school championship), but they do earn the respect and admiration of others... and of themselves. To that end, this is a tale which everyone can truly enjoy. Made in 1989, the animation is a bit rough, and the music slightly corny. The narrative seems to jump about in the first half of the first episode, suggesting that this is perhaps based upon a manga series which the viewer is expected to have already read. Nonetheless, Madonna is quite intriguing and captures the viewer's attention. What is quite disappointing, however, is that the DVD does not have a menu. There are twelve chapter divisions (six per episode), and the viewer must scroll through using the DVD player's Chapter Search feature. This also means that there are no bonus features, and no previews of other upcoming anime titles. There is also no language option; this is only available in the original Japanese. The subtitles, fortunately, can be deactivated at will."
Not bad as a mature kids sports flick
Joe | USA | 03/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, my copy is Japanese spoken with English sub-titles. There's not even a menu to work from. The movie just plays. Despite which I thoroughly enjoyed it.This anime is R-Rated. Not for sex, nor nudity (which is generally restricted to pin-up art and then vaguely done), but instead it is a serious comedic look at a group of high school miss-fits and the school teacher who turns them into a rugby team. What you will get is profanity and sexual references and violence (fist fights and attempted rape). Yet the makers were concentrating on a realistic feel; those events are exciting moments in the general plot, not the plot itself.These are the bad-news-bears of Japan, lifting the teachers skirt with a fishing rod while she's teaching, or taping up her picture on a centerfold and chalking "sex toy" under it. Or greeting her the first day in class by dropping their pants. Which only ticks her off and in the end she responds to the challenge by letting her anger carry her away and accepting the task she doesn't want to bother with: sponsering them in rugby. She'd rather be vacationing and relaxing with a guy.And rather than win their games by a miracle, they utterly fail in their first game, scoring one point against their opponents 102+. But they do begin to pull together and despite being bored slackers full of pranks they try. The gritty feel is maintained; they do not become prince charming overnight and Domon Mako the teacher does not become a professional coach overnight (her plans on a summer vacation scoping out a husband are ruined by her anger; she agrees to sponser them on a summer rugby camp because a fellow teacher/lecher ticks her off.) I enjoyed it; I was in the mood for something besides silly monster movies and violent mecha anime and ninja-samurai blood-squirting death shows (fanatics thereof will probably hate it). Something real. I myself would also prefer a "real" movie that isn't violent; something more serene (and still real) like gals and guys on a beach and summer work and vacations (PLEASE, no silly romances! love triangles are so poorly and so over-done that I'm sick of them). But, I guess as long as mechas, swords and hard humor are the thing, I'll never find the type I want.Consider this a hard-line movie with the same general value of Kiki's Delivery Service and Tottoro - just one made for mature kids who parents know are old enough to deal with profanity and sexual inferences and a world that isn't fantasy-magic goodness. And adults tired of kiddie cartoons but not looking for something too adult.It's been a while since I found anime worth 4 stars (most are worth only 3)."