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REVIEW: Madlax DVD Complete Collection


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Yuki_Kun45
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Joined: 26 May 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:49 pm Reply with quote
Is it my imagination or does Carl Kimlinger seem to be the only one who reviews anything by Bee Train.
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Anime World Order



Joined: 05 May 2006
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Location: Florida
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:17 am Reply with quote
Yuki_Kun45 wrote:
Is it my imagination or does Carl Kimlinger seem to be the only one who reviews anything by Bee Train.


There aren't very many sane people who'd willingly review anything primarily produced by Bee Train. I sure as heck won't. They actually manage to have an even worse track record than Gonzo!

In fact, you know what? As I stated in the latest podcast, Koichi Mashimo needs to just freaking give it up already. The dude had his heyday back in the 80s with the original Dirty Pair, and ever since then he's been trying to recapture that "girls with guns" essence to no avail. Noir, Avenger, Madlax, El Cazador de la Bruja, and now Phantom ~ Requiem For the Phantom ~ makes FIVE times he's tried to make this work and five times he's screwed it up. ENOUGH ALREADY.

The trouble with Madlax and all this other virtually indistinguishable Bee Train Mashimo schlock is that unlike with Dirty Pair, Koichi Mashimo simply doesn't have the talented support staff around him anymore. Look at the encyclopedia entry for Project EDEN. A ton of those names--Kawamoto, Miyatake, Morimoto, etc--are absolute top-notch talents at what they do, and they're just not with him for any of the Bee Train productions. Mashimo reminds me of Yoshinobu Nishizaki and how he constantly continues to try and recapture the magic of Space Battleship Yamato all by himself without the aid of Matsumoto/Ishiguro/Tomino/Ashida/et al, failing miserably time after time after time in the process.

And so, Madlax fails in its pacing, shot composition, plotting, characterization, you name it. And has an overly rushed and unsatisfying ending...just like EVERY SINGLE SHOW BEE TRAIN MAKES. My hat's off to Carl and Theron for being able to deal with watching these things and saying something good about them besides "Yuki Kaijura did another good soundtrack." Because that's not something I'd be capable of doing.
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Yuki_Kun45
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 26 May 2008
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Location: U.S.A.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:32 am Reply with quote
Mashimo has been at his strongest ever with Bee Train I don't know what you're talking about. While other studios have suffered far more at over staffing and lack of any decent quality Bee Train has kept up. Despite the weak there's been several strong series. If you ask me AWO MADLAX is among the strongest, Noir, and Phantom (despite the pointless flashbacks ) being the others, though my verdict is out on El Caz atm.

No one likes Bee Train simply because they don't go gratuitous and pointless. Hell even Avenger still had it's high points compared to some of the other crap I've seen. Despite maybe not working with some of the veterans of his early days, I have failed to see fault in some of his regular staff directors. Mashimo has always focused on the creative spirit more so than the corporate and that's where he's always succeeded. He's more bold than most directors and studios out there. Bee Train does more with less, compared to the big studios that can throw money at 20 projects a year.

Frankly GONZO? Really, GONZO? Though I can't pan GONZO I have found a really common flaw with GONZO and that is their incredible overuse of CGI that's barley appealing. .hack//SIGN was the best use of CGI-blend I had seen at the time, when most series I had seen then had horrible clunky monstrosities, hell even better than the Sakura Wars movie by Production I.G!
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Megiddo



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:46 am Reply with quote
Yuki_Kun45 wrote:
Hell even Avenger still had it's high points compared to some of the other crap I've seen.

No. This is simply not true. Personally, I enjoyed Madlax, though not to the extent that I did Noir, and I really do not like El Cazador.

However Avenger was simply a big steaming pile of excrement that is best forgotten. Or at least, people should keep quiet about it, just like Layla Ashley was a mute throughout the series.
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Key
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:29 am Reply with quote
Yuki_Kun45 wrote:
Is it my imagination or does Carl Kimlinger seem to be the only one who reviews anything by Bee Train.


It's your imagination.
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pachy_boy



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
Posts: 1051
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:52 am Reply with quote
If this rerelease precludes all extras, then I'm relieved to have gotten and still have the singles to this day. I can't imagine my collection without all those clever, witty dub skits the people of ADV did for it. It's so obvious they had a lot of fun with it.
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pparker



Joined: 13 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:32 am Reply with quote
^That.

I really appreciate these reviews that mention the extras having been stripped out. That's my cue to go directly to TRSI and place my order for the singles and the nice box from the Bargain Bin, where they always are placed upon release of the thin collection.

To a "collector", these extras-deleted "Collections" are... NOT. I frankly see no point in doing that now, but I know ADV was trying to make anime more accessible to those who didn't care for extras. Now, though, it just seems like an insult, when the prices are the same regardless. Plenty of other releases leave in the extras when the thinpaks come out, and it's cheaper not to remaster the discs anyway.

I presume they are left in because there is no further intention of releasing other versions or re-releasing the singles. Unless the company intends to offer two versions, one with the extras included, then it's just a shame that future collectors lose that part of the series. As a film buff, I can say that many times the extras alone have made a DVD purchase worth the money.

Sounds like an average show. Noir was okay, not excellent, but if they are comparable then I agree it will be better than a lot of other anime I've seen, so I'm not worried. I only sampled El Cazador so can't say, but it sure fell off the radar fast.
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nightjuan



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:05 am Reply with quote
Well...I've never cared much for Noir and probably won't go out of my way to watch Madlax in spite of this relatively positive review, but I must disagree with the implication that Phantom is just more of the same, since in my opinion it actually breaks the mold if you manage to get past any superficial similarities and can tolerate the director's quirks.

Then again, it must be said that's an adaptation and not really a Koichi Mashimo original, but in some ways this fact has worked out for the best. I think it's possible to like it even without being interested in the rest of BeeTrain's "girls with guns" catalog but this will, naturally, depend on the viewer. Personally, I think it has a more engaging story than Noir ever did, to say the least. Still, I'll leave it at that. Can't really say anything about Madlax itself.
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Mohawk52



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:45 pm Reply with quote
I loved Noir, especially the music.
Madlax was just a pointless waste of viewing time.
Phantom Is good even if it looks more like "Kirika gets a boyfriend". I haven't seen the others, but if they're worse than Madlax, I'm not missing much, am I? I agree that it seems Bee Train is running on a track that only circles round the "girls-with-guns" tree. Wink
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belvadeer



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:20 pm Reply with quote
Mohawk52 wrote:
I loved Noir, especially the music.


I'll drink to that! Noir was definitely a series I enjoyed. The story had me wondering for a long time (as I was putting too many gaps into getting each DVD) and I was never really disappointed with how they carried the plot. Sure, a lot of people always use the negative connotation of "the plot moves slowly" with it, but sometimes a slow-moving plot helps to prevent the story from have those dreaded holes that many shows and games have nowadays.
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Dryl



Joined: 20 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:05 am Reply with quote
surprisingly I had this thought on the bus a few weeks ago concerning the laborious pacing of the girls with gun genre beetrain has done recently. I was initially introduced to this with Noir and I thought perhaps this was the best for a few things. The genre was new, exciting, excellent music, excellent animation, and an actual story that was established so to speak by about episode 14 while leaving a bit of hints of further characterization.

Then I saw Madlax and ultimately I liked it. I hated 17 episodes of it and painstakingly watching it on ADV on demand waiting every week for the moment when the story will combine and lo and behold, episode 18 with maybe 3 minutes left in that episode, FINALLY! Then the story went on the most insane, death filled, explanation based roller coaster. Then...the WTF ending (and we all know the end) that wasn't there in Noir in many ways crept up in Madlax. Overall, while the ending was unexpected, I still generally liked Madlax and contend if you watch episode 1-4 and 18-26, you probably will get a more complete series than the in between information.

El cazador de la bruja...I tried to watch it twice - in 2007 when it premiered and actually a few weeks ago. And as I began to watch it, I saw something anime fans hate - derivative formulaic plot. 2 girls, one with memory loss, the other a brash yet feminine woman having to discover her past with a hint of supernatural elements. Does this sound familiar? Yes...and realizing it recently I could not finish El cazador de la bruja. To put it mildly, I was actually turned off that I didn't see anything new, and if anything one element that made Madlax and Noir bearable (the music) was terrible.

I haven't watched any more girls with guns that came out from beetrain unfortunately arguing that bee train's hey day in anime has probably come and gone unfortunately. That being said, I am honestly hoping for a beetrain title that will pique my interest and make me go OMG I have to watch it. because so far, that show doesn't exist...
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Craeyst Raygal



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:07 pm Reply with quote
I'm with AWO on this one (surprise, surprise) in saying that Mashimo has lost touch with his material. Without the strong support staff that created the impossibly fun Dirty Pair, he's an ego unchecked pouring out his own ideals as if they were gems.

Each attempt after Noir has been going further and further into his pacing, character, and storyline issues. What made Dirty Pair work was that it was unabashedly FUN. It - and its unrelated counterpart Gunsmith Cats - was a delightful romp through mayhem and madness with two genuine personalities who were just fun to take in and watch.

It was campy, over-the-top, and at the same time willing to be sweet or sad when it needed to be. The ridiculously labrythine Madlax is the pure antithesis of the punchy, edgy, and self-aware Dirty Pair.
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Gewürtztraminer
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:51 pm Reply with quote
I liked Madlax slightly better than Noir, just in the sense I was not spoonfed everything, and anticipated the convergence of stories.
Did it take too long? Possibly, but for what it was, I did not consider my time wasted. Noir set a mood then took its sweet time resolving things. Madlax was similar, but the two story lines converging took an excruciating amount of time, as a whole though, and with the ending provided, I can not say they made the wrong call.

A very difficult series to view objectively. Which is why the lack of the conversations with SSS extras being omitted from this release is a big minus. They were hokey, but still funny, and in a borderline series such as this, their exclusion tips the scale toward the not buy side.
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Kalessin



Joined: 15 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:15 pm Reply with quote
Ouch. Carl obviously doesn't like Madlax much, or this style of show in general it seems. Personally, I loved it.

Yes, Madlax takes a while to get to the meat of the backstory, but so do Noir, El Cazador, and all the other shows like this. Yes, the ending was a bit silly, but so were Noir's, El Cazador's, and that of every other show like this. It's mainly a question of in what way was it silly and nonsensical when you really thought about it than whether it really made sense. They never really make sense. However, in spite of all that, I think that these shows are great shows.

I think that the art and animation are better in Madlax than Noir, as are the action scenes. The story is probably somewhat inferior, but not much so, and they're both really bizarre when you think about it. El Cazador has the same issues, though it arguably looks better than Madlax. It's probably more of a question of when they were made than anything. If they all had been made at the same time, then the art, animation, and quality of the action would probably have all been more or less the same.

In any case, while Madlax certainly wasn't perfect, it was a lot of fun. The action was great, and I found the characters more likable than those in Noir - though none of these shows are going to win awards for exciting, likable characters. I would expect that if you liked Noir, you're probably going to like Madlax. though you might think that certain elements are too close to Noir and thus not original enough. The same goes for El Cazador. So, most of the complaints I can think of for any of these shows apply to all of them. Personally, I think that they're great shows and I find Carl's review to be rather disappointing (though I find that I rarely agree with his reviews, so I suppose that that's no surprise).

As for the extras, I originally bought the boxed set of Madlax. However, once I found out that the singles had actually had extras on them, I went out tracked down all of the singles and sold the boxed set. I think that it's really disappointing that ADV chose to ditch the extras for the boxed set. They're the only company that I've noticed doing that (though maybe that's just because I'm more likely to buy the singles than a boxed set unless the shows been out for a while when I find out about it). Probably the biggest loss from the extras are the conversations with 3speed. Those were hilarious.

In any case, I'd definitely recommend this show - especially if you liked Noir or El Cazador - and I'd definitely give it a better rating than Carl, but to each their own I suppose.
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penguintruth



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:35 pm Reply with quote
Yuki Kajiura's great music is always wasted in the horrible anime it's heard in. .hack//SIGN was extremely dull. Noir had a good concept but the execution was lousy. And this one is awful, too? That's some bad luck for her.

Oh well, it's not like people won't listen to the soundtrack, anyway. I know I have tracks from .hack//SIGN on my computer.
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