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Anime: Madlax DVD #3 "In-Between"
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Age Rating: 14+
Company: ADV Films
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Running Time: 100 mins approx
DVD Region 1


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This time Vanessa has dug to deep. Madlax may be her only hope...


Episode 9: Scent Left Behind



Vanessa cheats herself a free trip to a luxury hotel along with Margaret and Elenore, however Carrossea Doon is also at the hotel, along with Limelda and a sniper in the nearby hills is trying to assassinate him. Much of the episode unfolds in a rather lazy way, with the three girls enjoying the pool and the like, the usual banter between Vanessa and Elenore also ensues which was as funny as ever. The sort of "I'd quite like to jump into bed with you" vibe between them is pretty funny as well as being rather obvious (although perhaps not so much here as in earlier volumes). On her wandering in the mountains near the hotel Margaret actually befriends the sniper (although she doesn't know he's a sniper) that trying to eliminate Carrossea. While searching for Margaret during this time Vanessa overhears Carrossea saying that the company she (Vanessa) works for is involved (along with criminal organization Enfant) in exporting weapons illegally to Gazth-Sonika. She realizes she must expose this scandal and decides to leave the hotel the next day (Margaret is soon found) with the others to find out more. As they leave, the sniper makes his attempt to assassinate his target, he misses and Limelda's returning shot does not. Carrossea notices Margaret getting into Vanessa's car with a book in her hand. A book Enfant has been looking for, for a long a time.
This episode is pretty good, if mostly just for the comic moments, there isn't much in the way of action here although obviously Vanessa makes an important discovery. The conversations between Margaret and the sniper were pretty interesting and quirky too, Margaret's rather unique way of talking making the conversation entertaining.



Overall Episode Content: 8/10



Episode 10: infiltration



Vanessa takes it upon herself to look into the illegal arms dealing her company is doing and this episode mostly focuses on her. By this point Vanessa is becoming a lot more developed as a character than previously in the series and just the general way she talks, and the rather flirty approach she takes to most people she talks to I find appealing. She hacks into the main computer for her company with help from a friend, unfortunately they are stopped halfway (by Enfant leader Friday/Monday a.k.a person with the second most stupid name on the cast) and his own hacking skills. The information to reveal her companies criminal links is dumped on a random computer in Gazth-Sonika and Vanessa immediately decides to go to the war-torn state to retrieve them. Meanwhile Carrossea has found Margaret's house, and is determined to get the book. However he is called away by phone just as he approaches the door, to go and retrieve the dumped data for Enfant before the "mysterious hackers" do.
A very slow episode this one a bit too slow for me at times, with all the computer jargon and the amount of time the hacking takes. But still slightly entertaining and crucial to the plot as things go into swing. Right at the end of the episode there's a key moment where Madlax and Vanessa pass on the street in Gazth-Sonika. The two worlds finally meet!


Overall Episode Content 7/10



Episode 11: Foreign Nation





Vanessa is under attack from Enfant pretty soon in Ganzth Sonika and lots of action unfolds (which I won't spoil for you), while she is retrieving the data (which she succeeds in doing on a disc). Madlax is hired as her bodyguard, and at first it seems that Vanessa doesn't like her as of her carefree attitude to killing. Vanessa can't believe that Madlax has shot her way through all the goons sent after her without a thought. Meanwhile Carrossea has discovered that Vanessa is the one behind the stolen disc, however he wants Margaret's book for himself so he decides to tell Enfant Madlax took it, to avoid Enfant looking into Vanessa's home life and discovering the book.
Lots of action here, Madlax is as cool as ever as she watches Vanessa from afar and finally leaps to her aid. Vanessa becomes increasingly likeable for me as she displays some snake like cunning in obtaining the data disc. I was on the edge of my seat as the goon's closed in and the tension is also building over Margaret's book and how Carrossea will obtain it.


Overall Episode Content: 9/10

Episode 12: Vanished Will



Vanessa moves in with Madlax while Madlax decides what to do. Carrossea dispatches Limelda to hunt Madlax down and obtain the disc. Fantastic episode, one of the best I have seen on a DVD for a long time. Madlax and Vanessa after some initial tension get on very well (to the point of sharing the same bed, it could of course all be innocent, but I say no ;) ). Madlax begins to refer to Vanessa as a "princess who she will protect", which I thought was quite sweet. Vanessa looks after the house as best she can while Madlax tries to scoop up information on Enfant's movements, at which point she finds Limelda is tracking her down.
deciding to grab the bull by the horns Madlax goes straight to Limelda and we finally get to see them have a proper gun battle, its slick its action-packed and exciting stuff, both showing their skills. Madlax invariably vanishes into the night after blowing up Limelda's only means of transport. Limelda is left frustrated but also in admiration of Madlax... (or perhaps its something more! ;) )


Overall Episode Content: 10/10

A stunning volume throughout, just nudging Burst Angel off the top-spot in my "favourite series I'm following" list. Watch Madlax to this point, and I guarantee you will be hooked. Even if the series has a poor ending like I'm told, at this point I really don't care.


Overall Content Score 9/10


Audio

Both soundtracks are available (English and Japanese) although I watched this dubbed, purely as its one of the best dubs I've heard. Everyone sounds stunning throughout although Kelly Manison as Vanessa is just the best here. Her delivery is slick and stylish and makes Vanessa sound very much the confident (slightly) older woman. It simply is one of the best dubs around, and the audio track is only marred by a few slight errors in the episode 9 opening sequence (my speakers sounded like they were underwater) which let it down a little (all other sound was fine including the other opening sequences). The music for both Opening theme, end theme is pretty much outstanding quality like all of Yuki Kajiura's work and it just draws you in to the world of Madlax even more (I shall probably get the soundtracks at some point I like it so much).

Overall Audio Score: 9/10

Video/Animation

No errors to be found here and top quality animation throughout. The characters are well drawn and well animated with a rather unique "Bee-Train" style to them. Backgrounds are also detailed from bustling streets to dark jungles giving a "real" feel to the environments.


Overall Video/Animation Score: 8/10


Extras

Pretty good variety here, full list includes: Clean/Op Closing, Design Sketches, Japanese TV Spots and the hilarious Conversations with SSS (amusing re-dubs of certain scenes). Some nice little bonus features here and definitely worth looking at. There are also the obligatory ADV previews (featuring one for the live-action horror flick "Dark Water" original version)


Overall Extras Score 8/10

Packaging

Hmmm, its not that bad, but its not good either. There's an insert with interviews with Yuki Kajiura and Sanae Kobiyashi (Madlax's Japanese VA) but its only 4 pages long. Nothing else and the DVD's military looking "Madlax" logo looks bland. The front cover portrays Limelda and Madlax with guns drawn (see above) its pretty cool.

Overall Packaging Score: 7/10

Score Round Up


Content: 9/10

Audio: 9/10

Video/Animation: 8/10

Extras 8/10

Packaging 7/10








posted by Mangaminx On Thursday, August 18, 2005  
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