ADV Films // 2004 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // September 1st, 2005
Find your way back to the truth.
The second volume of episodes from this anime series continues the tale of Madlax, a mercenary making a living by making a killing in the war-torn country of Gazth-Sonika, and Margaret Burton, a young girl who lives in the nearby country of Nafrece. What is the connection between the two? Well, it probably has something to do with the Red Book, a mysterious manuscript entrusted to Margaret by her father. What is contained in the pages of this book? I'm not sure, but I do know that everyone who does not possess it is trying to get their hands on it, including the members of Enfant, a high-tech criminal organization.
Four episodes are included on this disc; here's a brief synopsis:
* Episode 5: "Nonpresence"
Madlax is charged with retrieving goods smuggled into Gazth-Sonika by a now deceased politician. These goods, which are on their way to the Galza resistance group, are in danger of being intercepted by Enfant agents. Madlax is surprised when she discovers that these "goods" are actually a young man named Chris Krana, who says he is the son of Galza's leader. Pursuing Madlax and Chris are Carrossea Doon, a member of Enfant, and Second Lieutenant Limelda Jorg, an officer in the Army of Gazth-Sonika.
* Episode 6: "Dying Wish"
Margaret is invited to a party by her friend Chiara. When Elenore, Margaret's maid, learns a young man named Maurice Lopez is also at the party, she goes to Chiara's house in order to keep Margaret out of harm's way. Flashbacks reveal some of the details regarding the mysterious events during which Margaret's mother disappeared; they also give a glimpse of the longstanding relationship between Elenore's family and the Burtons.
* Episode 7: "Picture Book"
Realizing her copy of the Red Book is missing a page, Margaret hires bibliodetective Eric Gillain to track down another copy. Upon learning the book is written in an ancient Gazth-Sonikan language known as Elies, Gillain ventures into the war-torn nation. His guide through the mean streets of Gazth-Sonika? Madlax, of course.
* Episode 8: "Soul Words"
Pursued by agents of Enfant, Madlax and Gillain make their way through the jungles of Gazth-Sonika; they are looking for Quanzitta Marison, a woman Gillain believes can help him decipher the contents of the Red Book. They reach their destination, but things don't work out quite as Gillain had planned.
I'm still not sure exactly what the hell is going on in Madlax, but I continue to enjoy the series immensely. Just when I think I have something figured out, along comes another twist, forcing me to question my previous assumptions. Not that I mind, though, as every new twist only strengthens the plot. Yes, the story is quite complex, but it doesn't appear to be complex just for the sake of being complex. The plot is a big puzzle, but I have a feeling all of the pieces will eventually fall into place.
ADV provides another stunning transfer; I looked and looked, but I couldn't find a single flaw. The Japanese stereo track features very good channel separation and some rather nice low-end action. The 5.1 English dub features plenty of surround activity, but the voice acting (especially that of the actors voicing Madlax and the leader of Enfant) simply does not fit the tone or style of the series. Extras include the standard clean opening/closing sequences and previews, along with a gallery of production sketches and a few Japanese TV spots. You also get another installment of "Conversations with SSS," the exceedingly unfunny featurette in which various characters find themselves the victims of prank phone calls made by Madlax's boss. Yippee.
I'm not positive, but it looks like the disparate plot threads will start coming together in the next volume, and I cannot wait to see how things unfold, nor can I wait to find out how Margaret's maid learned to kick ass. Madlax once again earns a strong recommendation.
Review content copyright © 2005 Mitchell Hattaway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Clean Opening/Closing Animation
* Design Sketches
* Japanese TV Spots
* "Conversations with SSS" Featurette
* Volume 3 Preview
* ADV Previews
* Official Site
* Volume 1 Review