ADV Films // 2004 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // September 15th, 2005
This is Gazth-Sonika. This is the country where a person's life is cheapest.
After two volumes in which numerous and disparate plotlines seemingly ran in every direction possible, Madlax finally starts showing signs of real cohesion in this third volume. While these episodes contain no full-on collision between the worlds of our two protagonists, there is a definite crossing of paths.
Here are some highlights from the episodes on this release:
* Episode 9: "Scent Left Behind"
Vanessa takes time off from work and invites Margaret and Elenore to accompany her on a trip. On the way to an exclusive hotel operated by Bookwald Industries, Vanessa's car breaks down; Luciano, an assassin who is friends with Madlax, stops and helps the three women. Vanessa, who thought she and her companions would be alone at the hotel, is taken aback when two Bookwald executives arrive. Vanessa later overhears the two men, one of whom is Enfant operative Corrossea Doon, discussing Bookwald's involvement in the conflict in Gazth-Sonkia. Doon sees Margaret carrying her copy of the Red Book, which pretty much freaks him out.
* Episode 10: "Infiltration"
Vanessa goes to see Bodgis, an old college friend who now earns money as an information retrieval specialist. Vanessa tells Bodgis she is looking for information regarding Bookwald's involvement in the Gazth-Sonika war; he says getting the info should be no problem. Vanessa also informs him Enfant is involved in Bookwald's dealings; Bodgis advises her to quit snooping before she ends up dead. Vanessa eventually convinces Bodgis to help her; Bodgis starts hacking, finds the information Vanessa needs, but is forced to jack out when a trace is put on his computer. Bodgis tells Vanessa the information was shunted to a computer somewhere in Gazth-Sonika; he says the only way to retrieve it is to physically access the other computer. Friday Monday, the unfortunately named leader of Enfant, calls Doon and informs him of the hack.
* Episode 11: "Foreign Nation"
Margaret does some research into the background of the Gazth-Sonika war, learning the conflict started when a military faction opposed to the crown's attempts at modernization attempted to overthrow the monarchy. Vanessa heads to Gazth-Sonika, ostensibly on a fact-finding mission for her bosses at Bookwald; Doon follows her. Vanessa finds the computer on which the information Bodgis hacked is stored. Agents of Enfant attempt to take the info from Vanessa, but their efforts are thwarted by Madlax, who has been assigned to act as Vanessa's bodyguard.
* Episode 12: "Vanished Will"
Vanessa attempts to access the information. Doon, having realized Madlax is involved, asks Limelda to hunt down the young mercenary. Vanessa and Madlax hole up in a motel room. Vanessa says she wants to go public with the information; Madlax says if that's the case, Vanessa will need Madlax to be her permanent bodyguard. Madlax, knowing Limelda is looking for her, tracks her adversary to a small café. Limelda thinks Madlax is carrying the information on Bookwald, so she orders the mercenary to hand it over. Madlax plays along, but says she cannot allow Limelda to take it. A fight ensues. Back in Nafrece, Doon introduces himself to Margaret.
This series keeps getting better and better. We have reached the halfway point, the storylines are starting to come together, and the plot is really cooking. Given the complexity of the plot, not to mention the number of characters now involved, I keep waiting for Madlax to implode, but it somehow manages to keep on chugging along.
This disc boasts another outstanding transfer. You also get another fine 5.1 English track, although I still suggest sticking with the Japanese stereo track, as the voice acting in the dub works against the characters and the story. Extras include the expected clean opening and closing sequences, previews, a few promo spots for the original Japanese broadcasts, and a sketch gallery. There's also another chapter of "Conversations with SSS," which gets less funny with each installment.
Do I fully understand the plot yet? No. Do I care? No, because I'm having too much fun watching it unfold. If you haven't given Madlax a shot, what're you waiting for?
Review content copyright © 2005 Mitchell Hattaway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* 1.78:1 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 4 Preview
* ADV Previews
* Official Site