ADV Films // 2004 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // September 20th, 2005
The truth is here.
Picking up immediately following the events of Volume 3, this latest collection of Madlax episodes contains four more installments from this ever-intriguing series. Here's a short rundown of each:
* Episode 13: "Cry of Awakening"
Carrossea Doon tells Margaret he has been sent to see her by Eric, the bibliodetective Margaret had hired in hopes of tracking down another copy of the Red Book. Doon asks to see Margaret's copy; he thumbs through it, notices the missing page, and is shocked by the blood stains. Madlax and Vanessa go to the mercenary's apartment. Vanessa notices a strange piece of paper (hint: Margaret's missing page) tacked to the wall. Madlax says she has had the paper for as long as she can remember, but cannot read it. Friday Monday calls Doon; the Enfant leader tells Doon he has initiated a plan to solve the Madlax situation. Back in Gazth-Sonika, Madlax receives a call from her boss; SSS warns her about a trap in the Enfant data Vanessa retrieved. Madlax quickly knocks Vanessa away from her computer, but inadvertently catches a glimpse of what is on the screen; a startled Vanessa looks up to see Madlax staring at the ceiling, apparently in some sort of trance. Nakhl, the protégé of Lady Quazitta (the mystic encountered by Madlax and Eric in Gazth-Sonika) sneaks into Margaret's room and attempts to steal the Red Book. Margaret wakes up, grabs the other girl's hand, and threatens to kill Nakhl if she touches the book.
* Episode 14: "Forgotten Thoughts"
Madlax snaps out of the trance, but a change has come over her. Doon tells Limelda to cancel her mission to kill Madlax. Margaret meets with Doon, who warns her she is being watched and should get rid of the Red Book. Doon later finds Nakhl outside Margaret's home; Doon realizes he, not Margaret, is the one who is being watched by Quazitta. Vanessa wakes up to find Madlax gone -- unarmed. Madlax is wandering the streets, with Limelda (who has chosen to ignore Doon's orders) watching her every move. Limelda prepares to kill Madlax, but is taken aback by the obvious changes in the young mercenary's personality. Vanessa arrives and threatens to kill Limelda if she doesn't stop following Madlax. Something in Madlax snaps, and she's suddenly back to her old self.
* Episode 15: "False War"
Nahkl returns to Gazth-Sonika and tells Quazitta she knows who has the Red Book. Doon is called in to see Friday Monday. The Enfant leader wonders why Doon didn't know Vanessa was working with Madlax. Friday says he is sure Madlax knows where the Red Book is, so he plans to bring her in. Madlax, hoping to discover some clues about her past, opens the files on Vanessa's computer. Madlax suddenly finds herself transported to a war-ravaged city. She encounters the young girl named Laetitia, who tells Madlax that the city is the one place where truth can be found. Madlax wonders why she cannot find the truth; Laetitia tells the mercenary she isn't real, much like the war in Gazth-Sonika. Madlax comes to in her apartment, where Vanessa's computer suddenly begins cycling through the data. Vanessa learns that Enfant is pulling the strings in Gazth-Sonika's government, as well as supplying weapons to both sides of the war.
* Episode 16: "The Timber of Gunshots"
Madlax, troubled by Laetitia's assertion that she isn't real, begins questioning her life as a hired assassin. Margaret again meets with Doon; she tells him she often dreams of a city destroyed by war. Madlax and Vanessa are duped, drugged, and abducted by agents of Enfant. Madlax comes to and finds herself walking through the ruined city. Friday Monday appears and asks her about the whereabouts of the Red Book. Madlax tells him she had no idea what he is talking about. Friday says Madlax is not the person he had hoped she would become; he walks away, leaving Madlax and Vanessa to fight their way out of the city.
Everybody got that? Good. Now somebody explain it to me.
The creators of Madlax have thrown another curve, but by now I have come to expect that; besides, as I have stated before, even the most unforeseen turn of events fits into the overall scheme of things. What were at first seemingly extraneous characters and events are making perfect sense as more pieces of the bigger picture are revealed. What's more, hints about upcoming revelations are constantly being dropped along the way; these are becoming slightly more discernable as the series progresses, but I'm starting to wonder why I didn't keep a playbook for the events of the first few episodes. (I'm genuinely amazed at how much narrative is being crammed -- successfully -- into each episode; the above summaries only scratch the surface.)
Guess what? You get another great transfer, another very good 5.1 English dub (which again contains some wrong-headed voice acting), and another pretty sweet Japanese stereo track. Extras line up pretty much the same, with clean opening/closing sequences, another sketch gallery, some Japanese TV spots, and a handful of previews (including one for the next volume in this series). There is also another installment of "Conversation with SSS," which continues to be the one blemish on an otherwise fine disc.
Madlax is incredibly complex, and at times perplexing, but always in an entertaining and surprising way. Most highly recommended.
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 5 Preview
* ADV Previews
* Official Site