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"
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"
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"
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.