|Last updated March 13, 2005.|
Madlax is a new series by Bee Train. It is definitely reminiscent of Noir. In fact, I rather found the eponymous Madlax to be an amalgamation of Kirika, Mireille, and Chloe. She talks to herself frequently, too, which adds to the impression that these three characters have taken up residence in her noggin. I might be reading too much into it, but I also noticed that Madlax mimics Kirika's signature "there we go" sigh.
I was surprisingly impressed by the first episode. I think those who enjoyed Noir will almost certainly enjoy Madlax, but I suspect even those who hated Noir might like it as well. I did have my reservations that it would be a Noir ripoff, but it is really more an extension of themes Noir previously established.
Both Noir and Madlax feature female leads with amazing firearms abilities. Noir pushed the boundaries of believability quite frequently with the stunts that Kirika performed, but Madlax takes them even further. The stunts that Madlax pulls off aren't improbable, they're downright impossible. However, Madlax gets away with it by candidly admitting that its titular lead has preternatural abilities. There's an extended sequence in the first episode that establishes Madlax's ability to see beyond the natural realm. That was my interpretation of it, anyway. If it turns out she doesn't actually have superpowers, then the first episode's climactic gunfight was just retarded.
Madlax also might yet turn out to be a Noir ripoff, as the opening credits indicate that there is another younger lead that did not appear in the first episode. The similarities with the Mireille-Kirika dynamic (and the similarities with the Nadjica Blitz Tactics duo) are hard to ignore, but I'll give it a few episodes to work itself out. The first episode was a lot better than I was expecting, and that's enough to convince me to continue watching.
I guess it also goes without saying that the music is quite good, being another Yuki Kajiura vehicle. The haunting melodies are quite good, but overall I was more impressed by the music in Noir. (Again, that comparison returns.)
Madlax has Kirika's voice actress playing Margaret, the Kirika character. (It also reportedly has the always welcome Aya Hisakawa.) In any case, Madlax thus far seems like a slightly more cheerful version of Noir.
The similarities really are a little hard to ignore, even without Kuwashima Houko playing essentially the same character again.
The third episode of Madlax introduced Aya Hisakawa's character, the badass sniper, Rimerda.
She's not using her Chloe voice, but her mere presence does add yet another parallel to Noir—not that Madlax was lacking in Noir similarities already. I wonder if they approached Mitsuishi Kotono for the part of Madlax before casting Kobayashi Sanae?
After six episodes of Madlax, I am getting rather bored with the show. Right now, it seems to be affected by the plot-development doldrums that turned many people away from Noir. I'm willing to continue watching it because this type of subtlety contributed more to the overall plot in Noir than it appeared at first glance.
Unfortunately, Madlax suffers from rather unengaging characters. I don't particularly like any of them. Margaret, especially, seems like a cross between Kirika from Noir and Osaka from Azumanga Daioh, except Osaka had occasional flashes of pure genius, and Kirika kept herself busy by killing people. What Madlax really needs is for Chloe to show up and start stabbing some deadbeats in the neck.