MADOX-01 Anime Review
Metaru Sukin Panikku MADOX-01
Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01
US Release By
Sympathize with the situation of poor school kid Koji Sugimoto for a moment. He has a final chance date in Shinjuku with old flame Shiori, and was all set to go when a mysterious cargo containing top-secret military equipment (literally) fell into his possession.
It just so happens that this military cargo is the Madox 01 Slave Trooper battlesuit, the most technologically advanced ground combat unit ever devised! Curious as to just what this new hunk of metal can do, Koji finds himself unwittingly locked inside the Madox as it goes on a mad rampage through the bustling streets of Tokyo!
With the police, army, Special Forces and the ever persistent war mongering Lieutenant Kilgore on his tail, it will be a challenge for Koji to try and master this new technology just to stay alive, let alone keep his date with the lovely Shiori!
Being part of Manga Entertainment's new "UK Collection" budget range (basically all their old licenses, remastered onto DVD, without the original Japanese language track at a cheap price) I figured that should it turn out to be a turkey that I wouldn't have lost a whole lot. Surprisingly, given its especially short running time, Madox-01 has a lot to offer, to both jaded mecha veterans and newcomers to the genre alike.
The basic premise of the show is essentially your cookie-cutter chase scenario, with our poor unwitting hero Koji, trapped inside this awesomely powerful military combat suit known as the Madox. Our poor hero finds himself relentlessly pursued and attacked by helicopters, tanks, undercover agents and other mecha as he desperately tries to keep his date with long lost love Shiori.
It is to this end that the whole chase idea succeeds in creating a sense of energy and pace that ensures that you never fall asleep, since there is always something happening to maintain the viewer's attention. Between the battles with the various forces there also comedic moments too, such as one incident where Koji, unable to control the Madox, crashes into a restaurant and asks the waitress amid all the destruction to heat a meal up for him! In some ways it reminded me of the much more recent Full Metal Panic (title withstanding), with it's blend of mecha combat and comedy, although the comedy in Madox is somewhat less pronounced.
That said, the show is very happy-go-lucky in its nature and takes itself far less seriously than other mecha shows of it's time such as Zeta Gundam, Macross and Aura Battler Dunbine. One of my two major gripes with it, even with the cheap price tag, is it's just too darn short and it's all over much too quickly. That said, if the show was significantly longer, some of the energy that the show has might be lost, but I digress.
The other gripe which really annoyed me about this show was the absolutely atrocious dub which couldn't be turned off. Coming from the "1995" school of Manga dubbing, almost everybody sounds either completely miscast or can't voice act to the save their life! Lieutenant Kilgore, on top of sounding like a cheesy 1930s gangster villain, sounds like he has peg attached to his nose, while Elly, the mecha testing pilot, has some pseudo English accent which comes off as just plain abysmal and obviously fake.
Oh yeah, don't even get me started on Shiori either. I believe she has four or five lines total, but believe me that's a blessing! I won't say anymore than that. On the flip side Koji's voice actor managed his role satisfactorily, balancing out comedic and serious moods quite well, so the dub isn't a total train wreck I guess.
Besides the unremarkable music, the anime is technically adept with some pretty good art and smooth animation that lends it to favourable comparison with any of its contemporaries.
Overall Madox-01 provided me with a good return on my very modest investment. For its short running time, it kept me interested with its fast paced action and comic moments and is recommended to anybody who can be forced to part with such an agreeable sum of money.
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Notes and Trivia
In the US, Madox-01 was one of AnimEigo's earliest releases.
US DVD Review
As I mentioned in the review, since this part of Manga UK's budget collection, only the English dub track remains on the disc, with the original Japanese audio cruelly left out. Considering the age of the source material (1987 I believe) the visuals hold up pretty well on DVD, with good levels of blacks, no macroblocking or edge enhancement.
There are animated menus too which are done suitably well, but as with all these releases, the only extras you'll find are trailers for other Manga Entertainment shows.
[Editorial addition: The AnimEigo DVD (which is the only version available in North America) is much, much better. Labeled the 15th anniversary edition, on account of it being exactly that for AnimEigo, it features crisp video (it's a little grainy, but that's the fault of the old source material), a remastered Japanese stereo audio track, AnimEigo's English dub in stereo, and characteristically accurate soft subtitles. By way of bonus features it also has a commentary track, interviews with the head of AnimEigo and the dub director, plus one of AnimEigo's famed liner notes insert cards.]
Though there is a tiny flash of skin and some violence, it is relatively clean, so even AnimEigo's 13-up rating may be a bit stiff.
Violence: 2 - There is no onscreen gore, but a lot of mechs blowing things up and a couple people involved in the process.
Nudity: 1 - An extremely brief flash in a single scene; otherwise, everyone is well covered.
Sex/Mature Themes: 0 - Nothing more than indirect romance.
Language: 1 - Relatively clean.