In the country of Gazth-Sonika, civil war rages. There, a mercenary called Madlax plies her trade, with almost supernatural skill. In the seemingly peaceful country of Nafrece, Margaret Burton lives a tranquil life. As separate as their lives may seem, the two are connected by ties of mystery, and by a holy book that is also sought by the shadowy organisation, Enfant. As Margaret and Madlax follow the path of their destiny, they come ever closer to uncovering the truth - with no guarantee that it is a truth they can bear to learn.
Story:: The story is quite slow paced, as it is in all of Bee-Train's "Girls with Guns" anime, but once the plot picks up...it REALLY picks up. I, personally, was sort of confused with the plot and had to re-watch the last few episodes to really understand what was going on. It is quite good though, and keeps you interested with its twists and turns, especially for the last six episodes or so.
Art:: The animation for the most part is smooth and flows quite well, especially during action sequences. There were a few episodes where some things just looked out of place though, like
single strands of 3-D hair flowing from 2-D character's faces. Other then these sorts of little things though, the art is quite good.
Sound:: The soundtrack of Madlax is one of the best anime soundtracks I've ever heard. With vocals, chanting, techno-esque beats and more, the tracks are a blast to listen to, used in the correct places, and really enhance the mood. The seiyuu's make the characters sound good and quite believable, but I personally favoured the English dub over the original Japanese cast. You can shoot me for that if you want. The English VA's just made the characters of the show feel more realistic and believable then most dubs do.
Character:: The main characters in this show are quite likable and well developed, and it feels easy to relate to some of them. We see most of the main character's pasts, what drives them on to do what they do, their relationships with other characters, things like that. Another plus is that none of the characters in this show are really annoying, the exception being the main villain, Monday Friday. His way of doing things just really bothered me for some reason. So overall, the characters are pretty good.
Enjoyment:: As I said before, this show starts out slow, so you may find it boring in between plot points. But the action sequences that are in this show, although they're sort of exaggerated, are very entertaining to watch. Overall though, it was a very entertaining series, which I could probably re-watch a few more times before getting bored with it.
Overall:: This show is definitely not for everyone because of it's slow pace, but once you get past that, it really is a good anime with mostly good points, that'll have you wanting more in the end.
Madlax’s similarities to Noir kind of turned some people off, and it really IS like Noir. Except I found it better, and quite different in enough aspects to make it worth watching. It’s not JUST a repeat of Noir. Trust me.
Alright, so the plot started out a bit slow, and that was kind of annoying. At 26 episodes, it drags. But if it had been condensed into 13, it wouldn’t have fit. So 26 it is. It is infuriating how it takes forever for the characters to meet up, but our interest is maintained through means of some pretty cool gunfights. When things eventually do
start to happen though, Madlax begins to shine. It has a pretty interesting theme and the last few episodes were sad, but it’s good drama. It ended well and had an overall tight plot, despite the unanswered questions. Yes, it is like Noir in the sense that there’s this unsolved mystery and secret organization hanging over the whole thing and pulling the strings, but the mystery’s what kept me interested. It’s different from Noir in that while Noir focused on realism, this went the other way and tried to work on abstract imaginary premises.
Madlax has some great characters. My favourite has to be Madlax herself. I like her character design, I like her voice (Sanae Kobayashi is an underrated voice actor), and I like her personality (hardened by war, but still somehow a gentle person. Go fig. That’s an impressive control of emotions). On top of all that, she likes to fight in cocktail dresses. XD That’s never really explained properly, but it’s not overboard as fanservice, and it is pretty funny to watch. Her gun-wielding skills are far above realism, but then again, the entire show deals with surrealism. Margaret is just a tad annoying, but her voice actor portrays her well, and there’s notable character development there. Vanessa and Eleanor were both characters I couldn’t care less for at the beginning, but they gained my attention as the show progressed. Nakhl (Naharu) is another personal favourite of mine, even though all she does it walk around looking cool. She DOES look cool. The antagonist is hilariously lame. Heck, in short, the cast is great.
Music. It’s Kajiura, enough said. :P Okay, so while this isn’t my favourite Kajiura soundtrack, the OP is great and I love the two insert songs, “nowhere” and “I’m here”. I find it awesome how the titles are exact opposites of each other. Anyway, the sound is amazing, and a great backdrop for the dialogue and action. Watching Madlax shoot people isn’t nearly half as fun if your speakers are busted.
I loved Noir, but I think it was a bit rough around the edges and clumsy with plot development. Madlax has a tighter plot, better animation, a bigger, better-rounded cast, and a stronger conclusion. Worth watching if you like Noir, Kajiura, Bee Train, or gunfights. :) Or really mild yuri implications. I don’t know. It’s a plausible reason. XD
Madlax is the 2nd anime from the trilogy made by Bee Train dubbed ''Girls with Guns'' but right now it feels more like ''Girls without Memory'' because of the theme of girls not remembering their past both in Noir and in Madlax and i have a feeling El Cazador (the last one of the trilogy) will be the same and not just that, the characters and the story are recycled, it feels like a little downgraded version of Noir and i will point out why is so similar.
The story if you have seen Noir will feel really similar, like if you are re-watching Noir with
a little bit of changes here and there and with a more confusing story, not just confusing but a lot of repeating memories of the past and flashbacks just like in Noir but more in here, the story is focused on the human nature (like in Noir) and how to deal with it. Just like in Noir the story is about girls that can't remember who they are or why they are doing what they do in the present, not just two girls this time but 4 people that are connected but they don't have a clue of it, the thing is that it's slow paced and the plot is explained (kind of) in the last episodes in which for a lot of people could seem as BS because i kind of saw it like that too but i tried to see if all made sense despite the questions that i was asking myself while watching it, if this happened why it didn't happened that one time? (i don't want to give spoiler but you will figure out if you decide to watch it to understand what i'm talking about) questions like that, things that make no sense (sorry for reminding) just like in Noir. Ep. 23 didn't make sense for a lot of things that are decisive in the last ep. I thought ep. 24 was going to be a cheap ep. because it was focused on the maid Elenor and i knew in the beginning of the ep. what was going to happen but it wasn't cheap, it was really sad, i cried because there was a lot of feelings showed by Elenor here not like in 23, that shouldn't happened. In ep. 25 i figured out the big surprise before it happened, but i think it was a good twist despite knowing what was going to happen and i thought the last episode was doing well until the last 8 minutes, that right there didn't make sense, that cannot happen, that was stupid if we follow this anime's logic, that can't be, and no it's not sad, it's a ''happy'' ending, a nonesensical one (SPOILER AHEAD, KIND OF) if that specific character gave life to a doll and then again to her other me, why she couldn't revive those two that just died in the moment she was reviving and doing god's work, she gave life to a doll, from doll to a human, come on, and at the end Madlax and that girl who always was chasing her to kill her, just because no reason at all became friends, after what she did in ep. 23 to Madlax's first and only friend, i don't buy that, i feel like this ''happy'' ending should be the one for Noir and the sad one from Noir for this one, oh and one more thing it seems one bullet shot can destroy tanks too and not only people... the story is fine but just by a little.
Art & Animation
Three years after Noir and there wasn't much improvement, a little better art style than Noir but it always had those times were in a moment looked off and there's little blood in this one but just in those important scenes, but just like in Noir there are not bullet holes and that makes it unvelievable, not as enjoyable but i think it was fine.
The sound in Madlax is good but i felt they did a better job with Noir, they even put that weird creepy song that was present in Noir, that one when they name Elda Taluta and the other two names, well that one was in Noir, and the action songs were not that enjoyable, in Noir what kept me watching were those repetitive but great songs when the action was about to start, the voice acting was good, sometimes in some scenes they didn't show emotion in their voices, but it was not always, i skipped the OP song always, it wasn't good just like the ED, in other hand Noir is better with the OP and by a little with the ED, but yeah i felt they didn't do their best with the songs.
The characters are really similar to everyone from Noir, even their personalities:
-Madlax is similar to both Kirika and Mireille, a combination of both i can point, she has the ability of killing like if she was supernatural just like Kirika and Mireille's personality but more kind, and she was ok, oh and if you ask yourself why every single enemy miss to kill her is because she is special and is revealed in the last eps.
-Margaret Burton is similar to Kirika in personality at least half and they both share the same voice actress with that soft voice, she is naive but because of what happened 12 years ago with that accident, she is left in that constant forgetting state.
-Carrossea is like Claude in appearance and the fact they both worked for the bad guys without wanting to.
-Rimelda is just like Silvana La Intocabile and both had some story with Madlax and Mireille in both the girls fearing and respecting eachother, tho i felt Rimelda was annoying, just there to annoy and resemble Silvana and make a what if of the first one.
-Quanzitta Malice is too similar to Altena and in appearance to Belladonna they both are caretakers of time they both have a special girl Nakhal and Chloe respectively, tho Malice doesn't want to manipulate the ones she guides.
-Nakhal is just like Chloe in everything, they both are really good at what they do, good at killig and both are interested in the MC Nakhal is interested in Madlax for a reason and helps her and Chloe admires Kirika and helps her too.
-Vanessa Renee was more like its own character, she was a good character to be honest, she and the Maid Elenore were good characters and Friday Monday despite having a dumb name he's a good villain, i hated that guy so he did what he was intended to be, a despicable villain but it didn't make sense that he had powers, how did he got them, he even is similar to Lord Darcia from Wolf's Rain because of the power of their eyes and having a mask.
All this things combined made a good enjoyment, i was bored at times and i didn't liked that it was recycled content, sorry for comparing it to Noir but when the same studio has a trilogy with the same story despite not being canon in both and i have yet to see the third El Cazador then i have to compare which one was better and for the record i gave Noir a 7 too but i think Noir is slightly better than Madlax in sound and story, and Madlax just a little on the art style and both are equal in characters but i enjoyed more Noir for the music that made the things better and watchable.
Before reading this recommendation, I want to notify that I have been quite rough in setting out the points. This is because of if I would set out the points the way I saw Madlax on, they would all be 10. But then again, not everyone have my taste of anime, since I'm a dramaholic and like these kinds of slow animes. Therefore, I set out these points the way I think an average watcher would rate it. But still, ofcourse there will be my own opinions in it.
Yes, the story is a bit confusing from time to times. And it proceed slowly, showing
lots of their personal life and repeating memories often. But still, it's a quite interesting story showing from a normal life to a supernatural journey. The two protagonists lives in totally different countries, living completely different lives but are connected to each other in a quite complicated way.
Yes, the art has not anything specific. It looks like any average anime. Can't really tell so much, but you know what I mean if you have watched anime from 2000 or something. Actionsequences looks cool, but there are things in some episodes that shouldnt be where they are.
This is one of the mainreasons why this is one of my favorite animes. Just as from Noir, Yuki Kajiura is the composer for the soundtrack. And all those who like Yuki Kajiura, yeah you get a picture of it. It's lovely, and it fits really much. Even though they may repeat some songs often, I couldn't care less since I love the soundtrack. Just hearing it makes me feel like a new human.
The characters are interesting just like in any of Bee Train's animes. All of their animes have at least one of those calm and complicated protagonists, which I tend to like. Madlax is kind of hot, and the rest are quite enjoyable to watch.
Yes. It's a 6. As I wrote in the beginning, I tend to like these kinds of slow animes who makes you want to think a bit for understanding the plot, their feelings and such stuff. But I know that not everyone like this, in fact this anime is FREAKINGLY slow and I know many who have dropped this because of that. Also, there are really many repeats in memories and such stuff, which could get on your nerves. Neverless, IF you liked Noir I think Madlax could be something for you. But be aware, it's even deeper then Noir.
Most of the points comes from the soundtrack and the characters. I wouldn't recommend this anime to people who didn't liked Noir or El Cazado or doesn't like drama at all. This anime got so much drama that the humans ego couldn't even be compared to it. But I loved it, and if you like drama here is the anime for you. It got beauty in it too.