Metal Skin Panic Madox-01

I realized a while back that I needed to update my old reviews. Most of them lasting only a few lines, they just didn't do most shows justice, even the terrible ones. However, with Madox-01, I can't help but feel within my rights to have written just six lines. A short OVA from 1987, there's just the skimpiest plot threaded around a bunch of action sequences. Not much to talk about...or is there? A surprisingly beautiful release for its time, Madox-01 is completely lightweight but completely enjoyable.

In the opening sequence, female test pilot Kusomoto Elle proves the awesome firepower of the new prototype mecha called Madox-01 by soundly defeating a mechanized tank squadron led by Lieutenant Kilgore. It's obvious that the new mech will be the key to future military endeavors, at least until the armed forces idiotically lose the prototype while it's being transported across town. Sujimoto Kouji, an engineering student trying to balance school and his girlfriend, happens upon it with a friend and glances through the instruction manual. Before you can say "don't touch that red button," Kouji finds himself stuck in this powersuit that virtually runs itself out into the Tokyo nightlife. Elle wants to get the Madox back, the slightly mad Kilgore wants to destroy the thing (with Kouji in it!) to prove his own ubertank's superiority, and Kouji just wants to get to his date that represents his last shot at happiness. So what's a guy trapped in a mobile suit supposed to do?

Madox-01 is essentially a send-up, a broad comedy that tries to insert some silliness into the all-too-stoic mecha genre. Some of it works, and some of it doesn't. Part of the problem is the program's length. Although AnimEigo lists the videotape as being 51 minutes long, the original Japanese LD I've watched barely lasts a half-hour. There's just not enough time to really mesh with the story or the characters, so the players wind up little more than stereotypes. It also means that, for the cost, you're not really getting much of a show, which I had to consider in my rating.

However, Madox-01 is still a nice (if short) piece of work. Though the animation has been far surpassed, when it was first released, it was a great-looking endeavor, and it still looks very nice even now. Unique character designs reminiscent of Yasuomi Umetsu's angular statures grace this show with a distinctive presence. The music is dated, but it still fits the show. And then, of course, are all the skirmishes. Madox-01 keeps moving and moving and moving. When my original review said, "violence ensues," I wasn't kidding. For the straight action fan, this will be one for the library. They may not be the be-all, end-all, everything explodes in a glorious fireball fights that some shows promise, but they are well animated and well choreographed. They are what make this show a personal guilty pleasure.

Not every show pines to be a classic, and Madox-01 certainly isn't one. However, as diversionary entertainment on a Saturday night, I recommend it, particularly as a rental. Madox-01 is short on plot and characterization, but it's also goofy, good natured, and action-packed.

Metal Skin Panic Madox-01 -- violence -- B