Fucking MADLAX Episode 3

While it was still a boring slog, at least the first episode of this show had a good ratio of screentime to bullets fired. Episodes two and three have been nothing but relentlessly boring shit. That’s why Madlax doesn’t qualify as “awesomely bad”—it’s not fun to watch. I only start getting worth out of it when I ruthlessly tear it to shreds on my repeat viewings (yes, I actually watch these fuckers twice for each post.)

First image of the ep, and fastest an ep of anime has ever made me rage.

The lack of flagrant terribadness is why Bee Train shows don’t have bad reputations (in fact, most of them are quite popular. Madlax’s MAL stats are favorable, which fucking hurts.) People who aren’t all that discerning just enjoy the shows for what they are, while those who recognize that what they’re watching is bad aren’t offended enough to really rag on the show—more likely, they just quietly drop it (as I did with my first few Bee Train experiences before realizing the trend in bad shows coming from the studio.)

But these shows ARE bad—terribly fucking bad, at that. They won’t get the reputation that terribad anime like Odin, Garzey’s Wing, and Eiken get, because 1. they tend to be long, 2. they aren’t fun to watch, and 3. there’s a decently sized crowd that genuinely enjoys them (how, I will never understand). That’s why, out of all the terribad anime that I could pick apart and laugh at, Bee Train is the thing I go after. Not only has the studio offended me on a direct level many times, but they’re begging for someone to take them down.

Enough about that—let’s get started on episode three.

For once, there’s actually a fucking blue moon in this episode. Even the subtitle, -moon-, while redundant, is technically accurate this time. I’ll give it that; one point for Madlax.

The concept of this episode is that an army commander, Guen McNichol, has ordered a hit on himself. It’s important to the emotional climax of the episode that Madlax knows this already, which is why she asks who the client for the assassination is, even though she probably doesn’t usually ask and probably shouldn’t be allowed to know. Let’s leave aside that contrivance for now—I wonder if they can somehow get this plot to make sense.

[Spoiler: They can’t; they’re fucking Bee Train.]

Right now, I’m collecting the elements. This episode has a lot of exposition, so the real question is: will all this exposition eventually come to a sensible climax? Here’s what we know so far:

– Guen is the army commander of Gazth-Sonicka (apparently the fictional country that this show takes place in, though Margaret seems unaware of this fact.) [Edit: Margaret is apparently in a different country. I have no idea what it is.]

– Guen says that if the Galza insurgence doesn’t stop their fighting, then he’s going to call in foreign aid.

– Some kind of pact says that no bullets can be fired in the capitol city, though why the insurgence is playing by rules like this, I have no bloody idea.

– Apparently, Guen is one of the engineers of the civil war (apparently, this is a civil war.) Also, it’s been going for twelve god damn years.

Apparently.

[Fuck, there are so many panning shots in this episode, minutes are going by with nothing fucking happening.]

Two seconds ago, Madlax was alone on the roof. Then, this mean-looking lady came up and started talking to her… and suddenly, there are also armed guards here as well. They’ve already surrounded the place.

In-between cuts, one of the guys switched back to door patrol. I’m not sure what good the guy who’s standing *behind* the door is doing anyway. Fuck, neither of these guys is in a good control position.

[Later, during the assassination scene, the guards are back in the exact places they were in the first shot.]

I can’t comment on economics, so I’m just going to point this out, assume it’s stupid as shit, and if it is, then the economist readers can share a chuckle.

By the way, this whole conversation revolves around Madlax’s lie that she’s a random tourist who happens to be on the roof overlooking a military compound during a period of high security. I’m not saying the military people are buying it; I’m just wondering why they didn’t simply drag her the fuck out of there.

Madlax comments that the woman has muscles built up on the places mentioned above. Again, I’m no expert, but does being a sniper really give you noticeably enhanced muscles in those places? How much fucking sniping is she doing?

An annoying scene with a loll happens and gives me an idea: this loli is both Madlax and Margaret. The visions from both of their pasts connect to the appearance and situations that this loll has shown up in. Also, if you combined Margaret and Madlax’s hair colors/styles, you’d get the loli’s. Will store this theory in mind for now.

Madlax is coyly wrapped up in Guen’s curtains, and it’s completely obvious that she’s going to be wearing her red dress. The act is just faggotry for the hell of it.

If you thought Madlax was going to ask Guen why he wants to kill himself, then, like Guen, you’re wrong. She asks this instead. He says “it was painful,” and

bla bla bla…

Basically, he’s just regular old suicidal. Why not just let Madlax kill him here? Why does he have to be sniped while giving an important speech?

… whatever.

Tits.

And here goes Bee Train wasting another opportunity to do something special. Madlax and Guen are supposed to be dancing together, but instead we get one long, awkward, vertically-scrolling still of them in a vaguely dance-like pose. In a decent—or even less-than-decent—anime this would be an opportunity to invite a good sakuga key animator, do something dramatic even if just for a couple of seconds, and win the hearts of the viewers even if the story couldn’t. But this is Bee Train, and all hope is perpetually lost.

For all of our sakes, we’ll assume that Madlax and Guen fucked immediately after this scene. It makes me feel way better about life that way.

Madlax’s assassination succeeds because she was able to pull the shot off from farther away than the military snipers had thought possible. While I can accept Madlax’s super-distant-sight capabilities, the limitations of her weapon should be a problem. Madlax performs this kill with a regular sniper rifle, not with a souped-up pro tool thing like Golgo would use. This gun isn’t meant to be fired from even further away than a real sniper should be able to hit from. Moreover, the bullet goes right through the bullet-proof shielding that protects Guen. Why bother with bullet-proofing if it can’t even defend against a bullet from a weak gun at a huge distance? [Because fuck research, this studio doesn’t care.]

Madlax then stares at her target through the scope instead of getting the fuck out of dodge, considering that she knows a pro sniper is just waiting for this shit to happen. By the way, where is that pro sniper? Why isn’t she ready for this shit somewhere?

Oh, there she is, standing in the back of a jeep trying to snipe Madlax—who, of course, is faster, but for some reason relents and only shoots the woman’s hat off—probably so the woman can come back in a later episode and get her ass handed to her just as badly a second time. That’s the only reason I can think of that Madlax would spare someone who met her previously and now knows that she’s the one who killed Guen, making her a bigger threat than any of the random mooks Madlax has slaughtered throughout the show.

Some foreshadowing gets thrown around—the sniper team only got owned this time because they were following orders from the security people. If the elite guard was here (why the fuck weren’t they?), then this wouldn’t happen.

Oh, and hey, this guy’s heard a rumor that there’s an amazing young assassin woman running around, and her name is Madlax. So now the sniper has her name, too. Fuckin’ A.

After some more panning shots and dialog making it clear that Guen’s death accomplished absolutely nothing, the episode ends. I’ll see you again next week with what will hopefully be the episode where Madlax and Margaret meet (you know, so they can share disjointed, nonsensical dialog together.)

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