Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01
Sugimoto Koji was just a typical college student until the day the military robot MADOX-01 literally fell into his life, off the back of a military truck. While tinkering with it, as any curious wannabe pilot shouldn't, he finds himself trapped inside, and before long, he's fighting for his life against the fanatic Lt. Kilgore, trying not to destroy too much property, and figuring out that handling chopsticks is ten times harder with mecha. And he's late for his date with his girlfriend. Not to mention there's that other MADOX pilot, Ellie, in the picture.
Today's lesson: if you value your love life, don't touch that mecha.
MADOX-01 has the distinction of being AnimEigo's first videotape release ever. Anime has come a long way since then, and this title is showing signs of that age. The character designs and animation are obviously dated, and the story's very simple sci-fi action comedy, but MADOX-01 remains enjoyable and funny today as it was in the mid-80s when it was made.
Where MADOX shines is in the sight gags, which, though predictable, are handled lighthandedly and tongue-in-cheek. The most memorable scene, of course, can be seen in the trailers, where Koji, trapped in the MADOX, crashes into a convenience store, buys a bento, and tries eating shrimp with chopsticks. But the situation Koji is in lends itself quite well to comedy, and the writing earns passing grades, at least for a one-shot. Of course, I wouldn't be so silly to get myself stuck in a mecha suit, but I'd react pretty panicked myself if I did. That Koji deals with the situation well enough is nice - at least the main characters aren't incredibly stupid, except for the dumb American Lt. Kilgore (naturally).
The action sequences, however, are zippy and do have an element of danger. Kilgore has no intention of letting Koji escape alive, despite eventual orders to the contrary, and he zooms about Tokyo like a madcap Brittain from Dominion Tank Police, but nowhere as benign. That's where Ellie comes in - and the nice thing here is that the female lead doesn't supplant the girlfriend as a love interest, unlike so many other action films. Ellie is simply there to do her job and make sure her charge gets out alive, and she's no-nonsense enough to pull it off (though she's plenty charming too).
Of course, you know how it's going to end (this isn't MD Geist here!) but MADOX-01 is an enjoyable hour-long diversion that certainly doesn't break any boundaries in comparison to today's glossy, high-detail anime, but remains a genuinely entertaining story after all these years, even if it's pretty much an improbable situation. Remember, just because it's older doesn't mean it isn't worth watching. This title certainly is.
A charming little parody that's a fun one-shot. Nothing more, nothing less. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: There's a bit of mecha violence here and there, as to be expected. Explosions, gunshots, et cetera. No onscreen deaths, and I don't remember there being any language or nudity to speak of. Akin to a kinder, gentler Robocop.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 © 1987 Artmic / Soeishinsha / Pony Canyon
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