Madonna (2002)
Review by Dindrane

Written by Ikuko Kujirai
Directed by Akinori Nagaoka
Character Design by Minoru Maeda
American production and distribution by Anime Works


Dindrane's Anime Warnings:

Rating: suggest for 13+

Anamorphic: N/A, appears in its original 1.33:1 format

My Advice: Burn it.

First, I would like to make one thing perfectly clear. I love Anime. I have loved and defended Anime titles that other diehard otaku thought were silly, girly, or just plain badly dubbed. I don't think that all Anime should be as complex as Akira or as funny as Ranma. I don't mind panty shots, and even the occasional naughty tentacle doesn't bother me too much. My love is pure, and it is deep. So when someone dares to do to Anime what Madonna does to Anime... I can't help but feel like a mother bear whose cubs have just been attacked by ravening marketing directors trying to make a buck off the thirteen-year-old boys who think anything Anime is cool.

The premise of Madonna is promising enough for a comedy: young teacher Mako is assigned the roughest, rowdiest class of hoodlums in the boy's school where she works. Their only concern is to hold her down and see what underwear she is wearing. If that wasn't enough, the principal decides to make her the rugby coach when she knows nothing of rugby. The only scene in this entire 104 minute movie that isn't excruciatingly bad happens at the end, during the only rugby match. And even that scene will remind you more of The Mighty Ducks Go Bad than anything worthy of a cinematic award. Too bad that scene is too little too late.

The animation is mediocre at best, though the image transfer doesn't seem to be at fault here. The sound quality is also quite good; believe me, there will be times when you wish it weren't. Anime Works did its best with what they were given, but there's just only so much you can do with this. I found myself really feeling quite sorry for the underling animators, the translators, etc. who were told to work on this thing and had no say in the matter, but whose names appear on the packaging.

As for the features, there aren't any. Anime Works surely knew that they weren't aiming at the top of the line, die-hard otaku; the packaging is decent enough, but there are no features at all. None. You can't even watch Madonna in English--your only language choice is Japanese with English subtitles you can't turn off. There is no menu. There is no scene selection. Seriously. I checked. No galleries of still shots, no interview with the creators to ask them what they were thinking... nothing. It's like a video tape, only thinner.

If you happen to be wildly amused by irritating teenage boys tormenting their teacher with ridiculous, repressed sexuality, then Madonna just might be for you. If on the other hand, you actually want intelligence, real wit, a decent, coherent storyline, or basically anything that makes film worthwhile, then Madonna is _not_ for you, and you will probably want to run screaming anytime you see its cheerful multicolor cover.

Buy it from Amazon! (At the peril of your immortal soul.)

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