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Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01

Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Metal Skin Panic: MADOX-01 is a fun, fast, OAV that shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

After all, it doesn’t. 🙂

The Story

The pieces that make up MADOX-01 are pretty formulaic: the mecha that accidentally falls[1] into the hands of the main character Koji, the humiliated tank driver Lt Kilgore[2] seeking revenge on the eponymous MADOX-01, Koji needing to meet his girlfriend in Shinjuku before her parents’ ship her overseas[3].

It’s what MADOX-01 does with the pieces that makes it fun.

Despite, or perhaps because of, being an engineering student, Koji doesn’t quite RTFM. Oh, he reads some of the manual, just enough to get trapped in the MADOX-01.

Koji then decides that “hell with it, I’m dressed up anyway, I’d better go meet up with Shiori.”

Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Koji struggles to bring the MADOX-01 under control. Along the way he crashes into a convenience store, picks up a packaged meal, and asks the attendants to microwave it for him[4].

Followed by a scene of Koji attempting to eat shrimp, with chopsticks, in powered armour. He’s surprisingly good at it.

This is the first of a couple of scenes of Koji attempting to be “ordinary” whilst making his way to Shinjuku: stopping at traffic lights, getting the MADOX-01 filled up with diesel[5], dealing with road rage in a fairly creative way.

These are more vignettes rather than full scenes but they add to the sense of fun about MADOX-01, and heighten the contrast between Koji and Kilgore.

That contrast is the key to how the battle between Koji and Kilgore gets resolved. In a sense, Koji basically says “you’re crazy, I’m out of here” and manages to pull it off.

Wrap it up with a successful reunion with Shiori and that’s it for a fun, short, anime.

The Problems

MADOX-01 does have its problems. The casual sexism in one of the opening scenes is utterly cringe inducing. Look, our amazing weapon system just defeated four tanks even though it was piloted by a WOMAN!

Sigh.

Never mind that the woman in question is a senior developer on the project, and clearly knows MADOX-01 inside and out.

Next up is the idiocy in shipping the MADOX-01 fully armed, although to be fair this is actually acknowledged in the story as having been a mistake.

Next up is the representations of tank combat. No, just no. Look, even Girls Und Panzer knows that you need at least three people to crew a tank, and there’s no sign of Kilgore having any crew at all.

Finally, the less said about Kilgore’s prototype tank the better, although given that this is a show with a mecha in it, that’s probably forgivable as well.

The Surprising

There was one problem I was expecting to see in this show, and didn’t: Zeerust, the dated future. MADOX-01 was made in 1987, and there are number of shows from that vintage that have been hit by this – Gunbuster and Patlabor spring to mind.

MADOX-01 mostly dodges this bullet. Even now the feel is about right with the most obvious candidates, computers, either not shown or shown in a way that doesn’t jar a modern viewer too much.

The exception of course being the complete absence of mobile phones, but you can’t have everything.

The Verdict

Whatever else can be said for Metal Skin Panic: MADOX-01, this is a fun show that won’t waste your time. The comedic timing is spot on, the action sequences work well, and it wraps up the (admittedly slight) story in a tight 45 minute show. Recommended if you can find it [6].

[1] Shipped complete with the manual, in scramble mode, and with a full load out. Your suspension of disbelief may snap now.
[2] To paraphrase Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Kilgore is not playing with a full deck. He has almost no deck. He has a three.
[3] Allegedly to be a foreign exchange student, but Koji is the real reason. This bit comes complete with romantic flashback.
[4] I have no idea how he reached his wallet to pay for the meal. Try not to think about it, that way lies madness.
[5] See previous comment re wallet.
[6] I’m not sure of the current availability. Interestingly this was the A-side of the Animeigo Laser Disc that also has Riding Bean on it, and I think Riding Bean is now the much better known title. For a start Riding Bean has a TV Tropes page, and MADOX-01 doesn’t.

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