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Madonna Anime DVD Review

5 min read
Take a trip back to the magical time of 1989.

Madonna, a two-episode OVA series, is the closest thing I’ve seen to an after school anime special yet. Take out the brief bits of nudity, and that’s essentially what you’ve got here.

What They Say
Mako, a sexy young teacher, comes to Gyunabe high school to enlighten young minds. What she wasn’t counting on was a class full of misfits lead by the delinquent Obayashi.

If their never ending quest to see her underwear and embarrass her in front of the whole school doesn’t force her to quit, then her principal’s brilliant idea of making her the new rugby coach will!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in Dolby Digital in stereo encoded at 192kbps. It’s no surprise that this was a title that Media Blasters felt didn’t warrant a dub, so there’s no English here beyond the soft subtitles. Considering its age, there’s little to this audio track beyond a simple stereo mix that feels like a full-on center channel mix. It’s decent but unsurprising. Dialogue is full in its feeling with nothing to be said about placement or anything but it’s coming across clear and clean without any real issues so it’s certainly serviceable. The music is decent as well though some of that may seem a little muffled if only because of how it was originally recorded.

Video:
Originally released in 1989, this two-part OVA series is presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio. The episodes feature a pretty simple style that comes across in this transfer pretty well. While it’s not an eye-catching show with visual flair, the transfer brings out the colors without them being oversaturated or bleeding. There’s very little in the way cross coloration and some varied instances of line shimmering due to some detailed line work in a few areas. Some of the backgrounds do look like they’re blocking up on occasion, particularly the green chalkboards.

Packaging:
The front cover is an overly active one with lots of character shots (of the same characters in different outfits) with the white cut and paste borders around them. Or call it edge enhancement, something that used to be such an issue with anime DVD encoding well over a decade ago! The back cover features a few animation shots and a very brief summary of the show. The insert uses part of the front cover artwork and lists the chapter stops here as well.

Menu:
None. If you hit menu, it takes you back to the beginning of the disc.

Extras:
See: Menu.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Madonna is the story of Mako Domon, a newly graduated teacher who gets her first assignment at Ushi High School. She’s assigned to class 2-D, which as it turns out, is the worst class in the worst school. Her first few minutes there, after she writes her name, she turns around only to find that the all-male class have taken their pants off and are just showing their goods to her.

So begins the rough and tumble life of a girl who just wants to do good, have her summers off and teach the kids. There’s a small clique of boys within the class that’s the center of power and they’re the ones that tend to get into and cause the most trouble. They’re also not the best fighters in the world either, as Mako comes across them in a mall and finds them completely roughed up after an encounter with a nearby school. They all seem to get along better after this, but there’s still plenty of tension. In the end, the boys seem a bit more like boys instead of just rejects from Apocalypse Zero for being too normal.

When Mako realizes she can’t deal with it anymore, she goes to the principal to give her notice of resignation. But even that can’t go right as she ends up being snookered into being the advisor for the newly reformed Rugby team. Members? None. She’s gotta recruit them. So we go through the bit of the ruffians joining the Rugby team for their own reasons (so they can go beat up the guys who beat them up). And we get Mako trying to make the team a real team and dealing with the completely dilapidated club. And learning the sport too.

Honestly, if at this point you can’t see how things are going to go, you’ve never seen an after school special. It’s all laid out pretty plain. The second episode follows up the first by sending them all to a Rugby camp to learn to play better, only to find that this summer Rugby camp is at the same school, and so on and so forth. The material isn’t bad, and I did find myself chuckling several times, but I also laughed at the same things during the after school specials I used to end up watching when wanting to avoid homework.

Strangely, the title is rated 13 which I found somewhat surprising after finding at least one attempted rape sequence and a fair bit of nudity throughout. It feels more of a 16 rating, but that’s just me. Ah, anime, how you just casually throw such things in without warning.

In Summary:
Madonna’s not bad really and if you like the really warped looking character designs, you’ll find some good punk ones in here. Mako as the only attractive woman in the show though is a real stretch as I couldn’t find the character attractive at all. I have an affection for older designs and things from days long gone by but this one just felt lew quality throughout even while likely sticking close to the source material. Rugby fans will be pleased to have their sport shown here as it’s not one that gets a lot of attention in anime but that’s about the only saving grace.

Features
Japanese Language, English Subtitles

Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: N/A
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: January 22nd, 2002
MSRP: $24.95
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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