Pros: Funny, affordable, decent characters
Cons: Older animation style, no chapter selection or menu
I like to watch anime, and seem to put more anime into my media collection than any other genre of film. I bought Akinori Nagaoka’s Madonna because it was older, I had yet to see it, and it was available for $5. To be honest, I didn’t expect much from it, and I knew I wouldn’t be an absolute fan of the older animation style, but it was better than I thought it would be.
Madonna was licensed by Media Blaster, and distributed by Anime Works. It was completed in 1989, and contains 2 episodes, each lasting 50 minutes. This is a single disk volume with a few things I did not care for. There is no menu, really. I put the movie in, and it plays. I cannot choose between chapters (each episode has 6). So, if I watch the first episode first and then shut down the movie, I have to skip ahead several times before I can continue where I left off. It is annoying, because I have gotten so spoiled with “Chapter Selections” with other movies. One other thing is that the subtitles cannot be turned on or off. English is the only available subtitle language and the spoken language is Japanese.
Madonna is about an attractive young teacher named Domon Mako and her hoodlum students who are always flirting with her. She is somewhat serious about teaching, but they seem more serious about harassing her then learning. Things start to change when she is put in charge of the rugby team and these students are now the players. Can they possibly change their ways? Can they even win a match? Or is Mako doomed to fail as a teacher?
This anime is not for kids, unless they are older, such as around the age of 16. It’s not like there is any nudity or anything and there is no sex, but it is vulgar because of the profanity and the students always trying to get with the teacher. It is one of those “boys will be boys” movies. The characters are pretty funny and some of the things they do are sort of slapstick, and I enjoyed it. Usually movies such as this bore me to tears because they are so corny, but this one didn’t do that. Despite all the pranks and craziness, it had a decent little story line to it. It showed how people can change, even if a little. I found the characters a bit obnoxious in the beginning, but by the end, I had already picked out favorites.
Some of my favorites are Obayashi, which is sort of the head-dude-in-charge of the students. He can be pretty comical in his actions, though I’m not sure if the majority of them are meant to be; he tries to be tough. The others I liked are Daigo and Gonta. It is funny to watch Mako get so frustrated with her job, but if I were her, I would have handed in my resignation by Day 3. But,I can imagine how boring this anime would have been, had she done that.
The animation is of the older style where the colors aren’t as vibrant and the lines a little thicker. I much, much prefer the animation style we see today because everything is brighter, cleaner, and the characters are so much cuter. But, this type always makes me feel nostalgic, so it’s not so bad. The music on this anime is fairly generic. One of the openers is “Do You Remember?” by Minako Honda, and the other is “Honey Moon” by Yuu Hayami. I couldn’t see either one as ever being a hit. But, still, it meshes well with the anime and after listening to them several times, they sort of grew on me a little.
In all, I liked the anime. It was worth its sticker price, at any rate. I would not recommend it to children unless they were older teens who are a little more mature. As an adult viewing it, though, I found it to be more funny than vulgar.