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Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01

Entry updated 3 July 2023. Tagged: Film.

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1987). AIC, Artmic. Directed and written by Shinji Aramaki. Voice cast includes Youko Asagami, Yukiko Ishida, Yasunori Matsumoto and Kazuyuki Sogabe. 42 minutes. Colour.

Wearing Powered Armour, for which she designed the software, Ellie Kusumoto (Asagami) defeats a group of remote-controlled US tanks in the hope of selling it to their military. Afterwards the vehicle transporting the device is involved in an accident whilst crossing a Tokyo bridge, sending the armour falling through the roof of a truck parked below. The US army assume the vanished equipment – known as Slave Driver MADOX-01 – has been stolen by the Eastern Bloc (see Cold War) or terrorists. They task Lt Kilgore (Sogabe) with finding it: this was not a wise choice as he had been controlling the tanks defeated by MADOX-1, which left him humiliated and vowing revenge.

The van belongs to a company employing Sugimoto Koji (Matsumoto), an engineering student; finding an operating manual, he decides to play around with the MADOX-01, but ends up activating it – which sends a signal notifying the army. Koji finds himself locked in the armour, but doesn't want to miss a date with his girlfriend Shiori (Ishida) so travels across Tokyo to meet her. Before confronting MADOX-1 Kilgore informs Kusumoto he's not concerned about collateral damage, so she dons MADOX-0, an earlier prototype, in the hope of getting to MADOX-1 first. The military attack Koji: this causes the armour's automatic defence system to kick in, destroying a helicopter, so a fight ensues. Kusumoto arrives and gets to ask him what he's doing, but for some reason he chooses to respond, "None of your business!" Fortunately, after a battle, she manages to immobilize his suit and he tells all; unfortunately, Kilgore still wants to restore his pride by defeating MADOX-1. He has the army immobilize MADOX-0, so a powered armour vs tank battle duly takes place in the multi-storey car park where Shiori waits: inevitably Koji defeats Kilgore then meets up with Shiori.

The part of the film where Koji crosses Tokyo in powered armour – buying and trying to eat shrimp, forced to walk in pedestrian-only zones – is fairly entertaining (see Humour); the battle scenes are adequate, making this a moderately fun but unremarkable Anime. As the film is only 42 minutes long, the OVA is padded out with a six-minute live-action documentary about Japanese and US tanks. [SP]


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