Kiddy Grade is an action/ fanservice laden anime that I thought would be good if I wanted to turn off my brain and marathon something. However, even with this low standard I set, it still didn’t fare as well as I hoped. This is primarily due to the first third and the last third of the series.
To avoid any spoilers I’ll split Kiddy Grade in 3 parts, first third, middle, and last third. The first third consisted of standalone episodes that were designed to let the viewer get familiar/learn about the characters. This is a pretty standard format that many 2
kour series follow. First, have an episodic beginning to get to know the characters while giving clues to the bigger story that would start later. Many times series wait too long to get on with the story. In this case, I though that the first third was simply mediocre and it really didn’t get me interested in the characters. Also, there was way too much fanservice… Ok, let me rephrase that, too much loli fanservice. Even the action scenes were kind of boring to me. In fact, right now I have trouble remembering anything during the first third of Kiddy Grade.
Much to my surprise during the middle it actually got good. The main story starts to move and the action scenes were quite exciting/good. Let me just say, here is where we find about the past of our two heroines. Éclair especially, has become more interesting. However, I wouldn’t say there was character development, rather they showed us what was already there. Sadly the third arc simply isn’t as good as the middle. While there was lots of intense action, much of which is very well animated, there were way too many dues ex machina and poor writing in general. The writers seemed to want to put in as many twists as humanly possible. Many times I said to myself “you can’t expect us to believe that!” In short, the last third was a complete mess (hmm Gonzo messing up the end of a series, surprise surprise).
As I said before the animation is quite good. As it should as the 2 main draws of Kiddy Grade are the action scenes and fanservice. Not much to say about the action scenes as this seems to be one of Gonzo’s big budget titles. Expect lots of well choreographed fight scenes with plenty of flash. Character designs are quite nice however, I’m not too fond of Éclair and Lumiere “current” look…
Oh, as for the characters, there isn’t much in terms of character development. Instead we learn what was already there via flashbacks. The most interesting character is Éclair and since it featured such a huge cast we don’t really get to know the other characters very well.
Anyway, was Kiddy Grade the action packed, fanservicey anime I expected? Yes, there was plenty of action and fanservice and it is especially suited for mindless watching. However, at the same time it had a poor beginning that makes it hard to start. Furthermore, the last third was completely garbled and even with my brain turned off I had a hard to accepting many of the events. There was quite a bit of potential shown in the middle, sadly it was never realized. Who knows maybe Kiddy Grade 2 will actually utilize this potential.
Some of the stuff I mention is already touched upon in other reviews, however I watched Kiddy Grade dubbed, so in case you are wondering what that was like...
There were some things I liked about this show, but also a lot of things I did not. I wouldn't say don't watch this show, but if I had to give someone a list of recommendations, it probably wouldn't come to mind. I'll give it credit, at least the series has AN ending, which in my experience is a feat in of itself when it comes to anime. It's a fun show to watch if you can
tolerate some iffy writing (and a great show if you're really into ecchi). Kiddy Grade was surprisingly well on its way to being a "good" anime. The way the quarter end is handled however makes it an average anime at best, and wank material for homo/pedo fetishists at worst.
The first episode was a real challenge to sit through. It gave an uneasy impression of a cheap show with overwhelming amounts of pandering and fanservice. There were also a couple of obnoxious things, like the random use of french (to add some much needed class?) and unnecessary slashes in the episode titles. Fortunately, a story eventually does manage to emerge inbetween the gratuitous panty shots and cleavage closeups (oh ho ho!). Unfortunately, Kiddy Grade is another entry on the long list of anime suffering from "Cancerous Writing Syndrome." They build up this background and plot that almost looks as if it'll be unique and interesting, and then they unleash a beast of such fierce banality (episode 19) that everything gets defenestrated. Why do so many shows do this? Just when you think there might be something you can take seriously, they either make it redundant or just outright contradict it.
I mention this not as an illustration of my disdain for the show so much as my genuine disappointment in it. The use of mystery and sci-fi elements were entertaining enough to keep my interest. I was also fairly amused by the creative use of things like nanobots, lipstick whips and overpowered suitcases. For all their creativity however there was an equal amount (if not more) of ridiculous dialogue, cheesy moments, cliche exposition and other eye-rolling exercises. Still, it's the suicidal deus ex machina towards the end that really ushers in the catastrophic nosedive. The story gets simultaneously insipid and convoluted, and yet despite this dichotomy, it still somehow manages to resolve things in the most generic of fashions. To top this off, the shameless exploitation returns with a perverted vengeance. So... if you don't like the way this show begins, you probably won't like the way it ends either.
There wasn't really much there in terms of characters, they're all kind of cycled through hastily, but I expected as much. I didn't have a problem with any of the characters per se, other than they're all pretty recycled. Here's a rough breakdown: a main character who is the greatest [whatever], a trusty and crafty sidekick, rivalrous friends (or frienemies), a hard-nosed yet kind-at-heart boss, a mysterious yet conveniently helpful guy, and of course the meddling antics of characters who are as good at concealing their alignments as they are at not revealing their diabolical plans.
The animation was pretty good. Very similar to Full Metal Panic, which would make sense, since they shared the same animation studio. There were some cool character designs as well. I really liked Eclairs first costume, Tweedle-Dee's china dress was also very nice.
The opening/ending songs actually grew on me O_O
And I thought the bg music was fine (though perhaps a little too much use of the suspense horn).
I have no idea if this show is any better subbed, but here's a sample of the wonderful dialogue from Kiddy Grade (ep. 19):
[Two villains are giving chase to the heroines]
Villain 1: Where do they think they're going?
Villain 2: Nowhere. We're coming up on a dead end
Villain 1: A dead end? How appropriate it will be for them... in more ways than one.
A "diverse" series that manages to accomplish far more than one might expect.
As always, my reviews are spoiler free.
When you look at the cover of Kiddy Grade, your first thought might be, "Oh look, scantily clad women with super powers fighting bad guys. I think I've seen this one before." You might laugh at the mecha, ecchi, and sci-fi tags and never watch it. The title might even scare you away.
To some degree, you would be correct in your thought. Kiddy Grade is about scantily clad women with super powers fighting bad guys, after all. There are robots, space
ships, pseudo-science, super powers, guns, and panty shots. I have no idea what Gonzo was thinking when they titled it. The first episode throws it all out on the table in one big mess, and anyone would be taken aback. But slowly, it finds a way to tie it all together into a series that deserves a lot more praise than it normally gets.
Story - 6/10
With a mix of episodic plots making up several different arcs, Kiddy Grade tries to tell a lot of stories at once. Give me just a moment to compare it to a crowd's favorite action series, Black Lagoon.
Like Black Lagoon, it relies on action to keep you watching. Neither show is character driven, and neither is driven by a deep and complex plot. Both series accomplish their goal of sucking you in with action, albeit in different ways. Black Lagoon is about guns, and while there are more than a few times that you have to suspend disbelief, it has its feet firmly planted in the world of reality. Kiddy Grade, on the other hand, is not bound to our reality in any way. It takes full liberty with this, as you can see by all the tags. The first episode really hits it hard. Receptionists fighting robots, then boarding a spaceship for a fight with a gang of criminals, posing a pizza delivery girls? You read right, and I think a lot of people would close MPC or turn off their DVD player right about now. I wouldn't blame you. But give it a little time and things drop into place.
In a nutshell:
Éclair and Lumière are agents for the Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs (GOTT) and they go on a number of different missions, escorting officials and keeping order on problematic planets. They regularly interact with other agents of the GOTT, with whom they are on mixed terms. Eventually, however, a mission goes wrong and the GOTT is after them. During these arcs, there are sometime single episodic plots.
Like Black Lagoon, it is not very strong in the plot department. So why a 6, and not a 4 or 5? Black Lagoon uses the bounty hunter roll to tie the gunfights together, with the crew encountering events and people who drive the short mini-arcs. Kiddy Grade does the same thing, but with the tie of being agents, then criminals, of the the GOTT. Black Lagoon is more relatable, but in my opinion Kiddy Grade is more interesting and creative if you are at all a fan of science fiction.
After the first episode, things quiet down a bit. There are no more absurd pizza delivery outfits. The fights have better explanation and follow-through. You are exposed to a massive, diverse world of science fiction throughout the series, but it comes in much more manageable doses.
It can get a bit dark and serious, but it carries itself lightly throughout most of the series.
Animation - 7/10
Released in 2002, the series looks good even today. The action scenes are all fluid, and the character designs are very nice. I enjoyed all the uniforms and costumes you encounter throughout the series. If I was to have one complaint, it would be the minimum amount of effort put in the backgrounds.
On fanservice... yes, it's there, no doubt about it. There are a few times it's a little too blatant (like that terrible first episode), but it doesn't really detract from the series overall. I would go as far as to say many action series have more.
Sound - 6/10
It's really nothing too special, good or bad. The sub and dub have equally good casts (early Hirano Aya and Monica Rial). I'll push it from a 5 to a 6 since it has a great voice cast for both languages.
Characters - 8/10
The heroines are Éclair and Lumière, who are given a surprising amount of back story for a series of this nature. Éclair's power is pretty basic: super strength, reflexes, etc. She's a tank. She is enthusiastic, short tempered, and excitable. Lumière has the power to take control of electronics, which has some cool applications in the series. She has a strong love of grape juice and serves as the level headed partner. They really make a great pair, with a lot of chemistry between them as partners (and maybe more, if your yuri goggles are on tight enough).
There is great arc explaining their pasts and how being an agent for the GOTT works. This is more than can be said for most action driven shows, expecting you to swallow a one dimensional character. It takes awhile, but the pair becomes well developed. The same cannot be said of the side cast, but they are interesting enough and perform their roles adequately. The main pair of villains (who I will not mention due to spoilers) are fleshed out quite a bit as well.
Enjoyment - 9/10
I feel as though I gradually explained it throughout this longer-than-expected review. To sum it up:
-Great pair of heroines who are well developed and work very well together
-Interesting setting once you absorb it
-Fun plot that smooths out over time
-Creative story tying good action scenes together.
I've really been rambling long enough, but...
Give it a few episodes before making a call. The first one is pretty over the top, but the series really does deserve a chance.
Thanks for reading (this longer than intended) review.
A Space-Opera in 3 acts, "Kiddy Grade" in my (humble) oppinion should rightfully be regarded as a Classic of the Genre.
Although, as many are quick to point-out, the show is off to a "Slow Start" [spoiler]Which apparently involves fighting five armed Cyborgs bare-handed and foregoing an inter-Planetary War[/spoiler], somehow it manages to never seem boring, if maybe a bit easy-going at times.
To that i have to attribute the copious doses of fanservice, splendid mecha graphics, and to a lesser extent the Classical Victorian style implemented in the artwork, from balroom-dances to Lumiére's schoolgirl *ahem* I mean work-uniform, which help to give the Series
a distinguished look and feel.
In the Second Chapter of the Series however, the atmosphere shifts radically as things take a turn for the worst, and thus the actual Plotline is Born. From then-on things seem increasingly bleak, as you watch what you once regarded a light-hearted-comedy unfold into Drama , also there is less Fanservice :(
The culminal point of the series leaves much to be desired, with the writhers probably exhausted form all the plot-twists in the previous chapter, they resolve to use an unprecedented number of deus-ex-machina plotpoints [spoiler]The Show itself kinda' ends with one[/spoiler], but at least they didn't forget the Fanservice this time :D
All-in all Kiddy-Grade is definetly worth watching, and not just for the Eye-Candy, but also for the morally-enriching, if poorly-presented Story, and a Universe so vast and exotic, it would make many an RPG's pale in Comparison.
...If only they hadn't gone with Gonzo :(
When I saw the first few episodes I was thrilled. Everything about this anime invited me to immediately watch the next episode and the one after and the one after. Too bad it didn't stay that way until the last episode.
Éclair and Lumière are two girls who work for the GOTT, an organization which takes care of businesses with governments all over the galaxy. These two ES member are the ones standing on the frontlines and as we follow them throughout the story they take care of pretty much everything that stands in their way from accomplishing their goal. While the anime starts
very light-hearted it becomes dark towards the end.
The problem with the story is that there are gaps, and quite a lot of them. I kept hoping that they would explain everything at the end of the series, but they didn't.
There are these tip-offs about governmental secrets, apart from that you don't get to know much more about them. Same goes for some of the events, mostly in the second half of the series. Though they truly are important events, you never really get to understand them.
I don't know what to say about the end. All of the sudden there's this battle of the century (I don't know why though) with every known character interfering. It was random but strangely touching.
I'm a bit dissatisfied with the story. It could have been a lot better.
The art was brilliant. The clothes, hairstyles, scenarios... everything looked very colorful. I also enjoyed the facial expressions. At some points the characters were really touching.
The animation was very neat too and the fight-scenes were impressive.
I also liked the opening and the ending-scenes. They weren't boring and fitted the spirit of the series.
The first thing I noticed when starting Kiddy Grade was the music. A bit old schoolish but enjoyable and a great bonus to every scene. The opening sequence was alright, the ending was very good. The tunes will still stay in my head for a while, which is good.
Éclair, she's ever excited when they encounter trouble, a bit of a tomboy even. Whereas Lumière is ever elegant and constantly drinking grapefruit juice. The characters were adorable and I immediately felt empathy for both of them.
Eclipse, their boss, well... I still don't understand what she's all about. She's one of the gaps I spoke of.
There is one thing which really bothered me. Halfway Kiddy Grade both Éclair and Lumière change appearance! It was such a bummer. After this I had a very hard time regaining faith in them, especially because I didn't like their new looks.
Though the series has it's flaws it's still quite enjoyable. There's a decent amount of action but that doesn't get in the way of character development. At the beginning it almost looks like a feel-good anime. After a while it gets more dramatic and you get sucked into it along with the characters.
It most definitely was fun to watch.
It could have been a perfect 10 on 10 anime but the gaps in the plot are just too much of a nuisance. Everything about this anime just screams that it has more potential. Too bad the creators didn't do anything with it.
I don't really understand why it says ecchi in the information column. I think I've seen two or three panties throughout the entire series, nothing more really.
Well, unlike the several other rather negative reviews of this show, I gotta say, I liked it, and I recommend it. That said, here's my take on the good and bad of the show:
Summary: Great soundtrack, emotional appeal (lots of heartwarming moments), interesting story themes. Plot not sufficiently coherent, and generally tries to do too much. Also, minor fanservice warning.
It's great for the following things:
* Characterization, especially of Éclair. Even though I'm just an ordinary person in the present, and Éclair is a superhero from a space-based future, I felt that I could relate to her and her
feelings very well. The show really does very well in portraying her emotions and her experiences in a very "show don't tell" way, and while you'll have to consult info-books (or research on the web to learn specific pieces of backstory, I found that I didn't really need to know it to feel what she's feeling. For what it's worth, I've seen the FUNimation dub starring Colleen Clinkenbeard as Éclair, and she does a wonderful job with her role.
* Soundtrack. The soundtrack by Shiro Hamaguchi is very epic and very fitting.
* The first 2/3 of the plot. The plot starts out as a buddy cop show with fanservice, then, as I like to put it, "becomes sentient" and goes on its own way. The dissonance between the first and second thirds of the show is notable and very effective.
* Emotional appeal. Time and time again, this show manages to really pull me into it emotionally. There are at least six episodes that are very intense in this regard, in my opinion. I won't say which eps those are; enjoy discovering them as they unfold. And be very delighted when you hear familiar music in the soundtrack.
* Unimportant characters that actually reappear later. This is a pretty insignificant point, but nevertheless, this was nice to notice.
* Themes. The story tries hard to touch on several different themes, including class conflicts, facing one's past, and more. However, note that themes is listed twice in this review.
It's not great for the following things:
* Plot "wholeness". The third one-third of the show dials back the conflict introduced in the second third, tries to install a new plot driver, and does a sort of messy job at it. It kinda ruins some of the tension, starting with the deus ex machina in episode 15.
* Also, as I mentioned above, if you want plot details, this show is definitely not "self-contained"--you'll have to do your own research on the internet to find full details concerning the backstories of the two main characters.
* Plot holes. Lots of them. You learn to ignore them after a while, as most of them don't matter too much.
* Themes. While the story tries hard to touch on many themes, it doesn't succeed at really making a full statement about any one. Note that themes is listed twice in this review.
For what it's worth, I'm a huge fan of Éclair, by the way, who I see as a symbol of idealism in a cynical world. I'm also a huge fan of the soundtrack.
Personally, I rate Kiddy Grade at a 7, because it's too imperfect to really merit a higher rating (though some people complain that I rate things too low in general), but I nevertheless recommend Kiddy Grade. You should watch it. It's inspired a potential story idea on my part--a "retelling" using the same charcter concepts but a new setting and plot, this time hopefully doing a better job. I just like the characters too much.
It’s a tale as old as time, and yet it still takes place in the distant future... After space on Earth started to become scarce, the human race expanded to the stars, developing the technology to terraform planets and claiming them for the sake of creating brand new civilizations. As you might imagine, this brought untold chaos at first, as disputes between these super-sized settlements erupted into large scale wars, where an insurmountable number of lives were claimed. Enter the Galactic Union, an all-powerful government that was formed to stabilize the relationships between these warring worlds and unite all of humanity under
Enforcing this rule and keeping the peace is the GOTT: The Global Organization of Trade and Tariffs, and at their beck and call is the loyal ES Taskforce, a small legion of two-person units that take assignments from the Galactic Union and serve and protect the people unified within! Out of the six known teams, one that stands out is the team of Eclaire and Lumiere, a chipper teenage brunette and an elegant little girl with a blue braid. They don’t look like much, especially when they’re pulling off their second job as corporate receptionists, but if you commit evil deeds while they’re on call, you’ll have to deal with one of the most intimidating duos in the galaxy. They’re more than meets the eye, and as the shadowy secrets about their employers start to come to light, the galaxy will soon learn what it means to underestimate them.
I haven’t ever discussed Studio Gonzo, have I? I mean, I wrote up a Gantz review several years ago, but that was LONG before I actually learned how to write reviews. Well, that’s never seeing the light of day, so I guess my intro to all things Gonzo will take the form of the apparently immortal 2002 classic sci-fi series Kiddy Grade. Now, with your typical Studio Gonzo production, you can expect it to fall on one of two sides of the scale... It’ll either have gorgeous high-budget animation, or dirt-cheap animation that does it’s damnedest to appear as visually pleasing as possible. Kiddy Grade falls very securely on the low side of the scale, but they’ve made a LOT worse looking shows than this.
Yes, I should get this out of the way right now... The fact that it had a low budget couldn’t be more obvious if it was on the street pan-handling. Key frames... AKA, moments when there’s no action on screen other than mouth flaps, brief bursts of movement and embarrassing motion loops... Are everywhere. Even at their scarcest, they’re in every other scene at least. Thankfully, these issues never pop up during the action scenes, so while it’s not a good look per se, it’s somewhat excusable considering how cleverly Gonzo was able to portray the femme fatales kicking villainous ass without having to sacrifice frame rates to compensate it. There’s a lot of CG used for the characters’ space ships and guardian mech robots, and while it doesn’t really mesh with the 2D animation style of the rest of the series, it’s not too bad on it’s own merits.
While the animation is relatively good, at least compared to other Gonzo shows of it’s time, the artwork is a lot stronger. The color palette is bright and diverse, standing out beautifully against the backgrounds, most of which are monotonous and gritty with realistic wear. That’s not to say the backgrounds are never impressive, as there are some very appealing outdoor scenes, but the dullness of spaceship interiors and even space itself complements the characters nicely. The character designs are diverse almost to a fault, as each pair of ES members looks increasingly unique to the point that I could imagine them being pulled out of the sketchbook of a caffeine addict on a 5 Hour Energy binge. Simply put, with it’s highly distinctive art style, there are no other characters that look like Kiddy Grade characters.
The music is made up mostly of electronic tunes, meant to convey the spacey, futuristic feel of the show, and does so in an ambitious fashion. The soundtrack was fairly new for it’s time, but looking back at it fourteen years later, it’s been done a lot better since then, causing what was once a unique sound to feel kind of generic to our spoiled ears. The opening, on the other hand is a lot more standard, and was probably considered generic even back in 2002. Setting aside the video for a moment, you have two options with this opening... A dubbed version and a subbed version. I’ve heard countless people recommend the sub, but is it that much better? The singing is definitely louder and more confidant, but it opens on a pair of cringe-worthy Engrish lines that sound awkward in both pronunciation and wording. The dubbed version fixes this problem, which earns it some points, but it also features a far duller-sounding singer, and the lyrics... Like most anime theme lyrics... Do not translate well to English. I want to recommend the subbed version really badly, but those damn opening lines, though...The Ending theme, in both languages, is a much more pleasant listen.
The English dub is from the very early stages of Funimation, and as such it shows a lot of quirks from that period of Funi’s existence. There are plenty of names in it that you really don’t see as much anymore, such as Dameon Clarke, Scarlett McAllister, Gwendoline Lau, Rebecca Paige, John Myron, Antimere Robinson... Just a ton of names that either haven’t worked in years or only had a brief stint in anime, and for the most part, none of them are really that impressive here. The exception of course is Demeon Clarke as the shady auditor Armblast, but even this role is a far cry from the acting chops he showed as the original Scar in FMA. There are a few modern names sprinkled throughout, such as Eric Vale, Vic Mignona, Alison Victorin in her debut role, Chris Sabat doing a pretty sweet European accent, and Clarine Harp doing something other than DVD design, and yeah, they’re all really good... But none of them can touch Colleen Clinkenbeard and Monica Rial in the lead roles.
Monica Rial is probably one of the most well known voice actors in the business. Her name is almost guaranteed to be on any anime fan’s favorite actor list, and for good reason. She’s a consistently good performer, and has been ever since her first day on the job. In contrast, a name I see disturbingly little of on those lists is Colleen Clinkenbeard, who may actually be the most under-rated and taken-for-granted performer in the industry. Kiddy Grade was her debut not only as an actor, but as an ADR director, and while I’m disappointed to say both jobs amounted to some rough results in the beginning of the show... The acting was somewhat underwhelming, voices weren’t always matching the lip flaps... It improved rapidly on both counts towards the middle, showing off a lot of the latent talent that she had both in and out of the booth.
Yes, the dub takes a while to get off of it’s feet, but that's mainly due to the growing pains of a duel first timer. Colleen has proven herself since then to be a highly respectful director and writer who can easily navigate the minefield of localizing a dub without bastardizing it, and has shown in several instances that she can hit all the slanginess of a Jamie Marchi dub without suffering from any of the tasteless Jamie Marchi excess. As an actor, she’s shown a surprising consistency across a wide range of voices, giving her a chameleon quality that can make her very difficult to pick out, even when she’s playing a bubbly and upbeat character like Eclair. Pair her with fellow veterans Monica Rial and Lauira Bailey, and you’ve got a dub that’s pretty damn good at it’s best moments. It’s not necessarily better than the sub, but if you’re looking for a time capsule of early-2000’s Funimation, I highly recommend it.
Okay, so, let’s set aside my earlier plot synopsis for a second and go over what this show’s really about. Kiddy Grade is the story of two femme fatale law enforcers with charisma and power to spare. One is a hacker that can manipulate and even astral-project herself into any kind of computer system or machine, and the other has super-speed, super strength, and a tube of lipstick that can turn into a razor-sharp whip. They work for a supposedly benevolent organization, but corruption in the upper ranks forces them into political conflicts where they eventually have to engage in space battles and mecha fights against their peers and coworkers.while gradually revealing their own troubled past.
Why am I bringing this up? Because Kiddy Grade has one of the most awesome sounding premises I’ve ever heard. I don’t know a single person who could hear it and not immediately put it on their “to-watch” list. It’s a title that’s endured in the popular conscience for 14 years without fading into obscurity, so one would naturally assume it to be of some quality, or at least a sizeable fanbase willing to overlook any problems it might have. And yet, when I go on Facebook to say it hasn’t aged well, I’m met not with anger, but likes. When I complain about some details that don’t fit right in retrospect, I get responses pointing out MORE inconsistencies related to the plot over-all before anybody comes in to defend it. Keep in mind, this is happening in very similar fan groups to the two that I got booted out of for talking shit about Guilty Crown, so where’s the flame war over this? And while we’re on the subject, why can’t I watch more than a few episodes at a time without pausing to do chores?
To answer this question, I’m going to be dissecting three specific episodes of the show. Depending on how high their respective ep. numbers are, I’ll be using different amount of detail and spoilers for each one. First up, let’s take a look at episode five, Day/Off. I’m going to be running down the entire episode in detail, but don’t worry... This isn’t Cowboy Bebop, here. Important spoilers don’t happen until much later.
To start, Eclaire and Lumiere have the day off from work, so they each decide to spend it differently. Eclair goes out drinking with a friend, and Lumiere goes to the opera. Sounds like a great set-up for some one-on-one character development, right? Well, let’s see what happens. An employee at the club approaches Eclaire, commenting that she looks too young to be in there. His manager comes along and says that he’s new, and not to bother the lady... Not because she's an ES member, mind you, but just because “kicking people out makes us look bad.” Which makes no sense, because serving alcohol to minors definitely looks worse. She dances with a guy, and when he tries to kiss her, she shoves him through the air and into the table where two criminal organizations are making a deal. They both assume the attack was orchestrated by the other side, which doesn’t make sense, because who plans to have a human being thrown at their table? Even Monty Python wouldn’t come up with a strategy that absurd.
On her way to the opera, Lumiere hears a lonely little girl crying behind some bushes. The little girl kisses her and puts her into a trance so some big men can abduct her. Which makes no sense, because didn’t we just see Eclaire successfully fend off a kiss from a much larger man? Why would her partner just stand there and let it happen? Lumiere wakes up in a storage room with a bunch of other kids who were abducted as well. Which makes no sense because are there really that many kids walking to the opera alone that she just happened to be one of them? Seeing how quickly she escapes her bindings, its fairly obvious they didn’t know about her power, so it would have to be random, right? And how was the trap girl immune to her own lipstick?
The crime organization recruits Eclaire to work on a mission to pay off her debt to them... Which makes no sense, because not only should she have bolted during the confusion, but they were the ones who misconstrued a clutzy coincidence... And she winds up face to face with the ship that her partner has just killed the pilots and taken control of, which makes no sense because not only is she supposed to be elegant, or because an agent who needs permission to make arrests shouldn’t be able to kill so easily, but because coincidence is the tool of lazy writers. Anyway, this leaves a lot of unconscious kids to be returned home, but as it turns out, Lumiere has found an on-board computer with a database of the names of all the abducted kids, past and present. This makes no sense because A: Why would they keep a record of kids they don’t have anymore? B: Why would they need a record of ANY of their names? C: If they’re using it for ransom purposes, they must know names of the kids before trapping them, so why go after Lumiere, who doesn’t come from a rich family? D: What about the honeypot kid? Is she a robot? Was she brainwashed? Did they rescue her as well, or was her part in the story done once the audience got their yuri-loli tease?
If you’re having trouble pinning down my first specific complaint, count up the amount of times I said “Didn’t/doesn’t make any sense” in the space of one single episode. This isn’t an exception, but the rule. The entire series is like that. Out of almost ninety percent of the things that happen in this series, none of it makes any sense. It’s either poorly explained or it won’t be explained until later. Characters make decisions that are not only stupid, but baffling in terms of the logic they use, forming plans that are either overly-complicated or horribly misguided, or both. The freaking white rabbit is easier to follow than this series is at most points. Even an issue as basic as what the characters are becomes confusing. They are just humans with nanomachines prolonging their lives, right? Well how the hell can their consciousness jump into new bodies? A brain transplant? Are they robots?
For my second point, let’s take a somewhat more vague look at episode 14, Steel/Heart. A thing happens in this episode, and while I won’t go into specifics about who, how or why, two of Eclair and Lumiere’s closest allies are... Um, I know this isn't the right word, but I’ll say “Brainwashed” to avoid spoiling too much... to kill them. Our heroes fight valiantly, but are unable to save themselves without destroying their friends. Now, this should be an emotional moment, yes? There should be feels here, but alas, there are none to be had. I can’t stress enough how important hope is when you’re trying to write a tragedy. In order for a character’s death to make an impact on the viewer, there has to be some sort of hope that they’ll survive, but no, as soon as the “brainwashing” takes place, they might as well have put a big countdown timer on the screen, because we’re never given any indication that our heroes can do anything but delay the inevitable.
And furthermore, their death doesn't have any feeling of weight to it because despite their constant presence in the story, we’re only given one highly forgettable episode to suggest that they even WERE characters to begin with. But then again, that’s only about half as much time as any other supporting character is given, so why not? There is a huge cast of characters in Kiddy Grade, and while they’re wildly diverse in terms of appearance and powers, they just have jack shit in terms of personality. Oh, they have quirks... There’s a sibling team where the sister refuses to let her brother call her ‘sister’ on the clock, and there’s a child/adult team that’s always arguing about where to eat, and... Other... Teams... And that’s about as far as any of them go. All-in-all, the actions of any given team could easily be swapped out with the actions of any other given team.
Even the two main characters fail to leave much of an impression. Lumiere is probably the most interesting character in the cast, as she can at least claim to be elegant and have refined tastes, but she quickly turns that into a gimmick by constantly saying “A lady should be more elegant.” She’s the precocious loli, which is more of a trope than a trait. Eclaire is of course the main character, so by the tradition of lazy writing, she has to be the perfectly righteous and idealistic hero. She’s a martyr waiting to happen, and it gets annoying really fast. There’s at least one villain who shows promise, but her motives seem confused between altruism and misanthropy. The Noblesse, who are supposed to be the true villains of the show, are native-born Earthlings, and they are nothing... I repeat, nothing... But upper-crust snobs with sticks up their asses and a contempt for all people lower than them.
Speaking of the noblesse, my final example isn’t so much an episode as a plot twist that happens towards the end of the series. I won’t spoil it, but it’s the first step in what might be a huge downfall for the Noblesse, and it has a lot in common with April O’neal’s expanded connection to the Ninja Turtles that was revealed in the latest TMNT movie. Only in this case, it’s like the turtles were absent and just barely eluded to for four-fifths of the story before coming in like an exposition wrecking ball to tie everything together. Oh, and you’ll also have to imagine that April’s been firmly established to have a lot more important things to do than play nanny through the formative years of a bunch of freaking turtles. Seriously, these are supposed to be warriors with respectable authority, why the hell was one of them on nurse-maid duty? And it’s this final little twist... One that even Shyamalan would have sent back to the drawing board... That proves just how terribly, terribly written this anime is.
The series attempts, at about the halfway point, to explain how all of the events that happened up until that point were part of one interconnected plot, and it’s delivered through status reports to the chief of the GOTT. There are two problems with this, the first of which being that the explanation grinds the pace to a complete halt, and rather than sounding like a canon summary of events, it sounds more like an imaginative fanboy on Reddit tying to connect all the Pixar movies together. The stretching is that bad. Second of all, when you really look at it, this one episode gives away the one thing the creators of Kiddy Grade had been going through all of this BS to try to accomplish.
Yes, there was a legitimate goal in mind, here. These writers had an agenda, and once you start making the comparisons, it’s kind of embarrassing what they were trying to do; They were trying really hard to make Kiddy Grade the Evangelion of it’s genre. That entire sequence was a callback to an episode of Evangelion where the Angels that had been defeated thus far were listed off in a similar report. The narrative is constantly pushing meaningless religious symbolism, like the concept of sacrifice and rebirth, crucifixes, and hell, the organization our cast works for is called Gott, the German word for God. An entire episode is spent on Eclair trying to pull herself together psychologically after a random flashback brought out some erased memories, and the episode is a laughable attempt to copy the mental depth of a show that wasn’t all that deep in the first place.
So after all that, why is this show so well remembered? Why has it thrived for so long in the public consciousness, when all of the best things it has to offer are now dated? How does a combination of pathos, faux complexity and poorly directed fanservice demand so much name recognition in today’s market? Well, it all comes down to Kiddy Grade’s sense of style. I can’t think of any anime before or after this one that had the same kind of aesthetic to it. People like things that are unique, and that’s one word I can definitely apply to Kiddy Grade. It fails to tell a good story, it fails to build good characters, and in the end, all it really has to offer is spectacle of two good looking girls kicking ass, like it’s the pretentious version of Dirty Pair... Which is all some people want, I guess.
Kiddy Grade is available from Funimation. It was originally released stateside in an 8-disk box set that, despite the hefty price even then, came with a pretty attractive set of trading cards based around the eye-catch artwork of the episodes. If you’re looking for something cheaper, they did recently release the series in Anime classic thinpack form for a much more reasonable price. There have been three movies that were meant to retell the story of the series, but they haven’t been released stateside... After nine years and counting, I think you can give up waiting any day now. There have also been a handful of light novels and manga serials, but these have also sadly not seen the light of day on our side of the ocean.
While Kiddy Grade is a clusterfuck of failed story-telling, with a title that more than describes the level of maturity that went into it, I honestly can’t say I hated it. It didn’t make me feel angry or insulted, nor did it ever make me feel bored. Than again, I’m going to attribute those points to the fact that it just didn’t make me feel anything, positive or negative. It’s not that bad a show to watch if you don’t mind having your brain turned blissfuilly off the whole time, but as I’ve said many times before, I refuse to do that. Then again, with or without my approval, it’s an anime that’s survived for almost a decade and a half, and through whatever black magic it’s strange title has been casting, I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay. I give Kiddy Grade a 4/10.
Kiddy Grade is an amateurishly made anime with no sense of direction. For this mess of an anime, I will discuss its 4 distinct arcs. Enjoyment on all stages is a 1.
Arc 1: Episodes 1-4
| Story: 1 | Art: 3 | Sound: 2 | Character: 1 | Overall: 1 |
Imagine pointless filler, but... but nothing. This does nothing, achieves no purpose. It's intended to introduce us to the characters, but it could've been done subtly instead of having 4 episodes of nothing. The directing is horrendous, the pacing is non existent, the characters are nonsensical, the plot is comically incompetent.
Arc 2: Episodes 5-10
| Story: 5
| Art: 4 | Sound: 3 | Character: 1 | Overall: 3 |
Imagine a bad anime, but... but nothing. It's just bad. This kind of sort of leads to the only redeemable part of the anime. The directing becomes more consistent, raising the overall quality of the anime.
Arc 3: Episodes 11-15
| Story: 6 | Art: 6 | Sound: 6 | Character: 6 | Overall: 6 |
This part is pretty cool. It does this kind of Cowboy Bebop-esque thing where the main characters relentlessly fight everyone. The anime overall is above average, for these 5 whole episodes.
Arc 4-ish: Episodes 16-24
| Story: 1 | Art: 2 | Sound: 1 | Character: 1 | Overall: 1 |
Imagine pointless filler, except it's 9 episodes of nothing where the anime has no idea what it is doing or even trying to do. If you want to know exactly what not to do when it comes to storytelling, this is the best thing to look at.
This anime is by far the most regrettable anime of my adult life. The only reason I re-watched it was so I can get it off the top of my list. Younger me must've found those middle episodes amusing enough to put it up high. Older me realizes how bad this thing is. If you can stomach a whole episode of this series, go for it. Otherwise, stay clear.
This is my First review! Lets get right down to it, shall we? Kiddy Grade is a action packed outer space, futuristic based anime. The Storyline is a bit shifty (changes frequently) but fun to watch. There was only a few problem with the plot... 1) Although enjoyable, it's VERY confusing and alot of things are left unexplained (or perhaps they were and I didnt follow it). But the things that are making sense by watching the series finished didn't make alot of sense when the event was happening. 2) I got totally confused at one point when everyone was changing bodies and cloning and
I honestly don't know what was happening, so I just watched the last bit of the season not knowing what was happening O_o....3) (I don't know if this was a problem with the Japanese Voices, since i only got my hands on the english version) GENDERS! if the people didn't have voices I would've mistaken half the people for women since basicly most male characters wear earrings and have long hair:\....4) The Misleading name...If my friend had not shown me a episode of this, I would have thought it to be a child's program 5) Panty shots is good..Too much panty shots spoils it......Thats all the Downs..There is a Bright side though! It's fun to watch, a few hentai scenes ;) and mind challenging trying to figuring out what is happening!:) Watch it if your in the mood for change in anime taste! Bye
First I doesn't really like sci-fi anime, but because of the super power-stuff I was hoping. The was enough for one movie divided in three main parts. The one I'd liked to know was the identits (secrets) of the characters and their power.
This anime is Marked on my list with the "Cursed 24". That's only my opinion, but most of the anime I've seen vith 24 eps. were disappointing (Chrono Crusade, Trinity Blood, Full Metal Panic 1st).
I'll try to get right to the point. I got into this expecting to just waste some time laughing at some goofy eye-candy. I quickly became invested in the characters, and their personal struggles, and even cried at times. Yes, there are unnecessary sprinklings of sex appeal, but I honestly was too busy with the story to care, despite being a raging dyke. It probably could've benefited from being several episodes longer to allow for smoother transitions between plot lines and explain the plot twists in more detail, because I'm still left a bit confused after having seen the entire series. Part of why it
gets a high rating from me is how surprisingly well written it is for something that seems to sell itself so heavily on fan service.
TL;DR: I expected something if laughable quality, and instead got a rather serious, although sometimes rushed science fiction epic that gave me feels.
it's really worth watching. the female lead, eclair is a unique charachter who can be very naive, even if her looks are of a young woman, but she also can be very dangerous and not just because she is the strongest, but because she has lived a lot and she has surpassed a lot of difficulties, so she is experienced and with a wide knowledge. even if eclair is presented as a dreamer and happy type, she is the most troubled one. she lived even longer than lumiere and she also has the power to kill by her own hand, with this power comming the
burden of the blood and all the incocent deths.
it is very intersting how she always keeps getting in the same point when she turns against GOTT and than she destroys it and looses her memories. the memories haunt her till she remmembers everything and until she unloks her true powers, lumiere and the GOTT chief being always by her side.
it is a really touching story, and it is the final story, because it seems that in this life eclair finally destroys GOTT without loosing her memories. because of this the story takes a new turn of events, setling old grudges and making new bonds.
Kiddy Grade is the story about Lumiere and Eclair, ES members of the Galactic Organisation of Trade and Tariffs or otherwise known as GOTT. They along with 12 others that possess amazing superpowers are a type of police squad that bring down criminals.
I truly enjoyed watching Kiddy Grade. The story is engaging. At each episode we learn something new that brings us closer to knowing what GOTT is and who the ES members are. This an anime I will certainly watch again and I look forward to seeing the movies and the second season.
Note: I've been looking for the movies and sadly
can't find them anywhere.