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If you loved "Dirty Pair", then you are gonna love "Kiddy Grade".
Pieces of the Past
Review by Matthew Anderson
24 Episode TV Series
Running Time: 75 minutes (3 episodes)
Rated: PG-13 (Adult situations, language, partial nudity)
In the distant future, there exists an organization called the G.O.T.T. (Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs). Their mission: to handle trade and business disputes. When negotiations go awry, the G.O.T.T sends in "shadow units" identified as ES agents.
Two of their best agents are Éclair and Lumiere. While they are lower ranked operatives, few can match their skill. Recently, they have been assigned to work with a rather shady representative of the Galactic Union, Mr. Armblast. While not exactly thrilled to be working with him, they have their orders.
Their cases have been more interesting of late. Illegally enhanced cyborgs, gang warfare, and mysterious thefts are just some of the things Éclair and Lumiere have come up against.
While Eclipse worries about these villains, there is something else that makes her very nervous. The thought of Éclair recovering her memories!
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: The quality is excellent. There are no pixels or errors noted. The colors are solid, and the motion, fluid.
AUDIO: The English 5.1 is a good mix, with plenty of surround sound effects during the action segments. The music is blended quite well, and does not over power the dialogue.
The English and Japanese 2.0 is pretty evenly matched. It too has a decent surround sound mix. It will depend on your system which is better.
There has been some concern about the audio on this volume. Many people have remarked that many of the tracks are in mono, not stereo. We didn't notice any kind of audio problems, even when we went looking for it. This is most likely due to the set up of our entertainment system. As soon as we get official confirmation, we will update this review.
EDITS: The best of both worlds. Thanks to the use of multiple angels, you can watch the open and close with English titles, or the original Japanese versions. No edits to the episodes have been made.
EXTRAS: Pretty much the same as vol 1. There is an art gallery consisting of a montage of scenes, the clean open animation, a promotional slide show and Japanese TV commercials. There is also a profile section, a reversible cover, and some cool collectors cards.
STORY: If you loved "Dirty Pair", then you are gonna love "Kiddy Grade". Based off the concept by gimik Gonzo, series planner Hidefumi Kimura's story is full of action, snappy one liners, and lots of fun!
ACTING: The cast is very good, on both tracks. On the English dub, we have the always entertaining Monica Rail as the cute Lumiere. Her voice is a little stronger than her work in other titles like "Excel Saga" and "Noir". I enjoy Colleen Clinkenbeard's youthful and energetic voice for the hyperactive Éclair.
Let's not forget the Japanese Cast. I love Ryoko Nagata's mix of sexiness and playfulness for Éclair. As Eclipse, Miki Doi's strong vocals is exactly what you expect for the leader of a black ops team. Aya Hirano low key voice is perfect for the cold and aloof Lumiere.
FAN SERVICE: This is a fan service paradise. There are plenty of panty shots, bouncing busts, and nice bodies to make any man happy. As a special treat, we get a post shower butt shot of Eclair, and (if you are into 14 year olds) a shower scene with Lumiere!
The ship Wirblwind looks a lot like the ship the "Dirty Pair" flies, and the cube station looks a lot like a Borg cube from Star Trek.
Kiddy Grade just keeps rolling along, with it's fast paced action, great animation, and gratuitous fan service. In this volume, we get a glimpse about Éclair's past. A teeny, tiny, miniscule glimpse, but hey, it's enough to peak my interest!
In these episodes, we have more high tech crimes that our two ES agents must solve. Well, two cases and an accident. It seems that no matter where our two heroines go, trouble seems to follow.
In episode 4 Éclair must infiltrate a cyborg wrestling federation in order to stop the sale of an illegal generator. No, not the "Generator Gawl" kind, but the "cyborg needs energy" kind. Okay, maybe it is the same. Any how, that is not what's important. What is important is Éclair dressed up like "Catwoman"! Me-wow!
After the stress of getting Éclair out of her cat suit, our two ES members take a much needed day off. Éclair, in typical "Natsumi" fashion, spends the day asleep. The elegant Lumiere decides to go to the opera. Before she goes, she has to take a shower! Oh, there is some other thing about rival gangs, but it's nothing I really need to talk about.
Last, but not least, is the entertaining "Twin/Star" (Episode 6). We meet two new ES members, Dextera and Sinestra. These two, beautiful...men (ha, ha, fooled you) will have you ladies swooning. We also meet Miss Padushka (love the name), a SO member. SO must mean "she is SO not agent material". A true "fish out of water" she bumbles her way through the mission, and still comes out smelling like a rose. The payoff at the end of the episode is priceless.
In between the fighting and the showering, Éclair encounters a cyborg that recognizes her, sort of. That, along with her recalling a mysterious lullaby causes GOTT leader Eclipse some major concern. Why, we don't know. I'm hoping the pay off is going to be pretty cool, even if it is a "Noir" rip-off!
I have to give the writing staff credit. They can come up with some pretty interesting crimes. The "most inventive way to steal things" award goes to the crime syndicate in episode 6. Jean Claude in "Armitage" has nothing on these guys.
I love the character designs. So does my daughter. Her favorites are pretty boys Dextera and Sinestra. Mine, well, I'm sure you can guess.
Once again, Gonzo has given us a superb looking anime series. The CG and regular animation are blended perfectly. The motion is fluid, and I am quite pleased with the brighter color pallet.
I totally love the English version of "Escape". It's a peaceful, soulful song that brings a smile to my face. The harmony between the singers is beautiful, with soft music backing them up. I hope that FUNimation will release a single with this song.
According to information I have received from John Oppliger at Anime Nation, there are some problems with the audio synch for volume 1, and mono audio tracks on volume 2. While I did encounter with some sound drops on volume 1, I didn't find any problems with volume 2. I'm not saying that there isn't. All I am saying is that my copy (sent by FUNimation) didn't have any defects that I noticed. By all means, if you find your disc is defective, then get it replaced. As a consumer, it's your right.
As the spiritual successor to "Dirty Pair", "Kiddy Grade: Pieces of the Past" is more fun than any otaku deserves. Just pop in the disc, sit back, and enjoy the show!
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