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Kiddy Grade continues to surpass my expatiations. The stories are getting more interesting and the animation continues to be fantastic.
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. Armburst. While not exactly thrilled to be working with him, they have their orders.
Something is going on in the high ranks of the GOTT. Their boss Eclipse seems unconcerned if Éclair and Lumiere succeed or fail on their missions. Fellow ES members Alv and Diverger seem to have a lot more power both politically and physically. Worst of all, someone in the GOTT is working with another agency, determined to bring the entire organization down.
Can Lumiere and Éclair figure out what is going on before they are both killed?
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.
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 the previous volumes. There is an art gallery consisting of a montage of scenes, the clean close 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.
I was totally shocked to hear Kikuko Inoue as Alv. I never knew she had such a deep, evil voice!
FAN SERVICE: This is a fan service paradise. There are enough panty shots, bouncing busts, and nice bodies to make any man happy.
Something is lurking in the shadows of the GOTT. No, it's not an alien invasion, but something worse. It could mean a fundamental change in the lives of Éclair and Lumiere. "Lies Beneath" is the perfect title for this volume of "Kiddy Grade".
On the surface, these episodes are pretty typical. Our two lovely ladies are assigned simple missions like escort duty, bomb retrieval, and missing persons. In reality, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes, and it all seems to center around Éclair.
First up, Eclipse is acting very weird. She seems to be going out of her way to put Éclair in harms way as much as possible. She is taking orders from a mysterious voice, and refuses to provide any kind of support, especially when Eclair needs it.
Next, Alv and Diverger, who have been absent since early in the series have reappeared. More powerful than ever, they act as if everyone in the GOTT works for them. Along with their impressive physical power, they have some serious clout, with Eclipse seemingly in their pocket.
Last, both Mr. Armblast and Lumiere seem to know quite a bit about Éclair's past. Their concern about her well being doesn't sit well with Eclipse, who we already know, is scared that Éclair may regain her memories. Where this is all leading to, I can't say. I have a feeling that the care free attitude of the first few episodes is about gone.
These episodes introduces two more pairs of ES agents, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Cesario and Viola. Like the other teams, they have amazing powers, and obnoxious quirks.
Cesario and Viola are a very odd couple. Viola is an obnoxious kid with a love for the finer things. Cesario, very much her senior, is a quiet man, who acts in a passive aggressive manner to get what he wants. I don't think they are a "couple" as in the sleeping together kind. They act more like brother and sister. They also have the ability to manipulate mater particles, which comes in handy.
The other ES squad is a brother and sister team called Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Both have strong psychic powers, and cocky attitudes. Tweedledee is just as good a hacker as Lumiere, and can mimic any technique, once she sees it. I also think Tweedledee and Lumiere have more than a mutual respect for each other. I'm pretty sure that is what the writers are inferring.
One thing I noticed is that there seems to be fewer fan service shots in this one. There isn't nearly as many bouncing bust lines and panty shots in this one. I also have to ask Éclair, why she is wearing white panties in a red dress? Surely, you would want to wear black or red ones? A thong would also be nice, instead of bikini cut.
The animation continues to be outstanding. The CG and regular animation are blended perfectly. The motion is fluid, and I am quite pleased with the bright color pallet.
FUNimation gets high marks for the presentation. The video and audio is well done. The extras, while not exactly original, are at least entertaining. The reversible cover, cards and liner notes in the case are just plain cool. I just wish the menu's were a little more interesting.
Kiddy Grade continues to surpass my expatiations. The stories are getting more interesting and the animation continues to be fantastic. I am very excited about watching the next volume so I can see what happens next.
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