Kiddy Grade Anime Review
US Release By
24 25-minute episodes
2002-10-08 - 2003-03-18
Man's dreams of achieving the stars are now only a distant memory and he has reached frontiers never thought possible. Humanity has inhabited thousands of planets all across the galaxy by methods of terraforming and warping; however, these planets were the cause of another problem: economic manipulation. Soon strife tore through the cosmos as economic dominance became the new method of war. In Star Century 0165 the Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs (GOTT) was formed along with the Galactic Union in order to bring peace to the otherwise unstable economy of mankind. 162 years later the turmoil has subsided and we meet two members of the elite ES ranked taskforce of GOTT, Eclair and Lumiere, as they battle to preserve the peace of the galaxy.
The only thing I could think for the longest time after watching this anime was "WOW" I mean this anime really has it all, huge mechs, cute girls, superpowers, and a surprisingly deep and interesting plot. At first the premise of the anime seems very shallow "Ok so it's another anime with malproportioned girls and huge guns... big deal" but in reality it's so much deeper and will take you on a rollercoaster ride until the very end where the story is wrapped up nicely and the story comes to a satisfying end.
Overall the story starts a bit slow but that is expected really in any anime where the characters are developing and the director is endearing them to you so that the story in the future becomes that much more memorable. However, at around episode 10 the ride starts and it doesn't stop until the end. Only then can you really see that the beginning of the story was not in vain at all and all of the episodes are, in actuality, brilliantly woven into the plot.
Plot - 4.8/5
The beginning of the story was not impressive. The end of it though was... breathtaking. Really it is exactly like a rollercoaster. You start at a standstill until at around ep 9 you finally start moving. From there it's an edge of your seat thrill ride that you will never forget... if you can bear the waiting that is. I know a lot of fans were turned away by the first 9 episodes and the title "Kiddy Grade?? WTF!!!" and to this day I still do not understand the significance of the title; however, the end plot makes up for the beginning plot and then some. Finally from episode 10 on, the dark secrets of the past begin to surface while enemies turn into friends, ulterior motives are discovered, and the dead come back to life. Though the plot may be hard to follow with the intense barrage of information, once you stop to think about it (if you can wait that long to see the next ep) you will start to understand the workings of the minds of those people and in all actuality the workings of our minds as well.
Characters - 4.6/5
The characters in this series are very interesting. They are not necessarily very dynamic but they do have their secret pasts to deal with. This causes a great mental torment that is very visible in the series. They also show great determination and at times you can really see how much the partners Eclair and Lumiere actually care about each other. The only downside to this is that it only really starts appearing from about ep 10 on. The good side is that now that you've seen how the characters normally act it's great to see how they react under stress. Also you can see the significance of some earlier actions by Eclair as the shroud of her past is lifted.
Animation - 5/5
The animation in this series could not have been more beautifully done. The fight sequences flow smooth as silk and while watching the show itself you will be in visual ecstasy. From the details of the engine wake on the ship La Muse to the expressions on the faces of Eclair and Lumiere, the animation ties together the series and presents it to the viewer in a virtually perfect manner.
Music - 4.8/5
The music to this anime is very fitting. It is integrated very well into the story and in fact it is integrated so well that you hardly even realize it is there until you really think about it. To me this is what anime music is supposed to be: supportive of the plot and characters but never overwhelming. In fact now even when I think about it I was so engrossed in the plot and the way the music fit into the plot that I don't actually remember the music itself. PERFECT. Also the opening and endings songs are nicely done and are fitting for this great series.
Overall - 4.9/5
It's hard not to give this anime a perfect score, but even though the later plot more than makes up for the slow start I cannot help but deduct a bit for said start. Other than that the anime exceeded all of my expectations and rocketed its way up to a tie with Rurouni Kenshin for my second favorite anime of all time and that is quite a feat because RK started me on my anime craze and has only been outdone by the indescribably perfect anime Fruits Basket. This anime is a nonstop rush that will have you wanting more but that ends in such a great manner that you are not left wondering anything.
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Notes and Trivia
The first-time director, Goto Keiji, is better known as the character designer of Martian Successor Nadeisco and Gate Keepers. The official Japanese site, if you're interested: kiddygrade.com. FUNimation also has a reasonably fancy Kiddy Grade site.
US DVD Review
FUNimation's DVDs are bilingual, but only list the Japanese promo video and commercials as extras. They do also include the Japanese piracy warnings as easter eggs; each disc has a different one, accessible by pressing "left" when the return to menu option is selected on the Extras screen.
FUNimation appropriately calls it 13-up.
Violence: 3 - There are a few scenes where people in a riot are shot but overall the violence isnt that bad.
Nudity: 3 - Panty shots and frontal nudity later on.
Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - There is not much sexual activity in this series as the main characters view themselves as children.
Language: 1 - They never really cuss.