Kiddy Grade Vol. #7 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, October 24, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2004
What They Say
Sinister business is afoot at GOTT Headquarters. After making their desperate move, the two masked strangers' identities are revealed to be none other than Eclair and Lumiere! But how is that possible? And how is it that Eclipse is alive? But there isn't much time to answer these questions as a rogue Noble makes his bold bid for power. If he is successful, even darker days are ahead for the galaxy.
Hitting a crescendo mark in the story, revelations and truths are the main story here before it shifts quickly into the next arc.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series sports a rather good stereo mix with a good flair for forward soundstage directionality both in the dialogue and action departments. We also sampled the show in the English 5.1 mix that was done and noted some really good moments where particular effects come across much more distinctly. Dialogue is nice and clear in both tracks and we had no issues with dropouts or other distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2002, the transfer for these three episodes of this twenty-four episode series looks great. The transfer brings the vivid color palette used to life both in the characters and their backgrounds. The space background shots look fantastic as well with the blacks holding solid very nicely. Like most other Gonzo series, there's no noticeable cross coloration throughout the program and aliasing is very little, resulting in a nice clean print. FUNimation continues their use of alternate angles for the opening and ending sequence, with one angle providing the original Japanese credits text (i.e. untranslated) while the second angle provides the translated bilingual credits.
Presented in a clear keepcase, two of the lesser ES members get some good cover time since they do show up a bit in this volume. Viola and Cesario look good here, especially with her holding her little pocket monster like creature. The back cover has a number small character shot bubbles all over it and lists the three episodes and their episode numbers. The summary is pretty basic, but along the bottom is a mishmash of information. Placed into a small space are the various production credits and a listing of the discs features. The reverse side of the clear keepcase has a new illustrated piece of Lumiere, Éclair and Eclipse together, while the other side has a good mix of imagery of the characters in some very tight outfits. The insert replicates the front cover and opens to a two panel shot where one side has summaries for the three episodes and the other has a large number of animation bubbles floating around it. The back of the insert has an advert for the next volume.
The menu layout is pretty standard with a static series of images, such as the main menu having shots of the duo from the cover while also providing some good Éclair imagery. Selections are quick and easy to access though I don't like how in the language menu, when you make a selection, there's nothing to indicate that it took or what it's actually going to play.
The extras for this round a pretty similar to past volumes. The image gallery has various pieces from the episodes on this disc and the songs section is the new ending sequence with the added bonus of subtitles to sing along should you want them. The ES dossier and the profiles are basically what we saw in the earlier volumes with a few new ones mixed in that are relevant to this episode.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ah, the fun and frustration that is Kiddy Grade!
The sixth volume in the series felt like we had missed a volume or two of stories in how it shifted gears so readily from the leads being fugitives to them now taking control of things after eliminating Eclipse. The start-up of their own warrior squad of clones of themselves and a slew of other things they put into operation while rebuilding everything made it feel like you were in another world. And in a way, that's exactly the feeling you were supposed to have since those who were in that situation felt pretty much the same as they had no clue as to why things were happening as they were. It's the kind of show where if this series was done with a volume or two less, then likely the real payoff episodes would have been kept together or at least in a way that didn't have us waiting till the middle of this volume to get it all explained.
The opening episode deals with a lot of the action aspect of the last sizeable arc and brings a number of things into the light, some of it forced and some of it pretty obvious (which is honestly dependent on how you watch the show; if you're marathoning it or not watching much else then things may click easier than if you're watching fifty other series over the course of its release). Much of what's gone on since the takeover of the GOTT/ES side of things has been interesting and seeing the real reasons behind it all, which is admittedly pretty petty considering how far-reaching some of this went, has certainly helped to flesh out past events. In particular, I really like the changes that Éclair and Lumiere have gone through in order to deal with all of this.
Especially that one ultra sexy eye-catch of Éclair in her new outfit that's thankfully too short for her. Good gravy. That's the one people need to cosplay.
The bridge story that focuses around Lumiere is an interesting one since it brings to light just what she's capable of and what kind of strain her powers can be on her. The resulting flashbacks help bring a lot of it into focus and fleshes out her own relationship with Éclair which complements Éclair's own methods of trying to help Lumiere through this crisis. The bond between the two of them is really strengthened here more than some of the time they spent together on the run since that was generally a more Éclair-focused series of events. Beyond the bridge though, the new material that we get to start focusing on with the Nouvlesse looks to be really interesting. The idea that they're the last remaining pureblooded Earthlings, which gives way to their personalities and lack of concern about the rest of humanity, is certainly something you can see evolving over time. There is a lot brought to light through the opening shot of this story and what we learn about the Nouvlesse that I'm really keen to see where they're going to go with it.
But man, one key and you can steal a ship that size? Whoever came up with that idea needs a serious whipping.
In a way, you could have easily ended the entire series with this volume and just a bit of a rewrite of the closing to make everything tie together nicely. That there's still more and it looks to be the icing on the cake is certainly not a bad thing though. This volume does a good job of bringing a lot of the past events fully into the light now and actually answering questions while bringing up only a few new ones that look to be resolved fairly quickly. The leads of the show really shine well here and it's one of those rare times where the changes are for the better. This set of episodes has all the good stuff; action, character development and the large overarching plot kicking into high gear.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Song,Image Gallery,Character Profiles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Kiddy Grade