Kiddy Grade Box Set -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: TV 14
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 89.98
  • Running time: 650
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kiddy Grade

Kiddy Grade Box Set

By Bryce Coulter     December 14, 2007
Release Date: July 11, 2006

Kiddy Grade Box Set
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
In Star century Zero-One-Sixty-Five, the Global Union was born. To provide an impartial mediator to the various planetary governments of the G.U., the Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs, or G.O.T.T. was simultaneously formed to settle economic disputes amongst the member planets.

Existing in the shadows of the G.O.T.T., the ES Force serves as the G.O.T.T.'s primary law enforcement organization. ES Force members Eclair and Lumiere are on the front line, pursuing all manner of criminals and bringing them to justice. This is their story.

This Box Set comes with a set of 48 collectible trading cards.

Contains all 24 episodes.

The Review!
Can somebody say Dirty Pair?

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in the English dub. We also sampled some of the Japanese soundtrack to get a glimpse of the original voice actors’ depiction of the main characters. The English dub sounded great as well as the overall soundtrack. Even the new music adapted for this release seemed to fit very well. The English voice actors did a decent job of portraying the standard set by the original Japanese cast. We did not notice any drop outs nor any sound distortions. The audio for this release is clean, clear, and pleasing to the ear.

Kiddy Grade first débuted in 2002 and looks just as good as many of today’s current releases. The video transfer is clean and clear with little to no cross coloration. The bright and dark colors look great. Aliasing was minimal to nonexistent. The animation is top notch and very easy on the eyes.

This Kiddy Grade collection comes as a brick pack, meaning that it contains four full-sized DVD cases. Each case contains two discs. The front of the brick box depicts Éclair in a more serious pose with a less conspicuous side view of her face set in the background. The back side of the box depicts the same poses for Lumière. Each individual DVD case features the main cast of girls in various types of fanservice-esque positions. Placing each of the spines in numerical order will reveal another fanservicy picture of Lumière and Éclair. The inside jackets of the individual DVD’s also have images of the girls as well. Each disk in the collection has a different image of the girls on them also. Funimation really focused on the details for this brick pack collection and it shows.

The menu layout is comprised of static images from the episodes. This is all set to an orchestral music loop that doesn’t really seem to fit with the overall theme of the show. However, I like the music and it loops well. The menu selections are quick and easy to access. However, it appears that the language selection issue that was present in the single releases is also in this collection. When you make a language selection you cannot tell if it has been activated.

There's a good selection of extras included in this release, starting with a nice full color video art gallery that shows off various scenes from the episodes contained in each disc. The images are displayed with different orchestral themes, which is cool. The opening theme song can played in a clean form that gives you the option of listening to the dubbed opening with or without the subtitles. A promotional video slide show is included that shows pencil drawings from the series. There is some different music used in the above clips, which has been a topic of discussion in that the original music used for the Japanese release could not be used in the U.S. release. However, the music in the extras is definitely Japanese and does not appear anywhere in the episodes. Rounding out the extras, there's a couple of commercials for the Japanese DVD releases and a series of character profiles. Funimation really packed in the extras, which are a real treat for fans and those who want to get a more in-depth perspective of the series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Girls with guns, action, and plenty of panty shots are what immediately come to my mind when I reflect on the 24 episode series known as Kiddy Grade. However, there is a small gem of a story here that is not commonly associated with shows that feature plenty of excessive fanservice.
In the Kiddy Grade universe, the human race has expanded far beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Humans inhabit multitudes of planets throughout the universe where advances in technology encompass sophisticated artificial intelligences, medical advancements, etc...

Unsurprisingly, intergalactic crime has grown alongside these technological advancements. This is where the Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs (GOTT) come into play as universal police force. Within GOTT is a special, and secret, branch known as the Encounter of Shadow-work Force or ES Force. This secret branch consists of twelve young people that possess many unique skills and capabilities.

Our main characters, Éclair and Lumière, are often considered as low-level ES members and often work at the information desk at GOTT headquarters. Éclair has super strength abilities that allow her to open up a can on the strongest and biggest of enemies. Lumière has the ability to hack into any computer or machine. As a team, they are equipped with a powerful starship and a guard robot that both incorporate advanced artificial intelligence capabilities. They are accompanied on many of their missions by a very secretive GOTT auditor named Armbrust, whose name was mistranslated as Armblast for the English dub. He leaves you guessing about his true intentions and motives and often causes Éclair to distrust him.

The first eight episodes of the series focus on Éclair and Lumière’s relationship. They are often put on low risk missions that include negotiating trade between two rival planets; transporting a criminal; entering a wrestling tournament to recover a stolen cybernetic implant; and helping a young heir claim his inheritance. Often, they help support fellow ES teams to stop various threats. This is where some of the biggest complaints about Kiddy Grade originate as it does start out slow. These episodes were entertaining, but the main plot has yet to be revealed.

Episode nine initiates a gradual plot buildup that is intriguing and will leave you guessing right up until the end. Shows with these types of story elements are what I love the most about anime. The plot begins with Éclair in the middle of a brain-washing scheme on the Planet Dardanos. This leads to the discovery of a secretive government conspiracy. Éclair inadvertently comes into contact with the brain-washing signal that leaves her paralyzed. Later, Éclair awakens to some very strange and violent flashbacks in which she has nor prior memory.

Éclair’s haunting flashbacks lead her to search for answers to her dreams that results in her discovery of a former life for both her and Lumière. It appears that both girls have had their past memories erased. This leads to some doubt about what GOTT has been hiding from them and their past. The color of distrust soon surfaces on the untarnished image that the girl’s believed to be GOTT.

Coming to terms with their recent GOTT discovery, Éclair and Lumière are assigned to a high-risk mission on the Planet Aure. The government is run by the Nouvelesse, who have enslaved the planet's inhabitants. Distraught by the situation of the planet's citizens, Éclair and Lumière begin to doubt GOTT’s true intentions and their assignment on Aure. A mass protest by Aure's laborers incites the government to kill the protestors. Unable to stand by and watch, Éclair stops the government soldiers, thus allowing Aure's citizens to successfully revolt and defeat the current government. Because of their disobedience to follow orders, GOTT is now pursuing Éclair and Lumière as criminals.

The remaining episodes lead to a twisty and climatic finish that can leave your head spinning. So many plot twists are revealed at just the right time. This can lead the viewer to doubt the identity and the intention of the two heroines in the story. A shade of grey is cast over the entire plot as the story concludes. Identifying the good guys from the bad guys can be a bit difficult. However, the story does conclude satisfyingly well and closes up the loop wholes very well, with exception to Armblast. I guess some character identities are best left as a mystery.

Kiddy Grade is an entertaining story that starts out slow and uses a lot of fanservice. It’s a series that feels almost like Dirty Pair on the surface. However, don’t let the cover of this book fool you as a real gem of a story lies neatly packaged within its 24 episode run.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,Image Gallery,Promotional Video,Japanese Commercials,Character Profiles,Textless Opening,48 Collectable Cards

Review Equipment
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 HDMI Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.


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