Kiddy Grade Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £17.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kiddy Grade

Kiddy Grade Vol. #3

By Dani Moure     September 21, 2004
Release Date: October 04, 2004

Kiddy Grade Vol. #3
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
Eclair and Lumiere are sent to oversee the proper passage of power of the powerful Rosenfelt Financial Group to young Timothy Constance, the group's rightful heir. But they soon learn that something is amiss amongst those in power. As one page is turned, a new chapter begins. With criminals coming out of the woodwork to secure the awesome planet destroying power of Geo Sort technology, Eclair and Lumiere must prepare to face the unthinkable, and well an uprising that threatens the freedom of the galaxy.

Episodes comprise:

7. Trial / Child
8. Forbidden / Instrument
9. Mirage / Snare

The Review!
Kiddy Grade returns with a volume that begins to pick up the pace with the ongoing story.

I listened to the Japanese track for my main reviewing, and continued to enjoy the performances of the Japanese actors. The nuances, in particular with Lumiere and Éclair, come across really well. The stereo mix is nice, with the music sounding particularly good. I noticed no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

I also listened to the parts of the disc in English. I am really enjoying this dub a lot, with Monica Rial as Lumiere and Colleen Clinkenbeard as Éclair getting the most exposure and doing a fine job. My only gripe with the track is that it does sometimes stray a bit too far from the literal translation for my liking (which is often the case with FUNimation dubs). The 5.1 mix is pretty nice, adding a bit of directionality, though it didn't seem that great a difference over the stereo track to me. I noticed no dropouts or distortions on this track during regular playback.

As this is a FUNimation production, we also get dubbed openings and endings, and in the case of Kiddy Grade, they're very good. It's quite a feat with the opening song, too, since the original is quite nonsensical in its use of English. Dub songs really do add big brownie points in my book, especially since they're not cringe-worthy like some older dubbed themes.

With only three episodes on this disc, and coming from GONZO, you would expect Kiddy Grade to look great, and this transfer doesn't disappoint. The video continues to look crisp and clean, and colours are extremely vibrant. This is one of GONZO's typical digital looking "shiny" shows, and it looks great. There was also no artifacting that I noticed, and aliasing is pretty non-existant.

We also get alternate angles for the openings and endings. This means that you can either watch the translated, English credits in the opening, or the original Japanese opening with kanji, and the same for the ending, depending on which language you select from the menu.

Subtitles are in a nice yellow font, as opposed to the white font used on the US discs. They're good and were a marked improvement over the several grammatical and spelling errors I noticed in the last volume.

No packaging was included as this was a check disc.

The menus are simple but functional, with a brief introduction sequence continuing to the static opening menu (I don't consider a rotating logo to be much motion!) featuring a shot of Tweedledum and Tweddledee from the front cover, this time to the right of the screen with the logo above them. There are the four choices as static buttons, with some background music looping over the top, and the volume number and title at the top of the screen. Sub-menus are similarly static with much the same use of text and buttons, and the same image on the right of the screen. The menus are far from the high point of this disc, but they serve their purpose well enough and look fairly attractive.

Again we don't get many extras on the disc. There's a brief image gallery, essentially a series of screenshots set to some of the show's music. I always find screencap galleries somewhat disappointing, because I'd much rather there was some production art instead. There are two more commercials present from the Japanese DVD release, one longer and one shorter, which are good to have but not very meaty. Finally, we get the textless ending again, and some more textual character profiles. Definitely not the most enthralling selection.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The adventures of Lumiere and Éclair continue with another three episodes that flew by in no time at all. I am really beginning to get into this show a lot, and greatly enjoyed the content presented here. While the stories remain somewhat episodic, as in earlier volumes, it all starts to fit together more almost as if pieces of a puzzle are gradually coming together, with more hints of what may be to come.

While we get more exploration of both Lumiere and Éclair, other characters are really thrust more to the fore than they have been in past episodes. Armbrust, the Chief and Mecredi make their presence felt in more ways than one, but also more interesting is the appearance of two more ES members, aptly named Tweedledum and Tweedledee (and how more weird are the names of the characters going to get, anyway?), as well as the return of a couple of others.

It all begins with Lumiere and Éclair being sent to take a young heir called Timothy Constance to his homeland to inherit the fortune stemming from his father's Financial Group that are in control of over 7% of the capital in the galaxy, following his father's death. But there's a time limit dictated in the will for him to arrive and identify himself, and then he has to overcome the other members of the group who instigate a race in hopes that he won't actually end up with any of the fortune, but not counting on the presence of Éclair at his side. We also get to meet a couple of new ES members, this time the amusing Viola and her rather quiet companion Cesario. They're an amusing pairing especially when you see how they work together, and I definitely look forward to seeing more about them. This episode is a fun romp, in much the same vein as those that came before it, and it's fun to see Éclair again fight alongside the good guy, while Lumiere sits back a bit more.

The next episode is my favourite on the disc, and has our duo visiting a planet to track down a Geo Sort bomb that has been acquired by underhanded methods. Since that type of bomb is under the control and distribution of GOTT, it means that their reputation could be on the line. Armbrust goes with them, and on the planet Éclair attempts to crack through a firewall to find some information. As she's doing so, she encounters another ES member, Tweedledee. Interestingly, her and her partner Tweedledum were both sent on exactly the same mission as Lumiere and Éclair by Chief Eclipse. The two pairs don't really think too much of it, and continue the mission as planned. It doesn't all go that well, but in the end Alv and Dvergr return to save the day.

There are several really good points to this episode that really raised my enjoyment of the episode. For a start, I found that Lumiere's personality came out a lot more through her interaction with Tweedledee, as there seemed to be a definite connection and admiration between the two. Likewise, the wheels of the bigger plot really start to turn here. There are plenty of mysterious points surrounding the episode's events, such as the reason why the two teams were sent on exactly the same mission, why Alv and Dvergr appeared to clean up after them, and also why Chief Eclipse decided to ignore Éclair's arrest request (and who exactly she was talking to). The scene in which that happens, plus one later with Armbrust, in which he tells her not to cross "her", referring to someone else, was really intriguing and had me wondering what was going on there. It's definitely something I look forward to finding out.

The final episode on the disc was another goodie, in which several residents of the planet Dardanos (famous for cotton exports!), all big players in the financial world, have gone missing. Éclair is sent to infiltrate the world while Lumiere looks on, as she's left with Armbrust in their ship as she has a cold. On the planet, Éclair works with some local GOTT members to try and find out the location of the missing people, but she soon finds out that there's a link between a new song and the reason why everyone has forgotten those who went missing.

This is a really good episode in and of itself, as Éclair gradually unravels the mystery of those missing, but what raises it above your average episode is the interesting flashes that Éclair sees at various points towards the end. Particularly the longer one, which appears to be a scene from her past featuring a few familiar faces, followed by what appears to be her banging on a wall to be let out of a room. It's most interesting and the more snippets like this I see, the more involved I get in wanting to know exactly what is going on.

There is some definite character growth on the disc for Éclair, but more particularly Lumiere. We've seen much less of her than Éclair over the first nine episodes, but these three give a lot more. We see much more of her powers, such as the really cute little replicating Lumiere clones that went searching for data, a technique soon copied by Tweedledee for even more cuteness, as well as get more insight into how she thinks through her interaction with Tweedledee and how she feels about Eclair.

The show looks as beautiful as ever. There's some really good animation that pops up in a number of places, though in particular in episode nine the stills do rear their face a few times. Overall though this is definitely a good looking TV series. The character designs continue to be wonderful, and it was only exemplified in my mind by the mini characters in episode eight. I won't gripe again about the disc count, since it is out of MVM's hands (and they have adjusted the MSRP to compensate), but it is annoying especially after a disc like this that just left me hanging for more.

In Summary:
Kiddy Grade gets thrust up a notch in its third outing, as the overall story begins to take shape and the bigger hints are dropped as to Éclair's past. The individual stories and new characters introduced continue to be engaging, as the promise of the show is really being converted into something good. The series is kicking into high gear now and is an excellent ride. Kiddy Grade definitely looks to be another hit from GONZO, and I'd definitely recommend this disc.

Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1 & 2.0),English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Image Gallery,Commercials

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.


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jnager 3/13/2012 6:03:43 PM

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