Kiddy Grade Vol. #8 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kiddy Grade

Kiddy Grade Vol. #8

By Chris Beveridge     November 29, 2004
Release Date: November 30, 2004


Kiddy Grade Vol. #8
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
G.O.T.T. Secretary Chevalier d’Autriche has the fate of the planet Aineias resting in the palm of his hand. Can anything be done to stop him from unleashing the incredible power of the Atlas-class intergalactic spaceship Deucalion? Eclair confronts yet another shocking image from her past, but a new development threatens not only Earth, but the entire galaxy! Eclair and Lumiere lead the charge against Alv in the final battle for freedom, truth, and the future.

The Review!
Kiddy Grade comes to a close with the final three episodes of an arc that just feels completely out of place.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Presented in a clear keepcase, Alv & Dverger take the final cover with a nicely colorful and vibrant pair of outfits against the usual background of mixed faces through a dark colored filter. The covers for this series have been good overall in letting the main characters look good in the foreground and giving them some of the limelight. 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 new illustrated pieces of the leads in their new form as well as the two from the front cover. The illustration styles used continue to be neat and different ways of looking at the characters. 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 another show from FUNimation.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
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 recent 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)
With the last part of the previous volume and now this one, Kiddy Grade brings itself to a conclusion by dealing with some of the core problems of the human race, or more specifically, with the Nouvlesse' sense of superiority due to their claims of lineage of being direct descendants and pure Earthlings. This has been something that's come up throughout the series as a sense of class warfare of sorts and has provided for an us versus them theme to crop up while the main storyline has played out about Éclair and Lumiere, but now it gets its time to shine and be the central focus.

Unfortunately, I don't think it was all that necessary. Once this arc started up, which covers roughly four episodes or so, it's felt like it was almost tagged on to bring the series to a full length instead of an unusual number. The conclusion to the previous arc, complete with epilogue, would have been a better place to end the series. A lot of the feelings behind that has to do with the way this arc was really kicked off. I griped about it in the last volume, but regardless of how it was done, the fact that they had just one man with a key get on board the biggest ship humanity has ever created and just walk off with it just boggles and goes beyond the scope of believability. And with a project as big and as ongoing as this one, to basically keep any allusion to it off the show until it's necessary just doesn't feel right either and only adds to that feeling that it was tagged on when they realized they'd finish early. I'd much rather see a few more episodes of Éclair and Lumiere on the run from the mid point of the show instead.

That's not to say that it's entirely unenjoyable here. The arrival of the Deucalion, under the control of an increasingly unbalanced Alv, in the solar system with the intent to destroy the Earth certainly has a sense of the dramatics. Bringing in every ES member and their ships to attack her and try to destroy the ship before Alv can cause any real damage to the planet or system has plenty of tension to be found within it and the combat sequences are just a lot of fun to watch as each of the members get to do their own special attack and shine for that one glorious moment they all look for in a fight sequence like this. But at the same time I have a hard time taking it too seriously since the Deucalion transformed into a humanoid shape. That was bad enough in and of itself to do something like that with a ship this massive, since it really strains disbelief in far too many directions, but the way it kept reminding me of a certain superdimensional fortress just kept getting in the way.

Overall, Kiddy Grade was a fun and exciting series with characters that I enjoyed to watch. The fanservice is pretty high in a lot of areas but it didn't bother me all that much with this show for some reason. The show started off a bit rocky in trying to present its standalone episodes in order to establish some basic ideas and setting for the galaxy at hand but in retrospect it probably does a better job than I could give it credit for at first. The characters histories, which are pretty rich if equally jumbled, were a lot of fun to discover as it went through the paces and we moved into the larger storylines at the same time. Some of the material moved a bit too quick and I think the major arc with the restoration of the GOTT could have been easily extended to cover these final episodes instead of giving Alv even more screen time but the way they did things here allows for everyone to try and do their best final shining glory moments.

In Summary:
Kiddy Grade tries to bring it all together with an epic conclusion that's combined with the darkest things about the human mind. Giving itself over to the large battles and bringing in pretty much every character for a few moments of time, the final episodes is almost like a who's who (and who flies what) of the series. The action is good and there are some high emotional moments to be found as well. The finale arc has been fun and interesting but I still found that it stretched disbelief too much to be fully enjoyable or serve as the right ending for the series. Regardless, the show overall has been a great deal of fun and will certainly flow better in a marathon session when we get to doing that in the future.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Song,Image Gallery,Character Profiles

Review Equipment
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.

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