Kite: Directors Cut - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kite

Kite: Directors Cut

By Chris Beveridge     January 31, 2002
Release Date: January 29, 2002


Kite: Directors Cut
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Dangerous things come in small packages…

She may be cute. She may be young. She may seem innocent and na´ve, but don’ t be fooled. She’s a cold-blooded killer, and if you’re on the wrong side of the law, you may be her next target.

After being orphaned at a young age, her parents the victims of a brutal double murder, Sawa was taken in by the detective assigned to her case. Not content to just watch as the imperfect justice system lets more and more criminals go loose every day, he’s decided to train her to be his instrument of justice. After all, who’d suspect a pretty college student of being a deadly vigilante!
Now she must decide between her allegiance to her guardian and her loyalty to her one and only friend, a fellow sword of justice.

The Review!
Among one of the most controversial titles released to US fandom due to its cuts, Kite gets another chance at the market with a less cut version, but not fully uncut. While the original release went too far in snipping in my opinion, this release puts back much of what was missing but keeping out the couple of seconds that just can't be considered legal in some areas. We're happy.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. While the show is fairly recent and produced with what looks like a decent budget, the show is all about the forward soundstage with nothing thrown to the rears. There is some nice directionality with the front speakers at times in this stereo mix during the gunplay sequences, but otherwise it feels pretty center channel based and average for what you'd expect from an OVA release.

Video:
The original release of Kite by Media Blasters was early on when they were learning the DVD ropes, so they've used the knowledge they've gained and produced a much better looking disc. Colors are more fully saturated and the pixellation we had trouble with is nowhere to be seen. If there's anything we still don't like, it's that the two episodes are again spliced together, providing a jarring jump from the end of episode one, which should go to credits, to the beginning of episode two, which is a flashback.

Packaging:
This edition uses a different piece of artwork than the original as well, this time using one of the more well known images of Sawa in her shcoolgirl outfit with gun in hand. The back cover provides some nice naughty pictures and an overall nice design to give the show the right feel. The story summary is pretty good and the usual production credits and disc features are listed pretty clearly. The insert provides the chapter listings with a stylized hazy picture of one of the cast in the background.

Menus:
The menu layout is very simple, using the logo from the front cover and providing the meager selections available here. Beyond setting up the disc and jumping to a specific scene, all you have is trailers. No music or animation plays here. Access times are nice and fast though.

Extras:
While the original release had storyboards and an image gallery, those items did not make their way onto this release for some reason.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story of Kite is one that even after seeing it several times in the past couple of years, I still enjoy a lot.

The premise is pretty simple. One corrupt cop has an attractive girl act as his assassin for some of the scum of the earth that they get hired to take out. Said corrupt cop has a friend who he works with as well who has a similarly aged male as the attractive girl. The two team up for the first time to take down a trio of child molesters.

This all occurs after we see the attractive girl assassin, named Sawa, take down a TV celebrity punk who has a penchant for young girls himself. The opening sequence takes place with her in her schoolgirl outfit riding up the elevator to one of his secret lairs where he takes those special fans of his. While he's harassing an elderly woman whose riding the elevator with them, she takes the opportunity to retrieve her hidden weapon, a gun that discharges special ammunition, and fill him up with it. The bullets act with a time delay and explode violently several seconds after impact. Sawa is quiet, quick and very efficient.

When Sawa is eventually brought together with Oburi, the young male assassin, the two end up striking up an odd friendly relationship that's definitely more philosophical than you'd expect for their age, but actually makes a lot of sense. The way these young assassins play out is very similar in tone and style to Luc Besson's "Leon" where he takes on a young apprentice assassin. Things go fairly well for the two until Sawa takes on their latest contract, which is a Hollywood man known as P. Willis, someone who looks quite a lot like a certain other Mr. Willis. This encounter takes place in a bathroom with one of the more violent anime shoot-outs I've seen that was later mainstreamed in a No Doubt music video.
The show definitely has some deviant aspects to it, especially with the origin of Sawa and how she came under the control of her corrupt cop and his friend Kanie. There's a number of sex scenes as well that give the show a really different feel, a feel some say is out of place while others think bring something more exciting to it. Though it's only two episodes long, the show provides quite a bit of story and a lot of action.

Aside from the disc having the episodes spliced together, the one other aspect we really didn't like, and we mentioned this during the first release, is in regards to the Hollywood actor and his bodyguards. Their dialogue was recorded in English when it was released in Japan and they provided Japanese subtitles. The Japanese subtitles are removed here but no English subtitles are provided in their place. Why provide subtitles? Well, there are a fair number of people who watch anime who are hard of hearing and rely on subtitles to enjoy shows. I myself am already hard of hearing from a work related experience, so having no subtitles for an English piece is a problem.

This directors cut is the best it's going to get here in region 1 and even the region 2 version has been replaced by an "International Version" that removes the more problematic sequences. With all the trouble the title has caused in the past couple of years, I'm now firmly putting it all behind me and am simply enjoying the show as its presented now, since this is the best it's going to get.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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