In Kiddy Grade's futuristic world humans are no longer earth bound and have expanded their horizons to colonize a multitude of new worlds. However, despite all the technological advances humanity is still plagued by crime hence the need for the Encounter of Shadow-work Force, ES for short, which serves as the Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariff's covert law enforcement arm. The ES Force is comprised of twelve members separated into teams of two with each team possessing a unique combination of powers that makes them ideally suited for certain mission types. Of the teams, Éclair and Lumiere become our guides leading us on a complicated tour of this brave new world.
As for story itself, Kiddy Grade focuses on two things: Éclair's mysterious past and the interactions between the Nouvelesse, an ancient aristocratic group, and the G.O.T.T. That said, despite those key themes the film makers dedicated most of the first eight episodes to developing the bong between the two main characters, Éclair and her partner Lumiere, as well as, introducing the other twelve ES members, key political figures, and upper management at the G.O.T.T. Regardless, I felt the plot, while fun and amusing, developed very slowly, but my bigger complaint was the way that the story unravels as there wasn't enough fore shadow or back story in the early episodes. This lack of fore shadow was then followed by pretty significant plot twists and developments that left my head spinning at times. As a result, I have to really ding the story development here because I felt the way things were revealed or how characters were seemingly killed and then brought back to life represented really sloppy story telling.
As with most works from Gonzo Kiddy Grade is a great visual work with well drawn characters, complicated space-based battle sequences, and an incredibly deft blending of CGI and traditional anime techniques. The scenes are artifact free and incredibly easy on the eyes.
Once again Gonzo delivers a great sound track complete with great opening and closing themes, as well as, a unique series closing theme that's also worth listening to. In addition, the general series sound quality was great and sounded very crisp on my 5.1 Dolby system. All in all, a very solid audio work.
Of all the series I've watched I think this one probably had me the most confused in terms of characters. Not because they were explained badly, but because of the sheer volume of them that are thrown at you. What's more a few characters routinely change hair styles and outfits; making what was already a challenge significantly more difficult. However, once your head stops spinning what you actually find is that this light hearted story really revolves around one very complex character with an incredibly detailed past and while there are a lot of secondary characters most of them are merely plot elements and not really things that need to be focused on. That said, I really couldn't give Kiddy Grade a high score here because of how Éclair, Eclipse, and a few other characters are developed. The biggest problem being that in most cases things were just revealed without ample foreshadow.
Kiddy Grade was a very light hearted series that more than met its quota for eye candy (including more than a handful of up the skirt shots). In addition, Kiddy Grade also incorporates some pretty deep story elements including a very typically Japanese class based conflict and serious wartime ethical questions. That said, my big complaint with Kiddy Grade was the random and almost haphazard nature with which the later part of the story is told. Characters are seemingly killed and brought back to life at the whims of the story tellers without any significant explanation or foreshadow of how this might be possible. As a result, I have to admit I spent a lot of time rewinding to see how I missed stuff. Regardless though I do have to admit the early to middle part of the story flowed pretty well and I think for those looking for something different to watch this series could make for some entertaining moments.
The title of this anime is a weird thing. In-story it has absolutely nothing to do with kids or grades. Yet aesthetically, it couldn’t be more spot-on because the plot is indeed kiddy grade level. Wonder why? Well what did you expect from something GONZO made? Oh, and I see Kyoto Animation gave a hand too. Combine these two and you get the only possible outcome: Shallow fan service crap. Even if you manage to switch off your critical thought while watching it, it is still bad because it ain’t even bold at what it’s going for. Thus it is bad no matter how you try to view it.
The first part of the show is episodic, meant to be used as an introduction to the various superhuman investigators and agents of the organization the protagonists work for. Which means it is a complete waste of time since there is no story, the villains are weak and are defeated in the same episode they appear in, and the introduced secondary characters are just defined by superficial personality quirks (like drinking grapefruit and only whispering instead of talking) and their superpower. There is also fan service but unless you are still 10 years old without access to the internet, it will feel like nothing other than zooming in to boobs and legs for lulz.
The second part is actually trying to flesh out the basic story by now showing the backdrops of most agents, as well as the history of the galaxy the series takes place in. It definitely improved in terms of action and character interaction and even tried to delve with heavy subjects like immortality and the gap of social classes, totalitarianism, terrorism, exploit of ideals, and some more. It also finds the main heroines becoming fugitives and hunted by their own colleagues, a thing which leads to even more character interactions. There are a lot of openings for something good to be made from all this.
But this is GONZO we are talking about here and they have taken an oath of screwing up all their good ideas. It again feels very basic and immature since it is just scratching the surface of all these issues before it returns in the third arc to more fan service and kiddy grade level of storytelling. Nothing makes sense and all resolutions are simply ass-pulling stuff in a most far-fetched way possible. The finale is disappointing in the least since it is a cop-out that leaves you apathetic towards all that preceded it. The good guys are ridiculously overpowered. Nothing in the galaxy has the means to stomp them and thus no threat feels deadly enough to make you question if they find a way to win. So in effect a black hole can threaten to swallow the universe and you will not really feel any tension from it, since the story is a joke and the characters take their powers from Chuck Norris.
Two things that were done rather right were the production values and the battle funkiness. They poured a lot of money into making the planets and the spaceships to look gorgeous. As well as all the characters as charismatic or sexy or cute as possible, and equipped them with some of the weirdest superpowers that turn all battles to brain dead enjoyment. The lipstick whip is one of my favourites. The soundtrack is also not bad if you like mainstream jpop nonsense.
What makes Kiddy Grade even worse than it already is, is how it keeps pretending to be a mature show with substance.
- All the names of the characters and their ships for example have a secret meaning behind them, and you are made to thing there is this hidden depth behind the shallow exterior. In reality there is none; they are at best just a tribute to some other work of fiction.
- They also use a lot of foreign languages (other than Japanese that is) like English and French in an attempt to make the setting a lot more mature and intelligent. And again they fail since most of these languages are misspelled and mispronounced to the point of Europeans facepalming at the sight of them.
- They also shoehorned a lot of hard science fiction elements, such as nanobots and cloning in order to fool you they really did their homework and have lots of serious stuff in store for later. Too bad, because the way they handled them was like watching a 5 year old describing nuclear physics.
In all, this anime is a joke. A bad one too. The story never makes use of its potential, the characters are shallow, the convenient plot devices are flying all over the place, and the fan service ain’t that great either. There are several sequels and prequels to the core series and even those are equally bad, with even less context and even more fan service. That clearly shows how the whole franchise is treating its viewers as nothing but easily pleased idiots and I happen to dislike that. Not recommended.
You want something similar with chicks and action and fan service but faaaar better? Try Panty & Stocking. It is equally brainless but at least goes full throttle into its premise, offers a lot of tributes and symbolisms, it is bold, artistic, unorthodox, and generally something GONZO couldn’t even comprehend even you were giving it a 100 page explanation. Because they would be too stupid to get what true talent is all about.
You want something with science fiction and space and action but faaaar better? Try Terra E. Now this is how you make use of the potential your setting offers.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 9/10
General Artwork 2/2 (nice looking)
Character Figures 2/2 (cool looking)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (lots of special attacks)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (very loose)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (silly)
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (vauge but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (messy)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch)
Memorability 2/4 (it has some crazy ideas but overall it is not something too memorable)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10
Art 1/1 (looks nice)
Sound 1/2 (I liked the songs)
Story 1/3 (nice ideas but retarded plot)
Characters 2/4 (they are interesting but are handled poorly)
Plot: "In the distant future many things have changed. Worlds are colonized and people travel the stars freely. The GOTT (Galactic Organization of Trades and Tarifs) exists to maintain order and peace along the galaxies. Enter two ES members. Eclair and Lumiere. They are sent on missions to keep the universal peace, under the flag of GOTT. But soon they come to realize that there is more going on behind the scenes than they previously imagined..." (site synopsis)
Since it has been quite a while since i made my last review here, i came back reviewing one of the animes that i completed recently and which i damn enjoyed, couldn't stant it and i needed to express my feelings of gratitude towards Kiddy Grade which in my opinion was a very good anime which worths watching, and is accesible for everyone.
Story: To begin with the story of this anime is centered on two ES-members (ES as Encounter of Shadow- work Force) of the G.O.T.T. (Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs) named Eclair and Lumiere. The ES team consists of 12 members divided into teams of two and each team possess a unique and distinctive combination of superpowers which makes them pretty strong and available for hard missions. Kiddy Grade's futuristic world is pretty amazing, people are no longer bound to Earth only, they expanded their horizons, terraforming other planets for the sake of continuing life in other corners of the universe aside from Earth, also the advanced technology did not resolve the most problematic and persisten humanity issues, crimes and other infractions were still happening, and the need for ES-members who can deal with them is rising. The story of Kiddy Grade focuses mostly on two things: Eclair's mysterious and intriguing past and the interactions between the Nouveless (Nouveless infact can be also spelled as Nobles, and they are also called earthlings mainly because they were born on Earth, usually Nobles were rich and influent people who were possessing other planets as well and subjugates other people which are not originar from Earth) and G.O.T.T. Though the first 8-10 episodes are mostly dedicated on presenting and developing the bond between Eclair and Lumiere, the other twelve ES-members, important political figures and also the upper-management of G.O.T.T. The plot of Kiddy Grade is developing kinda slow, the first episodes may seem an eternity but the good things which are happening after, makes it really interesting and attractive, it doesnt lack drama nor comedy moments, alot of action here and there and also some Fan Service aspects (usually it maintains its decency but this is also a "less" predominant aspect of this show). Filled with plot twists, Kiddy Grade isn't in my opinion an average anime, and nor an anime with an average type of story/plot. The only thing i have to complain is that the plot twists may seem abit confusing, they dun make too much sense though they aren't left unsolved, undone. Not being perfect though i still give it a full mark only because it kept me captivated and i could marathon it and not pause it from time to time (if i like the story of an anime then i usually marathon it from head to toe, so of course this will get a good mark from me)
Animation and Sound: Gonzo maintains the reputation of delivering great animation visuals and also nice soundtracks. The character designs are great, well drawn and the soundtracks are very good, pretty listenable. Also this anime is filled with complicated advanced technology stuff, futuristic shit, if you think too much about them your head will explode, but they are not provoking eye sore.
Characters: The lowest point in my opinion of this anime is probably the characters, dun get me wrong this anime has a nice character development but the way they are explained and how many they throw at us its pretty annoying. In the end the plot will revolve around one complex character with a detailed past (way more developed than the other side-characters) and the other characters are just some mere plot elements and not some stuff that needs to be focused on. I really can't rate this aspect higher, since the way Eclair, Eclipse, Lumiere and the other characters were developed was very shalow.
Overall: All in all, Kiddy Grade in my opinion worths watching, it has a decent plot, the characters even though they are shalowy developed they are very funny, it doesnt lack comedy nor drama, it also has some Fan Service aspects, i also noticed and felt a shoujo-ai atmosphere in it, it has great visuals and some nice battles.
Here are some pics:
~Enjoy and Cya Around~