Kite Liberator is an OVA based off a movie made in 1998 called Kite. Kite Liberator is basically an anime about a teenage girl living a double life as an assassin, and progresses into the story of her dad who is currently in space as an astronaut. It's short, confusing, and filled with plot holes, but it was still an enjoyable show to me.
The overall concept of Kite Liberator was great. A mysterious teenage assasin in a dangerous town, and has to balance her education and job along with it. They completely ruined it. They added an unnessacary space monster story, that was extremely offtopic and poorly done. Also, there were was unessacary characters who had too much screen time, and a romance which made no sense whatsoever. They mashed up way too much events in a 58 minute OVA. I also wished that the story would elaborate a bit into Monaka's back story, thoughts, and feelings. However, I still liked the multiple aspects of the show. I liked how dark it could get, and how daring it was.
The animation of Kite Liberator was mediocre. It didn't bug me too much, but it could have been much better. I wasn't a huge fan of the art style, but it was okay. The charcter art was pretty generic and forgettable.
Since this was an OVA there was no opening, and there wasn't much music. There wasn't much background music or sounds, which was probably a good thing. But when there was music, it was pretty mediocre but it was still fitting.
For the characters, there should have been more elaboration and background to give them more depth. There was no character development whatsoever, so they characters were all pretty stagnant. Also, there were characters that contributed nothing to the story, and should've been discarded complety. However, I did like Monaka's character, although I was confused by it. I didn't know why she did what she did, but I liked her overall motive.
Kite Liberator had a lot of pontential, but however, it was wasted. I wish it would have focused on Monaka instead of the outlandish outerspace monster plot. If this was an anime series, and it portrayed Monaka's life as a teenage girl living as an assasin, it would be great. Sadly, it did not prove to be anything special. It was still entertaining for me, I just did not meet my expectations.
Kite Liberator is a short, bittersweet movie with plenty of good action scenes, but I can't help but feel it could have been so much more...
The film is split into three parts - a prologue in space, a prologue on earth, and the main story. All are very loosely connected and in chronological order. The prologues work toghether to introduce a father-daughter relationship, and cement how they feel for each other in the viewer's mind. Unfortunately there isn't enough time given the length of the movie to really understand these characters. Why can the father not return home at all? Why does the daughter work both those part-time jobs, and what is the link between them?
The sci-fi thriller element of the story also leaves quite a bit to be desired. There is very litte effort (or time) to provide a background to either the research the space station denizens are involved in, the company which is funding this, or why developing space food means the scientist responsible for it is allowed to come and go.
The unanswered questions at the end of this animated film are too many to count, and unfortunately meant that watching Kite Liberator was not a great experience. None of the relationships between the MCs and the secondary characters can be fully resolved in the short run-time, let alone between the secondary characters themselves. The bar owner in particular leaves me extremely puzzeled, and not in a good way. Conversely, I actually liked the open-ended denoument...
In terms of art and design, the female characters in particular are extremely similar. In fact it took me a few minutes to realise that the girl in the bathroom scene at the beginning was not the MC. The space scenes are well realised though, and as I mentioned above the action scenes are a highlight of this film. I do like how the final assination targets have been designed though.
This is worth watching if you are mainly interested in sci-fi action and don't care too much for plot holes.
This one started extremely strangely as they start out in space. Sadly, it only explains where The main character’s father has been. It doesn’t follow the original story much in that the girl they call Sawa is actually a girl named Monaka Noguchi and is not the main character from the other show. They could have fooled me though since she looks exactly like the original Sawa. When we finally get to the main character, it’s about 9 minutes into it. She works at a small dinner and acts extremely clumsy even though she could kill someone rather fast. To me, this changes the storyline drastically because it’s like she wants to kill rather then being forced to kill.
As for the new piece that they placed into it, the monsters just feel like they tried to make something more then it already was. It didn’t work out at all and made things feel choppy. Even more bothersome is the fact that her father wasn’t dead.
The ending leaves us guessing what the hell happens next and gives us no closure to the story line. The whole show was jumping all over the place and only at the end did it even show what it was trying to do.
The artwork is way different then Kite before it, being much newer and more fluid then the first. The voice doesn’t always sink up with the English voices though there was an attempt at least to do it right.
The English voice is really not that good for Monoka, making him sound way too cutesy. It’s really bothersome and high pitched making it hard to listen to. Most voices are actually really good but Sawa is not.
Well 58 minutes later, and I have no idea what to make of Kite Liberator. On the bright side, I believe that's an affliction that I share with the guys paid to create this OVA. The overall impression I get from Kite Liberator is that two different anime studios created separate multiple-episode OVAs and were forced to combine all of the episodes of both series into a single episode of a single OVA at the last moment.
Story: The story is a blending of the plot from Kite (scantily-clad female assassin kills criminals) and the sci-fi staple of mutated crew member on a space station brutally murders everyone and then escapes to Earth via a completely bogus mechanism. Mix those two stories with a series of contrived and highly implausible coincidences and you've got... well whatever this is.
I feel that I need to specifically note how terrible the pacing is in this OVA. Scenes clash together with no transitions or continued mood. In one series of four scenes we have a criminal molesting a little girl and then getting gorily murdered, then a campy fan service scene at a diner, then a scene where an astronaut is mutating into a monster, and finally a humorous scene at school where a teacher collects various contraband items from the students. Try to draw a sensible storyline through that why don't you?
Worst of all, however, is that NOTHING is explained. One scene has Monika (female protagonist) undressing and we see a scar on her back (and then we zoom in on it) and it's never mentioned again. At another point a man dressed in a cat mascot outfit (assumed to be her contact to the assassin collective, though we're never told if said collective even exists or if she's freelance) tells Monika that instead of assassinating criminals, she is to kill the space monster which, for some reason, the cat man knows about. At another point, the scientist who accidentally caused the mutation of the crew member tells Monika his name, the company he works for, the fact that he's responsible for the monster, and how more than anything he needs to keep the fact that he created the monster a secret (?!) all without Monika ever asking him a question. It's a bizarre exposition that was stuffed in so that the writers could ensure that Monika knows the entire plot. Oh, and one final question, how the hell did this girl become a trained assassin?
Ok one final point and then I promise I'm done with the story. This OVA ends on a cliffhanger. WEAK!
Animation: This is the shining point of the OVA. The production values are really high here and apart from a few scenes where the animation is choppy and periods where the lip-sync doesn't exactly match up, the animation looks great. The character models are nearly universally well-done as well with the police commissioner being the sole exception. He only has a bit role, but he has such a bizarre character model.
Sound: The sound effects were, as you would expect from the high production values, top-notch. The music was your standard J-Pop fare with nothing memorable. The voice acting was pretty good overall, but I hated whoever was responsible for Monika's voice acting. There were periods where it sounded forced and fake (watch the scene where Monika fires a Roman candle for proof).
Characters: Well apart from the previously-mentioned fact that nothing about the characters is ever explained, I feel the need to criticize them for a lack of motivation. Monika has no reason (that we know of) to go vigilante. The monster spends most of its time hiding but comes out at random periods to do nothing in particular. The diner owner seems to be hiding a rapist (or at least supplying him) but at another point seems to be part of Monika's assassin collective. Whether the doctor responsible for the mutation is a man who feels terrible about his mistake and wants to forget it ever happened or a man who doesn't feel shame and only wants to duck responsibility is never explained (an important distinction in my mind).
Finally I must question whether some of these characters even merited inclusion in the OVA. Monika's friend (sister?) seems to serve no purpose. The Defy Foods agents don't add anything to the storyline (blood doesn't count). The cop who asks Monika out never sees that plot line progress anywhere. Overall, the execution of the characters in Kite Liberator is pretty poor.
Overall: Unless you're out for some eye candy, including copious amounts of blood, several panty shots, and one boob scene, I'd suggest you avoid this OVA. The plot is a god-awful mess that incongruously mashes together diverse plot elements and ends without any sort of resolution. There is no back story or explanation for anything and the acting is mediocre at best. On the bright side, Monika's blue eyes are very pretty. If you watch it anyways, keep an eye out for the "Hëegen-gezs" ice cream; that at least gave me a chuckle.
-THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS OF THE STORY UNDER THE HEADING OF IV) The Plot/Story (WHICH INCLUDES THE SAWA THEORY). EVERYTHING ELSE IS SPOILER FREE-
Kite Liberator is, somewhat, a sequel to the original movie named Kite, in which an orphan named Sawa became an assassin nicknamed "The Angel of Death" and lived with a man whom used her for his own sexual desires. Kite Liberator is set in the same town several years in the future. I had enjoyed Kite when I first watched it, and because of I was really excited to watch this OVA (more like a movie to me).
I) The Animation:
The animation presented in Kite Liberator is truly top notch quality. The color gradients seem to have a darkish tone that seems to flow with the depressing, violent, lewd, and compassionate nature of the story told. All the animation is really good to look at and never once shows itself to be an eyesore. The detail that the creators put into the art is very well done from the biggest pieces of the view all the way down to the most minuscule of details. The creative team (or individual, since I'm not sure on who gets credited with what) spent a lot of time to create an excellent piece of animation.
II) The Sound:
The sound in this OVA is perfect in all aspects. All the voices fit the characters perfectly without issue, all music is fitting to the moment which it appears and sounds good to the ear, and the dialogue seems perfect to the characters. Not much I can actually say since I have nothing to complain about in this section.
This anime has very few notable characters, but each character seems to has some form of realism to them; in the sense that it feels like you could possible know these people in the real world, and weren't just some conception of the creators. There is a very HUGE lack of the typical anime clichés. Each character has their own personality and mindset which sets them apart from everyone else, and helps them excel at being superb in originality.
IV) The Plot/Story:
In the beginning of this review, I mentioned that Kite Liberator was "somewhat" of a sequel to the original Kite. This is because none of the original characters are in this anime (with the exception of my Sawa theory, which I'll get to later) and the plot of this anime differs a lot from it's successor.
Kite Liberator starts off in the middle of space at the ISS (International Space Station) and you see the crew bickering at each other and watch them go on their typical journeys in measuring their bodies for radiation and such. Azuki Noguchi, one of the astronauts of the ISS, complains to his friend Kōichi Doi, the chef of the ISS, about not being able to see his daughter on her birthday and how he feels bad about leaving her alone after her mother had passed away, and then entrusts Doi to send his daughter a birthday present for him. Back on Earth, you find that his daughter, Monaka Noguchi, is revealed to have become the new "Angel of Death" since the original went missing a few years beforehand along side her boss. Monaka uses the weaponry of the "Angel of Death" to assassinate pedophiles and other terrible people of the like. Eventually, her father is mutated due to a combination of Doi's experimental food and the Sun's radiation. He finds his way to Earth looking for his daughter, despite having been mutated into a monster. Monaka is then assigned with the task of killing the monster from space (unaware that this monster is, infact, her father).
The Sawa Theory: Monaka works as a waitress. She works a long side an older woman who goes by the name of Manatsu Mukai. Mukai's creation looks identical to the girl named Sawa in the original Kite. In this movie, Mukai can not stand anything related to sexual harassment and has amazing aim and fighting techniques. I believe that Mukai is an aged version of the original "Angel of Death" and is the only repeating character in the Kite movies.
In conclusion, I believe that Kite Liberator is an amazing anime in it's own right, but sadly is to short to conclude better than anything else out there. I feel that the team may want to look into making longer movies, or a series would be even better. Despite the lack of length, Kite Liberator is great.