Alt title: A Kite

Movie (1 ep x 45 min)
3.223 out of 5 from 5,730 votes
Rank #12,414

As a young girl, Sawa is orphaned when both her parents are brutally murdered and is taken in by a police detective named Akai, who trains her to be a professional killer. He turns Sawa and Oburi, a young boy, into his puppets and makes them kill to fulfill his own sense of justice against child molesters and other harassing members of society.

The "international" (non-explicit) version of Kite was released in 1999 as a 45-minute OVA. The original (explicit) release was two episodes of 60 minutes.

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Some quick thoughts on Kite: Kite is a grim piece of work, painting the unflinching portrait of a seedy Tokyo underbelly where organized crime and the police department have amalgamated into one unholy entity. A network of assassins and open pedophiles have so thoroughly penetrated the Tokyo police as to have transformed it into a state-sanctioned cabal of power brokerage and murder. This group kills with impunity, supplying abused children with cutting-edge weaponry to do it, then throwing them away when they outlive their usefulness. The film focuses on two of these assassins, Sawa and Oburi. Sawa was orphaned by her parents and initiated into the network by their killers. Routinely abused by the corrupt detective who "looks after her," she exists in a near-dissociative state, greeting the world with a doll-like stare. She only truly comes alive during hits, where she has a penchant for targeting pedophiles, perhaps taking out her anger on the men in her life she hasn't the strength to target, and in the presence of Oburi, a teenage boy with whom she collaborates on a hit. He's the only person she feels could understand her, the only person she feels safe enough around to be herself. Oburi is pretty well-adjusted given his line of work, and realizes a bit too late that having just a few more hits to complete isn't going to give him the easy out he hopes for. The animation in the film is excellent, as is the musical score. An Fu's classy jazz makes for a striking juxtaposition with the brutality and gore on near-constant display. It's only 45 minutes long, and while there is an extended cut according to my understanding this shorter version is the one you want to watch. It's available on Tubi, Crunchyroll, and VRV (which is just Crunchyroll+ really). Kite is a good movie, though it could have drilled even deeper into the subject matter and it's harsh, unyielding, and transgressive nature will make it a tough watch for most. It's vision of a hopelessly corrupt, decadent, and patriarchal power structure is searing and only more relevant in recent years. The ending in particular is a gut-punch, both revelatory and ambiguous. There will be no victory against a cancerous social tumor as big and malignant as the one the characters struggle against. If there's a way out its merely a personal, hard-won peace, and even then who knows if you'll ever really escape.

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