This is one of the earliest anime I’d seen back before I got into anime as much as I have over the course of the last few years. Where I live, we had a FYE store that closed in 2011. However, before it did, I had perused the store several times keeping an eye on any too-good-too-pass-up deals. The eight-disc DVD set of Kiddy Grade just happened to be one such deal.
The timeline is in a futuristic universe where humans have expanded and inhabited a vast number of different planets. Alongside expanding the populace, technology too has significantly advanced, which means increasing crime along with it. Humanity’s response is the Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs, or GOTT. They act as the primary police force in its entirety with a special secretive division within the GOTT known as the ES Force. The force consists of 12 “gifted” operatives that carry out the GOTT’s governing agenda. This is where the “C” class-level protagonists, Éclair and Lumière, come in. Through them we learn about what it means to be a part of the ES Force, and about many of the unforeseen truths and secrets that lay hidden within the GOTT itself.
The plot isn’t as heavy and in-depth as I may have just made it sound, but it is entertaining and mostly enjoyable. It’s far from a show that requires too much thought, but watching the amped up, superpowered team of Éclair and Lumière is fun all the way from episode one to episode twenty-six.
A non-HD product of its time, GONZO does a quality job at making simply, yet artful characters and clean mechanical designs (i.e. Wirbelwind and Donnerschlag). The animation itself is mostly consistent and the action onscreen is quite fun to watch. Seeing some of the characters superpowers come to life gives a small sense of the Marvel or DC universes to it. It’s one of the better-looking shows at the time of its production.
The OP and ED are nothing special, but then I do not usually pay too much attention to them. If I do, then that means they are either awesome or horrific. However, the sound effects, especially during the action sequences, are good. The English dubbed character acting is solid as well. All in all, the sound is more beneficial to the anime and rarely does it feel forced or is a nuisance.
The previously mentioned two main characters are Éclair and Lumière. They both are listed as “C” class members, but as the series progresses you might begin to wonder if that’s all they truly are, certainly Éclair at the very least. Her main ability is called “Power,” which gives her superhuman strength and speed; she's more than meets the eye with her character though. Additionally, she carries a special lipstick that she uses for various greater things other than to make her mouth sparkle. Lumière, her trusted friend and ES partner, is an elegant behaving computer whiz. She has the ability to take over and control any computer system she wants. Together the two of them make a formidable team, regardless of their class level.
All of the other ES members have different and unique special abilities. The only ability that two users have is called Absorb, which gives the user the ability to absorb anything from pure energy to even people. It is used by both Alv and Dvergr.
Collectively, there is minimal amounts of development for most characters with the exception being Éclair. She is made such a focal point in this series that if she were eliminated from it, then this would a typical GONZO disaster (no offense to Lumière). The cast is fun to watch, but not to relate to or understand outside of her, and Lumière a little as well.
Kiddy-Grade is a good traditional Action Sci-fi anime of its time, one that GONZO didn't completely ruin like they oft’ do. If you expect epic, then this is not the anime for you. If you want a fun action sci-fi that still looks and sounds pretty good, has a slight comic book superpower feel to it, and is an easy no-brain watch, then have at it! It’s far from great but it's easy to find where its strengths lie. At the very least, it can be appreciated and enjoyed on those merits alone.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE: 7/10
1️⃣Weighted Average System Score: (15 + 8 + 8 + 18 + 14 = 63/100 points)
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