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Kiddy Grade Review

Genres: Action Science-Fiction Drama All
Series' Year of Release: 2002
Number of Episodes: 24
Review Date: 21-4-2010
Review Language: Dub
Review DVD Region: R4 Available in Australia
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Éclair and Lumière are members of the GOTT shadow unit - ES. The GOTT is charged with managing interstellar trade in the year SC0328 and the shadow unit is its enforcement arm. Both Éclair and Lumière are only C grade members, which means their special abilities are only low level.

kiddy_grade022Kiddy Grade is the kind of show you have to stick with. At first it seems like a random action series with a lot of fanservice, with only very small glimpses at what later turns out to be a serious plot. It’s not until the third disc – around episode nine – where the show truly begins. It really wasn’t done any favours by the paltry three episodes a disc release it received from Funimation so consequently it’s been overlooked.

kiddy_grade005The series is more interesting than the description what have you believe. The GOTT is a backdrop for Éclair and Lumière’s mission to transport prisoners, and recover stolen technology etc. They serve as means of exploring Kiddy Grade’s universe, before the real plot kicks in. Although they’re appealing in their own right, thanks to Éclair’s personality and some good ideas. Once the real plot kicks in, which is very science fiction in nature, the series focuses on Éclair and Lumière as they try to find their own way, and discover the motives behind the GOTT’s actions. The amount of fanservice takes a nose dive at this point and the episodes become strung together in overarching fashion.

kiddy_grade020As I insinuated earlier Éclair is what drives Kiddy Grade; she’s warm, caring and very likable. Lumière takes a back seat, getting strung along as her faithful (loli) companion. The other ES members have their role in the plot but their stories are never explored, and most of them only appear in parts of episodes. Éclair’s own history takes up a decent amount of the series, but strangely we only ever get glimpses of it. It’s hard to piece together exactly what happened. The final battle at the end of the series has a similar problem, due to too many characters popping in and out, and plot twists complicating things further.

kiddy_grade027Kiddy Grade looks excellent; it’s very clean edged and sleek. Digital animation had really come of age when this went into production. Although there was one episode where the animators dropped the ball and the character designs looked off. The series has a really great soundtrack with a high quality sounding orchestra. It’s got a distinct sound that fits with it’s futuristic setting, that also manages to be quite pumping with tracks like Regeneracy and Éclair. The 5.1 mix Kiddy Grade received was well produced, which is not always the case with anime.

Kiddy Grade is one of the best shows Gonzo’s every produced. The production values are high with excellent animation and a great soundtrack. While the first few episodes make the series look like fanservice/action fluff, it’s not the case. It develops into a show with a serious plot and character development, that’s befitting of its science fiction setting. Kiddy Grade is worth watching because of an appealing main character, and an interesting plot that belies initial expectations.