Region: 2 - UK
Length: 600 minutes
Japanese Dolby Digital Stereo
In Star Century Zero-One-Sixty-Five, the Global Union was born. To provide an impartial mediator to the various planetary governments of the G.U., the Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs, or G.O.T.T. was simultaneously formed to settle economic disputes amongst the member planets. Existing in the shadows of the G.O.T.T., the ES Force serves as the G.O.T.T.'s primary law enforcement organization. ES Force members Eclair and Lumiere are on the front line, pursuing all manner of criminals and bringing them to justice. This is their story.
I make no secret that I am not a huge fan of Gonzo or even director/designer Keiji Goto, however, I always watch any series with an open mind and few preconceptions. I even have a fondness for the main character designs, enough so that the pair produced by figure sculptor Bome still remain in my collection after so many of their sisters have found new homes.
The story, for all its layers and plot twists is bland and largely uninspiring. This is a great failing for a show that is supposedly super charged with action, suspense and sex appeal. Lumiere and Éclair are plenty pretty and the bodies they boast in first part of the series are undeniably desirable but this is scarcely enough to cover the deficit in character engagement that Kiddy Grade cannot compensate for, even with such adorable ladies.
I had once attempted to watch the series, aware that the character of the show changed significantly part way through as fragments of the past were pieced together by the two troubled GOTT agents but had passed it over as something that has a very shallow appeal. Sadly, sitting through the entire series some years later has not altered my first impression of Kiddy Grade.
There are many sexy characters but so many wasted opportunities for intricate and intimate connections between each GOTT pairing. The token bishōnen pair that had enticed me in my youthful days of yaoi addiction - Sinistra and Dextera are seldom exploited for their sexiness or for their appeal to the fujōshi fans and were another sad disappointment for me. The possibilities for yuri, yaoi, twincest and another of other kinks are frustratingly just part of Gonzo's glossy veneer. There is potential for so much more in Kiddy Grade that is indicated in the design but that is never realised. Even when the show's greatest revelations were made I was left unmoved.
Kiddy Grade is one series by Gonzo where the quality in animation doesn't deteriorate during the later episodes, which is certainly as saving grace for the studio's production in this instance. It's a series that suffers from having too many elements, none of which are really explored or resolved to any satisfaction.
In essence, Kiddy Grade is fun, to an extent but infinitely forgettable in a large and lovely universe of far superior sci-fi anime.