Our first peek at Kiddy Grade, a newly domestically-released series that begs the question: Will we ever get enough intergalactic mayhem?
Sometime in the future (in Star Century 0165, to be precise), advances in technology have outpaced advances in civilization. While mankind is freely able to travel through space at speeds exceeding that of light, crime and war are still prevalent in the galaxy. New medical technology has made it possible to enhance the human body, lending certain people superhuman strength and speed or other fantastic abilities. Of course, it's as interesting as it is plausible that we'd be able to fix practically any problem with our bodies before we'd able to cure humanity's social afflictions.
Lumiere and Éclair, along with their auditor, Wizard, are members of the ultra-secretive ES Force. This shadow faction of the Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs, or the G.O.T.T., is authorized to engage in extralegal activities. As such, these young women are able to do things to their enemies that would land any ordinary galactic citizen in prison for quite some time.
Éclair, in particular, loves every minute of it.
At the tender young age of 16, Éclair is nonetheless a very capable member of the ES Force. With enhanced strength and reflexes, there is no opponent she isn't capable of physically taking down. Her partner, Lumiere, has an unusual affinity for computers. As long as she is within a certain range of her targets, Lumiere can contact and control any computer-operated system remotely.
With Lumiere controlling any offensive machines and Éclair muscling off the human opponents, the two girls are a formidable pair.
One of the more interesting aspects of the show is the two girls' sentient ship. By the time the second episode finishes, it already takes its place among the other characters in the show. It never really talks - at least, not in any spoken language - but it communicates with Lumiere in its own way, which is rather neat.
While the background story could be the setup for a serious interstellar police drama type show, the creators instead decided to forgo most of the drama for humor. Our two heroines get into some sticky situations, but it's a cinch that they're guaranteed to break out of them in a flashy and well-animated way. Perhaps the show will surprise me down the line, but so far, it seems to deliver exactly what it promises - a fun science fiction story with cute girls as the main protagonists.
Oddly enough, Éclair and Lumiere's biggest threat seem to come from two other higher ranking members of the ES Force - Alv and Dverger. These slightly older ladies display open disdain for Éclair and her partner, and in one situation, they leave them stranded on a prison facility as it plummets into a binary star system.
Not very friendly behavior, if you ask me.
Most of the time, however, Kiddy Grade promises to be fun and exciting, and while it may be lacking in the depth department, it appears that it will easily deliver excitement. A little mind candy never hurt anyone.
Don't worry too much about the fact that FUNimation produced this series; there are two sets of subtitles for the show - one which is merely a dubtitle of the English track and the other which is a rather faithful translation of the original Japanese, honorifics intact. The show's opening and ending songs have been replaced with an English-language version, as well, but again, purists need not rage against the translation machine, for you can hear the original themes if you're listening to the show in Japanese. Instead of worrying about FUNimation's involvement in the show, think more about GONZO Digimation, and you'll have some idea of the shiny visuals you can look forward to seeing in motion when you get your hands on this entertaining series.