Kiddy Grade (キディ・グレイド?) is a 24 episode science fiction anime series produced in 2002 and created by gímik and Gonzo Digimation and directed by Keiji Gotoh. The series is licensed and distributed in North America by FUNimation Entertainment. The series currently airs on the FUNimation Channel in both its "syndicated block" and its 24-hour channel. In 2007, the series was re-released as three movies (each 80–90 minutes in length) to specific Japanese theatres. The individual titles for these films are:
- Ignition (initial screening April 8, 2007, DVD released July 27, 2007)
- Maelstrom (initial screening June 23, 2007, DVD released September 28, 2007), and
- Truth Dawn (initial screening September 1, 2007, DVD released December 21, 2007).
In October 2006 news of a Kiddy Grade sequel was announced, under the working title of Kiddy Grade 2 (キディ・グレイ?) (K-G.2), to be animated by asread (Shuffle! anime). A DVD containing a 7-minute preview of the new series was released on 2007-05-25 but nothing further was heard until, on February 26, 2009 it was re-announced under the new title Kiddy Girl-and (キディ・ガーランド Kidi Gārando?) along with news of a new manga adaptation, Kiddy Girl-and Pure (キディ・ガーランド ぴゅあ Kidi Gārando Pyua?). The anime, due to air Autumn 2009, is now being produced by studio Satelight, based on a story by gímik, that is set 50 years after the original series and introduces two new female protagonists, Ascœur (アスクール Asukūru?) and Q-feuille (ク・フィーユ Ku Fīyu?). The manga version, with story by Hidefumi Kimura and art by Yukari Higa (Shina Dark), is being serialized in the Comp Ace magazine, starting from March 26, 2009.
The story takes place in a future where the human race has expanded and inhabits a multitude of planets in the universe with fantastic technology. Unsurprisingly, crime has grown alongside technology, and thus the GOTT, Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs, is formed as a sort of universal police force. Within this organization, there is a special (and secret) branch known as the ES Force (ES standing for "Encounter of Shadow-work"), consisting of twelve young people that possess amazing superpowers. Each ES member operates with another as a team, and the series' focus is a team of two low-level members, Éclair and Lumière. As the series progresses, they start to see the darker side of GOTT and its secrets.
Most of the central characters in the series are ES members of GOTT "Shadow Unit". The Shadow Unit is a group of superpowered individuals that acts as the elite enforcement division of GOTT and hence, of the Galactic Union. Their powers are ranked by "class", of which three are named in the series: C class is the lowest, S is high, and G is the highest. At the beginning of the series, it is believed that no ES member possesses G class abilities but it is later revealed to be false. ES members are organized in pairs of the same class and each is issued a customized and very advanced spaceship and a guard robot.
The protagonists of the series are Éclair and Lumière, a C class pair of ES agents, who have a long back-story together from before joining GOTT. Their past is gradually revealed throughout the series as they come to realize and accept it. Their spaceship is called La Muse (French: The Muse) and their guard robot is Donnerschlag (German: Thunderclap); both are also part of their back-story. As ES members, Éclair and Lumière report directly to the chief of GOTT, Eclipse, a strict and collected woman whose orders they cannot disobey. Often accompanying them in the early episodes is the Galactic Union auditor Armbrust (German: Crossbow) who appears to have multiple hidden agendas.
Other ES members are: Alv and Dvergr (S class), an arrogant pair who eventually become Éclair and Lumière's antagonists; Tweedledee and Tweedledum (S class), fraternal twins with a complicated relationship towards the protagonists; Viola and Cesario (C class) who are generally on good terms with Éclair and Lumière; Un-ou and A-ou (S class), former mercenaries with a long-standing rivalry with them; and Sinistra and Dextera (S class), a bishōnen pair held in high regard by all their colleagues for their professionalism. Also of note are Mercredi, Eclipse's personal assistant with a hidden agenda, and Chevalier d'Autriche, the Secretary General of GOTT whose past is intertwined with Éclair's.
- "Memories of the Future" (Mirai no Kioku) by Yuka
- "Future" by Little Viking
- Keiji Gotoh - Director
- Hidefumi Kimura - Scenario
- Megumi Kadonosono - Character design
- Shirō Hamaguchi - Composer
Reviews for Kiddy Grade are often mixed. As the main plot does not become apparent until mid-series (Episode 9), it has been criticized as being too slow, particularly when reviews are based on the first few episodes. Negative comments are also made about excessive fanservice, particularly in the case of Lumière. Despite her actual mental age, she has the appearance of a 10-year old, and is often shown in a sexualized fashion. Fanservice is an ongoing quality of Kiddy Grade, but does occur less frequently as the series progresses.
Nevertheless, as a series it is usually given credit for high-quality animation and the strengths of the story in the later episodes.
- (English) The Official KIDDY GRADE Anime Website from FUNimation
- (Japanese) KiddyGrade -Works on Web- (Official Japanese Site)
- (English) Kiddy Grade (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopediahu:Csajkommandóth:คิดดี้เกรด