Series Name: Kiddy Grade
Year of Serialization: 1 September 2001 – 1 February 2002
Author(s): Tomohiko Aoki
Genre(s): Adventure, Mystery, Science Fiction
Current Status: Finished
Moment of Reviewing: 24th Episode
Other Formats: Light Novel, Manga
Kiddy Grade 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 Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs (GOTT) 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 physically young people who possess amazing superpowers. Each ES member operates with another one as a team of two, and the series' focus is a team of the two lower-level members, Éclair and Lumière. As the series progresses, they start to see the darker side of GOTT and its secrets as well as their own origins and their true powers.
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 (normally with complementary powers) 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.
Society in this future is divided into a set of classes according to blood line or money. While most are not referred or fully explained, the most noticeable one is the Nouvlesse. These are basically the real descendants of the original Earthen humans and believe to be purer than others and of higher status. A main part of the plot revolves around the enslavement and dictatorship the Nouvlesse impose on the rest of the Galaxy. And its this relationship between "nobles" and "commoners" that is the real essence of Eclair and Lumiere's past, present and future.
ES Members don't die from natural causes and when killed, are revived by an unknown mean which is later revealed during the series middle climax. However, when revived, not always are their memories returned and this is what happened with Eclair and Lumiere. Disgusted by the atrocities they had to accomplish under the orders of the GOTT and its past incarnations, they rebelled against it and died in the process. When they were revived, their memories were not present and they didn't remember their old lives or had access to their full powers. The Anime ran for 24 episodes which covered a variety of aspects of Eclair and Lumiere's story. A story of how the true essence of each individual transcends live itself, a proof that destiny repeats itself for each soul.
I've always been a sucker for inhuman abilities, mutations, super powers as well as Sci-fi, future societies, etc and Kiddy Grade is an amazing Anime that combines all these aspects.
The plot may not seem dense at first and revolves around the simple theme of memory loss amongst the powerful heroes/protagonists which regain their former glory in the end. Still it has the surprising depth to touch the serious topic of capitalism, cast segregation and enslavement/racism.
Ok, its true that it has tons of fan service and is silly at times. But that is also what makes it awesome. Its both fun and serious.
You have tons of amazing Space fights but also tons of hand to hand combat. The powers are interesting and some are unique and the uses very very entertaining.
I will not spoil the main plot for anyone reading but its very engaging and intricate at first. In 24 episodes, you only begin to understand it all around the mid point of the story (more or less episodes 12-13 or so) when the plot faces a giant twist. And in the end, you can't help but want more.
The villains and the heroes are all dense and well made and the relations between them are awesome, mainly between the main villain duo. Towards the end, the revelation of their relationship is epic.
The design of the series is well made, specially if we take into account the age of it. And you find episodes with amazing quality.
The soundtrack is good and fitting but not on the epic side.
Overall for me it was one of the best animes I've seen so far. It has a sequel which i'll review in in the future called "Kiddy Girl-and". The mangas and light novels are also quite good but I think the anime is the better take on this universe.