Kiddy Grade-Volume 3: Lies Beneath (2002)

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Released 21-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Imsges (1:26)
TV Spots-Japanese commercials
Alternative Version-textless song (1:31)
Biographies-Character
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (4)
DVD Credits
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 70:14 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Keiji Goto
Studio
Distributor
FUNimation Ltd
Madman Entertainment
Starring Ryoko Nagata
Colleen Clinkenboard
Aya Hirano
Monica Rial
Tsuyoshi Aobu
Dameon Clarke
Mika Tsuchii
Scarlett McAlister
Kaori Mizuhashi
Gwendolyn Lau
Sumi Shimamoto
Lauren Goode
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Shiro Hamaguchi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Alternate Subtitles
English
Smoking Yes, rare
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, next episode hints

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Kiddy Grade Volume 3 — these volumes will be appearing monthly, which means less waiting on tenterhooks — I like that.

    You may want to read my review of the first volume, Peacekeepers, and the second volume, Pieces of the Past, before reading this review.

    The episodes on this disc are:

7 Trial / Child Éclair and Lumiere are given the task of ensuring that a boy arrives at the right place in time to claim his inheritance
8 Forbidden / Instrumemt Éclair and Lumiere are investigating corruption within the government which has allowed the theft and use of a GeoSort bomb
9 Mirage / Snare Éclair is sent to investigate a missing persons case by herself

    Three somewhat self-contained episodes, but ones that contain threads that start to build a more sinister, longer story arc. It is this longer story arc that justifies the title of this volume: Lies Beneath.

    There is rather less fan service in this volume, but Éclair's knickers still make the occasional appearance.

    I really enjoyed the computer search sequence in the second episode, and the genteel rivalry between Lumiere and Tweedle Dee (and the hints at something more between them).

    We get to meet two other ES pairs in these episodes: Viola and Cesario appear in episode 7, while Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum appear in episode 8. And there's a surprise appearance of one of the pairs we've already met. I think that means we've now met all but one of the ES pairs who appear in the opening credits.

    Éclair's "Ta-da!" on arrival has become quite sweet — she and Lumiere are characters who are easy to like.

    This series has become very interesting, and I'm really looking forward to the remaining volumes.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. That is the original ratio.

    The image is clear and sharp — this is top quality animation that's been given a good transfer. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is is a feature of this series, and it is rendered nicely. Certain signature colours, such as the deep red of Éclair's outfit, and the lilac of Lumiere's hair, are not always easily handled in anime — here they are consistent and free of artefacts. Indeed, there are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    There is plenty of mild aliasing, on virtually every pan. I don't find it detracting from my enjoyment of the show. There is no moiré. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    This disc has two subtitle tracks, both in English. The first one subtitles the English dialogue track while the other subtitles the Japanese. There are noticeable differences between the two, but they seem equally good: well-timed, accurate, and easy to read. It can be entertaining to watch the subtitles of the Japanese dialogue while listening to the English dialogue (that's the easiest way to appreciate the differences between them).

    The disc is single-sided, single layer. No layer change. One layer is plenty of space for the content.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese, as usual, but with a choice for English. The Japanese soundtrack is only provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224kbps. The English soundtrack is provided in both Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224kbps). I watched all of the episodes in English 5.1, then Japanese.

    The English dialogue is clear, idiomatic, and comprehensible. The Japanese sounds equally clear. Neither soundtrack is perfectly matched to the mouth flaps, but the mismatch is generally small — my suspicion is that they chose to tolerate the occasional mismatch for the sake of a better dub. Having listened to both, I prefer the English dub — it has some nice subtleties of dialogue.

    The score, from Shiro Hamaguchi, is quite reasonable, albeit a tad repetitive.

    The 2.0 soundtracks are pure stereo, with some stereo imaging (occasionally unrealistic). The 5.1 soundtrack has occasional rear directional sound, but is mostly frontal — about what you'd expect for a stereo TV soundtrack that's been remastered to 5.1. The subwoofer gets better use, given the explosions that seem to follow Éclair around...

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is animated with music, with an initial transition. It's easy to use, but the pictures on it aren't very good.

Gallery — Images (1:26)

    A montage of high quality images drawn from the episodes on this disc, which means that there are a couple of minor spoilers — wait until after you have seen the episodes.

Japanese Commercials (0:47)

    This is a pair of TV spots in Japanese, one short, one long.

Textless Song (1:31)

    The closing theme without credits.

Character Profiles

    A single page profile for each of:

    These are exactly the same profiles as on the first disc. I'd have liked to have seen profiles for Viola, Cesario, Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum.

Madman Propaganda

DVD Credits

    A single page of credits for the Madman team who assembled this DVD.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc is quite similar to this one, but it was released in May 2004. It has near identical artwork and pretty much the same extras.

    The Region 1 version uses alternate angles to provide different song subtitles and different credits on the opening and closing themes, which is a neat idea. The Region 4 disc doesn't get that.

    The Region 1 version is reported to have an excellent transfer, but I'd say the difference between the R1 and the R4 is likely to be quite small.

Summary

    Kiddy Grade has become a series I look out for, and watch as soon as I can. It's not for kids, but teenagers and adults can enjoy it on the well-made DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are decent, but limited. I'd like to see a bit of effort put into the profiles, updating them as new characters are introduced (or omit them if there's no new material).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, August 13, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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