Kiddy Grade-Volume 4: The Present Future (2002)

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Released 18-Aug-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Main Menu Introduction
Gallery-Images (1:26)
Alternative Version-textless song (1:31)
Biographies-Character
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (4)
DVD Credits-Madman
Easter Egg-copyright warning (1:30)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 70:12 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Keiji Goto
Studio
Distributor

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
English Alternate Subtitles
Smoking Yes, rare
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, next ep teaser

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

Plot Synopsis

    We have already reached volume 4 of Kiddy Grade. This one is called The Present Future. It could equally be titled "Playtime is over".

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

    The episodes on this disc are:

10 Rebirth / Slave Éclair is dreaming, or is it remembering? She is arguing with the "ghost" of her previous self
11 Set / Free Éclair and Lumiere are sent to assist the director of a perfect world in putting down rebellion among labourers who are indentured slaves
12 Frozen / Life Éclair and Lumiere are on the run, and a purging unit is sent after them

    The mists surrounding Éclair's past part, and we can see much more clearly. She has clearly been alive a lot longer than her apparent age would indicate. It also becomes clear that her memories were wiped for a reason. As they start to return she is plagued by dreams / hallucinations of her past, and taunted by a vision of her former self.

    In episode 10 she is fighting the demons in her head, but after almost daring fate to kill her, she seems to come to peace with her inner turmoil. Oh, and we meet the last ES pair from the credits during this episode: they are called Un-ou and A-ou, with the smaller one having a surprisingly deep voice for what seems to be a boy.

    In episode 11 she is put in a situation that is utterly untenable — defending the wrong side in a battle between an over-privileged elite and a world of slaves. This seems to be designed to break her, and it succeeds, after a fashion — but what breaks isn't Éclair... That's the trigger point.

    I was surprised by the events in these episodes, but they make me even more keen to see how things proceed from here. Roll on the next volume!

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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 in close-ups and mid-range shots, but long shots are sometimes a little soft — this is almost unavoidable with this form of animation. Note that there are a number of shots in episode 11 that are intentionally soft. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is rendered well, which is important to this series. This is especially true of colours, such as the deep red of Éclair's outfit, and the lilac of Lumiere's hair, that can show striation on lesser transfers. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    There is mild aliasing fairly often, but it never reaches distracting levels. There is no moiré. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    This disc has two subtitle tracks, both in English, but neither is a "signs and lyrics only" track. 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.

    The disc is single-sided, single layer. No layer change. One layer is all we need for three episodes and the relatively few extras.

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 for good anime, 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, comprehensible, and well-acted. 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. I continue to prefer the English dub — this is a very good dub.

    Shiro Hamaguchi continues to provide us with a decent, if a little uninventive, score.

    The 2.0 soundtracks are pure stereo, with some stereo imaging, but nothing record-breaking. 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 a fair bit of use, which is far from surprising considering how often things blow up.

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. The background image is similar to the foreground of the cover.

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.

Textless Song (1:31)

    The opening theme without credits.

Character Profiles

    A single page profile for each of:

Madman Propaganda

Easter Egg: Copyright warning (1:30)

    This is a small Easter egg. You can reach it by (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) moving the cursor to the Image Gallery on the Extras menu, then pressing right — the eyes will highlight, and then you can press Enter.

DVD Credits

    A single page of credits for the Madman team who assembled this DVD. This is only visible when you finish watching the last episode on the disc.

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 June 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 has a high quality transfer, by all reports. As far as I can tell, the Region 4 is pretty much equivalent, so you can happily buy either version.

Summary

    If you haven't started watching Kiddy Grade already, I urge you to consider it. It's not for kiddies, but rather for adults and teenagers. It is presented well on this DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are rather limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, October 07, 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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