Kiddy Grade-Volume 5: Freedom of Truth (2002)

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Released 24-Sep-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Images (1:26)
Alternative Version-testless opening (1:31)
Biographies-Character-7
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (4)
DVD Credits
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 70:15 (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
English Alternate Subtitles
Smoking Yes, rare
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, next ep mystery hint!

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

Plot Synopsis

    Those of us who thought Kiddy Grade was getting serious in the previous volume learn differently in volume 5: The Freedom of Truth.

    You may want to read my reviews of the first four volumes: Peacekeepers, Pieces of the Past, Lies Beneath, and The Present Future, before reading this review.

    The episodes on this disc are:

13 Conflict / Destiny Éclair and Lumiere flee to a ruined planet that was significant to them decades ago, but find that others remember it
14 Steel / Heart Éclair and Lumiere must defend themselves against a horrible attack that hurts them badly
15 Break / Down Éclair and Lumiere stop running, and take the fight to the centre of the enemy

    I thought that the power ratings of the ES members was a linear scale, with Éclair and Lumiere at C, and the other ES members we'd seen at S. Not so. Apparently there are only three ratings, with C being the lowest, then S, and then G. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Éclair's reawakened memories reveal that she's not really C grade...

    These are three powerful episodes, and I'd label them a turning point in the series, except that I've been wrong about this series already. Twists and turns seem to be standard. I'm not going to attempt to predict anything, save that I have every intention of watching the rest! This is the only anime series I've seen that includes the trailer for the next volume on the disc — not that I need any prompting to continue to watch this series.

    We get to see most of the ES members we know in these episodes, and that's rather interesting. The dynamics between each set of partners run the gamut from brother/sister (Tweedledum/Tweedledee), almost parent/child (Cesario/Viola), partners-in-crime (Un-ou/A-ou), to mysterious (Alv/Dvergr). (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) None of them looks very old, and even the profiles make them out to be young (Éclair is supposed to be 16), but then you hear comments about what things were like decades ago, when they last visited a place. We get a glimpse of Éclair and Lumiere from earlier times, in different outfits, and with different hairstyles.

    I do think I should emphasise that this show, despite its name, is most emphatically not for children. But for adults and teenagers, this is strongly recommended — a strong action / drama.

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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 sharp and clear — a good transfer, save that perhaps a touch of softness might have reduced the aliasing. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is rendered well. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    There is plenty of aliasing, unfortunately, but it's mild enough not to put me off. 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. If you'd like to see what the differences are like, I suggest that you watch the subtitles of the Japanese dialogue while listening to the English dialogue.

    The disc is single-sided, single layer. No layer change. A single layer is ample for the three episodes and minimal 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, with two English soundtracks. 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 easily understood, and very well acted — this is an excellent dub. The Japanese sounds equally easy to understand.

    Shiro Hamaguchi, really rises to the challenge of the action in these episodes — this is good, even if moments of it made me think of the Thunderbirds scores.

    The 2.0 soundtracks are pure stereo, with some stereo imaging but nothing more. 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 enough to do, due to the amount of destruction that takes place in these episodes.

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.

Gallery — Images (1:26)

    A montage of high quality images drawn from the episodes on this disc.

Textless Song (1:31)

    The opening theme without credits (or subtitles).

Character Profiles

    A single page profile for each of:

Madman Propaganda

DVD Credits

    A single page of credits for the Madman team who assembled this DVD. This is visible when you've watched the last episode, or as an Easter egg (to be honest, I don't think it's much of an Easter egg!).

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 July 2004. It has near identical artwork and pretty much the same extras.

    The only big difference is that Region 1 version uses alternate angles to provide different song subtitles and different credits on the opening and closing themes. The Region 4 disc doesn't.

    Our Region 4 version has a good transfer, which leads me to think that it is probably close to the reportedly excellent R1 transfer. I'm calling this a draw.

Summary

    Kiddy Grade is getting better and better — this is an impressive series. And it's presented on a well-made DVD.

    The video quality is very good, even with the frequent mild aliasing.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are decent, but limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, October 10, 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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