Kiddy Grade-Volume 6: Mirror Image (2002)

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Released 19-Nov-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-textless opening (1:31)
Biographies-Character-7
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (4)
DVD Credits
Easter Egg-Japanese copyright warning (1:15)
Rating Rated M
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
English Alternate Subtitles
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Hints at the next episode

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

Plot Synopsis

    The previous volume of Kiddy Grade ended with a dramatic moment as (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Chief Eclipse was blown out of a window.

    I won't be repeating anything I've mentioned in earlier reviews of: Peacekeepers, Pieces of the Past, Lies Beneath, The Present Future, and The Freedom of Truth.

    The episodes on this disc are:

16 Look / Back A recap episode, but one in which we see events only hinted at before: Éclair's loss of memory, and Lumiere assisting her recovery
17 Phantasm / Reborn Éclair takes over the ES members, and the GOTT in general, aided by Lumiere. Who are all these new ES members?
18 Unmasked / Face The pair who interrupted Éclair's speech are unmasked, revealing a shock

    Events are moving rapidly now, so by the general law of anime it is essential that we have a recap episode. This one, however, gives us a chance to see events we haven't seen before: the events just before the opening of the series, when Éclair was recovering from her mysterious loss of memory. It's considerably better than the average recap episode.

    It seems that the recap episode was intended more to give us a chance to breathe between the events of the last volume and the shocks of this one. It's quite a shock to learn that Éclair has been appointed Acting Chief of GOTT, especially given the circumstances under which the position became vacant. And what she does seems quite out of character. And no, I'm not saying any more than that.

    There are a number of new characters introduced, although one gets the feeling that they have been behind-the-scenes for a while.

    Normally I regard a recap episode as wasted. This is a big exception. All three episodes on this volume are exciting and gripping. If you have been enjoying Kiddy Grade, you must not miss this volume. But be warned that it ends on a cliff-hanger. Now the horrible wait for the next volume... I have a feeling I will be forced to watch this entire series over again when all the volumes have been released — fortunately that won't be painful.

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, and that's good.

    The image is sharp and clear in the second and third episodes; in the first there is a cast over the image for much of the episode, probably as a hint that it is a flashback. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise, save for the deliberate simulation of them in the flashbacks in the second episode.

    Colour is well-rendered from a palette of diverse colours. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    There continues to be plenty of aliasing, unfortunately. It's mild, but irritating given the number of panning shots in these episodes. Fortunately, it's the only flaw. 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). The Japanese is only provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 (224kbps). I watched all of the episodes in English 5.1, then Japanese.

    The English dub is very good (and my choice when re-watching these episodes). The dialogue is easily understood, and the voices are easy enough to identify, so much so that there is a mystery raised by the soundtrack: (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) why does the Lumiere accompanying the Acting Chief sound so different? The Japanese sounds clear and would probably be equally easy to understand; there are more than a few slips in sync between the animation and the voices.

    Shiro Hamaguchi, composer of the score, must have enjoyed the second and third episodes: they offer lots of opportunity to show off. The score emphasises the action without being obtrusive.

    The 2.0 soundtracks are pure stereo, so they make no use of the surrounds or subwoofer, but they do demonstrate some stereo separation. The 5.1 soundtrack is almost exclusively frontal, but the subwoofer sees a fair bit of use.

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.

Reversible Cover

    The cover slick can be reversed, but it's not a real reversible slick - the reversed cover doesn't list the episodes or the volume name, for example.

Gallery — Images (1:28)

    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 (not much of an Easter egg) — you invoke it by (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) pressing Right while the Image Gallery or Textless Song is highlighted on the Extras menu, which highlights the eyes of the characters in pink, then press Enter.

Copyright Warning (1:15)

    An amusing copyright warning in Japanese, featuring Alv and Dvergr. This is an Easter egg — you invoke it by (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) pressing Right on the Extras menu when Character Profiles, or Madman Propaganda are highlighted, which highlights the eyes of the characters in black, then press Enter.

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 September 2004. It contains the same episodes, the same extras (save for the trailers), and the same artwork.

    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 also offers English or Japanese credits depending on your choice of language.

    The Region 1 version is reported to have an excellent transfer. I'd be tempted to get the R1 because of the aliasing, but apart from that, I think the differences are small.

Summary

    Kiddy Grade 6 is an excellent volume of one of my current favourite anime series. It is presented on a well-made DVD.

    The video quality is very good, albeit impaired by a heap of mild aliasing.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are adequate.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, November 29, 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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