Kite (1998)

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Released 21-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Storyboard Comparisons
Music Video
Gallery
Trailer-Piracy Ad, Ikki Tousen Vol 2, Samurai Champloo Vol 3
Trailer-Texhnolyze Vol 6
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 47:19 (Case: 45)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yasuomi Umetsu
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yasuomi Umetsu
Scott Bailey
Shane Callahan
Ann Connel
Chuck Denson Jr.
Bob Edwards
Les Jenkins
Paul Johnson
Jeff Johnston
Heather Laska
Michael Leigh
Marc Matney
Tamara Burnham Mercer
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music An Fu


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame 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 Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Sawa is a young assassin, working outside of the justice system to help Detective Akai and his partner Kanie take out paedophiles, murderers, and other criminals. Sawa is good at her job, but begins to see a way out when she works with Akai's second assassin Oburi. Akai has plans of his own for Sawa and Oburi and his involvement in Sawa's violent past will have repercussions none of them can predict. . .

    Yasuomi Umetsu's 1998 OVA Kite is infamous for all the wrong reasons. Incorporating graphic physical violence and sexual violence against minors, Kite is practically hentai (animated Japanese pornography). Clocking in at 60 minutes, 15 minutes of sexual violence was cut before the two part series could be released in the United States. Combining both episodes into a single feature, the edited version has now been released in Region 4 by Madman.

    The film itself doesn't suffer too much from the cuts: the missing scenes, from what I've read, sound gratuitous and irrelevant to the plot and Madman have made a commendable decision to leave the uncut version alone. But then Kite is not exactly a brilliant film, either. The plot is clichéd and predictable to the extreme, the direction uninspiring, and the animation solid, but standard. There's very little that's appealing or interesting about the film and Kite's fame and reputation is based solely on its extreme content. A decidedly average anime - satisfy your curiosity with a rental.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    There are no major issues with this video transfer: it is another solid production from Madman. Kite is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The video is sharp with good contrast. Low level noise is practically absent. Colours are clean and solid. I did not notice any instances of colour bleeding.

    There are no MPEG artefacts to speak of either. Aliasing is visible on occasion but is not excessive. Interlacing is a problem, however. Madman have given us an NTSC-PAL conversion and pans exhibit judder. In general, though, the video is quite good.

    Optional subtitles (not dubtitles) are yellow and faithful to the original Japanese dialogue.

    The film is divided into nine chapters. Presented on a single layered disc, there is no layer change.

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

Audio

    Audio is also very good. Kite comes in two flavours: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (default) and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0. Both are surround encoded. I listened to both tracks.

    Dialogue is always clear and audible in both tracks. Audio sync is as good as it's going to get for Japanese animation.

    The score is composed by An Fu and consists of freestyle, improvised saxophone. It suits the film perfectly and sounds similar to, although not quite as good as, David A. Stewart's score for Lily Was Here (perhaps an obscure reference but fans will know exactly what they're in for in Kite). I enjoyed the score a lot more than the film itself.

    In surround mode, both tracks send music and subtle ambience to the rears. Discrete effects remain solidly in the front and consist mostly of directional dialogue. The subwoofer picks up a few moments here and there. This is a solid stereo track and I don't see any need to listen to it in surround.

    And finally, my standard note of disappointment with the English dub: don't bother with it. Poorly acted, so-so translation, dialogue where there is none in the original, and dialogue that is completely unrelated to the Japanese. For example, in the opening scene, the old lady asks "Can you hear me?" in Japanese. In the English dub, this line becomes "Where are my glasses?" I know there's no such thing as a perfect translation, but I can't see how changes like this are justifiable. The English dub has also ramped up crude language as far as it can.

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

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Storyboard Comparisons

    Several scenes are played in a small window with a vertical strip of storyboard frames on the left. The storyboards are small and faint and very difficult to see. If it's hard to see, there seems to be little point including it.

Music Video

    More of a trailer, labelled a music video simply because it includes music. This extra manages to give away the entire plot and reveal every event. Watch the film first.

Gallery

    Fifteen images including cel art and promotional posters.

Trailer

    Trailers for further animated violence and sexuality, including Ikki Tousen, Samurai Champloo, and Texhnolyze.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    Kite is available in its original uncut OVA format and in the International Director's Cut in Region 2 Japan. Neither appear to have English subtitles.

    An identical release to ours (the same cut and extras) is available in Region 1. The Director's Cut (almost uncut) and the complete cut are also available.

    I'd call it even: pick whichever version you're comfortable with.

Summary

    In its censored form Kite is still hyperviolent, but much more palatable without the pornography.

    The video is very good, although falling short of the mark with interlacing and NTSC artefacts.

    Audio consists of very solid stereo tracks in English and Japanese. The English dub is as poor as usual.

    Extras are light on in quantity and quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Atkinson (read my bio)
Monday, February 20, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S336, using Component output
DisplayLG Flatron Widescreen RT-28FZ85RX. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V357
SpeakersDB Dynamics Belmont Series: Fronts: B50F, Centre: B50C, Rears: B50S, Sub: SW8BR

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Comments (Add)
Available uncut in the US, also a (less) cut version - grug (there is no bio.)