kiddy grade anime 1Stars Century 0328. Planet Aineias. 162 years ago, in the year SC:0165, the Galactic Union and the Galactic Organisation of Trade and Tariffs (GOTT) were formed. At the time, the job of the Earth-based headquarters was to correct economic imbalance, arbitrate disputes and negotiate contracts and treaties with planets all over the galaxy. Today the Aineias-based headquarters serves the very same purpose, but included now is the protection of the entire galaxy, both its people and their property.

Eclair and Lumiere are two of GOTT’s special Encounter Shadows (ES) members, helping protect galactic peace and order. Endowed with special abilities, it is the ES members’ job to carry out all the dangerous and behind the scenes work of GOTT.

The young, refined Lumiere and the bold and brashful Eclair are long time partners and have been serving GOTT for a very long period of time. But that is where the problem lies. Eclair’s memories are incomplete, as is her control over her abilities.

Just what is it that she has forgotten? And just what is GOTT really hiding from her?

Kiddy Grade is set in a time and space where mankind has already moved to populate the galaxy. Galactic trade and relations are governed by two main organisations, namely the Galactic Union and the Galactic Organisation of Trade and Tariffs. The story of Kiddy Grade revolves around two Encounter Shadows (ES) teammates and their work within GOTT.

ES members are special in that they are each endowed with a very special ability, coupled with a lifespan that just never seems to end. They are the ones who carry out all the secretive and dangerous work that GOTT does. Eclair and Lumiere have been partners for a long time now. Eclair has the Power ability whilst Lumiere has the Puppet ability. Together they make a great team, though it would seem that something is holding Eclair back. Her memories are not whole, nor is her ability. This is the storyline that Kiddy Grade follows, telling of how Eclair finally breaks the cycle of time to learn the full truth behind herself, and as well as that behind GOTT.

The story starts out relatively slowly, building up a solid base for the later and bigger storylines to follow. There is a lot of action in the storylines, but ultimately the first half of the series feels like a series of one-shots, not really going anywhere. But then something happens that throws a twist in the story, forcing a complete shift of focus of the series. It is at this point that the title becomes a little more interesting.

Like I said, there are plenty of action sequences, a little bit of humour and a touch of fan service. A little bit of suspense and mystery are also thrown in for good measure. The characters are all pretty interesting and varied, with all having enough background and personality information to make them more usable. Eclair’s character is very nicely explored during the series, but not much is said about the other main character, namely Lumiere.

The animation is of a high quality, very smooth and nicely detailed. The colours are simple and bright and Kiddy Grade doesn’t really let down in the visual department. That said, the voice acting and musical score is also polished and of a high quality.

The only real complaint about this series is that it sometimes feels very distant and the storyline isn’t all that engaging. In short it just doesn’t evoke much emotion from the viewer. It’s a pity because the show is of quite a high production value and is perhaps a little more underrated amongst the anime community that what it should be.

Overall, it is not a bad watch, but one is left wishing that the writers had just done a little bit more with the story.

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(Historical Note: This was written back in October 2004. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

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