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[R1 DVD box art]
AKA: A Kite
Genre: Action suspense thriller
Length: OAV, 2 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: License by Media Blasters expired.
Content Rating: R (Graphic Violence, Sexual Situations, Implications of Rape and Underage Sexual Activity, Mild Profanity)
Related Series: Kite: Director's Cut (Alternate Version), Kite: Liberator (Sequel In Name Only), Mezzo Forte (Same Universe)
Also Recommended: Noir (a far, FAR superior anime with the same idea)
Notes: This is the original North American edited release for general audiences. We have included a separate review for the original, under the heading Kite: Director's Cut.
Rating: One Star
 

Kite

Synopsis

Sawa, a typical college girl, has a dark secret. She systematically assassinates people as instructed by her mentor, a self-styled vigilante of justice. However, the moment she begins to question the reasonings behing the slayings, she must defend herself and a fellow teenage assassin, from the deadly repercussions.


Review

Remember, kiddies, all Japanese schoolchildren are trained assassins.

At least that's what this movie is trying to tell us. Kite has been hyped up as the anime La Femme Nikita, but this derivative shoot-em-up insults that genre of film. La Femme Nikita (the original movie) was an interesting take on the suspense thriller, the killer who sought redemption and escape from a nihilistic profession ... a profession of death. Kite simply takes the premise of the female assassin (and attendant fan-service) and the violence, and turns it into a melange of images that are mind-boggling in their mediocrity.

The dub voice-acting was ... not one of the better offerings from Anime Works. Not only do half of them sound like they come from the Ayanami Rei school of acting, but the other half comes from the nicotine-infested-lung school of raspy voices. "Hhhheey, Sawa, you can't shhhoot meeh." "Okay." The character designs were simply bad, and invoked the memory of the Muppets for some strange reason. Kanie (or however you spell it) looked like the love-child of Darth Maul and John Popper from Blues Traveler. Why? And the male lead had a name that suspiciously sounded like a female reproductive organ in the American dub. ("Hey, OVARY!" "Oburi, stupid, OBURI!") Double why?

Then the violence. In the Kite world, nobody has bones. Just lots and lots of 100% blood. They must've gotten the same deal on red paint the Spriggan folks did. And not only do they bleed, they bleed excessively. And that's before they blow up. (What the heck?)

[Trust us, Oburi ... you really *really* do NOT want to shoot that basketball ...]

In fact, excessive is the perfect word to describe this movie. An assassin does not blow up half a building, an overpass, a tanker, and a subway tunnel (!) just to kill the wrong target. (Wait a sec, aren't Japanese subway tunnels built to survive *earthquakes*? Geez!) That she survives all that with a few minor cuts and bruises, only to complain about a lost earring (Mommy!), makes it all the more painful for the audience.

Even in the beginning, we're greeted with our first assassination (of a bad Keanu Reeves wannabe), collateral damage to an elevator, a bystander death (of an almost-oblivious and apparently deaf old biddy), and an up-the-skirt shot of Sawa escaping the scene by leaping tall buildings with a single bound. Bad. And the completely unwarranted ending ...

Remember, kiddies, all Japanese schoolchildren ...

Kite should've been properly titled Young, Stupid Assassins in Love, or The Professional from Dawson's Creek. (Or Cool Devices: Yellow Star 2.) Not only does the title Kite have nothing to do with any kite, whether bird or fabric craft (unless you count Sawa sailing between buildings ... naah!), but this flick has enough bad acting (and scenario-writing) to hold its own as a bad Buffy clone. Again, we could try to say something good about this anime ... but all we could think of is the fan service!

And how come Sawa's flat-chested when clothed and bustier than Shiranui Mai when not? She must have the reverse Wonderbra on...the Lolita bra?

Even the "romance" aspect was botched, owing more to Evangelion than anything else. (I almost wanted to say, "An unfamiliar ceiling. You come here much?") Kite is another shining example of an overhyped anime that not only fails to deliver, but shows us exactly why anime has the image it does in America. Is this the crap US distributors expect us to like? Give me Shinesman anyday.

Image is nothing. Taste is everything. And this tastes worse than Akane's cooking. A subtitled version *might* rate higher, but we'd rather not have to watch this movie again.Carlos Ross, Christi, and Eric Gaede

Recommended Audience: Carlos: You're kidding, right? (Maybe high school fanboys would love this stuff, with the pointless violence and fan-service...hey, that's the audience they must've been shooting for!) It doesn't help that we saw this right after Domain of Murder. This was not a good day for the T.H.E.M. Reviewers, especially considering we were actually hoping this was as good as people said it was. It obviously failed to live up to our expectations, though...

Nick: Enough blood is spilled in this series for one to start a bloodbank, and there's enough fetishism left for this to be cringe-inducing. Regardless, this should never be shown to children under any circumstances, and even adults should proceed cautiously: even if it narrowly avoids being labeled as an "adults-only" title, it might as well be one.



Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Kite © 1998 Umetsu Yasuomi / Green Bunny
 
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