Kite Liberator Review

This is going to be short and sweet. To paraphrase something from that renowned Australian tourism campaign: “What the bloody hell was that?” — 60 minutes of ultra-violence both graphic and implied, interspersed with a stupid conspiracy and uninteresting characters. Following on the original series — Kite — Kite Liberator takes up the rumours of a new Angel of Death.

Monaka is a high school girl that leads a double life. By day she goes to school and behaves like any teenager; by night she operates as a ruthless assassin. Well, sort of… This is where the story hits the fan, and gets shredded. Monaka’s father works on the international space station and is affected by a combination of space radiation and genetically altered food. It causes him to mutate and go on a rampage, killing almost everyone up there. After receiving a SOS call the organisation sends up troops to find out what was going on. They all get killed, quite graphically, and the few survivors barely escape as the space station explodes. They unwittingly have a hitchhiker and the surviving mutant managed to make it to Earth where it continues its rampage. Monaka is tasked to take it out, almost succeeds, and then finds out that it is her father. Story ends right then and there. The characters just did not engage with me as a viewer. Monaka, for example, was one part teenager one part assassin (but couldn’t fit in either) as she would either be cute and klutzy one moment, and then performing extreme gymnastics as she takes out her target. The rest of the cast was just, well, forgettable – much like how I wish I could feel after watching this.

Visuals were probably the strong point of an overly mediocre presentation. Kite Liberator is presented in an anamorphic 16:9 widescreen format. There were some very nice computer rendered sequences – such as the space station at the start, but they were few and far between. The rest was fair to middling (more towards the middling bit). Case in point: a brief two or three second segment shows the police running through a station under a nicely computer rendered ceiling. Cut to a longer shot with traditional 2D animation, albeit fairly well detailed, was like a plank of 4×2 to the head. Seamless integration of CGI was not in this producer’s vocabulary.

Audio had the choice of an English 5.1 Dolby Digital track or a Japanese 2.0 DD track. I stuck with the original Japanese dialogue and got bored quickly. The character voices were nothing to write home about, or be impressed about, either. That said, they were as one expected: Monaka was generally cute and soft-spoken in her teenager motif, but was hard and cold in her assassin mode. The rest of the cast was equally forgettable. What music there was didn’t stand out — I can’t recall if there was actually much in the way of music. Anyway, nothing really to complain about as it must have been unremarkable or memorable.

Extras included some Madman trailers and should have included a segment about Kite at the Tokyo Film Festival. The link to that extra appears to be broken as it started the main feature instead.

Bottom line: don’t be taken in by the blurb on the back of the DVD case. There are only two words I can use to describe this: unmitigated crap, and to quite rightly quote Mr Horse from Ren and Stimpy: “No Sir, I didn’t like it.” I hate to be overly critical, but this OVA was a disappointment – it would be almost laughable if it wasn’t actually so violent. Avoid this one unless you really like seeing school girls dishing out punishment with firearms in a overly cold and brutal manner.

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