Sawa’s parents were brutally murdered when she was young. Left without any family, she was adopted by a bizarre police investigator. Groomed as an assassin and emotionally destroyed by unspeakable terrors, Sawa struggles to find justice and her place in the world.
summary by Mugs
Highs: Thoughtful story; fast-paced action
Lows: Unanswered questions; dissatisfying secondary character resolution
There has been a lot of noise in the anime community over this title since its release. Kite is a strange film, mixing equal parts action with psychological aspects. Kind of like a chicks-with-guns movie meets Perfect Blue Lite. This anime has some disturbing scenes to say the least, all of which serve as the basis for Sawa’s state of mind. Without giving too much away, I can say that her childhood has severely scarred her and left her in a state of indentured servitude. The story isn’t perfect, however, as it seems that Sawa should have come to her conclusion years before she did, as well as the fact that the ending left some unanswered questions.
The action sequences are fun to watch, and there are buckets of blood to go around… if that’s your thing. For the most part Kite is firmly grounded in reality but there is one sequence that I found a little hard to swallow (anyone who sees this should know what I’m talking about). Not a big deal but it irked me a tad.
As to the technical nature of the OVA, I found the animation quality to be good, slightly above par for its time. The only thing not to my tastes was that the colors didn’t seem quite bright enough in the outdoor shots.
This is a good title to try out as it contains enough action to keep most fans of the genre busy, as well as the nice psychological aspects to help it stand out. If you enjoy it then I’d recommend moving on to more in-depth pieces. Just remember the only way to really experience this anime at the moment is the VHS labeled “Director’s Cut.”
Highs: Complex characters; a kick in the teeth in many areas; ideal mood
Lows: Lacks elaboration; wastes many precious frames on fan service
Kite auditions for many genres to increase its chances of winning your heart. As a result, few people can be completely satisfied with this package featuring action, drama and suspense. It will all depend on how you see it and what you expected.
As the psychosomatic thriller it tries to be, Kite takes too many dives into mindless (not to mention far-fetched) action and hentai. Don’t get me wrong. Sawa’s sexual corruption and way of life is an essential part of her psychological profile; frequent, random and overly explicit sexual scenes and gore fests as presented in the original Japanese version along with the so-called director’s cut, however, are not. A longer series could have managed to include as much fan service without making the story suffer, but one hour doesn’t quite cut it for this OVA series. Its first American release by Media Blaster edited out many of such scenes. In this case, instead of having a short OVA series filled with redundant portions we’re left with an even shorter version that doesn’t make any sense. Such releases are always to be avoided.
A strong cast roughly compensates for the overfilling storyline. Sawa’s sadistic and abusive mentor Akai particularly shines as a character one most definitely loves to hate. Bull’s eye on the ambiance, too: visuals, tempo and melodies all contribute to this thorny atmosphere. Moreover, music may be worthy of a dark and modern suspense but keeps the same tone regardless of the type of scene or action intensity. It consequently shifts from suiting to intrusive every now and then.
A glorified Green Bunny action and sex anime? Perhaps. Nonetheless, Kite still has a number of strong points beneath its seemingly extremist appearance. Without recommending it I can still say many action fans will be pleased as it offers something more than your usual gun-slinging picture: deep characters and a moving storyline.
Highs: Very stylish; vibrant colors; slick action
Lows: Unnecessary porn; too emotionless; it’s just… there
Kite is an exercise in style. The problem is not everyone likes to exercise, so while some may like the noirish story and camera direction, others will be turned off by the excessive, pointless hardcore nudity and lack of any character depth. To each his… and her… own.
While I am far from being director Umetsu Yasuomi’s biggest fan, I can much appreciate his gritty techniques and his ability to glorify the “fringe” of society. His characters exist among us and yet reside in a murky filth underneath the very beds that we sleep. There are two types of characters that exist in an Umetsu universe: victims and victims of victims. It’s his ability to revolve a story around the detritus that fascinates so many fans.
If only he were to concentrate more on fleshing out the characters’ personalities would we the viewers appreciate the predicaments that they are in. However, the hollow antagonists (there are no protagonists in this type of story) are simply window dressing; we ooh and ahh at the lowly tasks that they are forced (or willing) to perform, but we cannot sympathize in the slightest. Watching an anime such as this one is akin to viewing a painting from afar, not being able to closely examine the minutiae that, when pieced together, make the art flow. That, and the senseless pornographic scenes just drained away my overall enjoyment of this OVA.
Kite has become an anime that many have enjoyed watching but refuse to admit it in public. On a purely superficial level, this anime has much going for it. Too bad I asked for much more than was offered.
Kite (uncut) can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE. Director’s Cut can be found linked on the same page. CAUTION: Both versions are tagged as “Hentai”.