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"A lady should really be more elegant... * sigh* "
In the Star Century year 0165, humanity has long spread across the galaxy and brought all it's old problems with it. Crime rates in the future are still as high as ever. An agency of the Galactic Union called "Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs" (GOTT) has its own special way of dealing with these problems — it dispatches duos of superpowered enforcers referred as "ES Members" to deal with galactic law breakers. Among their number are two who... tend to stand out a bit: Éclair and Lumière. Behind their appearance of just your run-of-the-mill, happy-go-lucky C-class agents lurks a far more sinister past soiled with blood, desperation, and bitter conflict with the very world order they are now charged with protecting.
Does the above sound like a bit like Dirty Pair to you? No surprise, seeing how Kiddy Grade was probably intended as its Spiritual Successor of sorts. However, despite its lighthearted, Lovely Angels-themed start, this show gets progressively darker and moodier, dipping into such difficult themes as problems faced by an immortal and person vs. society and socioeconomic conflict. Kiddy Grade is a true production tour-de-force, starting with the design, directorial and dictational talent of production team gímik, throttled by the GONZO animation prowess and impressive voice acting (yay for Aya Hirano and Colleen Clinkenbeard), rounded off by an impressive musical score by Shiro Hamaguchi. This will make the series worth taking a look at even if you stay indifferent to the questions raised in it.
The show originally aired in Japan in 2002-03. A sequel series was announced in 2006, to be animated by asread rather than GONZO, and while a pilot DVD was released, little info was revealed until February 2009, when it was re-announced under the official title Kiddy Girl-and, now to be animated by Satelite and set 50 years after the original. In the interim, the series had been re-run on TV in Japan and re-released as a DVD box set, and also released to selected theatres as three cut-down movies.
Note: Kiddy Girl-and has its own page, so please don't put tropes relating to that show here.
The show provides examples of:
- AI Is a Crapshoot
- Aristocrats Are Evil: With a few notable exceptions, most of the Nouvlesse are selfish, vainglorious assholes who are blatantly contemptuous of all citizens of non pure Earth-bred stock in the galaxy.
- As You Know: Introduction of the original series.
- Back for the Finale
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: While the frequent panty shots can be quite detailed, the full frontal nudity featured in episode 12 showed nipples (in the DVD version that is) — yes, even Lumiére — but no genitalia. This scene was even re-animated for the movie version of the show, with another similar scene added showing the transfer into their new bodies.
- Blood From the Mouth: When Éclair receives a seemingly fatal injury in the third episode and again after being clotheslined by Donnerschlag in episode 14. She's also been known to cut her own lip as a lipstick substitute.
- Boobs of Steel: The most powerful female ES-members tend to be rather well-endowed, Éclair included. Viola and Lumière are the notable exceptions.
- Bowdlerise: Averted. The English version has been accused of watering down Lumière's wine, however, the original script also refers to it euphemistically as "Grape Juice" (萄ジュース).
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Donnerschlag and Wirbelwind the A Is, thanks to a program called "Hashish".
- Catch Phrase: See the opening quotations.
- Cloning Blues: Alv and Dvergr create copies of Éclair and Lumière as their servants.
- Conspicuous CG: Averted. By GONZO!
- Cool Starship: La Muse; Every other ES team has their own.
- Costume Copycat: Alv and Dvergr, although they can copy the abilities as well. They couldn't copy the voices, though.
- Credits Running Sequence
- Curtains Match the Window: Several characters, but particularly Lumière, in both her purple- and teal-haired iterations. Crosses over with Hair Colors.
- Delayed Explosion: Practically all the spaceship combat scenes and a few more besides.
- Disney Death: Various characters, including Éclair and Lumière themselves. Several times. Those nanomachines sure come in handy.
- Energy Absorption: Alv and Dvergr.
- Evolving Credits: The credits get updated with Éclair and Lumière's new look.
- Expy: Side-character Mad Bad Bull oddly resembles Nosferatu Zodd.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: A bunch of them.
- Eyecatch: Each episode featured a different artist providing the eyecatch.
- Fan Service: And how, though some found Lumière's fanservice disturbing...
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Lumière's "grape juice" is actually fermented grape juice, a.k.a. wine (usually, high quality, and thus expensive, wine).
- Which at one points even gets used to save her life.
- Gainaxing: Éclair.
- Good Bad Translation: Armblast was supposed to be named "Armbrust", after the German word for "crossbow", but... eh, close enough (the real reason was that the mistake was discovered too late in the dubbing).
- Go Out with a Smile: Chevalier D'Autriche.
- Go Through Me
- The Government: GOTT.
- Gratuitous English
- Gratuitous French
- Gratuitous German
- Gunship Rescue: Done beautifully. Long after La Muse was destroyed, the new one reveals itself by shooting down the large enemy gunship before dramatically rising out of the water.
- Hammerspace: It's not like Éclair's outfit has pockets, but there is literally nowhere on her person that Lumière can stash her wine bottles.
- Hand Blast: The clones of Éclair and Lumière have this as their main attack. Ironically, this is not one of Armblast's abilities.
- Hollywood Cyborg
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Cesario and Viola.
- Humongous Mecha / Transforming Mecha: The starship Deucalion.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Except for the finale, it uses the for [Word]/[Usually related word].
- Image Song:
- Lumière's is "Hikari no Umi" ("Sea of Light"). It has an appropriately staid theme and plays during her flashback episode.
- Éclair's is called "Tsubasa". Her lullaby also possibly counts.
- They also have a duet called, appropriately, "Girls Power 〜史上最高〜" (all-time high) and sing a duet version of the ending theme.
- Immortal Life Is Cheap
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: How that bare-skinned cross on Éclair's stomach retains its shape is anyone's guess.
- Improbable Weapon User: Éclair's lipstick whip. Lumière's "wine bottles" also qualify. Armbrust's briefcase has also been used in this manner.
- Irony, dramatic: Éclair sees a boy at the hospital who is distraught that his grandma is about to pass away, but is satisfied with it. Éclair explains to him that his grandma probably feels that she's done everything that she's meant to do in life, and all of us will die someday anyway... except for the part where Éclair herself is actually immortal and has to deal with that in her own way.
- Karma Houdini: Everyone seems to forget that Eclipse approved of the killing of unarmed civilians and even ordered Éclair to help out, which caused Éclair's revolt in the first place. However, this is justified when you realize it was part of Batman Gambit of Eclipse. At the time, she was under heavy scrutiny by the Nouvlesse, so she had to Kick the Dog at the time to ensure that Eclair would engineer the downfall of GOTT (at the time), which allowed her to fake her own demise, and in the interim she stayed dead until she could come back to life and resume control minus the interference from above.
- Kill All Humans: Alv.
- Killed Off for Real: Chevalier D'Autriche.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Éclair, self-inflicted.
- Logic Bomb: The Hashish virus.
- Lovely Angels: Éclair and Lumière.
- Made of Iron: ES members bleed, but little things like bullet wounds don't cause them any other problems — unless required by the plot. Entirely justified by their nanomachines — and even if they are killed, that's easy to fix too.
- Magic Feather: Éclair wears lipstick whenever making use of her full powers.
- Perhaps justified, as it seems to function as an auto-hypnotic suggestion.
- Meganekko: Mercredi and Vendredi. We don't know much about Vendredi, but Mercredi actually doesn't need them, as she spends the last third of the show in her true form as Pfeilspitze not wearing glasses (or that wig either).
- Nanomachines: That's what's behind many ES "superpowers".
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: It's surprising how many ES members have a classified second power that nobody had ever mentioned.
- Not Quite Dead: One-shot antagonist Mad Bad Bull, episode 4, after being crushed by a crate when Éclair plays around with a ship's Artificial Gravity.
- Not What It Looks Like: Lumière at one time wakes up to find Éclair kissing her--but it was done to feed Lumière her favorite wine, so she'd recover from her coma.
- It's telling though that Lumière is not at all upset about the kiss, but about the waste of her beloved wine.
- The Nth Doctor: A rare animated example: Éclair and Lumière switch into completely new bodies halfway through the series, and it's revealed that they've done so many times before.
- Off-Model: In distance shots, characters often have weirdly glowing eyes, which disappear again at close range--especially Éclair.
- Older Sidekick: At least, Éclair looks that way.
- Ominous Latin Chanting
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Uttered by Un-oh toward Éclair.
- Opposites Theme Naming: Two agents are named Dextera and Sinistra (right and left hand, respectively).
- Panty Shot: Éclair, several times per episode.
- Qipao: Éclair in episode 3, and Lumière also in an omake from the first movie.
- Rank Inflation: C, S, and G (Copper, Silver, and Gold, respectively — canonically "Channel Opener", "Shamanic Agent", and "Gazer of Cosmos").
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Well, almost.
- Recap Episode
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The "eyes" of both Donnerschlag and the La Muse turn red when infected with the Hashish virus. Tweedledee and 'Dum also have red eyes.
- Roboteching Beam Spam: The Deucalion.
- Robot Girl: Actually, they are cyborgs.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money:
Lumière: "They're the Nouvlesse. They're arrogant because they can afford to be."
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Right around episode 8.
- Shout-Out: In episode 9, in a sign on an office, the address below GOTT is 'GONDO DIGI', as a reference to Gonzo Digimation.
- Sleep Mode Size: When Lumière exhausts her energy restoring herself, Éclair, and Donner, she turns from an adult body to her normal loli form.
- Spiritual Successor: To Dirty Pair.
- Stern Chase: Ocurring after Éclair and Lumière have been expelled from GOTT.
- Storming the Castle: Episode 15.
- Sucking-In Lines
- Super Prototype: The Caliope has at least a few of the abilities that are present in the more specialised production model La Muses (the Thaleia's Resonance Explosion, Polymnia's Reflection Field and Clio's Hedgehog), albeit in a weaker form.
- Super Speed: Foxy Fox. Éclair as well.
- Super Strength: Éclair.
- Tear Jerker: This series has its fair share of very sad moments.
- Theme Naming: All of the partners have some theme to their names, the most obvious are the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
- Éclair and Lumière: French for "lightning" and "light" respectively; the latter is "translated" as "twinkle" late in the show
- Dextera and Sinistra: Latin for "right" and "left."
- Alv and Dvergr: Nordic for "elf" and "dwarf."
- Tweedledee and Tweedledum: From Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.
- Un-oh and A-oh: Japanese names for the two Buddhist Deva Kings.
- Viola and Cesario: Female name and male pseudonym for a character from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
- Armbrust and Pfeilspitze: German for "crossbow" and "arrowhead."
- Mercredi and Vendredi: French for "Wednesday" and "Friday."
- Token Mini-Moe: Viola.
- Lumière could fit this description as well.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Viola loves Italian pasta. Cesario prefers Chinese. This is a common point of (albeit playful) argument between the two.
- Tron Lines: Donnerschlag when under the influence of Hashish.
- Turn in Your Badge: After the events of Episode 11, Éclair and Lumière are kicked out of the GOTT, and records of their registration are erased... and it sticks.
- Wine Is Classy: Lumiere's favorite drink is "grape juice".
- Wham! Episode: Episodes 11 and 15.
- Whip It Good: Éclair's lipstick attack.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Primarily, Éclair and her eternal struggle against the Nouvlesse, although all other ES Members face this in one way or another.
- Wonder Twin Powers: Viola's power requires that she hold hands with her partner Cesario. Tweedledee and Tweedledum also have a combo ability.
- Your Head Asplode: Donnerschlag and Wirbelwind.