Kiddy Grade (キディ・グレイド) is a science fiction, 24-episode Anime
series produced in 2002 and created by gímik and Gonzo Digimation and directed by Keiji Gotoh. The series is licensed and distributed in North America by FUNimation Entertainment. The series currently airs on the FUNimation Channel in both its "syndicated block" and its 24-hour channel. The series is currently being re-released as three movies (each 80-90 minutes in length) to specific Japanese theatres. The individual titles for these films are
• "Ignition" (initial screening 2007-04-07, DVD released 2007-07-27)
• "Maelstrom" (initial screening 2007-06-23, DVD released 2007-09-28), and
• "Truth Dawn" (initial screening 2007-09-01).
In October 2006 news of a Kiddy Grade sequel was announced, under the working title of "K-G.2", to be animated by asread (Shuffle! anime). A DVD containing a 7-minute preview of the new series was released on 2007-05-25.
The story takes place in a future where the human race has expanded and inhabits a multitude of planets in the universe with fantastic technology. Unsurprisingly, crime has grown alongside technology, and thus the GOTT, Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs, is formed as a sort of universal police force. Within this organization, there is a special (and secret) branch known as the ES Force (ES standing for "Encounter of Shadow-work"), consisting of twelve young people that possess amazing superpowers. Each ES member operates with another as a team, and the series' focus is a team of two low-level members, Éclair and Lumière. As the series progresses, they start to see the darker side of GOTT and its secrets.
Éclair and Lumière are two young agents of the GOTT (Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs) who accomplish various missions using their special powers. Éclair is initially depicted with Super Strength known as Power and Lumière has Puppet - the ability to hack into any computer or machine. They are accompanied on many of their missions by an auditor named Armbrust.
The first few episodes chronicle their various missions. These include negotiating trade between two rival corporation planets; transporting an Earth (Nouvlesse) criminal; finding a stolen cybernetic implant by entering a wrestling tournament; and helping a young heir make it to an inheritance. They routinely team up with fellow ES members to stop various threats.
One later mission involves terrorists using Geo-Sort Technology, which is capable of destroying entire planets. However, GOTT seems to have mysterious connections with the Geo-Sort distribution, causing Éclair to question what GOTT is really up to. The results of the last missions seem to reveal much darker ambitions of the GOTT. Another mission places Éclair in the middle of a mysterious brain-washing scheme on the Planet Dardanos and unravels a government conspiracy. However, the brain-washing signal paralyzes Éclair and awakens strange and violent flashbacks to events she had no prior memory of.
Éclair is haunted by mysterious memories of her "former lives" and she begins to fear and question who she really is and what she's capable of. After coming to terms with her memories, the tension between Éclair, Lumière and the GOTT comes to a head when they are assigned to a mission on the Planet Aure. The government is run by Nouvelesse who have enslaved the planet's inhabitants. Distraught by the situation of the planet's citizens, Éclair and Lumière begin to have doubts about whether or not the GOTT is really as benevolent as they once believed. A mass protest by Aure's laborers incites the government to kill many of the protestors. Enraged and unable to stand by and watch, Éclair unleashes her abilities to previously unseen levels, allowing Aure's citizens to successfully revolt and defeat the current government.
As a result the GOTT brands Éclair and Lumière as criminals. Afterwards, the GOTT dispatches Section Thirteen agents and C-Force soldiers to capture them. After a standoff in a colony, Section Thirteen nearly cripples them using a program called D-Command which causes the nanomachines inside ES members to multiply rapidly and kill the host. However, Armbrust reveals his ES Power to save Éclair and Lumière and aid them in their escape. Not too soon afterwards, GOTT starts sending their former ES comrades to hunt them down. A-ou
and Un-ou (longtime rivals of Éclair and Lumière) are hired to track them down and eventually chase them to an abandoned colony. After coming to an uneasy truce where A-ou and Un-ou leave the GOTT, Tweedledee
are next sent to capture Éclair and Lumière. Tweedledee infects their robot Donnerschlag and their ship LaMuse with a virus, causing them to turn against their owners. After trying in vain to stop the virus, the two former ES members plan one final strike on GOTT Headquarters. However, Alv
seem to have their own mysterious agenda involving the two former members. After battling the other ES members in their attack, Éclair confronts Eclipse
and shoots her. The GOTT Headquarters is eventually destroyed, leaving the fate of Eclipse and the future of GOTT unknown.
The GOTT finally rebuilds itself after the disaster, however Éclair and Lumière have taken over the organization with an iron fist. They have created an entire army of Éclair/Lumière clones to enforce their rule, and pledges to rebuild the GOTT as a much more powerful force. In another unexpected twist, two mysterious girls arrive to revolt against the GOTT's new rulers.
In a surprise twist, the mysterious girls turn out to be the original Éclair and Lumière in new bodies. Alv and Dvergr are revealed as the true villains, having absorbed Éclair and Lumière's powers and appearance during the GOTT attack. With the help of Eclipse (who survived using her Quandt ability) and the clones, they are able to defeat Alv and Dvergr.
After the victory, Lumière has a difficult time adjusting to her new body and has difficulty using her powers. Like Éclair, she also has to come to terms with her dark past, in particular her role in setting off a Geo-Sort bomb on an inhabited planet.
In the climactic finish to the series, Chevalier D'Autrich, the head of GOTT and GU's economic government inexplicably hijacks the gigantic terraforming spaceship known as the "Deucalion". Alv and Dvergr confront Chevalier and he traps Alv in the Reception System Chamber and converts her to energy. Éclair and Lumière confront Chevalier and he reveals the Nouvlesse plan to use the Deucalion as an ark to flee the galaxy, leaving financial chaos in their wake. At this point, Alv returns having merged with Deucalion using her Absorb ability. She shoots Chevalier and reduces Éclair and Lumière to energy in the Reception System Chamber.
Alv sets her sights on her true target, Earth. Desiring revenge against the Nouvlesse, she uses the Deucalion's weapons to bombard the planet from orbit. Meanwhile, Éclair and Lumière reform in the Reception Chamber thanks to Lumière's true power, Particle, which allows her to control particles of all kinds. Dvergr unveils Alv's weakness and the final battle begins. As all of the ES Members (and the remaining Éclair/Lumière clones) join in the fight, they successfully destroy the ship's main weapon and trap Alv within the husk of the engine in the process. Leaving Dvergr to stay and look after Alv (her daughter), the duo then comforted a dying Chevalier. After the victory over Alv and the Deucalion, Éclair and Lumière continue their lives as GOTT members in yet new bodies.