Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Marina Inoue, Rikiya Koyama, Mugihito
Director: Yasuomi Umetsu
Genres: Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense, Anime & Manga, Animation
The teenage assassin Sawa discovered the man behind her parents deaths was her own her foster father, the police detective Akai. She murdered him. Years later, her whereabouts are still unknown. The story of a new killer h... more »
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Okay film, but a step down for Umetsu
NYC_Babe | Brooklyn, NY USA | 08/12/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I love Umetsu, who I think is one of the best anime directors of all time. Not only are his films beautifully animated, they're highly unconventional, gritty, adult, and feature some of the most wonderfully choreographed action scenes I've ever seen in either a live or animated feature film. Some people have compared his style to Tarantino; I think that's an accurate comparison. When it comes to directors, he's definitely a maverick who flouts convention.
When I heard he'd made a sequel to Kite, I couldn't have been more excited to indulge in more of Umetsu's style. So imagine my disappointment when I saw Kite Liberator. Before I criticize, let me say what was good about it. As usual, the artwork was gorgeous and there was a sophisticated look to the film due to its muted palette. So it's definitely a visual feast for the eyes. Also, some of the CGI (some, being the operative word) is nothing short of breathtaking.
But for all its aesthetic strengths, Liberator suffers from a few problems. First of all, although it's called a "sequel", Liberator is really an entirely different story from the first Kite, so there's very little to connect the two other than one character mentioning that the two characters from the first film disappeared. If you were left hanging in Kite and are just chomping at the bit to get this "sequel" to find out what happened, you're in for a major disappointment.
Secondly, the story is terribly predictable and conventional-- halfway into it you already know where it's going, so there are none of the clever surprising twists and turns of either Mezzo Forte or Kite.
Thirdly, Monaka is not really an intriguing character in spite of her double life. When she's not being a killer, her "Clark Kent" personality is the standard nerdy, shy, fish out of water character you often see in children's anime -- you know, the cutesy kid who acts like a clutz, blushes when near the opposite sex, and is incompetent at school or work. You've seen that character a million times in anime-- Negi Springfield is a prototype comes to mind-- and she is interchangeable with all of them.
Fourth, a lot of the character design is oddly conventional. If you're familiar with Umetsu's work you know that there's a particular "look" he has in the way he draws his characters, especially the women. The character designs for the men are once again top notch (especially the manager of the greasy spoon), but this time around Monaka and the other females are standard designs.
Fifth, the CGI is all over the place. In the opening scenes of the space station, it's really incredible. But in some of the action scenes in the beginning it looks just plain sloppy.
Last but not least, it seems as if the heart and soul of Umetsu's gritty, edgy, signature style has almost all but disappeared. The unconventionality is gone, the grit is gone, the "underground" feel is gone. There's violence, but were it not for those bloody scenes, this film could easily be mistaken for a sentimental, mainstream kiddy flick about a girl reuniting with her father. Just have Manako bloodlesly dispense with enemies using magic powers and it would've made no difference. It's almost as if Umetsu was torn between making a cloying Hayao Miyazaki-type film or another gritty film like Kite, so he just decided to do both.
The funny thing about Kite Liberator is that it's not that bad a movie. If it were done by any other director, I would've even given it an extra star. But because it's from Umetsu, it's really a step down for him. I would definitely rent it for the gorgeous animation and curiosity factor. But if you buy it hoping to get "more of the same" of Kite or Mezzo Forte you'll feel disappointment at best and cheated at worst."
Ever the Poorest of Sequels
Wallace Jackson | 07/16/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The original Kite was a hard-hitting, grungy, gutsy psycho-drama. Each of its characters (despicable though many of them were) had their own motivations, and psychological reasons for doing what they did. The art was wonderfully rendered and the voice acting (both English and Japanese) were well done. In short, it was so good that it became one of my favourite movies - and so dark that I don't watch it with polite company.
Kite Liberator, on the other hand, looks like it was entirely animated by the in-betweeners. Where the original was a street-level tale about an unwilling hitwoman, with hints of greater drama behind the scenes; Liberator is a four-colour tale about space invaders, with no moral ambiguity, motivation or deeper emotions. Frankly, it reminds me of the badly translated anime fare that used to show up on late night television.
If you're looking for a reminder of bad 80's anime (in the ilk of 8 Man, Genocyber and some of the worse episodes of Crying Freeman), Kite Liberator might be worth a look. Personally, I've only watched it twice since I bought the disc a year ago. The second time, I gave it another chance, just to see if it was as awful as it seemed the first time through... It was."
Bruce Boddy | LOUISVILLE, KY, US | 07/06/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I was a big Fan of the original "Kite" anime, I got so excited when I realized there was a sequel called "Kite Liberator".
But as it turns out, it was worse than anything I could ever of imagined, as far as how bad a sequel to "Kite" could of been. I wondered if the version I bought had been heavily edited, because I remember thinking about how disjointed the edited BUT STILL HIGHLY PRAISED version of "KITE" seemed to be. THIS WAS OF COURSE after I had already seen the full length version of "KITE".
BUT this was not the case, this was in fact the uncut version of the "LITE LIBERATOR" movie, man what a let down. This is the most blatant case of "BATE and Switch" I've ever seen as far as I'm concerned. The Bate is advertising it as a sequel to "KITE" and the switch was the movie itself....
When it came to the end, I thought "What the, belp, da de belp was that?? Is that it? that's how they're ending it!!! I was so pissed.
Look if you are a purist, and you've just got to have this to go along with your copy of "KITE" than pick it up used at a cheat price, AND THAN DON`T WATCH IT !!
Just put it on the shelf next to your copy of "KITE" You'll enjoy it better that way I assure you.
With the exception of the last 2 sentences of this review, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS DVD."
A good time
Andrew Olson | Macon, GA | 08/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not having seen the original Kite before buying Liberator, I didn't have much of a frame of reference to work with. Now, having seen the original Kite, I can accurately compare Liberator to the original.
And surprisingly, I like Liberator better.
One big reason for me liking Liberator more, is that the overall story line (young girl [in the original, Sawa; in the new, Monaka] becomes assassin to fight crime) just didn't seem like the right type of story to have explicit sex scenes in it, at least not as many as Kite ended up having. Kite Liberator doesn't have sex scenes in it at all, and nudity is kept to a bare minimum (only one short scene about halfway through the first episode).
The action is still there, though, and blood still flows freely as people get shot in the head, heart, or wherever else Monaka decides to shoot them. And Monaka is just about as athletic as her predecessor, though there's no real explanation as to why this is the case. It most likely, though, isn't because of her job- she merely works as a waitress, though her boss does have quite the penchant for sexual harrassment.
Which brings up my first (of two) points that I found odd about Kite Liberator. Monaka is a very shy and meek girl, yet somehow, she doesn't mind her boss's sexual advances. Judging from the smile on her face when he does so, it is almost implied that she enjoys her boss's behavior. Given her overall character type, it just seems a bit odd for that to be taking place.
The second point of my discontent is the very end of the second episode, where we are left hanging right after the creature re-emerges from the wreckage. There is absolutely no true ending to this story, neither did director Umetsu Yasuomi hint at there being a third Kite episode, dealing with what happened after the end of episode two. Thus, we are left with a very empty feeling, and not even one with a bit of suspense at the next episode. Because, apparently, there isn't one.
If you can get past that, though, most people will really enjoy Kite Liberator. If you're looking for something that is more in line with the original Kite, or are looking for an anime that actually has a satisfying conclusion... You might want to look elsewhere for that."