Good triumph over evil is a myth. Millennia of human history have not seen any real shift in balance and we continue to struggle in our battle against wickedness in effort to make the world a "nicer place" to live in. By this I do not mean evil nations or organisations seeking to destroy the world. Rather, the more down-to-earth lifestyle of crime is the area that piques my interest. Especially when somebody presents a vision of how the seedy underworld may operate in the future, and how this perennial problem goes out of control.
With Kite, Umetsu Yasuomi showcases his talent in painting a world that is heavily dark and tragic, while simultaneously ozzing a style that makes one believe professional street assassination is just tremendously cool. This is a world that is outright merciless. Take good care and be righteous, lest you make enemies who hire pretty teenage schoolgirl like Sawa to unload bullets into your body in the toilet or subway. That is, delayed-fuse bullets to ensure you don't remain as one piece. Those with hemaphobia should avoid this show.
Actually, the whole point for watching is to witness how the assassins dispatch their targets. This is the future, and folks are prepared to defend themselves, or just blow you away if you piss them off. So when an assassin has to ensure her target is eliminated, by all means necessary she will do it. Not some quick slient sniping, but fabulous wanton destruction with bonus collateral damage. Expect changes to the landscape on a daily basis. The highly elaborate sequences give evidence where most of the animation budget went to. If action is what you are looking for, you will not be disappointed at all.
It is not all senseless action like Quake or Doom, though. Behind this two-episode frenzy is a rather quick but gripping story of how not everybody enters criminal professions by their own calculated decisions. Sawa was brought up by a rogue cop eversince her parents got murdered. Living on by sheer will of getting her revenge, she receives training from the cop and wields very cool weaponry to carry out her trade. Amidst all the excitement of combat, it gets really obvious her life is not one bit glamourous. Getting sexually abused by her foster-father does not help her happiness quotient either. Speaking of which, despite the point of realism I can see in that, injecting sexual activity is a negative move in my opinion. The fighting completely outclasses the sex in orders of magnitude, making it all moot. Setting that aside, this OVA still finds time to develop a bond between Sawa and another assassin, Oburi. The occassions they spend together makes them reflect on the lives they are leading and consider what future they have. The shackles that bind them to this world are stiff, and breaking free from them is going to be mighty challenging given the skill and wit of their guardians.
Rooting for the teenagers in their fight for freedom is an easy one. Since the wicked folk do not really have any attribute for salvation. It would have been nice to potray adversaries with a more grayish tint, exposing more humane motivations instead of plain old evil-who-must-be-destroyed. And drawing the people with such cliche differences - Sawa and Oburi have similar stylish character art, while the adversaries are rendered ugly and hideous - really does the art direction a huge demerit. For something that has achieved a great feel for torment living in the underworld, realistic character art should not be a challenge at all.
Overall, incredible action to please the senses, combined with moving emotions for the protagonists. The ending in particular, would undoubtedly invoke some strong feelings from you, albeit not very conclusive by most standards. Whether you want to consider that good or bad, I leave it up to you. But one thing's for sure - the future is a sad place.
Overall rating 7/10
Sleek fighting; raw adrenaline; smooth operative; stylish world; tragic
Unbalanced character art and development; too violent for some; sex is useless; should have more gray