The city of Tokyo is home to the "Angel of Death", a mysterious girl who appears to viciously kill criminals and leaves behind a flurry of white feathers. The girls name is Monaka, and it is revealed that she is a teenage assassin, who is well equipped with firearms and is also a formidable fighter. When an unknown creature attacks the city, Monaka is hired to deal with it.-summary
Directed by Yasuomi Umetsu and released in 2008, Kite: Liberator is the sequel to Kite which was released in 1998. Although this sequel makes references to the original by mentioning the name of the previous main character, delivers a few tidbits to draw up your own conclusions, as well as provide some background on the pistol once used by Sawa. The anime feels a lot more like a spin-off story. No matter how I look at it though, Kite: Liberator is very far from a sub-par anime and I personally think Umetsu hit a new low with this one.
It's a possibility that many of the elements in this anime can be considered as subtle homages to other projects. But I simply look at it as Umetsu trying to find something or anything that works. Sadly, nothing seems to remotely add up in this jigsaw puzzle equation of nonsensical madness. This story is awful from the savage identity crisis all the way down to the junk science.
The story begins with Monaka's father working on a space station slightly above the earth. Due to overexposure from the suns radiation, and in combination with a special calcium rich food he was required to eat. The man mutated into one of two hulk-like creatures with his skin texture being made of only bone (Doomsday anyone) with very sharp protrusions being used as slashing weapons. The creature is highly resistant to bullets and is very violent. Eventually, Monaka must confront this creature.
I think the biggest mistake was to remove the noirish setting in favor of a sci-fi, with superhero elements that really didn't seem to mesh well with the Kite mythos at all. The new setting feels terribly out of place and this story isn't the least bit atmospheric. Don't expect much from the characters, as most of them are nothing more than bodies to take up space. Truthfully, almost no one serves a real purpose.
Monaka is nothing more than a bland stereotype with many borrowed personalities. She's a clumsy waitress by day, and competent gunslinger by night who makes appearances at the nick of time, and they just go on from there. After sitting back and thinking about this story and plot, I can't help but think that Umetsu lost whatever talent he supposedly had. Personally, I don't think he was ever talented to begin with.
The plot seems to tease the viewer quite a bit, by tossing out hints that one of the characters could possibly be a grown up Sawa. The necessary clues are delivered to draw up a conclusion, but at the end of the day, it's nothing more than speculation. Things only continue to drag with one uninteresting segment after another. Monaka's life is pretty boring and the viewer will more than likely find themselves impatiently waiting for the next brutal action scene.
Kite: Liberator is a very bad OVA that was even heavily panned by fans, but I'm willing to believe that some of the fans despise it mainly because there is no hardcore sex in this one. In fact, there's no sex at all. One may think that Umetsu had actually grown up since he was about 40 when he put this together. No such luck my friends, there is still very childish fan service delivered for no other reasons than just because. Umetsu is living proof that some people grow up, while others just get old.
If there are any good points to this short OVA, then it has to be the nice visuals. The animation can be very fluid when it really wants to. The action scenes can be very brutal with the first one being incredibly sick and stylish. There are quite a few gun battles, and some very sick murders involving old ladies being shot to death, along with men being sliced into pieces.
The CG animated scenes can have their good moments as well, but it's the 2D visuals that really shine here literally. The animation has a very nice clean polish. The character designs are very good as well as the artwork. Although the backgrounds lack the ambiance of the original, the color palettes are still beautiful and there is some decent camera work. The well orchestrated music score seems to fit the moods very well, but the ending them called My Sweet Home has a nice melody with some very good vocals and is definitely the standout. I found the dub to be slightly better than the sub. Xanthe Huynh does a better job voicing Monaka than her counterpart Marina Inoue.
Kite: Liberator is a terrible title to me, no matter how good it may be in the style department, and the sudden cliffhanger ending makes it worst. I heard rumors that Umetsu was working on a sequel and perhaps that will clear things up. But the new setting, poor story, and plot to this one are hard to over look and I seriously doubt a sequel will save this chapter. This is a very good example of an anime with no direction, and as bad it is, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it actually developed a cult following. Only give this a try if you're curious, very easy to please when it comes down to anime, or a diehard fan of the director. The anime has a 57 minute run time.