Kite

Kite


[Image of the VHS cover of Kite]The title of this one-shot anime OAV is rather misleading, perhaps conjuring up images of children flying kites or the making and selling of kites. In actuality, this very "gentle" title masks the necessary extreme violence of Kite.

First, a note for those concerned about the violence: The violence abounds in multiple forms. While some specific images are very much gratuitous (such as a severed head bouncing through a shot in the subway), the situations are both necessary for the advancement of the plot, and are rather realistic (although the law of gravity is sometimes suspended). However, something to keep in mind is that Kite in its current anime version would likely never be made into a Hollywood film, especially in America's post-Columbine climate of blaming the media for today's youth violence.

Kite is the story of Sawa, a young college student who at first appearance is the last person the average person would consider to be an assassin. As the tagline states, "Dangerous things come in small packages," and Sawa is very much the personification of the tagline. In the same vein as the original La femme Nikita, Sawa has been transformed into a "hitgirl" who is very good at her unofficial trade.

However, there is more to Sawa's existence than simply eliminating her assigned targets. A colleague becomes a potential romantic partner, but their affection for each other is essentially concealed by the violence which surrounds them almost daily. Plus, Sawa has had a long, ongoing sexual relationship with her boss, although no actual sex scenes are shown.

While I certainly love Kite and personally find Sawa to be one of the most intriguing characters in modern anime, the mere 45 minutes leaves plenty of room for lengthening with a strong focus on character motivation and a deepening of Sawa's background story. However, I have heard rumors that a director's cut of Kite will soon be released, so these issues may be resolved in the newer release.

The best way to enjoy Kite is to watch in the dark, hopefully on a large screen, with the sound turned up rather high. The explosions, gunfire, and dropping shells all sound excellent, almost as beautiful as the lobby shootout in The Matrix.


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