North American DVD cover by Kitty Media (rare 18+ version of Kite Remastered).
|Genre||Neo-noir, action, crime, girls with guns, hentai|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Yasuomi Umetsu|
|Produced by||Osamu Ecchu
|Written by||Yasuomi Umetsu|
|Music by||Shiroh Hamaguchi|
|Runtime||45 minutes (without hentai scenes)
60 minutes (with hentai scenes)
Kite revolves around a schoolgirl named Sawa who is orphaned in her early teens. Her parents are the victims of a gory double murder. This film opens when Sawa found a new home, but the man was yelling at the old lady and Sawa kills him. The detectives investigating the crime, Akai and Kanie, take her in as guardians. Akai begins a sexual relationship with Sawa, forcing her to become his sex slave for the duration of his guardianship. Akai also gives her a pair of crystal earrings, each one containing the blood of one of her parents.
Sawa becomes an assassin after the corrupt detectives make her kill an alleged rapist of young girls. Subsequently over the years, she kills whomever she is ordered to, including corrupt police officers and corporate fat cats. Sawa's assassinations are famous among the police for her use of special bullets that explode inside the body after piercing the skin.
Eventually, Sawa meets a fellow assassin named Oburi, who is of a similar age, and a bond quickly forms between them. Due to their relationship, Sawa slowly gains the emotional strength to escape from her guardians to set out on her own. Oburi is leaving Akai and Kanie's service after killing three more targets, but Akai orders Sawa to kill Oburi instead of letting him go. Realizing that Sawa has the drop on him, Oburi tells her that Akai and Kanie were the ones who murdered her parents, but Sawa reveals that she has known that for years. She lets Oburi live and goes to take out her next target. The bodyguards of this target nearly kill her in a struggle in the men's restroom. During it, she loses one of her earrings and sustains several minor injuries. When Oburi shows up alive, Kanie sends him after a corrupt district attorney, but the man is actually a SWAT officer, who nearly kills Oburi before Sawa arrives and saves him. Oburi confronts Akai and tells him that he and Sawa are both leaving, but Akai overpowers and savagely beats him. Sawa comes to Oburi's rescue again but is captured by Akai and Kanie. Akai appears to decide that just killing Oburi isn't enough, and after Akai says "Sawa, thank me", the screen cuts to black. When Kanie drags Oburi off afterward, Akai tells Sawa he's impressed with the depth of her plan to kill Oburi, saying that he almost believed her act. He tells her where Kanie is going to kill Oburi and that he is looking forward to finding Oburi's body. Sawa then leaves, saying she has an exam the next day.
The next morning, Akai arrives at a murder scene. He draws back the covering over the body and flinches when he sees it is Kanie. One of the crime scene investigators reminds him that the body's location is where a double murder occurred several years prior, when the parents of a teenage girl were killed. Akai then goes to where Kanie had been taking Oburi to confront him, but instead finds Sawa, who shoots him in the right hand and groin before emptying the magazines of both her and Oburi's guns into the rest of his body. She tosses both guns into the sewer, then removes her remaining earring and discards it as well.
Before Oburi and Sawa can reunite, Oburi is shot by another presumed child assassin - perhaps coincidentally a girl whose basketball he had destroyed near the beginning of the movie in response to an insult - and most likely the assassin Akai was talking about after raping Sawa for the last time. The scene changes to Sawa at Oburi's loft in an abandoned building, waiting patiently for his return. There is the sound of a footstep and a creaking floorboard, and Sawa turns her head to look at the source of the noise before the screen goes black.
|Character||Japanese version||English version|
|Sawa||Konami Yoshida||Charlie Watson|
|Akai||Goro Shibusawa||Dave Underwood|
|Oburi||Shingo Oyamada||Shane Callahan|
|Kanie||Tatsuo Matoba||Charles Denson, Jr.|
Kite is controversial in its depiction of extreme gory violence and strong sexuality and nudity, including graphic rape scenes involving a very young Sawa. The DVD description states: "College student by day, vigilante by night, Sawa protects the innocent and mercilessly kills criminals in this intense Japanese anime."
Kite was also banned in many countries. Kite is banned in Norway due to scenes in the film being "child pornography" which is a criminal offence in Norway. However, a censored version is available. However, it is considered an anime cult classic by some fans.
Two versions were initially released: the "Original Version" (rated 16-Up), which does not include sex scenes and the adults-only "Director's Cut" version (rated 18-Up), which contains nearly 15 additional minutes of unreleased footage, making it 60 minutes in total. This Director's Cut version removed some scenes found in the original Japanese release such as few shots of sexual contact between Akai and Sawa. A third release, labeled "Uncut", contains Kite in its original Japanese version. All contain every violent scene in the film, but the general release only contains a scene featuring a mature Sawa naked at the end and brief nudity. The other two contain scenes of extremely graphic sexuality and graphic nudity. This film was re-released on DVD in 2008 entitled Kite Remastered (16-Up version), and Kite Remastered: Special Edition (18-Up version) to coincide with the release of the sequel Kite Liberator. The special edition version of Kite Remastered still has the same footage from the Director's Cut version with some scenes omitted.
A sequel entitled Kite Liberator features a different cast of characters including a new character named Monaka Noguchi. It was released on April 8, 2008 in the United States and Japan and bundled with Kite: Director's Cut.
A live action adaptation of Kite was reported to be in various stages of pre-production for several years, with American film director Rob Cohen attached as either director or producer. The content of the live action film is expected to be toned down from the original OVA. On September 2, 2011, David R. Ellis took the helm for the remake. On December 17, 2012 Samuel L. Jackson announced that he was the first to join the cast of Ellis's Kite, with filming taking place in Johannesburg. The film, which takes place in a post-financial collapse corrupt society, follows a girl who tries to track down her father's killer with help from his ex-partner. On February 3, 2013, Ralph Ziman took over as director of the film after Ellis died on January 7, 2013; actors India Eisley and Callan McAuliffe subsequently joined the cast. On May 10, 2013, The Weinstein Company acquired worldwide distribution rights for Kite, with a release expected sometime in 2014.
In popular culture
Kill Bill writer and director Quentin Tarantino recommended Kite as part of actress Chiaki Kuriyama's preparations for her role as Gogo Yubari in the first film. A scene in the music video for the song "Ex-Girlfriend" by No Doubt is based on Kite.
- Mezzo Forte, Umetsu's second anime OVA, which also concerns a young woman working as an assassin, and a cameo by Sawa.
- Mezzo DSA - television series based on Mezzo Forte.
- Cool Devices: Yellow Star, previously directed by Umetsu, features "prototype" character designs and similar subject matter.
- Clandestin, Marché.Anime on the big screen: Upcoming live-action anime adaptations. Retrieved on 27 June 2007
- AnimeNation News
- Press Release. Distant Horizon and Rob Cohen partner on live action remake Of anime hit “Kite” Retrieved 2009 May 21
- "David R. Ellis Takes Kite". ComingSoon.net. 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Samuel L. Jackson, India Eisley, Callan McAuliffe Fly With ‘Kite’ Remake. It includes new and up coming actress Romancia Reneke as a featured extra
- Cannes: Weinstein Co. Flies With ‘Kite’
- "Brutally Graphic Adult Anime Coming To Life". Kotaku. November 1, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
- Kite at the Internet Movie Database
- Official website for Kite Liberator (Japanese)
- Comparison of the three U.S. releases of Kite
- Animerica review
- Kite Information at Arms Company Website (Japanese)