Kite (1998 film)

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Kite Remastered.jpg
North American DVD cover by Kitty Media (rare 18+ version of Kite Remastered).
ア カイト
(A Kaito)
GenreHentai, Action, Crime[1]
Original video animation
Directed byYasuomi Umetsu
Produced byOsamu Ecchu
Taro Miyabi
Written byYasuomi Umetsu
Music byAn Fu
StudioGreen Bunny
Licensed by
Released February 25, 1998 October 25, 1998
Runtime53 minutes (Uncensored)
47 minutes (censored)
Episodes2 (Japanese release)(26 minutes each)
1 (International releases)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Kite, known as A Kite (Japanese: A カイト) in Japan, is a Japanese original video animation written and directed by Yasuomi Umetsu. Two 26-minute episodes were released on VHS on February 25 and October 25, 1998 respectively. However, subsequent releases, including all three DVD releases in the United States, have edited the OVA into a 51-minute film.


Kite revolves around a schoolgirl named Sawa who is orphaned in her early teens. Her parents are the victims of a gory double murder. When the film opens Sawa is on a date with a celebrity, but he begins yelling at an old lady, who had rebuked him for promiscuous ways, being on a date with such a young girl. Sawa kills him, and the old lady dies of a heart attack sometime later, after feeling around for her glasses in the bloody aftermath. The detectives investigating the crime, Akai and Kanie, are her guardians. Akai has had a sexual relationship with Sawa for the duration of his guardianship. Akai also gave her a pair of crystal earrings, each one allegedly containing the blood of one of her parents.

Sawa is an assassin, who the corrupt detectives make 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.

Voice cast[edit]

Character Japanese version English version
Sawa Kotomi Naruse Charlie Watson
Akai Goro Shibusawa Dave Underwood
Oburi Shingo Oyamada Shane Callahan
Kanie Tatsuo Matoba Charles Denson, Jr.
Comedian A Hiroshi Aida Jeff Johnston
Comedian B Nobuyuki Takano Marc Matney
Bodyguard A Douglas Cartwright Daniel Richani
Bodyguard B William Rain J.R. Rodriguez
Bodyguard C Gary Wynn-Jones Kevin Potts
Old Lady Michiko Yamaguchi Ann Connel
Street Kid A / Boy Naho Hirokawa David Pickelsiemer
Street Kid B / Girl Itsumi Sawada Rachael Seidman-Lockamy
Twin A Jackie Sylvester
Twin B Richard O'Sallivan Rick Sisk
Molester Les Jenkins
Manager Michael Leigh
Prosecutor Paul Johnson
Reporter Tomoko Furakawa Heather Laska
Detective 1 Scott Bailey
Detective 2 Bob Edwards
Investigator Takayuki Hiramatsu Sean P. O'Connell
Office Girl Suzan Somerz

Release history[edit]

In addition to the VHS releases, both episodes of Kite were released on DVD in Japan on July 25 and December 18, 1998.[2][3] An edited version titled A Kite: International Version was released on DVD in Japan on July 25, 2000.[4][5] Another DVD set titled A Kite: Premium Collectors Version was released by Happinet on December 21, 2007.[6] A DVD and Blu-Ray set titled A Kite Special Edition was released in Japan on April 3, 2015.[7]

The OVA has been released three times in the United States, each with less censorship than the last[citation needed] (with the most recent release being reputedly uncensored).

Kite was also banned in many countries. Kite is banned in Norway due to scenes in the film being considered "child pornography"[citation needed] which is a criminal offence in Norway. However, a censored version is available. It is considered an anime cult classic by some fans.

Two versions were initially released in North America: the first (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 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 and Netflix versions 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. Kite is available now on Netflix along with Kite Liberator for a limited time as part of Media Blasters' deal. Like the general release, Kite on Netflix has few sex scenes omitted from the film.


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. Kite Liberator along with Kite were released in December 2013 on Netflix.

Live-action film[edit]

A live action film 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.[8][9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] On May 10, 2013, The Weinstein Company acquired worldwide distribution rights for Kite,[13] with a release date of August 25, 2014.


Kite is controversial in its depiction of extreme gory violence and sexual content, including graphic rape scenes involving a very young Sawa, which was depicted only in the extended version.[14]

Helen McCarthy in 500 Essential Anime Movies called the anime a "shocking story of violence, abuse and perverted self-justification".[15]

In popular culture[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Several scenes in the music video directed by Hype Williams for the song "Ex-Girlfriend" by No Doubt are based on Kite.[16]

The Velvet Acid Christ song "Pretty Toy" samples one of Akai's lines from the English dub.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

  • 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.


  1. ^ "Hentai Manga Publisher Fakku Acquires Hentai Anime Publisher Kitty Media". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  2. ^ "A KITE VOL.1". Green Bunny. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  3. ^ "A KITE VOL.2". Green Bunny. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  4. ^ "A KITE INTERNATIONAL VERSION". Green Bunny. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  5. ^ "A KITE INTERNATIONAL VERSION". Happinet. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  6. ^ "A KITE PREMIUM COLLECTORS VERSION". Happinet. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  7. ^ Announcement
  8. ^ Clandestin, Marché. Anime on the big screen: Upcoming live-action anime adaptations. Retrieved on 27 June 2007
  9. ^ Press Release. Distant Horizon and Rob Cohen partner on live action remake Of anime hit “Kite” Retrieved 2009 May 21
  10. ^ "David R. Ellis Takes Kite". 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Samuel L. Jackson, India Eisley, Callan McAuliffe Fly With ‘Kite’ Remake. It includes new and up coming actress Romancia Reneke as a featured extra
  13. ^ Cannes: Weinstein Co. Flies With ‘Kite’
  14. ^ Beveridge, Chris (2015-07-20). "Kite Blu-ray Anime Review". Fandom Post.
  15. ^ McCarthy, Helen. 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide. Harper Design, 2009. P. 445. 528 pp. ISBN 978-0-06-147450-7
  16. ^ "Brutally Graphic Adult Anime Coming To Life". Kotaku. November 1, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2011.

External links[edit]