In a vast, multicultural and decimated urban landscape, post-financial collapse, SAWA, beautiful but emotionally detached, lives a secret life as a covert assassin.
The daughter of a police detective involved in the investigation of human trafficking, she was orphaned at the tender age of 12 when an unknown assailant targeted both of her parents.
Now 18, Sawa is a human time-bomb intent upon eliminating members of the flesh-cartels whom she presumes murdered her family — men who exploit the defenseless children of a collapsed society for the pleasure of high-paying, foreign clients.
Her father’s ex-partner, INSPECTOR KARL AKER, is a renegade cop who believes that the only way to eradicate the problems of a corrupt and failed state is to take the law into his own hands. With his help they have sworn to avenge her parent’s death by taking out the head of the cartel, a mysterious man known only as The Emir.
Sequestered in a cryptic lifestyle that she shares only with him, Sawa is dependent upon Aker. A powerful, dominating figure, twice her age, he is a supportive, surrogate father, and under his tutelage she has become an emotionless killing machine skilled at infiltrating the flesh-cartels and liquidating its members.
She is also dependent upon Aker for access to a security forces drug called “Amp” that acts as a memory-cleanser for officers with PTSD. Under its sway, she is able to “switch off” and carry out the brutal program of extra-judicial executions. But in the process, the drug also, ironically, has begun to rob her of memories of her parents.
Clarity arrives with the return of childhood boyfriend, OBURI, a young man her own age. Though she does not know it yet, Oburi has discovered the truth about Sawa’s tragic past – a past in which he played an unwilling role.
Despite her mistrust of Oburi, and the fact that she no longer remembers him, he seems to know her parents and remember aspects of her own past that even she cannot recall. Eventually, events throw them together in a violent escalation that also separates Sawa from the “Amp” and Aker.
Without the memory-cleanser to keep her going, Sawa slowly begins to remember pieces of her childhood – flashes of the past that gradually reveal to her the scene of her parents’ deaths and a mysterious, shadowy man who appears to have slain them.
Despite a growing weakness brought on by withdrawal from her medication, Sawa pushes on, following the trail that eventually leads her all the way to the Emir – and a brutal encounter in which she kills the man who has been the scourge of her existence – thereby at long last avenging her parents.
But the death of The Emir does not bring the satisfaction she had imagined. As her recollections now come back full force, she begins to remember more details of her parents’ murder and the man who killed them – and that man is not The Emir. He is someone else, an unknown man with horrific facial lesions.
Confused and emotional, Sawa confides in Aker that she feels the true killer is still out there. He drops the hint that Oburi knows more about what really happened than he has let on.
This solidifies the feelings of suspicion that she has long held about Oburi, and despite her growing physical incapacity she confronts him. Oburi agrees to unveil the truth about her parents’ deaths to her if she will promise not to return to the memory-cleanser – because to do so would erase all that he is about to reveal.
Also known as “A Kite,” Yasuomi Umetsu’s original anime, when first released in 1998, was a highly controversial graphic story of hard action and illicit eroticism. It was banned in certain countries but also sold to worldwide cult acclaim. In Japan, where it was released in various installments and editions, it has sold nearly a million DVD units. It has also been released in Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Russian, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the United States – where it remains popular.
Several sequels exist, including “Mezzo Forte,” a tamer version of “Kite,” which was followed by “Mezzo DSA.” The most recent installment in the series is “Kite Liberator,” which was released in 2007 and which was also distributed in the U.S.
Umetsu is chief animator for Arms Corporation and has also worked as a designer of such well-known anime releases as “Akira,” “Spriggan,” “Elfen Lied,” and “Casshern.”
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