The following context comes from an episode of "Cowboy Bebop". It's a very popular 90's animation that takes place in the future. The following exchange is between an older mechanic and his young apprentice while repairing a spaceship.

Miles: You know, nowadays, a 3/8 pneumatic tube isn't in style anymore. What do you say we go with a 5/0 and update this relic?

Mechanic: Enough, Miles.

Miles: We can even kick it into freestyle with full auto-navigation!

Mechanic: Ow! Now listen up. You either work for this machine, or it works for you.

The only definition I found for "kick" that could have anything at all to with this example is: "kick it" 2. Informal To become operative or take effect: "His pituitary kicked in, and his growth was suddenly vertical" (Kenneth Browser).(source:freedictionary.com)

  • Did you check the original dialogue? This is a translation of something in Japanese.
    – James K
    Jul 13, 2022 at 21:52

2 Answers 2


It just means: put it in free-style mode. Often, with mechanical stuff, a mechanic can use his foot to kick a motor so something falls or clicks into place. That's probably where it comes from, that kind of thing, even if there is no actual kicking involved here.

American writers often try and avoid the obvious term (put it) for something that sounds cool. In this kind of writing, anyway.

  • It might also relate to kicking something into a particular place, real or metaphorical. Like "Kick it into the long grass", "Kick it into touch", etc. The phrase in the dialog seems like a combination of similar phrases.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 13, 2022 at 22:28

In this context, the sentence follows along the lines of:

"We can even make it kick into freestyle"

i.e., Miles wants to make it such that it operates in freestyle. So the definition of "kick it" you found is correct in this context, except Miles is talking about them making it operative or take effect

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