Birdy the Mighty: Decode 2

Alt title: Tetsuwan Birdy: Decode 2

TV (12 eps)
3.885 out of 5 from 3,901 votes
Rank #1,423

Life continues as ‘normal' for Birdy and Tsutomu. Though they still co-exist in the same body, Tsutomu is able to focus on his studies while Birdy keeps up with her celebrity job and Federation Investigator duties. However, things become more complicated when a transport ship housing prisoners connected to the Ryunka incident is hijacked. The aliens on board escape to Earth and blend in with the human population, and it's up to Birdy to capture them unharmed and escort them back to headquarters. Yet Birdy soon discovers that there are other forces involved, and it'll take everything she's got to bring these criminals back alive!

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This review covers the original OVAs and both the remade seasons of the show. I’m too bored to write three different ones. So Birdy is one of the thousands of “simple conceived, nicely made” stories of the 80’s. Back then all you needed were two lines of a plot and three lines of a backdrop. All the rest were up to presentation, which since there was no internet around yet, meant trying hard to make it look good without taking pointers by the rabid fandom. And here is Birdy, the simple tale of an intergalactic bounty hunter chick living inside a dork, searching for alien threats on Earth.Being the annoying prick I am, I constantly try to find comparisons to every show I watch. Birdy felt to me like Men in Black meets Cutey Honey and throwing a few Urusei Yatsura aesthetics in the pot. If you like any of those three shows, it will make this one a better watch.I will begin with a warning about the overall feeling. It is not a show for children or the weak hearted. It has a rather high amount of nude and occasionally really gory and bloody scenes, children are brutally beaten, heads are ripped off and hundreds of innocents are wiped out in an instant. Sadistic in an entertaining way but not something for everyone. It is a show full of talking about death and sadness so if it ain’t your cup, don’t even bother.… Still here? Ok, let’s move on. Animation and music are quite good in this one. The characters look and talk lively and backgrounds have a high amount of detail. Alien sceneries are marvelous to stare at and fighting scenes have a wonderful choreography. Voice acting and soundtrack are great, especially in the second season.If I am to be negative here, that would be in the quality drops throughout the series. In the original OVA show, the animation was throughout the duration quite solid and the action scenes equally good. What felt bad there were the hand colored graphics and the fake visual effects, all caused by technology restraints of that time. The first season of the remake has far better visuals and special effects but on the other hand the amount of still frames is much higher and the artwork more blubbery. That becomes even more of an issue in the major battles of the second season, where everything loses drawing detail in favor of frenetic speed. From time to time the characters will look weird, with distorted facial features and bulky hands. The result is like watching a different show, way minimalistic. Some may see this as an artistic overtone but I don’t; it’s clearly an attempt to cut down expenses during the fights.These are the reasons I can’t give more than 8 in any of the three segments. Otherwise the visual part is overall great. Birdy looks sexy and dynamic enough to win you over, the aliens are creepy, the battles are great. The sound part is clearly improving with each segment. The OVA show had mediocre and passable pop/midi BGM and soundtrack. The first season of the remake had more funky beats, while the second season has a wonderful set of tunes, worthy of even buying the cd. Adding to that the much more serious story and heavy dialogues of the second season and you got an easy winner. The scores for music are OVA: 6, S1: 7, S2: 9 The story part is, um, well, a messy one. It has many nice ideas but most are hardly presented properly. If you don’t mind huge bulks of naivety in your scenarios, this will be ok. But if (like me) you do then it’s mostly bad news.The story and the cast are about a bounty hunter girl accidentally killing an indecisive dork while hunting aliens on Earth. She decides to share her body with him, switching forms every time it is necessary. So our blunt male archetype needs to study for exams as a guy during the day and hunt alien freaks as a girl during the nights… well that was the plan but the switch can happen without time restrictions. As funny or weird as it sounds, it is shown in a very light and superficial way. The OVA show was too short to try being too complicating. It focused a lot on the action and the main cooperation of sexy Birdy and that blunt idiot that is Tsutomu. It hardly had any interesting plot twists and it was mostly Tsutomu trying to pass the exams and deal with a possible romantic relationship while Birdy is taking out generic villains who want to take over the galaxy TM. The first season improved a lot the story by giving the villains a more defined personality and a doomsday devise that is NOT prevented in time. Another nice touch is how Birdy is now having a secret identity as a teen idol (and a thing or erotic fascination by teen males) while Tsutomu, still blunt as always, has a lot more friends with personality to affect the actions of his messy school life. Unfortunately, the pacing was way too slow and the key events too few to deserve 13 episodes, resulting to a more interesting story-wise but more boring plot-wise watch. The second season again did leaps to improve the formula by offering an in-depth look into Birdy’s past, where we get to see a lot of her troubled life on her alien planet … which was full of animal-like aliens and girls wearing skimpy outfits, so it strongly reminded me of Urusei Yatsura. Also, more of her old friends and enemies appear which help to colorize her personality to great heights, while that archetype that is Tsutomu has slight development while his friends need to get over the tragedy of the first season’s finale. Also, the dementia, action and gore aspects of this season are high enough to get a 15+ age advisory. Still, in both versions the finale is not concrete as there are clearly openings for a sequel. The main villain or key characters are still roaming around and the issue of living separately is still at large. The scores I give for Story and Characters are OVA: 6, S1: 6, S2: 8 Overall, Birdy is an entertaining watch if your expectations are not too high. The OVA version has a smooth yet simple plot with a lot of action and some comedy. The series version is definitely complicating and multi-layered, yet the first season is so boring, it will be hard to appreciate the greatness of the sequel. If the pacing was faster right away and the story was not left incomplete, we would have a masterpiece in our hands. Scores by category: OVA: 8 6 6 6 3 6 (5.8)S1: 8 7 6 6 4 5 (6.0)S2: 8 9 8 8 7 8 (8.0)


Decode 2 is a direct continuation the first season and picks up after the events in the Tokyo Bay area that resulted in widespread death and destruction. The series opens with the capture and subsequent breakout of the terrorist group responsible for the Ryunka's theft. After a violent escape by the terrorists, Birdy is contacted by the Federation and informed that the terrorists are now in hiding on Earth and is ordered to apprehend them. The second series delves more Birdy's past and the geopolitics of an interstellar community, as members of the Altaran species have been discriminated against for supposed terrorist actions they comitted against the Federation. Matters are complicated when one of the terrorists turns up dead, setting her on a course that will bring her face to face with her past. Despite the violence of the opening and the mature overtones of the subject matter, Decode 2 tries to maintain light harted appeal, interspersing action and intrigue while mainting the comedy and drama of an everyday life of two very different individuals. While not a major hindrence to the overall story, some of the transitions between segments give the series something of a disjointed feel in its tone and bogs down the progression of the story. The animation in the second season suffers in both detail and quality, with some action sequences becoming colorful smears of surrealist art and confusion. The story preceeds rather predictibly throughout the second and third acts, with the original plot thread carried over from the first season (namely that of Segawa returning to normalcy) ultimately becoming buried in favor of the pursuit of examining Birdy's past and the hunt for the terrorists. The unfortunately leaves the ending completely open, with what we can only assume will be a third season.


Plot:Usually sequals tend to be worse than the originals, but, Birdy the second season manages to flip that theory compeletly upside down.The sequal focuses much more on Birdy. Tsutomu probably appeared for a full fifteen minutes (or less) if you combined all the scenes where he was in. The main focus is probably Birdy's relationship with Nataru and their pasts, and this time, there is no "saving the world" thing going on. It's on a much smaller scale when it comes to that. Of course, there still are "bad guys" although, you start having doubts on how evil they are as the series progresses.What I really liked about this series was that action moments were interwoven with slice of life elements. They both complemented each other. Their purpose for fighting expanded their character dementions and left you on the edge of your seat. Characters were shown that had little to do with the series, but still showed how they were living on after the drastic destruction that took place in the first series. Animation:It can get weird at points, but other than that, it is nothing short of astounding. The fight sequences, the scenery, all of it is breath taking. You should definitely watch at least a trailer of Birdy, just to see how amazing the animation is.Sound:The soundtrack is significantly better in the second season of Birdy, even though it was also very good in the last one. I actually have the soundtrack on my iPod, that's how amazing it is. It fits very nice with the story and scenery and sets the right tone that evokes emotions more powerfully.Characters:Birdy really comes out in this series. A lot is revealed about her and her personality, and the relationship she establishes with Nataru, is a delight to watch. Almost all of the characters you meet are memorable, and sometimes confusing (you'll see what I mean if you watch the series). There are twists on the characters personalities that lead you to second guess them.Overall:Watch it. It's another one of my favorite series, and I'll probably go back and watch it in the future. It's series like these that don't make me lose faith in anime. It gives me hope that there are still gems amidst the over abundant modern crap, wating to be found.

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