I was in search for breasts. I know… I know… Ecchi anime doesn’t usually leave a pleasant taste in the mouth, but I’m a man, and I live in the now! No one can tell me that alien crime fighters with swelling bosoms aren’t quality entertainment. So I sat there, legs crossed, pondering what I could watch. I took the necessary steps, asked a few of my friends who lurked in the dank recesses of their mother’s basement, desperate carnal housewives and of course, the internet. To my surprise the vast archives Google unfurled the arms of its vast archives to reveal Birdy: a futuristic Venus, flecked tresses and state-of-the-art thong. Was she who I was looking for?
It’s easy to see the lead’s character model in the opening few minutes of Birdy the Mighty: Decode and inaccurately assume that this show aims for sensuality instead of substance. On the contrary, it’s a blend: a large helping of action and science fiction, a few doses of political struggle and a shot of comedy some zest of romance thrown in for good measure. These elements play friendly enough together, but this is where the series falters; the plot strands tangle themselves into a distracted wreck.
It starts modestly enough; Birdy has come to Earth from Altaria to investigate Geega, a smuggler who nabbed an unknown alien artifact. Her pursuit leads her to the abandoned hollows of an abandoned warehouse, where Tsutomo becomes ensnared in the ensuing melee between the two extraterrestrials. The experience leaves him a mangled mess of crimson pools and crippled limbs. The solution: our heroine decides to house the boy’s conscious in her own body while his carcass is shipped off for reconstruction.
The narrative is driven by the quarrels between the two, both trying to reconcile the fact their lives aren’t their own anymore. As Tsutomo tries to get back on the rails of reality, Birdy struggles for control, trying to maintain some job security as an intergalactic investigator. My interest in their back and forth was slender at best, most of the dialogue slanting towards comedy punctuated by tender moments of little depth. A simple remedy would be to focus on the potential of the relationship and expanding it, but as I said before the plot pieces on so many factors they can’t fit into the 13 episodes
The scenarios begin to thicken with the introduction of the Fedearition and the Union, two large interplanetary governments that are vying to annex the neutral territories that separate them and suppress conflict. After taking front stage and center for a few installments it disappears into the background, nonchalantly hinted at in the last two sections. The product of this bureaucratic boxing and science fiction setting establish frames for some intense action, which fade when the writers decided to blanket the storyline with a romance.
Tsutomo begins to mingle with a classmate, Sawaka, which eventually blossoms into the wholesome love of youth. It’s a touching affair, choreographed dances of awkwardness and naivety. It might be the strongest aspect the entire series, as it burgeons into a memorable peak. It would have left a palatable taste in my mouth if it weren’t for the wrap up in the final episode.
The pulp of Birdy the Might Decode is disemboweled from the fruit and tossed out in it’s a final moments. The climax is rendered to meaninglessness and the courtship of the two children is scrapped. I thought to myself, “What the hell was all this for then?” Backtracking, I revaluated my final impressions, “Well this is a sequel, and perhaps there is hope.” The program is unsatisfying, yet it benefits from having a future; that maybe space-cop and I can kiss and make up.
Amazing. Few shows can match the quality of animation in Birdy the Mighty Decode, being beat out by productions such as X’amd: The Lost Memories. The world vibrates with color, accented with unpretentious cell shaded CGI. The alien set-pieces favor using natural curves, their technology giving living and breathing impression. The character designs reflect the form, sleek lines and bold hues. They look at their best in action, moving gracefully over building rooftops, theatrical sets and extraterrestrial arenas. Watching them being reduced to rubble by otherworldly brouhaha is a feast for the eyes.
The sound does not match the ‘amazing’ of the animation but holds it’s own. The voice actors earn their salaries, but don’t go over and above the call of duty. The opening is a sprightly J-pop tune that follows the vivid palette. The rest of the soundtrack is a mesh drawing from both techno-pop and classical instruments mirroring the clash between the hi-tech Altarians and the underdeveloped earthlings. It’s a decent package rounded out by the happy-go-lucky ED that annoys with it’s extensive use of Japlish. I guess it could be considered cute… but broken English doesn’t sit well with my ears.
It’s fitting the Tsutomo and Birdy share a body, each being so meager in depth that you could fit it into one frame. More so the former than the latter, as he proves to have an uncompromised sense of a justice and gawky handling of the female species typical of middle-school aged males. Scenes of Birdy’s past are shaded in, indicating she wasn’t always the goody two shoed defender of the galaxy she is now. It’s paltry, but at least its something.
The supporting cast doesn’t offer much either, the fair face Sawaka being the most delectable of the group. Her balancing act is impressive, teetering from pubescent teen to tortured soul to the sterling daughter of a tycoon. The other notable character is the antagonist, Shyamalan, who give no rhyme of reason as to why he is the bad guy. He ends up coming off as a Global Neo-Nazi Facist with a fetish for Darwinian lingo. An improvement in character development would have helped prop up and even suppress some of the disorientation of the plot, but instead just adds to it.
It’s hard to recommend Birdy the Might Decode because of its wayward storytelling and cardboard characters. But it does offer entertainment, a slick production and engaging combat all within thirteen episodes. It’s a short series that pledges a sequel, a continuation that hopefully unlocks the promising aspects of the series while maintaining it strengths. It wasn’t the hi-tech ecchi series I was looking for, but the results were the same, the insipid relish left lingering on my tongue.
One of my all-time personal favorites. A very under-appreciated series.
Reviewed after finishing both seasons.
Wow. What can I say? Watching this got me back in touch with what anime is really all about. Originality, Fun, Story, Depth, Creativity, and most importantly, Excitement. I don't know how else to explain this. Maybe it's not an exaggeration to say it healed my soul. haha.
This is top tier stuff.
These were characters I really cared about, which is the number one reason I love this anime. Each are unique in their own right, and there's just something so wonderful oozing out of all of them. You won't find any generic characters here which means the plot is unpredictable, and when it came to good and evil, there are often areas of in-depth grey morality (more so in season 2) which are very thought provoking and personally this is why I watch anime.
I just have to add that NIRGILIS did an amazing job to capture the atmosphere of Birdy with their songs (either that or the producers of the anime did an amazing job of choosing NIRGILIS). Definitely one of my favorite japanese bands. You should check out their soundcloud page, tons of good stuff there.
You deserve this.
Don't let the synopsis fool you. I started watching Birdy the Mighty Decode with the thought that it would be so bad, that it would actually be funny.
Anyways, the story has an intriguing plot line that isn't too predictable. At times, it can get a little slow paced, but not in a bad way. I'd say this show is a combination of a little bit of action, and a little bit of slice of life. In this season, the first part of the show mostly focuses on Tsutomu his relationship with Sayaka, and him and Birdy getting used to each other's presence and straightening things out (since they ARE sharing a body).But then it gets into a more complicated story including the possible destruction of Earth.
One thing that bothered me a little, was Tsutomu's reaction to sharing a body with Birdy. After the first little freak out, he didn't really seem to find it weird afterwards at all. I mean, if I was a teengage guy, and I was sharing a body with a big breasted pretty lady, I would be far from calm.
Admittidly Tsutomu did go through a slight "depressed phase" when it came Sayaka, but their young love was adorable. It really was. I'm not one for romance animes, I generally stay away from them, but I actually enjoyed seeing how Tsutomu and Sayaka interacted with one another. At the end though, I think it was stretched a bit too far (if you watch it, you'll get my meaning), and things did get slightly rushed which caused a bit of confusion for me, so they should have extended the series a little bit.
The animation here was incredible. Especially the fast paced fighting scenes. The animation makes it so graceful and smooth, that you will get mesmerized by the sheer beauty.
The music made for this series was very appropriate. It fit the mood and was pleasant to listen to. (Although in the second season the music is kicked up one notch). Generally they had two types of music, upbeat techno, and classical. Both were used well. However, the opening and the ending were nothing special.
The characters were well established. I can't really say much in this section because I'm writing this review after I watched both seasons, and believe me, it has an impact. But for this season alone, Birdy's personality is well introduced as well as Tsotomu's. I really like that Birdy (despite her appearance) was not a brainless useless woman who was shallow and was only good at looking pretty. The non-important characters aren't shown to be that in depth, but they're not shallow. It's interesting to watch how Birdy and Tsutomu grow closer (not romantically though) and interact with one another. But in the second season of Birdy, her character goes much more in depth, and you start appreciating the first season more because of it.
One thing that disturbed me though (being a female and all), was Birdy's character design. Let me give you an example. In one episode, Birdy has to dress up as a prostitute to obtain information. Her "slutty" outfit was actually less revealing than her normal get up.
Birdy the Might Decode is a pleasant anime to watch. It certainly has an interesting plot line, and the animation is top notch. I know I enjoyed watching it. Definitly don't miss out on this series.
But seriously, watch the second season afterwards because it explains things quite a bit when it comes to Birdy.
Birdy The Mighty Decode is the actual remake of an old OVA series. It could have been affected by the old themes but it is not, thankfully.
The story is an average sci-fi series. It was quite good, but a bit simple and predictable.
The animation is quite average here though some scenes were beautifully animated. Specially the fight between Birdy and the marionnette girl ( what was her name again?). Quite simple and a bit bland, it doesn't strike as much as it could have been.
Opening section: standard song and animation. Ending section: just ok.
The main boy character is portrayed by Irino Miyu who does an exquisite job. His voice was just perfect for the type of character Tsutomu is. Birdy has a nice voice too. The classmates had an average rank. Hey Sakamoto Maaya is here folks!
The show has an excellent cast of characters. The chemistry between Tsutomu and Birdy is just damn hilarious. I love these two. And Birdy is HOT. The classmates's group add a nice touch. They do not feel at all rushed or forced. Just natural classamates.
Overall, this show highly surprised me. If you love good stories along with great characters then this show is for you. I highly enjoyed it. If I'm going to watch second season? HELL YEAH.
Score: 4/5. A excellent premise slowed down by the rushed ending and lack of budget. I have really high expectations for the second season ( that I even ordered it).
Next! Tales of the Abyss and my actual review of Black Butler.
I couldn't keep watching this beyond 3 episodes. The problems begin with the animation. Now, normally the quality of animation doesn't factor into whether I like an anime or not, but occasionally it does, and this was one of those occasions. It looks like it was made in the 1980's, but loooow budget 1980's. A typical Scooby-Doo episode looks better than this.
Speaking of Scooby - watching Birdy reminded me of watching cartoons on Saturday morning when I was a kid. Not that a show at that level is necessarily unfit for an adult, because I watch some of them with my son and enjoy them. But they belong in their own particular world, and it isn't the grown-up sort of anime world.
When my son can read well enough to watch an anime with subs, I'm sure both of us will have fun watching this show. Until then, it's a hard pass.