Birdy the Mighty Decode Series Review
Birdy was one of the pleasant surprises of the summer season. I’d written off the show before it started for two reasons: the publicity pictures of the show were not enticing in the least and I read that there was a decade old OVA of Birdy that was not too memorable. Thankfully, I read a few good reviews and I wanted to watch a few more summer shows so I ended up not missing this quality show.
Final Series Score: 11/12 10.5/12 Strong A
Pros: it’s strong story kept the viewers interested and guessing what will happen next, the pacing allowed the story to build perfectly, the fight scenes were well done and fluid, the watercolor-esque animation style was pretty, the premise of 2 characters sharing one body was entertaining and different
Cons: animation quality, particularly the characters, was inconsistent; various minor things that could have been done better
Awards that this blog has given to the show
- Best Power/Ability of the Summer season 2008 for the ability to have 2 people share one body
Birdy is an intergalactic agent of the law and is on the hunt against a group of thieves that have gotten their hands on a world-killing doomsday device. She tracks the bad guys to the backwater world of Earth and there she continues to track her prey. She gets tipped off that at least one of the people she’s looking for will be at abandoned building and so goes to confront him. This leads to fighting, and this is where Birdy gets into trouble.
She accidentally kills Senkawa, a high school student who has a hobby of exploring abandoned building, during the fight. Luckily for Senkawa, he doesn’t permanently die. Birdy’s civilization has the ability to extract his mind and implant in into Birdy’s body so the two will share her body until Senkawa’s body can be repaired. Further, when Senkawa has control over the body, the body will morph to appear as Senkawa’s and when Birdy is in control the body will morph to look like Birdy’s.
With this complicated arrangement, Birdy still has to hunt for the doomsday device and Senkawa has to attempt to live a normal high school life.
Thoughts and impressions
Let’s start with the “various minor things that could have been done better”. The first is the Shion character disappears after showing up in the first couple of episodes. Why create a character if she wasn’t going to do anything? I don’t think the show would have lost anything if Shion wasn’t shown in the show. Or, conversely, they could have worked Shion into the show more.
Secondly, Senkawa seemed oddly unemotional at times. At the beginning of the show, he didn’t really freak out that he would have to share a body with someone or that the other person he had to share the body with was a woman. Either of those developments should have freaked out a normal male high school student. Then at the end of the series, the girl that was Senkawa’s girlfriend loses her memory of the last 3 months (along with their relationship) and decides to move away based on events of the show. Senkawa doesn’t try to get her to remember their relationship, or stay, or even look sad that his first girlfriend doesn’t even remember him. Acting like this doesn’t make sense to me.
Going back to Senkawa again. His character doesn’t really evolve much over the course of the show. Dying, sharing a body, finding out that aliens exist, impending apocalypse for planet Earth, to name just some of the things that happen to him should have left their mark on him. To me this is a minor point of contention, partly because we had only 13 episodes to work with and partly because in the grand scheme of the show it’s not glaringly obvious.
The ending would have really bothered me if I wasn’t aware of a second season being on the way; instead, I’m just mildly annoyed by it. The ending was a complete reset ending of the entire show and while I can understand ending it so Senkawa and Birdy have to share a body again, it didn’t need to make the first season completely irrelevant to the coming second season. Plenty of shows that get a second season don’t end the first season with a complete reset.
Okay, enough of the negative, there is a lot to like about this show.
The story and how it progressed through the series was one of this show’s strong points. Each episode built upon the previous ones and even when we know what’s going on, we are still surprised how the story unfolds. This show was one that I found myself anxiously waiting for the next episode to come out and I always found it worth the wait. I want to babble about what happens but I can’t so I’ll just say that you will not be disappointed when Armageddon starts.
The animators behind this show prove themselves at being very good animators with this show. The fight scenes were fluid and exciting and the show as a whole looked good, however it was apparent that they didn’t have a lot money to spend on this show. As a consequence, there was not as many fight scenes as I would have liked and the quality of how the characters were drawn dipped at times (particularly in the middle). It never really detracted from the show as a whole and there where plenty of scenes that will drop your jaw. Let’s just hope that the second season will have a bigger budget.
So to wrap-up, even if I always seem to dwell on the negatives when I write a review, this was a very good show and I’m eagerly waiting the second season.
Below is something new that I’ve decided to add to my reviews. I hope to go back and add these to the other series reviews I’ve already written.
- 13 episodes
- genre: science fiction
- animation studio: A-1 Pictures
- director: Kazuki Akane
- OP: “Sora” by Hearts Grow
- ED: “Let’s go together” by Afromania
- Seiyuus of note: Saeko Chiba, Miyu Irino, Kenichi Suzumura, Ryoko Shiraishi