With spring impressions out of the way, I’ve got some time to finish up the previous season’s anime. First up is one of the best shows of the winter season, Birdy the Mighty Decode 2 but before we get there, I wanted to mention a couple new additions to my series review posts starting with this one.
Both of these additions stem from a past series review that caused a commenter to question my score. After rethinking, I decided to stand by my score but realized I needed to add something to give potential viewers of the series more information to help their decision-making process. The first thing I decided to do is add a secondary score covering just the ending of the series and how well it resolved the plot and if it was a satisfying ending. The second score that was added is a rating for the overall animation quality of the series. This isn’t a score of the animation style but of the quality of the animation so shows like Kaiba that had a “simple” style but had a very high animation quality would get a very high animation score. There’s no mathematical formula as to how these scores relate to the overall score but obviously a show that has a bad ending will not score as high as a show that has a good ending and likewise with the animation.
Final Series Score: 12/12 Perfect
Ending: 4/5 – Excellent; Satisfying and hardly left any unresolved plot threads
Animation: 3.5/5 – Very Good; Fight scenes often switched to a hyper-fluid / low detail style that took awhile to get used too but overall very solid with nice backgrounds
Pros: characters feel more real this season, great character development, engrossing plot told in a way to feel authentic by being unflinchingly realistic, above average animation and exciting fight scenes, Senekawa’s situation is explored more fully this time around
Cons: animation style during fight scenes is a bit jarring at first, might be too violent for some
Awards given to this show by this blog
- Best Female Main Character – Winter 2009 Season
- Runner-up for Best Action – Winter 2009 Season
- Best Plot – Winter 2009 Season
- Runner-up for Best OP – Winter 2009 Season
- Ranked #2 in Overall Top 7 Anime of Winter 2009 Season
The story of Birdy season 2 picks up several months after the events of the first season. Senekawa, the male high-school student and main character, is still sharing a body with Birdy, a female intergalactic police officer, while a new body is grown for him. Senekawa continues to try to live a normal high school life while Birdy is put on a new case involving escaped alien criminals who have come to Earth. These criminals happen to be tied to the development and deployment of the device from the first season so both Senekawa and Birdy want to capture them to help unravel the mystery to the person(s) that have been using Earth a test site for deadly mass weapons. While on the trail of these criminals Birdy meets a childhood friend, Nataru, who’s taken refuge on Earth and works as a male nurse.
Thoughts and impressions
The first season of Birdy the Mighty Decode was good but it did have a few small problems that prevented it from being truly a great show. As a result I was only mildly excited about the sequel because I figured that the best case scenario was only a small drop in quality. It really didn’t enter into my mind that the second season could be even better partly because the ending of the first season felt like a real ending and a sequel didn’t really seem needed. However, I was surprised as the second season unfolded at how well the plot was integrated into the plot of the first season as well as bringing in many new elements. Now at the end of the second season, I’m really hoping for a third season not because the ending of the second season left much unresolved but because there was a few hints over the two seasons at an even deeper plot at work and I’d really like to see how this gets developed as well as getting the chance to see the characters back in action.
Viewers of the first season will probably agree that the biggest thing that hurt the first season was the characters where a little wooden and sometimes came off as emotionally flat. This gave the show a bit of the feeling that the characters where just along for the ride as the plot unfolded. For example, you wake up and find that you’re sharing body with a woman and you’re a normal male high school student – shouldn’t you be truly freaked out by this? – I would be but Senekawa didn’t seem to be. This didn’t really intrude on the enjoyment of the series but it did leave the viewer asking themselves at times what it would take to get a real reaction from them. The second season turned this around; the characters, their decisions, and their relationships with each other pretty much drove the plot. The result was a plot just as good as the first season and a much more interesting cast of characters. Some examples of developing the characters and enriching the plot are: Birdy’s past, her friendship with Nataru, what happened to Nataru when the events of season 1 unfolded, why Birdy seems to have superhuman strength, even Senekawa’s experience with love from the first season was used.
If the sharp increase in quality of character development was a surprise, almost as surprising about the second season was how unflinchingly violent it could be at times – it never pulled it’s punches. A string of revenge murders take place during this season and,as you’d imagine when the killer is out for revenge, the deaths are not pretty with copious amounts of blood, bodies acting like rag dolls, and decapitations (including aliens that look like human children) all being included. You can be sure this season would never be on American television. However, I never felt the animators where being gratuitous about the violence; it fit the circumstances and the characters involved as well as displaying exactly how bad the events of the first season impacted the lives of just normal people that had nothing to do with anything. I know this will turn some off about this show but I felt it added to the realism and plot of the show because this was something I would imagine happening in reality.
Thankfully, there was a bit of comedy mixed into the show to help lighten the seriousness. There were several sources to the laughs. One area was when Senekawa had to pretend to be Shion, Birdy’s cover identity on Earth, and do all the things that models have to do. Another area came from a patient of Nataru’s, a young girl that liked Nataru and didn’t like how close Nataru and Birdy where together. And also Senekawa’s classmates but they’re not in the show that often this season.
In conclusion, if you don’t mind the violence and aren’t overly sensitive to different animation styles, there’s no reason not to watch this great show. I highly recommend this show and hope a third season is forthcoming soon.
- 12 episodes
- genre:action, SF
- animation studio: A-1 Pictures Inc.
- director: Kazuki Akane
- OP: “kiseki” by NIRGILIS
- ED: “Tane” by no3b
- Seiyuus of note: Miyu Irino, Saeko Chiba, Mamiko Noto