While pursuing an alien fugitive, Birdy Cephon Altera—a bombastic police officer from the Space Federation—finds herself on Earth. Her target, Geega, has disguised himself as a human and assimilated into the fashion industry, so Birdy follows suit and joins a modeling agency, taking on the identity "Shion Arita." Her position as a rising model has her posing for photo shoots by day and chasing intergalactic criminals by night.
Meanwhile, Tsutomu Senkawa, an average high school student, explores an abandoned building with his friend, and coincidentally, Birdy has tracked down Geega to the same building. Senkawa briefly witnesses the battle before being seized as a hostage by Geega. However, Birdy, oblivious, attacks Geega and accidentally kills Senkawa. Distraught, she quickly decides to save him by integrating his consciousness into her body.
Now, Birdy and Senkawa must not only cohabitate the same body, but also balance Senkawa's high school life, Shion Arita's modeling career, and Birdy's increasingly dangerous job as a Federation officer.
I will freely admit that I'm a fan of the original Birdy the Mighty. I watched the original OVA back in 1997, and I loved the show for it's surrealistic sci-fi premise. When I heard that the show was being remade into a 13 part TV series, it goes without saying that I was looking forward to it.
The original Tetsuwan Birdy manga was created by Yuuki Masami (who is more well known for his Mobile Police Patlabor series), and ran in Shounen Sunday Super magazine. However, Yuuki's work on Kyuukyoku Chojin R (The Ultimate Esper "R"), for the same magazine eventually led to the manga
being abandoned. The original manga was received rather well though, which led to it's adaptation as a four part OVA.
It wasn't until a few years later that Yuuki went back to the original Tetsuwan Birdy series, and instead of continuing with the series from the time it was abandoned, he decided to do a complete revision of the series from scratch. The new series, Birdy the Mighty II, began serialisation in Weekly Young Sunday magazine in 2003.
The story for both the original OVA and the new series generally follows the same path. Intergalactic police officer Birdy Cephon Altera and her cyborg partner Tute arrive on Earth in pursuit of a wanted alien criminal and, whilst chasing that criminal, she accidentally kills a high school student named Senkawa Tsutomu. However, this is not the end for Tsutomu as the Federation that Birdy works for will provide him with a new body. In the interests of not causing undue alarm to the people around him (and letting him continue with his life), Tsutomu's "soul" is merged with Birdy's body (allowing them to switch between each other), whilst his new body is made.
In all honesty, I preferred the story in the OVA. The new series, whilst being more in depth, also tends to drag its heels with regards to the plot. The OVA had a much tighter story, and the pacing was far better because of the time constraints. The new series, whilst giving more information, is also guilty of not using the extra time in the series to drive the story forward. Indeed, there are to many occasions in the new series that can only be described as "filler" moments (thankfully though, there's no real filler episodes).
The most noticeable thing about this series is the quality of the artwork and the animation. The character designs are very much in keeping with both manga, however the level of detail in the designs is superior than that of the OVA. The backgrounds are often very well done, and the CG sequences are very smooth, especially during the sequences in space. A-1 pictures have done some excellent work animating the show, and nowhere is this more noticeable than in the various action sequences. The various fights and chases are extremely fluid and surprisingly detailed.
Sound is another big plus for this series, and is definitely better than that of the OVA. The sound effects used throughout the show are generally very good, although some of the effects can be a little odd in their usage. The OP is a pretty good J-rock track by Hearts Grow, entitled Sora. I have to admit that I much prefer the track used for the ED though, as it seems more in keeping with the slightly whimsical nature of the show.
Birdy is actually a pretty good character on the whole. During her time on Earth she moonlights as an up-and-coming idol named Arita Shion. The nice part about giving Birdy a "secret identity" is that it allows more of her playful personality to come to the fore.
Tsutomu, on the other hand, is more of a typical high school boy of the type that appear in many anime. The relationship between Birdy and Tsutomu works surprisingly well however, especially during the time they share one body. There is a definite chemistry between the two characters that was never really developed in the OVA, and the conversations between the two are often lively.
The downside though, is that a number of the other characters aren't developed well (or at all in some cases). Some of the more prominent characters (Nakasugi Sayaka and Satyajit Shyamalan for example), could have received a great deal more development than the show provided, especially in the case of Shyamalan.
That said though, this is still a entertaining series. There's enough going on in the show to keep you interested, although the end of the show was rather predictable. I did enjoy the series on the whole, and whilst it may be superior to the OVA in many respects, it doesn't have the same pacing or the tight storyline of the original.
This is a show that action fans may enjoy, but it may also appeal to those who want to see a strong female lead. If you simply want a show that's got action without being too serious, then it may be worth giving this a try.
Given a choice though, I would go for the OVA before watching this.
I just finished watching Birdy - Decode and I have to say "Great series". The story itself was good in this series. Maybe they had spread it over 12 ep. instead of just 4 OVA's back then. I remembered watching the "Birdy" first OVA's many moons ago and I was like "eh" about the anime back then. When I saw they were coming out with an 12 episode series, I was willing to give it a try and happy I did. It's refreshing to see a anime thats different
from your run of the mills anime. I'm sad that it ended, but I've enjoyed every episode and can't wait for the 2nd season.
The animation was crisp and smouth especially the fighting scenes. The color palet theyused is very soft, not to loud in some anime I watched. Also the voice acting was great. Also the bgm was good not to heavy, just right. I also enjoyed the OP and ED music they used. Very up-beat and goes with the anime.
The characters designs are great. Every one was drawn completly different from the other and aways wore something different. Also they we're believable and wasn't annoying.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series to the point that when it finished I wanted to see whole series again at that point. I strongly recommend "Tetsuwan Birdy Decode" To anyone who want to see something different. I also recommend that you watch the first OVA's before watching the series to see the diffence between them.
I have never seen the original Birdy OVA so I cannot possibly compare between the two series. Therefore this version is going to be reviewed on its own merits.
I actually found this show when it was recommended to me on Netflix. It looked interesting so I gave it a shot. Birdy had a pretty original premise and that was what initially got me hooked. It seemed like it was going to be mostly an action-based series with aliens thrown in, which is exactly what it is at times, but a lot of the fight scenes are pretty intense and fun to watch.
The story didn't focus entirely on the intergalactic alien hunter aspect of the series though which was nice, call it a pleasant case of Multiple Personality Disorder. It added a little bit of comedy, mystery, and some romance from Tsutomu's part in the series. This worked out to be a nice balance as it gave enough to satisfy the cravings of those action junkies out there while providing general entertainment for those other viewers.
The show climaxed nicely with everything that had been building up and the ending was so bitter-sweet that it actually made me like the series more. However, the ending was far from conclusive for the Birdy franchise as a whole. The last episode left with more questions and mysteries left unsolved than when the season began, working as a nice setup for season 2. Unfortunately I will say that the show has a tendency to drag its heels at times, moving the pace to almost a crawl occasionally. And while no episode is truly filler as something important to the story always happens, there still were a lot of moments that served only to slow the series down.
I thought that the art for Birdy was pretty good, actually really good, which is most likely the result of it being a newer title. There was a pretty nice mix of CGI and animation which helped when combined with the overarcing theme of sci-fi and aliens. The fight scenes were always nice to watch and were nice and dark and gritty. On the flip side when the animators wanted to they came out with some really nice looking peaceful and artistic scenes and some nice everyday animation.
My only problem with the animation was that sometimes things looked TOO nice. It kind of reminded me of watching the special effects that you see from movies in the 70's or 80's in that things didn't look right with the rest of the scene. Sometimes the animation would be so intricate and detailed that the scene or one aspect of the scene would look clunky or awkward in regards to the rest and that took away from the overall experience at times.
All of the characters had extremely unique appearances so there was no possible way of confusing one character with another, I'll chalk that one up to a plus for the animators and animation. The development of these characters was not quite as refined however. Most of the character development in our main twosome is through Birdy by means of various flashbacks and references from other characters, but these are usually left untouched and are a part of the slew of mysteries that were left at the end of the series. Birdy's alter ego Shion Arita, while not making many appearances, served to add a dash of humor to the series at times too. Tsutomu was a pretty average male anime lead but he grew up a bit over the series, apparently dying does that to you, or maybe it's just puberty, I can't say for sure, and there were definitely times where he showed some balls throughout the series.
On a side note this reminds me of another point I wanted to make. Despite the fact that this show is about a teenage boy sharing a body with a hot alien girl, Tsutomu always remains a perfect gentleman and doesn't act weird when he's riding around in Birdy's body. The series refrained from using that plot point as an excuse for having weird ecchi moments with Tsutomu and Birdy for cheap kicks. This show was about as un-ecchi as you can get. Birdy takes like 20 baths over the course of the series but not once does Tsutomu try to say or do something weird or perverted with their body, which makes me give major props to the director of this show for not tailoring to those who only picked up the series because there was a hot alien girl as the main character.
Some of the background characters have important roles in regards to the main story. Others have absolutely no relevance to it at all. And still others appear to have some role but that role is unknown for now and the viewer won't know for sure until...you guessed it, season 2. As for the primary antagonists, they aren't really given a good amount of devlopment either but it doesn't particularly hurt the story in any way.
The opening theme "Sora" wasn't anything unique but it was still pretty good and I liked it while the ending theme "Let's Go Together" is just a fun and peppy "just don't give a fuck" kind of song that was always pretty enjoyable.
This was a pretty good action show. It was a pretty good sci-fi show. It was also a pretty good looking show with some good characters and a good plot. Basically what I'm saying here is that Birdy the Mighty: Decode is a solid show all around and if you don't mind it being a bit slow, I don't see why anyone wouldn't enjoy it. It's diverse in the genres that it throws at the viewer, it's a unique story, and it leaves you wanting more at the end. Overall I would highly recommend this series for action, sci-fi, and overall anime fans in general.
Comments and Constructive Criticism is Welcome
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
A mind-bending list of 15 anime series where gender-bending is the main plot or a recurring theme. Most of these are comedy series because, well, when was cross-dressing, body-swapping, or whatever not the source of hilarity? Get ready to dive into the unique world of gender-bender anime!