A Little Birdy Told You… – Birdy the Mighty: Decode, Season 1 review.
Title: Birdy the Mighty: Decode, Season 1
Genre: Sci-fi, Comedy, Romance, Apocalyptic.
I’ve been waiting a long time for another decent sci-fi anime to come around, and so far all I had to show for it was a copy of the first half of Planetes – an anime about rubbish collection in space, which soon found itself in a bin to experience the marvel of rubbish collection itself. As such, Birdy the Mighty: Decode had become one of the releases that I was eagerly anticipating this year.
The introductory sequence, containing a mini space chace, was all that I needed to wet my mouth, especially as the refreshingly radiant opening sequence captivated my attention, however I was struck down to earth as we are brought to present day Japan, where main character: Birdy Cephon, is posing as a model in order to pay her way through her undercover mission.
Birdy has been sent to earth to recover the “Ryunka”, a mysterious substance known for it’s great destructive potential, after the robbers escaped during her attempts to capture them in space.
Meanwhile, amongst the normal human world, Tsutomu Senkawa indulges in his favourite pastime of exploring abandoned old buildings, by venturing into an abandoned hotel with a friend. The pair find themselves in the middle of an epic duel between Birdy, and the intergalactic fugititive she’s been chasing. Amidst the chaos, Birdy inadvertently strikes out at Tsutomu, ripping his body to shreds.
And so commences a mixture of shonen body-switching comedy, high school romance, and occasionally some actual battle scenes and story progression. This is a consistent flaw in Birdy the Mighty: Decode, it sets the scene for global destruction, then often lets it take the backseat to the less exciting side story of Tsutomu and his increasingly grating friendship group.
Although a number of these events are loosely linked into the main plot, there is a lot raised that is almost instantaneously forgotten by the characters, and ultimately by the watcher – though on the brightside, this makes rewatching the series slightly more interesting (I discovered a whole character that I’d completely forgotten!).
Tsutomu and his grating friends suffer from their character designs, all of which are very shallow and two dimensional (including Birdy herself), making it incredibly hard to empathise with their situations, in fact I am left with little more than a mild disgruntlement towards most of the characters, particularly Tsutomu, whose whinings become increasingly irksome as the story progresses.
Whilst I am ultimately disappointed with Birdy the Mighty: Decode, I suspect this is mostly because I pinned it up to being something more exciting and space filled, featuring plenty of interstellar travel, but thi isn’t what Birdy aims to do. The series does well at combining real world and sci-fi elements – but it could do better.
If you can handle the occasional whining, or over exaggerated personality feature, and expect nothing particularly outlandish, then Birdy the Mighty: Decode makes good easy watching. It’s plot isn’t too labour intensive, and their are aspects of the story that will pique your imagination. Sadly though, Birdy is unlikely to appear as anything other than average to me, and most audiences. With a second season due for UK release in September, we can only hope it improves on it’s forebear’s weaknesses.
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