Title: Birdy the Mighty Decode
TV Series; 13 Episodes
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Produced: Aniplex, A-1 Pictures
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 Federation 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 there is a sequel, and perhaps there is hope.” The program is unsatisfying, yet it benefits from having a second season; that maybe space-cop and I can kiss and make up.
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.
Amazing. Few shows can match the quality of animation in Birdy the Mighty Decode for its time, 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 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 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.Story: 7/10