Posted by psgels on 21 March 2009 with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: Senkawa’s classmates have fun at the school festival, while Nataru continues to pursiut the remaining aliens.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
Ah, like expected: the creators plan to finish this series with a huge bang, just like they did with Noein. It’s going to be there where we can see whether or not all the building up can come together in the end. This episode was mostly building up, although there were quite a few surprise twists included.

Most notably, Nakasugi is back, though with her memory erased. I still really like how Senkawa got over his loss of her, and he’s not angsting about her at all. Instead, he provides excellent support for the other main characters, and in a way you can’t call him the main character of this series anymore. The first season was his moment in the spotlights, and he learned well that the new storyline doesn’t centre around himself.

And in a way, that’s the advantage that episodic series have over series with a continuous plot: it’s much easier for them to show different people and flesh out the setting this way, making it come alive, whereas a series with a continuous plot usually just focuses on a fixed set of characters without much time for guest appearances, because it’d be difficult to weave them into this storyline. And that’s another reason why Birdy the Mighty is so amazing, because it combined the best of both: its storyline is definitely continuous, and yet it did succeed wonderfully in making this setting come alive and making it diverse.

One thing that caught my eye was that this series still is continuing to make its setting feel alive, even with only one episode left to go. It’s a bit unconventional, and will definitely leave a few threads hanging open, but on the bright side it really gives that extra spark to the setting: it makes it feel like there’s much more going on in the world than just the problems of our lead characters. The alien in sunglasses in the end never really had an important role, and we hardly know anything about him, but he does return every once in a while to influence parts of the storyline (for example, tricking the girl into killing her former comrade for protection). Nakasugi as well: there is no way that she’s going to have any influence in the story at this point, but it just shows that she too is continuing her life and that Birdy and Nataru may have their issues, but they’re not the centre of the universe. I mean, how many other series have a light hearted school festival at the end of their airtime? The only examples I can think of are the ones in which the school festival leads to some really dramatic climax, but here it’s used for the entire opposite: to brighten up the mood and flesh out the setting.

I really like this, especially since most other series don’t care about this at all, and you can really see the results: in the series, it looks like the entire world is revolving around the lead characters, with hardly anything else. Random by-passers also just feel like a bunch of mannequins, who aren’t important at all. In Birdy the Mighty Decode, though, they all feel so refreshingly alive due to the attention that it’s been paying to flesh out the setting at such a late point in the series. Seriously, I’m really surprised to see that they decided to do this in the second half of the series, which is usually the time when most series are done with the world building and focus on other things. This really is much more apparent than even Noein, and it shows that Kazuki Akane’s style is evolving, and he’s trying and become an even better director than he already was. This guy truly is my favourite director ever.

5 Responses

  1. senerikfred says:

    Subs are slow as hell for this, so obviously I haven’t seen the latest episodes(and shouldn’t even be skimming your Birdy-relevant posts :P), but I wanted to comment on Kazuki Akane. With Birdy, he often seems to be poking fun at his own style(a la Noein and what little I know about Escaflowne), with the antagonizing of ‘chosen’ people, the analysis of the feelings of such people, and the ‘girls protecting guys’ bits.
    For me, while Noein had better characters and a better midpoint climax, Birdy has been winning out in every other aspect, especially with the awesome second season. That Akane has been experimenting like this has made it so much more enjoyable, and while I haven’t seen Escaflowne yet, nor the newer episodes of this, I really think Birdy is going to be my favorite of his three series.

  2. TCoFA says:

    Peter jong, kan jij dit niet subben? ;p God ja ik loop nu al wat? 4 afleveringen achter? Mwa het is gratis en ik mag eigenlijk niet klagen, maar het is wel jammer. Ik lees je blog soms en dan merk ik dat het echt heel erg de goede kant uitgaat. Laatst nog die ene met Birdy’s jeugd gezien, die tweede. Nou die was echt geweldig, dus je kan wel bedenken dat ik meer wil zien. Maar helaas ;p

  3. AlexS says:

    It’s funny because in my case I felt that the plot was more interesting in Noein (time travel, and the end of the world) than in Birdy, where the issue is relatively minor (a little criminal investigation in a backwards planet).

    On the other hand I found the characters of Birdy more engaging than Noein’s, even though because of lack of subs I can’t really be definite about it. Birdy’s characters seem to me more rounded, credible and interesting than those of Noein.

    And since I enjoy slice of life, Birdy defenitely has the advantage here.

  4. senerikfred says:

    AlexS: Sure, the plot in Noein was on a larger scale, but it was the kind of thing where you know that the world will be on the verge of destruction and that the good guys will save it from the faceless enemy. As much as I like physics, I found the characters and the ongoing drama more interesting, as several of them developed, and a lot of time was spent building up for emotional climaxes. Whereas in Birdy, there isn’t as definite a split between the good and bad guys, and the plot itself is somewhat more character-driven. The characters in Birdy were easier to like from the start, and even now they have more of a fun aspect to them than the characters in Noein ever did, but they haven’t developed as much on the whole. Though as another slice-of-life fan, part of Birdy’s advantage is that it’s been more consistently enjoyable, whereas in Noein there were parts early on where I wanted to drop it, and I spent several of the fights waiting for the obvious outcome to get over with so they could switch back to improving the characters. Overall, I still prefer Noein’s characters, but Birdy’s are good in several areas that Noein faltered in-they move the plot forward, and something that really impresses me is that even though they’ve had little to do with what’s going on, the friends are less generic(as is most everyone else who does do stuff), and you can’t even predict who out of them would end up with who(usually the most predictable area of a show :)).

  5. AlexS says:

    senerikfred: I agree on most of what you say, although I may take a slightly different view.

    For instance, in the case of Noein I was much more undecided on what the ending would be. I mean, the world had technically already been destroyed, the stakes were reality itself, and for me it was hard to predict outcomes and survivors.

    In the case of Birdy, I think there is much less room for doubt: The only issue is whether the criminals will be detained or eliminated, and if Nataru will be destroyed or not. Apart from Nataru, I would be extremely surprised if any major “good” character is destroyed, and maximum damage would be a nuclear explosion in Tokyo, which I deem unlikely anyway. In absolute values, the stakes were higher at the end of the first season.

    So contrary to Noein, for me the interesting part in Birdy is to see how the director will lead the story to the expected end, not the end itself.

    In terms of characters, I agree with you and psgels that character development is pretty limited in this series, and this is probably one of the biggest weaknesses of Birdy’s characters: apart from the boy, every character stayed pretty much the same throughout the series (apart from the amnesiac girl, of course). Actually, I find Birdy extremely resistant to change, as she remains the happy-go-lucky girl, even after her “mother”‘s death, or the cohabitation with the boy. Of course she’s worried about Nataru, but by now it’s too late to show much development on her part. In that sense, I think she suffers from an “arrested development” typical of shounen series, where the protagonist invariably maintains a rigid attitude during the whole series.

    I also completely agree with you that the strong points of the series are the diversity in the characters, and depth of the world they evolve in (and I don’t mean only Earth here).

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