Posted by psgels on 28 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Birdy the Mighty Decode



The first season of Birdy the Mighty Decode was a pretty good series that unfortunately got held back by its own formula and never really hit any heights, and especially the male lead Senkawa caused quite some annoyances. Then the second season came, and surpassed it in just about every aspect. I’m not exaggerating here: the second season managed to take a good series and made it utterly incredible.

To begin with, those who were turned off by the annoying teenaged romance in the first season are going to be delighted, as Senkawa plays a much smaller part in the series and his romance is now something of the past. Instead, it’s time for the female lead (Birdy) to have her taste a bit of romance and it’s so much more memorable. What also surprised me was that the plot of the second season takes place on a much smaller scale: instead of trying to save the world from some sort of evil, the second season instead is about the past of the characters, and revenge for what happened in it. The amazing cast of characters turns this into an incredibly emotional story.

But through all the drama, what’s so special about this series is that it never forgets that this series is taking place inside a world that’s alive, instead of a bunch of places that serve just to tell the story. Even though this is a very dark series, it never forgets to insert some slice of life moments in order to bring this setting to life. Even though Senkawa’s classmates have absolutely nothing to do with the main story, they make countless reappearances as the creators show how they continue to lead their lives after chaos that was caused in the first season. Even in the final episodes, this doesn’t change (compare that to most other similar series, which at that point are too busy saving the world to care about such a thing), and yet the series closes off with an amazing ending.

And the production values! The action series in this series are absolutely stunning. The animation is very messy, but because of that there is lots and lots of movement and even more detail in them. The brutality of the hand to hand combat in this show continues to surprise, as the creators aren’t afraid to show the most graphics deaths and beatings on the screen without any cheap tricks to hide it whatsoever. Combine that with the single best soundtrack of the entire season, and you have a visual feast.

Series like this one really are the reason why I’m still a big fan of anime. This series is utterly incredible in just about everything it does, and it’s an incredible contrast with the first season, which simply looks mediocre in comparison and it’s been without a doubt my favourite show of the past Winter Season.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 10/10

35 Responses

  1. Avatar thestation says:

    There are lots of spelling/grammar issues in this review xd.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Um, where? I only caught one grammar issue, but what are the others? English is not my first language, so I may have made a few errors without realizing it.

  3. Avatar da_man says:

    top 10? or not? :D
    still waiting for the subs :((((((((((((((((((((((((

  4. Avatar Windspirit says:

    So I guess this is another must watch for me ?

  5. Avatar Machi says:

    I wouldn’t call the first one pretty good, in retrospect only slightly above average, but at least the second season looks more promising.

  6. Avatar c160 says:

    Ughhh I wanna watch this too!The subs are so slowww…Btw,when will the OVA be released?I know it was announced but did they set the release date?

  7. Avatar Marmoset says:

    I’m being held up by the subs but I agree this series is incredible (so far at least). It’s annoying this is getting so little attention from bloggers because I think it’s by far the best show of the last two series. I can understand why; it had a meh first season and the name is a little weird but it’s still infuriating to see all these toradora posts while birdy gets no love.

  8. Avatar Sparky says:

    I just found this blog, and I’m glad I’m not the only one watching this series. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on Birdy’s relationship with Nataru.

    (spoilers)

    It seemed pretty obvious that he liked her, but I never really got the impression that Birdy had any romantic feelings for him. Even the kiss in the last episode felt pretty ambiguous. She could have just been expressing her relief that he was back to normal.

  9. Avatar Machi says:

    @Marmoset: Face it the reason why this would have little attention from bloggers is this is the second season/sequel to the first Tetsuwan. And considering that nobody really gets into the second season unless they’ve watched the first one I doubt many would give this a shot based on the first season.

  10. Avatar Shippoyasha says:

    I hope I’m not the only one wishing for a THIRD season here, psgels. lol.

    For one, I didn’t really get on the bashing train for the first season (it was pretty decent and pretty ingenious at spots), so this one being that much better made me so happy for the series.

  11. Avatar RogerOskaner says:

    @Machi: Also consider the fact that season 1’s subbing was solely headed by the dreadfully awful Aoshen, which was enough to drive tons of people away. I’m still having a hard time trying to get people to start watching the show.

    Anyways, been following these reviews the past few weeks just to see if the surprising quality of season 2’s been keeping up, and it’s great to see it’s been just as good as I’d hoped.

    Now where’s the fucking subs.

  12. Avatar melty says:

    Do you think a 3rd season could be announced?

  13. Avatar TCoFA says:

    Hah, finally the subs are out! Watched the last two episodes today and I’ll agree, this was a fucking epic ride. Good night.

  14. Avatar PhuzyBuny says:

    Loved it as well.

    Personally, I believe that they aimed for the distorted look not experimentally, but, specifically. I think they were trying to convey the message that in fights, people become angered and disfigured from both a physical and mental standpoint. You can see this when people get angry; rage consumes them, their faces contort, and it is all very unattractive. Anime has taken too much pride in the fact that fights are glamorous and awe-inspiring. The animators for Birdy have learned to take the proper perspective. It portrays fights more accurately; a blurred mass of chaos with emphasis on only the basic understanding of what is occurring. I applaud their work and they should be proud. It is the proper way to depict the action that occurs. Nobody cares about the details when the fight is happening, you don’t look at the scratch marks on the rocks that tumble around, it’s the faces you focus on and pay most attention to from a first-person perspective. And the third person perspective is that blurred and blocky motion that the animators in Birdy successfully portrayed.

  15. Avatar S-R says:

    The wait for the subs of this series have been the most painful. Easily one of my, if not the, favourite shows of the past year.
    I’m torn though, while i’m incredibly glad the subs have finally been released and i’ve finished the show… it’s also kind of sad for that exact reason, that it has ended.
    It’s a shame that the many plot threads were left unresolved. Most prominent in my mind, Gomez and Christina Levi and Capella. While i’d LOVE to have seen these get resolved in some way I can also appreciate though that to have everything sorted in a neat little package is completely unrealistic. Just like what you’ve often said about the kind of dynamic reality of the series, the ‘lives’ of the characters and the universe dont start and end in each episode and I really like that.
    But still…hah…
    Eitherway, i loved both seasons even if the 2nd one was a mindblowingly huge progression. Such a shame that it never got the attention it deserved

  16. Avatar Ilsa says:

    it’s been a while when i waited for subs with such impatience. now that the wait is over i can say that Birdy really was one of the most amazing series; story, animation, music- all was brilliant. i can agree that the second season was bweyond awesome, but without first one it wouldn’t be able to work out so well.
    i have also thank you so much for blogging this series, – if i haven’t read your review, most probably i would’ve missed the show.

  17. Avatar Joe says:

    Finally downloaded the sub for the final 2 eps.. so sad it’s finished. Definitely one of my fav. series ever.

    I really hope there’s going to be a 3rd season. so I’ll just keep my fingers cross. But anyway, do anybody knows when the OVA will come out???

  18. Avatar S-R says:

    I believe ‘The Cipher’ bonus episode/OVA is being released July 22nd. :)

  19. Avatar kira88 says:

    finally watched the last 2 ep… it was a pretty epic ending that nevertheless made me feel a little unsatisfied with the hanging plot threads that were left unsolved.
    it was an enjoyable ride while it lasted, and to see it finally end gives me mixed feelings of relief and sadness.
    oh well, life goes on, and new shows will come and go, so i guess i’ll go drown my sorrow watching the new ep of guin saga then. :)

  20. Avatar lol says:

    hoping the hanging plot threads become a 3rd season, Perhaps even a fourth. Can we assume that Birdy and Tsutomu will eventually become a pairing, or are they more brother sister?

  21. Avatar Anon E. Moose says:

    I share your views on the show.
    Fucking awesome.
    The last episode left some plotholes and felt hasty.
    But the ride was excellent and I don’t have the heart to bitch for this.
    I hope they will produce a S3

  22. Avatar Al says:

    Hi all

    Fantastic to see that there are already so many fans of BTMD season 2. As most folks seem to agree the new season has taken everything good about the first season and made it into something great.

    For those desperately looking for high quality BTMD downloads with subs Megavideo has most of the vids in .MKV, though I’m definitely getting the DVD’s when they’re hopefully released. Here’s hoping for Season 3 as well.

  23. Avatar Mickey says:

    SO. Was actually not a hater of the first season, and only loved the second even more. But I’ve heard some depressing rumors about the future of the series: the company/animators producing it had budgeting problems. That’s the main reason why some of the animation and the two major fight-action sequences got so messy in the second season; they were trying to save money, or so I’ve heard. And with those funding problems still prevailing, there’s been no mention of a planned third season–though, truthfully, I believe they already DO have something kind of planned, because they left a lot of room to pick up the series again. Plus, there were the especially strong hints about that classmate of Senkawa’s being an alien. Can’t leave that alone. :D

    If anyone finds anymore news regarding a continuation of the series–something that proves what I’ve heard completely wrong–please please PLEASE post, multiple times, around the web, so we all can know! It’d be such a waste for this series to go down the drain unnoticed. I was a fan of the original OVA and now of this series too, and totally wish I could help out over in Japan or something to get another season going! T__T

  24. Avatar Perrin4869 says:

    It’s such a great shame that even though this season of Birdy was so great, it requires 3 requisites from anyone planning to watch it, and they really are not easy to fulfill:
    The first would be surviving the oh-so-horrible and almost unwatchable first season. It was as terrible as they get, it did absolutely nothing right. Just… bad.
    The second would be accepting that this anime, even though it is about a group of deadly criminals being hunted down and brutally murdered, features some bloody high school students in a bloody high school, for no good reason. They contribute nothing to the story, and have no connections whatsoever to the criminals, and they’re stupid. It’s a shame, it’s as though producers are really compelled to insert them into animes which have no business with them… Makes me want to cry. That’s one thing I really like about American series: they manage to hold their focus much much more than most animes. Sure, there are ridiculous ones like Prison Break, which I classify as the Code Geass of American series, but then again, no anime will ever get to the level of Lost at this rate.
    And the third requisite would be accepting that your hero goes around fighting crime in the outfit she uses. Not very serious, but really… Why!?

    What I’m trying to say with all this is that with such a memorable story, and such memorable characters, why do they have to give it such a terrible execution? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret having watched this at all, but it baffles me that I can never share it with friends because of the execution. And that alone makes the score you gave it too high. If in the very end you can share it with a very selected few with great patience and an ability to overlook the blatant flaws in the production, no matter how good the story may be, its actual value goes down much more than the 5 points you deducted…

  25. Avatar reverse says:

    what the hell Perrin4869, if you want to troll at least give a valid reason.
    to even complaint outfit she uses, i meant seriously (that just desperate trolling)
    criminal are not stupid, of course the killer is dam obvious to the viewer, the criminal doesn’t have 6 sense, and unlike all anime villain, in birdy 2 they shot first ask question later.

    lost are one of my fav American tv show
    even lost has garbage execution and plot, just like last gun fire fight no one got hit by a single bullet, that fighting against train personal. there are a lot more just i don’t really bother searching

  26. Avatar Perrin4869 says:

    I never said the criminals are stupid, I said the high school students are… I liked the criminals and the whole story around them a lot.
    As for the outfit, I know it disturbed me, I don’t like watching my heroes fight with a bare back! In my opinion it’s just a cheap way to attract audience by fanservice. Though you are right, it’s not a valid reason to troll, but it did bother me a little.
    And in Lost you don’t have Kate in swimsuit every episode for example. And I’m not sure which gunfight you referred to, but I hope you’re aware of the fact that they’re not very shy about killing characters at this point. I can go on about why I think it’s superior to any other show on TV ever, but for now suffice it never degraded its plot to contain stuff that doesn’t contribute anything to it.

  27. Avatar joe says:

    Nataru possesses a dark and vengeful personality. Nakasugi lost her memories. So I think that Birdy and Tsutomu will end up together. They’ve been through a lot while sharing the same body, and they both possess kindness and bravery, which motivate them to make sacrifice in order to protect loved ones. Their encounters with romance also have similarities, and they’ve dealt with them the same way (refusing to accept that the persons they care about are doing evil deeds; and try to help those people to turn back in the end).

  28. Avatar Firechick says:

    Great news! Both seasons of Birdy the Mighty Decode have been licensed by FUNimation!

  29. Avatar Topspin says:

    Thanks for blogging this, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. Birdy/Decode (of course especially season 2) deserves a lot more attention than it gets, it’s one of the best series in recent memory. My roommate was so impressed she asked me to help her fansub Cipher so we could get the full experience. I truly hope Birdy gets a high-quality BluRay release, especially if it’s non-upscaled 1080p!

  30. Avatar Adva Tsuenko says:

    –Spoilers–

    @Mickey: “Plus, there were the especially strong hints about that classmate of Senkawa’s being an alien.”

    I know! I forget when, but the proof is actually earlier on in the series — I think maybe even in the first season. The boy runs into a man (one of the key men associated with the aliens on Earth) who was visiting his mother, as the boy returns to his house, and somewhere in that scene it is acknowledged that his mother is an Alterian. So you can know this before the fortune telling scene, but that scene confirms it.

    –End Spoilers–

    Did anyone else notice how the animation quality uber crapped out during the end halves of episodes 7 and 12?? This was bugging me extremely much; it’s as if they used the storyboard frames for all the animation and called it good. This ruined a lot for me, but the story was definitely sweet regardless of it.

  31. Avatar thirstevampire says:

    i think it sounds good i’ll watch it when i can

  32. Avatar panikos0 says:

    I just watched it and it was a great ride!thanks for bloging the series!if it wasn’t for you I would never have watched it.I really hope for season 3 japan!

  33. Avatar Badesh says:

    Whoo, great series thanks. Watched it & loved it. I even liked the first Season but the second season had more depht.

    What kept me interested in the first place were these action packed first episodes of s01 wich were really one of the best i have ever seen. I knew these fights will come again sooner or later. And i just love the character birdy.

    Thx for the reccomendation psgels.

  34. Avatar Nuu says:

    star crossed! jeez long time no comment lol. saw this for sale on S.A.V.E. and found your site :) Thanks for the review and now im compelled to buy this :)

  35. Avatar Nightlord says:

    Thanks to this review I was introduced to this anime, after watching barely 350 anime series I can say that this is by far one of my favorites of all time, I enjoyed both seasons a lot. The soundtrack, the animation, the characters… gosh, everything was near perfection, too bad there’s no 3d season

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