Posted on 21 August 2009 with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Hell yeah! I’ve been waiting for this for more than four months, but Birdy the Mighty Decode’s OVA is finally here. While it’s not exactly what I expected it to be, I don’t care. It’s always awesome to see more of your favourite series of the year.

So yeah, basically this episode takes place between the first and the second season, and ties both seasons together. We get to see Capella as she gets picked up by the old hag, we get to see what happened to Nakasugi after the end of the first season, and we get our first glimpse of Natoru, who would become such an amazing character later on. A lot of the time in this episode was spent on slice of life, and Shion had to give a concert at the same place that Nakasugi stayed at, so she paid a little visit to her. There also was some marionette after her because some aliens feared that she still had some traces of Ryunka in her, but that also was more meant to flesh out the setting rather than to create some sort of climax. Still, I don’t care. I’m glad enough to be able to watch some more of this amazing series, and this episode only contributed to it.

It’s great to see how Senkawa developed from the annoying brat in the first season to that likable side-character he became in the second one, and this episode really showed his transition. He’s so much more mature now, and let Shion approach her, instead of going after her himself. Also, I’ve heard people getting annoyed at Arita Shion’s typical voice, but I think it’s hilarious. Especially along with Capella and the old hag, the comedy becomes utterly priceless when the three of them are in the same room.

I’m also intrigued. The final frame showed the following lines. Now, I’m not sure whether that meant the second season or whether it was referring to something else:

“bye-bye
and
To be continued…”

If it turns out to be referring to that “something else”, and that “something else” turns out to be what I think it is: HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!
Rating: *** (Yes I’m biased!)

Posted 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
Posted on with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: Birdy finally gets the chance to bring Natoru back to earth.
Episode Rating: 9/10 (fantastic)
What an utterly incredible episode. I’ve seen a lot of disappointing endings this season so far, but this one did EXACTLY what it promised, with some of the most amazing results. What a ride. And what a huge shame that this incredible series is already over.

And seriously, this episode had some of the best fights I have seen in a long, long while, showing that Kazuki Akane has in no way lost his touch since Noein. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen animation that was this good; even Bonen no Xamdou’s final episodes feel inferior compared to it. Unlike Shikabane Hime, which promised a huge ending and instead got resolved within five minutes, this episode made optimal use of its time, and yet nearly everything got resolved, and the things that haven’t been resolved (Natoru’s past) are being saved for the OVA.

This show seriously has set such a high standard for the rest of the year, and it’s been an amazing ride from start to finish, and I loved how even at the final episodes, it never forgot that Senkawa’s classmates also are supposed to have a life (something that many other series seem to forget at this point). Some of the most touching scenes in this episodes included those parts about the presentation that the series has also been building up for.

This series has really confirmed how Kazuki Akane is my single favourite director. His works of Escaflowne, Noein and Birdy the Mighty have been utterly incredible, and a true work of genius. I am SO going to watch his next work when it airs in a few years’ time.

Posted 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.

Posted on 14 March 2009 with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: Birdy starts to search for Natoru.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
And so this series continues its string of utterly incredible episodes. Oh boy, it sure has set a incredibly high standard for the rest of 2009. It’s going to be interesting whether the rest of the year can produce another series that at least can come close to the level that this series has been at. This episode was mostly building up for the finale of this series (only two more episodes left!), but it did this so well.

I liked how this episode used the school festival in order to bring some more life into Senkawa’s school. It was only meant to flesh out the setting a bit more, and the rest of the episode was about something completely different. With most anime, such a school festival usually is the most important topic going on.

But yeah, while the death of this episode was probably the least brutal of the bunch, it yet again made a lot of impact. In this case, Nataru only lives for his revenge, and he doesn’t care whether he has to slaughter children who never were the masterminds in anything, he just kills using the powers he obtained. It’s promising to be an incredible finale in any case.

I also wonder what the purpose was of Capella’s arrest. Was it just to wrap up one of the loose storylines, or was it meant to give the old hag a bit of development? It was pretty hilarious that she turned in Capella after keeping her in hiding for so long.

In any case, one thing in which the past Winter Season has stood out for me was the huge amount of series with good villains: the villains here are victims themselves, who have all the reason to defend themselves because Nataru keeps killing them off, and it’s not just this series: Satoshi in Michiko e Hatchin has been one of the best villains I’ve seen in a long while, Casshern Sins, Jigoku Shoujo and Tytania love playing with the definition of ‘villain’, and shows as Hajime no Ippo and Shikabane Hime Kuro have superbly characterized villains. Nearly all of them have intentions other than “I want to destroy the world because I’m evil”. Before this season started, I really disliked them, and hardly any series had a good villain. The only series in 2008 with really good villains like the ones shown in this season were Mouryou no Hako, Kaiba, Shion no Ou and Gunslinger Girl. That’s four series over an entire year! That’s nothing!

Posted on 7 March 2009 with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: Natoru’s powers get out of control.
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
A building-up episode, but oh my god, what an ominous one! Finally things make sense, but at the same time we can expect a really dark finale for this series. Ah, I should have known that Kazuki Akane would attempt to screw time at one point. This episode is where it happens.

I think that the OVA (Yay! There’s going to be an OVA) is going to shed light on exactly how this happened, and going to tell exactly what happened with Natoru on the day that Birdy lost her caretaker (Oh my god, this is what I realize as I’m typing this: her mystery savior was indeed Natoru’s grown up version! Of course!), and it’s going to show how exactly he and his father were screwed over. This drove him to seek power, and this power is now biting him in the behind.

In this episode he manages to save himself by pulling a time-warp, but the big problem with it is that it happens completely beyond his control. He really seems to have signed a contract with the devil somehow. In the meantime, the creators are also making sure of every opportunity to show a bit of history of he characters. When he went to earth, he seems to have joined a regular high school, while two of the beastmen that he’s supposed to kill have known each other for a long time, it seems.

Seriously, this is one of these episodes that may not make much of an impact when I watched it compared to the others of this series, but now that I’m thinking back to everything that happens, it only becomes better and better. It’s been a very long time since I ran into an episode that had this effect on me. And oh my god… this series remains just amazing.

Posted on 28 February 2009 with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: Shouko goes on a big adventure.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Excellent)
Another quiet episode with the goal of building up, but it’s an episode well spent, as it develops the character of Shouko a bit more. It was a bit silly of her to mistake Nataru and Shion to have a relationship, but the episode did its job really well, and especially the many other things that happened during this episode made it more than worth watching. And after all, she was about to be taken away from Nataru, so she needed something to vent off her frustrations with. Bullying Shion was the obvious thing to do. ^^;

But damn, I hate it when the creators pull that ‘character X is about to be killed off’-cliffhanger, especially since this show has already seen so many deaths. Now I really want to see that next episode, even though it’s going to take another week for it to air. My guess would be that the creators are going to let Nataru struggle for a bit more, make him escape with that power of his while heavily wounded.

Then, I wonder what Muroto’s purpose in this series is going to be. It’s been pretty small throughout the series, but now that he caught himself a ‘scandal’ of Shion, then I really wonder what kind of repercussions it’s going to have. Shouko is probably going to find out, meaning that her role isn’t over yet, and this episode was probably spent in order to develop her character not just to have a complete cast and for the heck of filling an episode, but it’s actually going to be used somewhere later in the series. Nice.

Posted on 22 February 2009 with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: The second half of Birdy’s past
Episode Rating: 9/10 (FUCKING EPIC!!!!!!)
Oh my god. This episode was utterly incredible, the best of an already superb and magnificent series. I still can’t believe how amazing and outstanding this show has turned out. I knew it had a splendid director already, but that’s not always the reason to get your hopes up since in 50% of the cases, they just don’t live up to his previous works. Well, I’m glad to say that THIS ONE CERTAINLY HAS! If it continues to get better and better like it is now and the ending doesn’t mess up the story, it could actually make my top 10. The second season is simply brilliant, rich, grandiose, glorious… and I’m going stop now before I run out of adjectives.

Those flashbacks that we kept seeing were incredibly sneaky. Birdy has had deal with a pretty cruel event in her past, and yet we were given no hint to that until this episode. All the scenes that we saw were either from right before or right after Violin got killed. And holy balls, I thought that the terrorists simply detonated a bunch of bombs in central tower, but they slaughtered the entire place completely. Now I also understand why Nataru is so hung up on his past, because what happened there was downright terrible: Ryunka was abducted and protected by the ones that we saw Nataru kill off in the past few episodes. That’s why he hates them so much, because they pretty much ruined the life he could have had with Birdy.

Violin’s death was especially sad since Birdy grew up seeing her not as an android, but simply as her mother. When she got destroyed, this image of her broke completely and Birdy wasn’t even allowed to say a proper goodbye to her, since in her mind, Violin turned into someone completely different from who she grew up with.

And oh my god, the animation! The godly animation! This episode looked downright awesome, especially when the incredibly messy visuals appeared. It looks like Kazuki Akane plans to go further with his specific style than he did in Noein, which is promising SO MUCH goodness for the final episodes of this series. While at first it indeed seemed to be going into the direction of Kemonozume, but the end of this episode truly looked unique, and even went where Kemonozume didn’t go.

The question now remains: who the heck was the person who carried Birdy away later? The only one who he reminds me of is the grown up Natoru, but this show doesn’t seem to be about time travelling, unlike Noein.

Posted on 15 February 2009 with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: In order to save Birdy, Senkawa needs to learn about her past.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
Ah, it’s finally time to reveal Birdy’s past. Something that the past five episodes kept hinting at. Since her story couldn’t be squeezed into one episode, this episode is mostly building up, and setting up the basics of how she grew up and met Natoru. Not the most exciting episode, but definitely a necessary one.

So as it turns out, Birdy was really raised as one of the elite. For her entire life, she was trained to become part of the intergalactic police. Natoru turns out to be an Aruta of a much lower class, which explains how the two former friends ended up on the opposite sides of the law: they just happened to meet each other, but they grew up in completely different environments.

Interestingly, this also forces Senkawa to reveal to Birdy’s superiors that Nataru and especially his father are on the planet earth (and subsequently that his father died). This probably is going to mean that the intergalactic police is going to involve itself heavily in the final part of this series.

Overall, albeit uneventful this was an adorable episode, and a bit sad, I guess: Birdy was hardly given the time to grow up like a normal girl, or choose what she wanted to be because she seemed to have been specifically bred to be a weapon. I’m interested in what the big secret of her past is. This episode, along with all the other flashbacks are building up to something… I just can’t put my finger to exactly what.

Posted on 7 February 2009 with categories: Birdy the Mighty Decode



Short Synopsis: Well… just watch the episode…
Episode Rating: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Zomg…. what the heck happened here?! I was already expecting a lot of great stuff from the second season, but that Kazuki Akane would actually go this far… Oh my god, I still can’t believe the potential of it all. To those who were all whining about the predictability of the end of the first season, which stuffed Senkawa back in Birdy’s body. Well, let’s just say that IT WAS ALL DONE WITH A REASON!

Because of that, Senkawa has now been inside Birdy’s body for a bit too long, and the two of them have begun to merge with each other, effectively causing Senkaway’s consciousness to overwrite Birdy’s! This leads to a hilarious episode in which Senkawa has to take over Shion’s tasks, but he also lost his own real body, meaning that he’s not going to be able to show himself in front of his friends, and Birdy’s going to disappear as well.

Normally, this sort of issue will probably solve itself within the next episode or so with some quick Deus ex Machina, but this is KAZUKI AKANE we’re talking about! We’re only at the fifth episode at this point. Who knows what he’s going to pull in the rest of this series!? Something also tells me that we should be fearing for the girl in the wheelchair. She’s getting way too much along with Natoru. I just feel that something’s going to happen to her. After all, she’s the perfect bait for hostages.

And also, that was one awesomely animated fight scene!

Shoutbox

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:57 AM)
    Good answer =)
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:50 AM)
    I think that the internet has, to an extent, weakened the influence of critics. Now, everyone with enough spare time can be a critic. In this deluge of people with their own opinions, it’s hard to figure out who’s opinion is, for lack of a better word, better. Rather than look at any one critic, they may look at a conglomeration of critics. Even still, with the wealth of info about any given thing, they may just decide to see it for themselves.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:47 AM)
    I guess I’m curious as to how effected people are by the professionals reviews when they decide to see a film.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:45 AM)
    well, critics are part of the audience too. they’re just more “knowledgeable” about the field.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:45 AM)
    yeaahh! Lia ED, been so long (i think).
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:43 AM)
    Audience accepting things, yes thats important , but critic approved also carries its equal worth, not just talking comics here on both sides of the world but in general…also interests me…in the end who has most influence , the critic or the audience? How influenced are the audience in comparison by critics to their own judgement non effected by critics?
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:42 AM)
    ah manga disney. will it ever return.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:39 AM)
    Thats a pretty interesting comment vincent and nyan. As Shoujo art was as far as I know the basis eventually for moe/lolicon.
  • Vincent
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:35 AM)
    @Nyan so essentially Shoujo is a manga time capsule XD
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 02:33 AM)
    Not to say that there aren’t certain broader trends among demographics, of course. Hell, the funny thing about shounen/shoujo artwork blending is that the shoujo art style came out of a time when manga all looked roughly the same regardless of demographic, lol

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