Anime Review: 'Birdy The Mighty: Decode' (2009)
Director: Kazuki Akane
Studio: Aniplex USA, formerly Funimation Entertainment
Relased: June 4, 2013
Runtime: 650 Minutes
Availability: on DVD, out of print
Birdy the Mighty: Decode is a Japanese anime about an intergalactic police officer named Birdy Cephon Alterra. She’s a Federation Officer from another planet and she chases down alien criminals on Earth. While chasing a criminal, she badly injures high school student Tsutomu Senkawa. She saves his life by sharing a body with him and they must learn to coexist with each other while she tracks down a deadly weapon that could destroy Earth.
This Anime doesn’t run on Its Pervy Gimmick Alone, The story is Excellent:
I enjoyed this anime a lot. The characters are very well written and the story is a lot of fun. The character development takes a lot of time over two seasons.
I know people will watch for the gimmick of a guy and a girl sharing a body, but if you’re expecting fanservice, it’s mainly Birdy bathing. It doesn’t happen too often and it doesn’t bother me that much because the anime doesn’t go out have gratuitous shots of Birdy naked. She doesn’t even bathe in every episode which is the reason the audience gets the fanservice.
Even Tsutomu Senkawa is naked sometimes, it’s usually for story purposes, but because they share a body, it’s not the usual, “I accidentally bumped into while naked” situation that usually occurs in anime.
There is fanservice is there but it’s not gratuitous and the main reason you’re here is the story and the characters.
Birdy the Mighty: Decode has a story that I enjoyed, and I think if you’re only here for the gimmick, then you’ll probably be disappointed.
The Animation Has an interesting Story behind It and Why Season one and season Two are Drastically Different:
Birdy the Mighty: Decode was animated by A-1 Pictures. The animation for the first season was fluid and the fight scenes were action-packed. It looked good throughout the season.
Season two took a very different art style, and while it was fluid, it sacrificed character details for movement, and it does feel very odd when you compare it to the first season, especially since season one looks much better than season two.
The fight scenes are still incredible to look at and that A-1 Pictures managed to create astonishing animation despite their lack of budget makes the end fight between Birdy and Nataru look amazing.
The animators had a lot of freedom on this project so they used a lot of experimental techniques to animate the fight scene. Newer animators like Shingo, Kitada, and Niho, and experienced animator Norio Matsumoto also worked on the animation for Birdy the Mighty: Decode.
Anime fans are under the misconception that anime fights always have to be aesthetically pleasing to be good.
This is because action oriented anime is usually animated by Studio Bones, Madhouse or Ufotable. Anime fans assume because the animation looks nice that the fight is actually good.
While I love animation that looks good, when it comes to fight scenes, for example by Ufotable, they tend to look really good, but depending on who is directing the adaptation; the fight can be flashy but unmemorable.
The amazing choreography combined with fascinating experimental animation make Birdy the Mighty: Decode a memorable anime with animation that stands out for doing what they could on a dwindling budget because this was their passion project even though the first season didn’t sell well at all in Japan.
It also caught the attention of Hollywood director Zack Snyder, and he used the fight in Birdy the Mighty: Decode as the storyboard for the Zodd VS. Superman fight in the movie Man of Steel, very few people in Hollywood make references to anime, let alone obscure anime like Birdy the Mighty: Decode. If you think that I like Zack Snyder just because he likes an anime, that’s not necessarily true, as I’ll shred Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice for making me hate Batman, one of my favorite DC Comics characters!
Birdy The Mighty: Decode Parts 1 and 2 Trailer:
Audio and Subtitles:
English (reviewed) (Not available legallly, out of print)
English (Available on Funimation's YouTube Channel)
The English Dub is Fantastic!
The English voice acting is excellent. Luci Christian is an awesome voice actress and I really enjoyed her work as Birdy. Micah Solusod is excellent as Tsutomu Sekawa and I enjoyed his work a lot. Sayaka is played by Brina Palencia and she’s a great voice actress. Eric Vale is also excellent as Nataru, Birdy’s love interest in season two.
The anime also features a lot of English dub voice acting veterans, Stephanie Young, Caitlin Glass, Coleen Clinkenbeard, Maxey Whitehead and Chris Patton.
I also have to make a special mention to the sound designers for creating a unique sound for Birdy’s rocket shoes because it is one of the most unique sounds I’ve heard in an anime and it’s one I’ve never heard used anywhere else and it’s something that I won’t forget anytime soon.
All in all, I really love this dub, unfortunately since Funimation lost the license for Birdy the Mighty: Decode, it is now out of print and will be expensive to purchase.
Will you watch Birdy the Mighty: Decode?
Birdy the Mighty: Decode Opening 1:
The Flaw of Birdy the Mighty: Decode, the Six Degrees of Separation:
The flaw of Birdy the Mighty: Decode comes from how the plot points are connected directly to either Birdy or Nataru.
Every plot point that happens in season one and two is linked to our two protagonists. It’s not like Durarara!! where many characters are connected but they don’t always interact with each other. Birdy: The Mighty: Decode’s plot and the villains are too conveniently linked to the main characters. This could ruin some viewers experience because it may push their suspension of disbelief too much due to excessive plot convenience that rivals Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.
The Character Development Can Seem Uneven:
The character development for the anime can seem uneven, mainly because Birdy and Tsutomu keep clashing with each other over how they have to coexist with each other because they are stuck in the same body. They eventually come to terms with their situation and act more like a team in season two, but it does take time and sometimes it seems like their development as characters is very slow. But I still enjoyed the anime despite the character development being uneven.
What Doesn't Work:
Good story, characters and world-building
Animation budget differences might make it harder to watch
The animation is good
Plot coincidnces make suspension of disbelief harder
The voice acting is excellent
Uneven character development
Final Grade: A-:
I recommend buying this if you think that this looks like something that interests you. If you like good science fiction and an interesting story with unique characters and setting. I bought this before it went out of print.
The story is interesting, I love the characters and their development and it is an anime that is extremely underrated.
I love this anime and it’s one of my favorites an I recommend it if you love science fiction and you want something different. Despite the pervy gimmick, it’s well worth watching because it’s an underrated gem.
Because Funimation lost the license to Birdy: The Mighty Decode, they can no longer stream or distribute DVDs of the anime, because of this, the anime is out of print and hard to find. It’s now very expensive to purchase for your anime collection with prices ranging from $47 to $100+ because of scalpers.
Aniplex USA hasn’t done anything with the franchise for a year, fortunately, Funimation forgot to delete the subtitled version off their YouTube channel so you can still watch it here!