The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Birdy the Mighty

Title: Birdy the Mighty aka Tetsuwan Birdy
Genre: Action/Comedy
Companies: Madhouse/Bandai Visual
Format: 4 OVA
Dates: 25 Jul 1996 – 25 Feb 1997

Synopsis: Tsutomu is an ordinary boy with an ordinary family, living out an ordinary life. That is, until he is accidentally killed by a space cop by the name of Birdy. Pressured by her superiors, Birdy must hastily combine her body with his, which Tsutomu awkwardly discovers the next day. Now it is up to them both to adapt to each others’ lives. For Birdy, she must get used to being slowed down by the anxiety and minutia of an ordinary life. In return, Tsutomu has no choice but to be pulled around by Birdy as she hunts down a crime ring developing a drug that turns humans into monsters.

The Highlights
Cast: Fairly typical though fairly competent.
Visuals: Nice artwork with ‘90s caliber animation.
Soundtrack: Otani Kou knows how to boost the excitement of any scene.
Impression: Left itself incomplete, but I’m not complaining.
Ending theme: Falls somewhere between annoying and catchy.

Anime, much like any genre, has been successful at bringing artistic masterpieces to life, that other works aspire to. As nice as it would be to have a medium where all works could achieve this, let’s be realistic here. It would neither be plausible, nor even desirable for this to be. Not all anime has to be profound, deep, or even powerful. Sometimes, a nice distraction is as good as true brilliance. And luckily, there are anime like Birdy the Mighty to fulfill this need.

To say the least, Birdy is by no means innovative. The cast fits their prescribed roles. The setup is remarkably shounen. Not to mention, the story ends up going in a predictable manner. If the inevitable question to follow is “what’s the point?” then the answer to that would be that it still manages to feel fresh. With only four episodes to tell what is little more than a single story arc, (well, technically the only story arc) this OVA avoids many of the pitfalls that plague the shounen action genre. There are no insipid DBZ style fights, with the only “Super Saiyan” moment being at the very end. And things only get better when the fights scenes succeed at being dynamic, unpredictable, and are animated by Madhouse.

Forced melodrama is thrown out the window from the beginning. Instead, we get internal squabbling between Birdy and Tsutomu presented in a causal and situational manner. It also speaks volumes when Tsutomu’s family is relatively normal, albeit quirky. Which is refreshing compared to the hordes of dysfunctional, overly comedic, and dead families that overrun anime.

Out of everything in Birdy the Mighty, props go all out to its bombastic, energetic soundtrack. Composer Otani Kou’s style should be recognized by many from Shadow of the Colossus (a game I admittedly haven’t played) and Gundam Wing (an anime I didn’t necessarily like). However, as many will admit, the music of Wing was pulse pounding, giving off at least some sense of excitement. Only this time, the animation creates some synergy. The only piece of music that is exceptionally irritating is the ending theme, though I will admit that it does grow on you by the end.

No matter how enjoyable it was, however, Birdy the Mighty is still generic. Full of energetic heroines, pathetic male leads, idiotic friends, human lizards, dark pasts, illegal drugs, electrifying power ups, and lesbian mechaphiliac scientists point to things we have all seen before. The fact that the lack of source material leads the series to nowhere ultimately only solidifies its shounen drawbacks. But for what it’s worth, I certainly had fun with Birdy, and whole-heartedly recommend The Mighty to anyone in need of a momentary diversion.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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