Type: TV (24 episodes)
Reviews @ Archen's Anime Page
Birdy the Mighty: Decode
Decode 01: Birdy is an intergalactic police officer hot on the trail of two criminals possessing a dangerous weapon. The two escape her and take refuge on Earth. Birdy mixes in with humans and even becomes a pop idol among them while further investigating. While closing in on her suspects she accidentally kills a human boy. Having no other options, she takes him into her consciousness and the two will share her body until she can get him a new one. (You'd never get service like that from Earth police.) Hiding this secret will cause problems for Tsutomu, but scheduling issues with a shared body make things tough too. The two end up with a shared interest when a girl Tsutomu has a crush on may be harboring a weapon that could destroy the Earth.
Decode 02: Birdy's still on earth and Tsutomu is still stuck in her body. As the local law enforcement for Earth, Birdy gets put on an assignment to track down recently escaped convicts. The cover up of the weapon of mass destruction that left many on Earth dead didn't sit well with Birdy, and the convicts who helped to steal it might provide her with answers her superiors aren't willing to give. But right before finding each one they turn up dead. Who's killing them, and why?
There are many old OVA series that didn't get far, so it makes sense a few of these might get revisited. Why they'd pick a title like Birdy the Mighty is a mystery. The success of the series varies between the two seasons decode 01 and decode 02
Decode 01 starts out with the incident which causes Birdy and Tsutomu to end up in the same body, but it's strange that hardly anything comes out of this material. The two squabble a bit, but expectations of the awkwardness of sharing a body, or the strengths of one supporting the other doesn't really happen. Instead it concentrates on the plot with the Ryunka; the weapon which could destroy the earth that goes missing. Where Decode 01 comes together is the blooming romance between Tsutomu and a girl named Sayaka. Sayaka is a rich girl who is introverted and very withdrawn, but has an encounter with the Ryunka which transforms her into a much more vibrant and outgoing girl. Not surprisingly she (and her relationship with Tsutomu) is basically invented for the purpose of endgame drama but it still works pretty well. Overall Decode 01 was mediocre.
There is an OVA called "Between You and Me" which bridges the two seasons. The distribution I watched stuck this series at the end of season two, but that's a really bad spot to watch this episode. You'll most certainly want to watch this before the second season.
Decode 02 is where things get turned around and Birdy the Mighty finally starts to do things right. Sharing the same body causes some mishaps, but is also used to their advantage in a few spots. Birdy as a pop idol is explored, instead of being completely ignored as in Decode 01. Background details on Birdy emerge, and her story better than I expected. What I liked most about Decode 02 is that the friendship between Birdy and Tsutomu finally takes shape. Out of all the relationships that COULD have happened, the two simply become good friends who support each other. They don't fall in love, they don't augment each others abilities or anything like that. Best of all, this friendship feels sincere. While Decode 02 is much stronger, it's still not what I would call "above average" unfortunately.
The designs struck me as rough and crude, but not necessarily bad. When paired with the animation the lower budget starts to show. The odd thing about Birdy the Mighty is that it has very choppy animation for sequences that are otherwise really well choreographed and thought out. With more fluid animation these sequences would make some really cool eye candy.
For watching anime as killing time, Birdy the Mighty gets a passing grade, but being so mediocre I'd be surprised if there aren't a few titles on your list to watch that are better than this one. Most of the better things this anime could have going for it don't materialize until the second half, and even then it doesn't get good enough to differentiate itself. Not bad but not great either.
Birdy: You may have saved my life, but you're still a dork.
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