Overhype Strikes Again: A Birdy the Mighty Decode Post

You guys know I get confused whenever somebody overhypes an anime to death. You guys know I’m not much for your favorite anime. You guys know I’d rather watch some Go Nagai trash over anything that Tomino pumps out, because Tomino and his Gundam franchise sucks donkey balls.

Birdy

But seriously, Birdy the Mighty Decode? I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face harder than a guy who tells his girlfriend that he’s cheating on her!

I’ll give Birdy this. I don’t dislike it so much as I don’t really care too much for it. The animated fight scenes in the second season are awesome. I loved how the characters moved and the scene of the dude exploding upon impact on the wall is a nice touch. The concepts are cool. Plus, the characters are serviceable. The story is serviceable. The music is serviceable.

And that’s the problem. The whole thing is serviceable. That’s not what I want to see when I watch an anime, especially when it’s considered one of the best by practically everyone who’s watched it. Because let’s face it, being normal sucks.

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What really pisses me off is that it’s widely agreed that the first season of Birdy you have to sit through in order to get to the second season is horrendously dull. To be fair, it was dull in the sense of something like the new Thor movie in that it had good ideas and decent characters, but the story and action is lousy as shit. At least stuff was happening, so it didn’t annoy me the same way that a Fincher movie annoys me with its incredibly slow build-up, but yes the first season was also a big giant ball of “serviceable”. Still, if it meant that we’d get a kick-ass second season, then I’ll get through it.

Wasn’t worth it in the least.

There’s nothing grand about this show that appeals to me in the least apart from the animated fight scenes, and they’re not frequent enough for me to get into what’s going on. Hell, if I was big into visuals alone, I’d be a huge Kenji Nakamura fan. I’m not even close to that. The whole story is basically about how after the disaster caused by the first season, the characters are trying to help those who are affected. Meanwhile, another group of aliens come into the mix and they’re tied to the whole disaster/homeless/poverty angle too. And Birdy meets an old friend that she’s got the hots for, but he’s really a sadistic killer. That’s basically the entire story! What’s so amazing about that?!

I could complain that Tsutomu felt tacked on in this season, but he’s not a very good main anyways, so I welcome that the second season is more about Birdy. What gets to me is that rather than letting the action and such tell the themes the same way Tarantino talked about the horrors of WWII through a pulpy revenge thriller, the themes feel tacked on to everything that’s going on. Maybe it’s supposed to be told through the characters and their interactions, but aside from Birdy, they are not really interesting. Including Nataru, who is as predictable a doomed lover as you get. Too much time is spent on slice-of-life scenes that are meant to take a break in order to make the action have more levity, but they drag on too long and don’t really make me laugh or develop a thing. That two-episode flashback arc was the real killer though. It was completely predictable, didn’t give me anything I couldn’t infer for myself, and it caused the show to lose me to the point I couldn’t finish the last four episodes on my DVD.

Birdy2

But really, my problems with the show all comes down to selfish reasons in the end. After all, Vampire Bund is a generic story, right? Hell, it’s pretty much the Shaft version of KyoAni’s latest due to the sexism, generic story, and such, right? And I like that show, despite most people hating it, right? Yes. But the thing is that my love for occult/supernatural stuff, the world created in Vampire Bund (vampire politics mixed with real-world ones? Awesome, even if it didn’t always work), and the fights still being cool even if it’s mostly by concept because Shinbo didn’t do a great job using his techniques to create the biggest impact were enough to overcome the “bland in the end” nature of the thing and make me enjoy it. Birdy is mostly sci-fi, a genre I’m less fond of. Plus, the sci-fi is mostly just “there” rather than blended into the real world stuff. There’s just not enough in the thing to appeal to me and it comes off as a wash.

Don’t mistake my negative rant of Birdy as a recommendation to not see the show or anything. After all, there’s a reason that many people love it (well the second season at least, so I’m not sure about saying that you should get through the first season to get to it). Hell, it’s ranked pretty high on that AniMetaCritic thing, and its position on MAL isn’t too bad either. And like I said, my main problem with it is that it’s just “serviceable” rather than being straight out bad. There’s got to be a reason why many people love it. I didn’t find it, but you might have better luck than I did. Regardless, that doesn’t change the fact that Birdy is not the grand anime I expected, and that makes me sad.

9 responses to “Overhype Strikes Again: A Birdy the Mighty Decode Post

  1. Shame you didn’t like it, especially since you didn’t finish it. Thing about Birdy is that it’s indeed generic, but an example of how to do that kind of thing well (season one notwithstanding). Not necessarily spectacularly, but well. Anime rarely does it well to begin with. It’s like Darker than Black – nothing special when all’s said and done, but you still probably enjoyed the ride on a visceral level.

    That said, I’ve seen someone else watch it too closely for something amazing, while totally missing the goodness that was there. I think you’re right – it impresses more when you’re not expecting much, especially after season one. Overall what seems to impress most people is the epic storyboarding, the cinematic direction, and the fact that it doesn’t pull its punches. Everyone is proactive, it doesn’t paint over or forget the tragedy of season one, and Birdy’s backstory makes full use of the “tragic child soldier” trope set yet she’s actually one of the more well-adjusted characters in the story.

    • Going to have to disagree on Darker than Black. It’s a great look at humanity told through superhero agents mixed with Cold War scenarios. Not going to say it all worked, but it definitely stood out more than Birdy, which is kind of Shana-like aside from the poverty themes.

      • I’d assume that’s because you weren’t overhyped with DtB. If you were, you’d probably consider it a meandering X-men-like mystery story that has no real payoff and just excuses everything as a setup to have another superpowered fight scene. I could just as easily call Birdy a great look into how people cope with tragedy, not that I would go that far with either of them.

    • That’s like saying I wouldn’t like Maison Ikkoku because I was overhyped for it despite it being about a loser falling in love with his apartment manager and them not getting together for 96 episodes. Which isn’t true. I was greatly anticipating that show and it delivered.

  2. next time you go into something that’s really hyped, might I suggest you find out why? I still sorely regret not doing that with a couple of titles. The burns of SAO remain fresh

  3. Having watched Birdy the Mighty and not being impressed with the second season either, I have a feeling you definitely weren’t gonna like the ending, so it might be good that you dropped it. Personally I thought the ending was kind of insulting to me.

  4. Go Nagai stuff is awesome but most of the anime based on his works are half adaptations. Rather read his stuff to get the full experience. With that said, you’re completely wrong about Tomino and Gundam. Tomino doesn’t own Gundam. Sunrise does. Furthermore, Tomino is only involved in a handful of Gundam series, while the rest is entirely done without his involvement at all. And lastly, Tomino fucking hates Gundam and tried to kill it with Victory Gundam. Tomino’s best works are those that aren’t Gundam, like Xabungle and Zambot 3.