Tetsuwan Birdy

Title:Tetsuwan Birdy
Birdy the Mighty
鉄腕バーディー (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
Original Concept - YUUKI Masami
R1 License - Central Park Media(Defunct)
Tetsuwan Birdy is an unconventional but highly effective female agent of the Space Federation Police Force. She has come to Earth on the trail of an extremely dangerous criminal ringleader, and late at night has managed to track down one of the henchmen. He--or more accurately "it"-- refuses to surrender, and after a confused back-alley fight Birdy deals out a lethal energy-blast. To her horror, however, she realizes that the suspect has used an innocent bystander as a decoy, and Birdy has in fact killed Japanese teenager Senkawa Tsutomu! But all is not lost for "Stomu", because the Space Federation accepts responsibility for his fate, possesses miraculous technology, and consequently expects Birdy to henceforth share her body with him. She's not exactly enthusiastic, but accepts the outcome--a body which contains the minds of two persons and can transform into the shape of either one.

[OVA, 1996-97, 4 episodes, 30-40 min. Animation by Madhouse. R1 Licensed by Central Park Media.]
"鉄腕" ("tetsuwan") means "strong arm"; "バーディー" is the Kana sound pattern "baadii" for the name "Birdy".
[edit] The ↗Tetsuwan Birdy franchise:

Original Story: Retelling:
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 8 8 6 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:556#1552]
(Buy-/ Rent+)

For a 4-episode OVA, this take on Birdy the Mighty was quite fun. The circumstances involving Tsutomu and Birdy are similar to what I seen from the Decode re-telling where the two have to share a body after Tsutomu's body is accidentally killed off by Birdy while on a mission. The OVA is a mix of action and comedy as Birdy tries to uncover the actions of an alien scientist and has to adjust to sharing the same body with Tsutomu. Just like in Decode, the chemistry between Tsutomu and Birdy was quite fun as the two fought for control of their body at points and had some awkward moments that came into play for comedy compliments of their body-swapping. The plot with the alien scientist is kind of standard with Birdy wanting revenge on her and the scientist having some diabolical plans involving the human populace. Unfortunately, the anime leaves things open-ended with its plot as Birdy still has yet to apprehend/ destroy the scientist.

Visually, Birdy the Mighty is solid sporting clean details and vivid colors on scenery and character designs. Action sequences are well animated when Birdy faces off against different enemy threats as her superhuman feats are quite good on the eyes, particularly when she fights some enemy threats jumping through highly-elevated buildings and at an amusement park. There are occasions where the animation resorts to shortcuts such as having some still/ static shots of onscreen characters, but movements were fluid for the most part in this OVA series.

Overall, this OVA take on Birdy the Mighty made for a fun and action-packed run. While lacking a proper ending, it's still worth checking out if you are indulging in 90s anime titles.

Last updated Sunday, January 27 2013. Created Sunday, January 27 2013.
Buy Stretch [series:556#628]
Now THIS is an example of Anime which is long overdue for a review here at Mikomi; a positive review, to alert all the Otaku out there of this little gem (did I mention that I really like this one?). As I perform research on various websites all sorts of flaws within this title are pointed out to me--it's not exactly "original", a number of questions are left unanswered at the end, the voice acting of the dubbed version leaves something to be desired, etc, etc. But when I remain unaware of such problems until somebody else tells me about them, chances are I considered the show in question to be pretty damn good. Too many things were done *right* in the making of this show for me to have wound up feeling at all disappointed. Indeed, the one criticism I most agree with is that this should have been a longer series!

One thing practically every critic noticed was the way things ended. Several of the principal villains are still at large, and one even goes so far as to warn Birdy that she had better shape up if she expects to stand a chance against them the next time around. Twice Birdy flashes back to a traumatic childhood event, but all we can tell is that She has an unresolved grievance against one of her opponents. All in all, it seems like these 4 OVAs were intended as a pilot for a series that never got made. If so, that is definitely a pity, because it's all too clear to me how outstanding such a series would have been.

So, what is so "outstanding" about the episodes that DID get made? I don't claim to be a professional critic, and plenty of reviews of Birdy have already been written by authors who have made lots of clever observations which never occured to me. You might say Birdy just left me with the "right" feeling, and others have put the reasons into words. I'd rather not just repeat what they had to say, so please allow me to list some of the incidents which stuck most firmly in my mind, and hopefully you will be intrigued enough to give Birdy a chance without too much "spoiling" taking place.

The two-hearts-in-one-body concept is brilliant. No, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense from a scientific standpoint, but the hell with that, this was just too good a premise to be passed up. Whoever's shape the body is in must give permission before it can "switch" to the other appearance. However, that doesn't mean Birdy is playing a completely submissive role while their body looks like Stomu. On one occassion "Stomu" wanders out on the street, seemingly sleepwalking, because Birdy felt he was staying in bed too long! All sorts of humorous incidents result as the two struggle to get used to their new situation, and try to predict the right form to be in at the right time.

The personalities of Birdy and Stomu worked perfectly for me. She is extremely strong and athletic (another critic made the clever observation that she is essentially a "superhero", which is a charachter type seldom seen in anime) while he concentrates on his schoolwork. Birdy has just enough imperfections to be likeable; the best analogy I read was that she tends to treat Stomu as if he were her little brother. Stomu manages to make himself useful since Birdy is unfamiliar with the tricks of modern-day life on earth. Another point which came up more than once in reviews was how very unhappy some critics were with Stomu's voice in the English dubbed edition (which was the one I saw). They objected to the wimpy, "wuss-like" tone which they felt he had been given--one so strongly that you would think he had been listening to fingernails screeching on a chalkboard! As for me, I had no idea what the original Japanese voice actor playing Stomu had sounded like, but I found nothing annoying about his dubbed voice. He is, after all, just an ordinary teenager who finds himself drafted into investigating interplanetary criminal activity, so maybe a not-so masculine voice was an appropriate choice.

Charachters in general seemed well thought-out and developed. The bad guys squabble with each other; Stomu's girlfriend Natsumi doesn't know what to think after seeing him transform right before her eyes; and Stomu's own family wonders if he is losing his mind when he starts behaving strangely (correction: they ALREADY thought he was losing his mind even before Birdy showed up!).

As I was rewatching the 4 episodes, and taking notes for this review, I wrote the comment "nice animation" on my notepad. After watching a fight scene I went back and underlined the word "NICE"! Though it may not always be up to the same standard, during the fights it is outstanding. I recall a steel I-beam being used as a weapon, a ball-shaped device transforming into a spider-shaped robot, and Birdy and a fugitive jumping from car to car on a busy superhighway.

Let me say in closing that Birdy the Mighty is either my first or second favorite example of Anime. I'm not quite sure which; perhaps it depends on whether I'm in the mood to deal with a plot that could potentially turn every citizen of Tokyo into a horrible mutant. There is some fairly intense violence, but even so I think it's safe to say that without a doubt it's the outlandish humor which I liked best. What else can I say? GO SEE IT!


P.S.: I have finally watched the first two episodes in subtitled form, and yes, I find them preferable--but not so much because Stomu no longer has his "whiny" voice, as because the plot seems easier to follow the way it is spelled out in this version.


Last updated Monday, August 08 2005. Created Sunday, April 20 2003.

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