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[ café reviews ]

[Tetsuwan Birdy Logo]
Tetsuwan Birdy
(Birdy the Mighty)

Episode 1: 2 Hearts in 1 Body

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1996 Yuuki Masami / Shogakukan / Bandai Visual, © 1998 U.S. Manga Corp.
Length: 45 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Advised
Format: Japanese Language/English Subtitled (VHS)

Director: Kawajiri Yoshiaki Original Story: Masami Yuuki Character Design: Takahashi Kumiko Writer: Konaka Chiaki

[ plot summary ]

VHS jacket

Senkawa Tsutomu is suffering from a severe case of information overload, as he prepares to write his senior high school entrance exams. Unwittingly, he gets himself in the middle of an arrest attempt by Space Federation officer Birdy Altirra Cephon... and even worse, he gets himself killed in the process. Luckily for him, the Space Federation has the technology to bring Tsutomu back to life. Unlucky for him, there's a catch: he still needs a body. And the only one available that would work is Birdy's. Now Tsutomu has to juggle school, family and Birdy's own job of bringing criminals to justice -- all with one body. It might have been nice if someone had mentioned to the young high school student that he's not always in control of his own person...

Birdy is an officer of the Space Federation, tracking down a fugitive believed to be on Earth... a fugitive who was responsible for the death of a person very dear to Birdy, so long ago. The problem is, this fugitive has a lot of help, and most of them aren't human. Luckily, Birdy isn't exactly human either.

[ capsule review ]

It would probably be very advantageous for the folks at U.S. Manga to get themselves an advertising consultant. After all, what's the first thing that comes to mind with a title like Birdy the Mighty? While this series doesn't take itself too seriously, the title really doesn't instill any great incentive to rush out and buy such a video, does it? (At least not here in North America) Here's a case where a title change for North America might have been warranted... Luckily, packaging isn't everything...

There are some really neat things about this series -- for openers, the animation is pretty decent, and action/fight scenes are well choreographed. And then there's the hook. It's an interesting variant of the old 'body switcharoo', but Birdy brings with it its own neat take -- the body switching is really between two independant persons, both physically and mentally. Add to this that the two are of differing ages, differing cultures, and most importantly, differing sex -- and suddenly, it looks like the writers could have a lot of fun with this before the series is done.

And fun is just what this series is about. While we have some pretty stock-looking baddies from another world, and well-choreographed fights, it's pretty much stuff we've seen before. But all this is happening with a sense of humour. How's this for an example: Tsutumo manages to disconbobulate a gelatinous creature with one of the most powerful chemical weapons known to the Space Federation: a bottle of the Japanese equivalent of Mr. Clean. Another thing that's pretty obvious from the start is that the Senkawa family is not particularily clued into what's happening in Tsutumo's life, nor are they particularily helpful... This could be most fun indeed!

Character designs are refreshingly different -- perhaps due to the fact that this series is based on a manga that's more than ten years old. Acting is pretty middle-of-the-road, with the only weak link being the lead character herself. Birdy, played by Mitsuishi Kotono (Misato of Shinseiki Evangelion fame) has an easy voice to listen to, and can do distraught emotions very well, but she isn't so convincing in combat.

While this first episode wasn't something I'd rave about, I think there's enough different material here for a pretty decent series run -- as long as the writers can keep things interesting.
- AN, 1999.04.08

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 3 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 3 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Music: N/A 3 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/R
Overall Rating: N/A 3 stars N/A

[ café trivia ]

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Page last modified 1999.04.08