Last night I had the fortune of finding the original Birdy the Mighty OVA (1996), produced by Madhouse and Bandai. Since I had recently reviewed the Birdy the Mighty: Decode series, I thought that watching the anime adaptation of the source manga material might answer a few questions I had about the Decode series, produced over a decade later. This isn't going to be a formal review like I typically write for The Anime Guardians. This is just casual writing, blogging in its truest form.
Tsutomu and Birdy.
There are four episodes total, each about a half hour in length. Soon after starting the first episode, I suddenly realized how bizzare the original idea for this franchise really is. Why would an intergalactic police officer ever share a body with an innocent bystander she accidentally murdered? It was an idea I took for granted at first without processing just how funny it was. What kind of police protocol bothers with such a nonsensical policy? Whatever happened to authorities offering condolences in order to avoid a lawsuit? Birdy's superior, Officer Megius, addresses the issue of shared bodies with a casual attitude, as if to say, "Yeah, I'm sorry Birdy, but this happens all the time to us Federation police. Get used to it." But if one is able to accept the premise of the show and move on, then there isn't much else to complain about. A boy and space girl in the same body makes for a good comedy, indeed.
The only complaint I have about the OVA would be the dubbing. I never really cared for subtitles because they distract from the on-screen action I was meant to look at. But there are anime fans who prefer the original Japanese with English subtitles, and after watching this I understand why. The first episode I watched was fortunately subtitled, and the Japanese voices were pretty good. The other three episodes were English dubbed, and terribly so. Tsutomu's name became Stomu (pronounced 'STOW - MOO'), and his whiny voice grated against my eardrums. Revi's main henchman Gomez sounded like a worn-out smoker about to hack up his sole remaining lung. Hayamiya sounded so shy and reserved that she would have been better off keeping quiet. The best voice actor in this OVA was Ted Lewis, who voiced the evil scientist. I instantly recognized him as the same actor who voiced Giovanni in the original Pokemon movie.
Although having never seen the OVA before last night, watching Birdy the Mighty was a nostalgic experience for me. The old-school cel animation, the clothing and hairstyles people wore, even the music were all indicators of a uniquely 1990's style of cartooning. The music was certainly fun to listen to, a strange fusion of guitar and synth noise and salsa. I get goosebumps listening to the battle theme. To all of those who grew up on Power Rangers, Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon and Gundam Wing, this OVA should bring back some fond memories. Here is the link to the first ten minutes of the first OVA episode. For those who would persevere in finding the rest of the OVA links, you will not be disappointed.
Oh, before I go, here's a candid pic of Birdy in the shower when Tsutomu's dad walks in. Apparently there are a lot of these pictures on Google. To all you ecchi fans out there, enjoy!
- Elijah Lee