Tetsuwan Birdy Decode: Is it Bodyswapping? Is it Split Personality?

Better question: Do we care?

More important question: Why aren’t you watching this?

So I’ve watched seven episodes of Tetsuwan Birdy Decode (also known as Birdy the Mighty Decode) without any prior experience with the original OVA series (a two-episode deal based on a prototype of the Tetsuwan Birdy story that later became a full manga that Decode is based on), and it’s been surprisingly enjoyable. I still kind of waffle back and forth on it, depending on the episode (the two-episode Alturia arc, for instance, was extremely bizarre for me, despite Wakamoto Norio giving his best James Earl Jones impersonation as a giant anthropomorphic lizard with a mask [that was the best part of the whole “arc” and Lizard-Norio needed to show up more]), but overall it’s incredibly entertaining, even if it is somewhat on the fluffy side. But fluff never bothered me much. Especially not when it’s fluff authored by one of the minds behind semi-underground hit Mobile Police Patlabor: Yuuki Masami.

The whole premise of Tetsuwan Birdy is fairly simple: boy, Tsutomu, accidently stumbles into a dilapidated building where alien crime boss Geega is doing Evil Things and alien investigator Birdy is trying to stop him: Long story short: Birdy, living up to the English title of “Birdy the Mighty”, tries to punch Geega with her blazing fist of fury and instead hits (and kills) Tsutomu, and the audience has Minky Momo flashbacks Birdy is left with no choice but to merge Tsutomu’s consciousness with her own, while his body is shipped back to Alturia to be reconstituted for his consciousness to re-enter. I love alien technology.

Of course, Tsutomu is carrying on a totally normal school life (he even has a girl he likes!: Nakasugi Sayaka), but Birdy also can’t let her investigation slide, as Geega is involved in a massive plot involving the Riunka, or “invisible death”, which, basically, is a weapon capable of destroying all life on Earth. However, nothing is as it seems (this is anime, okay?) and there are some rather inventive plot twists thrown in, and things don’t always seem to progress the way you’d expect them to.

In fact, Tetsuwan Birdy Decode is one of those series that interweaves several interconnected plot threads (there’s what’s going on with Birdy, there’s the Riuvia conspiracy from the point of view of the perpertrators, and then there’s the reporter chasing after Birdy in an attempt to get under mysterious goings-on in the city) that all happen to crop up at the least convinent moment for various characters. In episode seven, for instance, Birdy is investigating a string of murders connected to the Riuvia when she’s spotted by the journalist after her, and must escape by turning into Tsutomu in a private moment–which, of course, is noticed by the gosurori robotic mannequin of one of the conspirators. It’s moments of “oh, shit” plotting like that that keeps me coming back to Tetsuwan Birdy Decode for more, much more than the fact that Birdy’s super-armor doesn’t even cover half of her body (it’s a seriously hot piece of armor, but I seriously doubt its practicality, but I assume that its lack of practicality is explained away by the magic words Alien Technology).

It also doesn’t hurt that Tsutomu and Birdy have good chemistry as co-body-inhabitors, and both are likable–Tsutomu isn’t a passive, useless male lead (or, at least, not as bas as he could be), and Birdy, well, Birdy can punch cracks in concrete at point-blank, and frequently does. Because she’s Birdy. The, uh, Mighty.

There’s actually some interesting things working underneath the surface, especially pertaining to certain spoilers revolving around Naksugi Sayaka (who, despite, or because of, the nature of the spoilers involving her, is moe as hell), but in the interest of not ruining the series for you (since I presume some haven’t seen this series yet, and am trying to  sell it to you. Badly, yes, but sell it nonetheless) I will likely just save for after the series ends, if it’s still there.

And, if not, well, the series will still probably hold on me better than Birdy can hold her alcohol. (This scene should have devolved into naughty and possibly naked lesbian moments with Tsutomu’s sister for extra psuedo-incest points, but, alas, it’s not that fanservice-y of a show)

All in all, though, it’s a series I passed off initially as sort-of dull, but it’s grown on me, to the point that I’m thinking about checking out the original OVA, just to see where the differences are. Although I must say, Decode Birdy > Original Birdy. But that’s just an art aesthetic thing.

And, yes, there is going to be a season 2. I don’t know how that will work, but there’s at least 17 volumes of manga to pull from, so it’s all good.

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4 Responses to “Tetsuwan Birdy Decode: Is it Bodyswapping? Is it Split Personality?”


  1. 1 usagijen 23 August 2008 at 9:37 am

    I checked out the OAV of this before the new series aired, and really enjoyed it. But my interest for the series dwindled down before I could even get to enjoy it… I only have myself to blame =__=;;

  2. 2 EvilDevil 24 August 2008 at 2:42 am

    “This scene should have devolved into naughty and possibly naked lesbian moments with Tsutomu’s sister for extra psuedo-incest points, but, alas, it’s not that fanservice-y of a show”
    is not too late!!! there is always tomorrow!!!

  3. 3 Ez 27 August 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve enjoyed all it’s episodes so far. It’s turning out to be quite a good show!

  4. 4 mechamaster+.+ 23 September 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Ehehehe.. (*-*)


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