Birdy the Mighty Vol. #2: Final Force (of 2) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2004



What They Say
A gorgeous space cop with a hair-trigger temper. A high school student with a lot on his mind. They share a body, and they fight crime! Tsutomu?s girlfriend begins to suspect his secret identity, but he and Birdy are about to unmask a mad scientist and can?t risk telling the truth. Disaster strikes in the form of an unstoppable cyborg assassin, and our heroes are forced to blow their cover, or risk the destruction of the entire city! The final volume: Contains episodes 2&3.

The Review!
The second half of the OVA series brings in a few more revelations and has some fun with the characters after what happened in the last episode.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The mix for the two episodes here are pretty standard stereo mix with some mild forward soundstage directionality during some of the action sequences, but that's generally it. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout and the track is free from distortions and dropouts.

Video:
Originally released in 1996, the two OVAs on this disc come across well for the most part, but will vary depending on hardware pretty heavily with regards to the cross coloration. On our primary setup, it was very strong and in both full faces and hair of most characters and showing up in numerous backgrounds. On our portable player, the cross coloration was much less noticeable to almost gone. Colors look good throughout and the OVA quality from the time shows through nicely with a number of fluid areas of animation. The level of cross coloration really brought the quality of this release down though.

Packaging:
While there's still a fair amount of text on the cover with the title and sublogo, the artwork used this time is a fair bit more appealing with a really nice shot of Birdy in full color while the background has blue and black shaded shots of other characters. The back cover provides a few more character shots from the show and a breakdown of the discs extras. The summary is pretty minimal here as well, adding to the overall feel of the release. The reverse side of the cover is heavy on the white with some black and white character artwork in the center. Episode chapters are listed as well as the English voice cast. Once again, no information is available on the Japanese voice cast, a problem that CPM seems to have more than any other company.

Menu:
The menu layout uses some static custom imagery of nameless high technology to provide a display of the discs selections. Set to music, there's various clips of the show playing underneath that that's partially visible through the display. The menu is decent looking and fairly in theme and is also quick to access submenus and easy to navigate.

Extras:
The extras are pretty minimal with a simple video art gallery showing off what little art is available for use that they didn't put on the first volume.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Birdy manages to take what it built in the first couple of episodes and add on some more fun and more character oriented bits to it while still playing up the actual plotline itself. There's some good moments for both of these areas which result in Birdy continuing to be a fairly enjoyable OVA series.

Tsutomo and Birdy are slowly getting used to being with each other, though he's still not happy that she takes over so easily and so quickly sometimes. She's still going through the motions of taking down the various enemies that come their way, but she's still very much after he really big prey in the form of Christella Revi. Revi maneuvers her people to dealing with Birdy while her own major projects are going on, but this doesn't really kick in for a bit as we get some downtime with Birdy and Tsutomo first. The downtime is actually something of a prequel to an event that Tsutomo is not looking forward to, and that's explaining to Natsumi what she saw previously when he turned into Birdy.

The downtime is pretty useful for Birdy since she gets to explore more of Japanese society. Wearing some of Tsutomo's sisters clothes, she explore the city with him trying to keep her in check. It's amusing at times since she's apparently not used to such large crowds, especially with most of her actions occurring at night, as well as some of the strange culturalisms that go on here. She's also not really aware of just how different her abilities are from the norm since she does some things that attract attention to her that she doesn't need. One amusing part has Birdy being followed by some shady character she figures is part of Revi's organization but turns out to be someone who just wants to produce her and make her famous in some way.

The bulk of the two episodes on here though focus more on the action as those working for Revi continue their pursuit of Birdy to ensure that their operations are not disturbed. There's some great sequences between Birdy and the young girl that goes after her as well as the repercussions of her defeat within the organization. The action sequences throughout these two episodes continue to be of solid quality though; very much up to the style and feel of Kawajiri has done over the years. While there are more daylight shots throughout these two episodes, the way he casts the city and its background as a character itself continues to be a strong element in it. The show does go back to a number of the darker sequences though and the attention to detail is fantastic here.

In Summary:
Birdy the Mighty is one of those solid 90's OVA series that really just excels at what it sets out to do. It's got some great designs, some fun characters (though Tsutomo is really bad in the dub) and a plot that works well for the length of the series. The only real problem with the release, even with the lower retail price, is that this really belonged all on one volume. It's a show that fairs much better in one sitting rather than split up over a couple of months. While the first volume can stand by itself fairly well with the slightly extended length of the first episode, the second volume just feels all to short and goes by too fast. Birdy's a good show, but one that we definitely recommend picking up on the cheap.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Central Park Media
MSRP: 19.99
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Birdy the Mighty