Saturday, May 16, 2009

Don't let the space mice catch you masturbating

The triumphant conclusion! Or not. Yuuki Masami seems to have been quietly informed halfway through the storyline collected in the last two volume of Birdy the Mighty that Young Sunday was being quietly taken out back and shot for no fucking discernable reason. He somehow managed to make the last volume not end on a cliffhanger, and found a new magazine to continue the series in, so I suppose I've got to go pick up Birdy the Mighty Evolution 1 now.
We were just talking about Moyashimon and characters being subservient to the author's high concept, but Yuuki Masami's writing is exactly the opposite, occasionally to a fault.
Like Patlabor, Birdy the Mighty is fundamentally a character centric work with an insanely complicated plot. In fact, Patlabor's fantastic ending is the one thing that gives me any confidence he'll be able to make sense of this mess. Each individual arc functions perfectly well, but the characters that flit in and out all seem to be inhabiting fully functioning stories of their own, the beginnings and endings and middles of which we are not privy to, so we constantly get little character building moments of theirs that just happen to cross paths with Birdy herself, who functions as sort of a fringe character, constantly tripping over the big picture, punching it in the face, and then merrily running away before she really gets a glimpse of it.
This storyline, for instance, involves Tsutomu (the human boy Birdy's sharing bodies with) and his friends getting kidnapped by space soldiers. Birdy winds up fighting her way up the ship protecting them, and they wind up finding out the truth about what's been going on all this time. About time. There's also a subplot about Tsutomu's sex drive coming back, which (when he tries to sneak one after Birdy falls asleep) leads to the unfortunate moment with the space mouse.
While the main character have a relatively simple perspective on it, the space dog soldier who goes bug fuck insane and starts shooting the walls of the living space ship to capture them is clearly in some maverick anti-hero action movie of her own, and they were only kidnapped because of the space dog page boy who got caught while on an illegal underhanded mission for the space parrot delegated to monitoring the situation on earth and the potential of opening official diplomatic channels with Earth civilizations (an option the military have ruled out, on the theory that Earth has no unified central government) and space parrot only ordered the page boy to enlist Birdy's help in recovering the space republic's satellite probe because he was convinced the general's arrogance was going to lead to conflict with earth citizens that could potentially cause issues should they ever initiate first contact.
Fucking massively complex shit to have hovering idly in the background while the main characters are punching things and being embarrassed about having to strip down for decontamination.
I'm rather lost for where to go from that, so let's just settle for claiming arbitrarily that the anime totally fucking missed the point of the manga, and everyone should read the manga instead because it is better. FACT.


  1. One of the few reasons I'm kinda wishing I'm taking Japanese in college. I appreciate the scanlation, but it's unreadable.

  2. Hey, mister. It may be true that the manga is much better, but the anime was still pretty damn good (at least season 2), with some really spectacular fighting animation, particularly in the final episode.

  3. The action in the two episodes I watched was spectacular. No one argues with Akane's chops as a director.
    But the anime came up with its own plot and made some fatal decisions - like Birdy's ghastly airhead model alternate persona. Every time that voice came out of her it made me want to throw up.
    All the voices were a bit miscast, all the character seemed reduced to the most superficial understanding of them - sure, they're pretty standard cogs in the wheel to begin with, but the manga has consistently done subtle shades of characterization that distinguished them from the stereotype, and created slightly more interesting dynamics between them. In the two episodes I watched, the anime appeared to be utterly failing at that. I'd probably have stuck around for most of the length, grumbling a bit (like I did with Spice and Wolf) if it weren't for the fucking model voice, but I doubt I'd ever have been really happy with it.

  4. I found the first season to be pretty boring, but the second picked up the pace and made it less about teenage love trouble morphed into civilization destroying weapons, and more about crazy action and plotty background things. I'll probably get around to reading the manga One Day [tm], but for now the anime experience will have to do.

    I think you should try to get a hold of s2e12 and watch it simply for the mindblowing animation. They really let the animators go wild.