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Birdy the Mighty Anime Review

Birdy the Mighty Box Art

Birdy the Mighty

3.5 stars / OVA / Action / 13-up

Bottom Line

Good, old-fashioned anime fun.

It’s Like...

...Ranma 1/2 meets 3x3 Eyes, with alien terrorists.

Vital Stats

Original Title


Romanized Title

Tetsuwan Birdy

Literal Translation

Iron Arm Birdy

Animation Studio


US Release By

US Manga Corps


Humorous Sci-Fi Action

Series Type



4 episodes; 1 40-minute (ep 1), 3 30-minute (ep 2-4)

Production Date

1996-07-25 - 1997-02-25

What's In It


Look For

  • Crowded Bodies
  • Great Superpowered Fistfights
  • Psychic Brawls
  • Alien Beasties
  • Sweet Chases

Objectionable Content

  • Violence: 3 (significant)
  • Nudity: 3 (significant)
  • Sex: 1 (mild)
  • Language: 1 (mild)

full details

See Also


  • Birdy the Mighty: Decode (remake)

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Plot Synopsis

Tsutomu's just your average high school kid, busy studying for his senior high entrance exams. Out for some fresh air the night before the test, he (literally) runs into a guy fleeing a pretty young lady. Well, as with many anime guys, Tsutomu's not a particularly lucky lad, so it shouldn't come as much of a shock that the guy is actually an interplanetary criminal on the run from Federation agent Birdy. Worse, the mean man throws Tsutomu at the good guy and gets him killed. Bummer. Fortunately for Tsutomu (and Birdy's conscience), there is a way to keep him from taking a one way trip off Earth. Unfortunately for both, it involves merging Tsutomu and Birdy's bodies together.

So now Tsutomu's stuck sharing a body with a rather attractive and very strong space police agent while trying to keep his apathetic family and girlfriend from finding out about his woman problems, and to make matters worse, Birdy's still got to do her job, which involves taking on a rather secretive group of very bad aliens planning to perform some sort of maniacal experiment on the unsuspecting inhabitants of Tokyo. At least the exam doesn't seem so bad now.

Quick Review

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Birdy the Mighty isn't original in any way, but it is a nifty little action romp with all the trimmings. The top-notch superpowered fights are the main course, with sides of awkward "kid with a secret feminine side" situations and a selection of can't-help-but-love-'em anime characters, and the whole thing is sprinkled with a couple of cool police investigators looking for the pieces of the convoluted plot that ties it all together. Serve in a visually appealing package (look for Birdy and Tsutomu's marvelously expressive faces), and enjoy. The only real downsides are the somewhat flatly-acted English dub and that it's a little too short.

Fans of action and good old-fashioned anime fun should find plenty to like in Birdy the Mighty--everything you'd expect from classic anime, done right.

Read the full-length review...

Full Review

Switch to Quick Review

Birdy the Mighty isn't original in any way, but it wraps plenty of action, just enough convoluted plot, and a selection of can't-help-but-love-'em anime characters in an appealing package, making for a thoroughly enjoyable little series. Add a few marvelously awkward situations with a guy trying to keep his "feminine side" a secret and a couple of moderately cool police investigators involved in their own little mystery, and you've got some good, old-fashioned anime fun.

The storyline--a basic mystery investigation with a sci-fi twist--isn't the high point of Birdy the Mighty, but it gets the job done. Birdy herself doesn't make much of an investigator; she pretty much just wanders around until some bad guys show up for her to duke it out with. That would have relegated the story to the afterthought department, but the two Earth cops pick up the slack. Their investigation, despite being spread thinly throughout the series, ties things together.

Interestingly, it's the viewer that gets to put the pieces together from fragments uncovered by the detectives and cutscenes with the villains, since the police and Birdy have almost no contact with each other. Giving these "backstory only" characters a small plot thread of their own is one of the nice touches in the series, and, if you bother to pay attention, connecting the dots that they find keeps things interesting enough.

The only major weakness in the plot is that it's left wide open for a sequel that didn't materialize as such (the later TV series is a reboot). Even so, the conclusion is sufficiently satisfying that it's not much of an issue.

More fun than the plot, however, is Tsutomu's social circle; his rather awkward relationship with his girlfriend provides an emotional hook, and the interactions between him and his somewhat dysfunctional family serve up most of the quirky humor. The raunchy jokes you might be expecting are actually quite sparse--it's a remarkably clean show given the premise. On the weaker side, the series takes a rather unsuccessful shot at giving Tsutomu some angst in coming to terms with his condition; a lot more could've been done with it than the brief internal struggle early on.

In any case, Birdy the Mighty offers a nice blend of story and humor, but the biggest treat is the action, which ranges from good to great. Fans of psychics will find plenty to like--an extended brawl in part 3 is one of the best superpowered free-for-all fistfights I've seen in quite a while. The rest of the series has its share of wild and wooly action as well, including some sharp-looking fights with an ongoing string of cannon-fodder robots.

The director, Yoshiaki Kawajiri (of Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, et al fame), probably deserves much of the credit here. Birdy the Mighty has little else in common with the dark subject matter of most of his films, though his style is likely where the two investigating detectives get their panache.

Fast and furious action is nothing without good animation, and the show manages to use a moderate budget to serve up speedy and smooth action throughout. The sacrifice is less-smooth animation elsewhere, but the character animation is so full of life that you aren't likely to notice. Birdy in particular has a wonderfully expressive face that adds tremendously to her character.

The expressive faces more than make up for Birdy and Tsutomu's character designs being the least original of the otherwise distinctive lot; some of the villains are particularly cool. The aliens, however, are a disappointment--with the exception of Birdy's superior, they just look like mean seafood.

There is really only one potential weakness in Birdy the Mighty, and that's the dub. In fairness, almost all of the voices are cast appropriately, which helps, but the performances throughout much of the series are just sort of flat. Not badly acted necessarily, but a wild action/comedy like this can really benefit from a little over-the-top acting, something the dub is conspicuously lacking. Alex McCord as Birdy is probably the best of the lot (particularly in the more emotional moments), but the general lack of force (overacting would have been an improvement) takes some of the punch out of an otherwise great action flick, and does a real job on some of the humor. Kudos, though, to Tsutomu's family--in part due to the language transition some of the jokes fall completely flat, but by and large they have an amusing sense of dysfunction to them, and I particularly love Kim Carrell as his dad.

The Japanese dialogue isn't spectacularly better, but it is much more even and appropriately energetic. Similar to the English dub, the most memorable performances are again Tsutomu's family and Birdy, voiced by the ever-energetic Kotono Mitsuishi.

Kow Otani's largely average soundtrack does kick in some rockin' and rollin' action themes at most of the right moments, though things seem a little on the quiet side early in the series. The end theme in the first three parts, by Cherry, is the exception--bubbly and very catchy.

In all, Birdy the Mighty is a fine little action series with a healthy helping of situation comedy in the grand anime tradition. The acting in the dub lacks force, and it's a shame the series isn't longer, but if you like solid action, fun characters, and all the problems that come from having a high school student and a space police agent sharing the same body, this one is definitely worth a look, and there's even a convoluted mystery thrown in for good measure. Everything you'd expect from classic anime, done right.

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Related Recommendations

The setting was very different, but the feel has a lot in common with MAPS. Also bears some similarity to 3x3 Eyes. You might also think of Tenchi Muyo- or Dual-style sci-fi harem shows, but although the mood is similar, the harem angle is definitely not part of this one.

Notes and Trivia

Based on a relatively short manga series (not available in English as of this writing) by Masami Yuuki, better known for the long-running Patlabor manga. There is also a much newer anime TV series remake, Birdy the Mighty: Decode.

Birdy the Mighty is directed (and scripted, in the final episode) by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, famous for dark, often erotically-charged movies such as Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Wicked City, and Ninja Scroll. This series is nothing like the movies he is famous for, however.

US DVD Review

USM's DVDs are functional, but little more. Aside from acceptable video and audio transfers, a gallery of stills and a trailer or two is about the extent of the special features. The English credits are printed on the reverse side of the jacket insert with the embarrassing note "no information regarding the Japanese voice actors is currently available"--as with the old VHS release, only English acting credits are found at the end of the video, though at least they subtitled the songs this time. Maybe they should've had a look at the cast translation we had up back in 1999 (and it's ironic that the Japanese-language credits are left intact, implying the company didn't have anybody around who could read them).

Parental Guide

A few bits of more mature humor (although surprisingly little), a bit of nudity, and some fairly graphic violence account for USM's 13-up rating, though you could conceivably call the 2nd episode 16-up on account of the nudity.

Violence: 3 - Low body count, but does get pretty graphic on occasion.

Nudity: 3 - One low-detail scene in the 2nd part.

Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - A few randy comments, but pretty mild all things considered.

Language: 1 - Nothing of note.

Staff & Cast

Original Japanese Cast

Birdy: Mitsuishi Kotono
Tsutomu: Iwanaga Tetsuya
Natsumi: Nogami Yukana
Kouichirou: Kiiton Yamada
Izumi: Taichi Kotoe
Hazumi: Maruo Tomoko
Gomesu (Gomez): Ohtsuka Akio
Repi: Hyoudou Mako

Part 1:
Masakubo: Fujiwara Keiji
Hanezawa: Higo Makoto
Yamazaki: Aono Takeshi
Mori: Arima Katsuaki
Coroner: Furusawa Touru

Part 2:
Megiusu: Kiyokawa Motomu
Hikawa: Ichikawa Osamu
Yamazaki: Aono Takeshi
Yagibashi: Hoshino Mitsuaki
Chief: Ozaki Hajime
Ikeuchi: Nakamura Hiroki(?) (Hidetoshi?)
Old Man: Asou Tomohisa
Announcer: Nagayoshi Yuka

Part 3:
Megiusu: Kiyokawa Motomu
Hikawa: Ichikawa Osamu
Yamazaki: Aono Takeshi
Yagibashi: Hoshino Mitsuaki
Masakubo: Fujiwara Keiji
Hanezawa: Higo Makoto
Saramandiru: Nakamura Hiroki(?)
Hospital Director: Akimuto Yousuke

Part 4:
Hikawa: Ichikawa Osamu
Megiusu: Kiyokawa Motomu
Pachirusu: Wakamoto Norio
Giigaa: Okura (?) Yuusaku
Masakubo: Fujiwara Keiji
Hanezawa: Higo Makoto
Teacher: Nagasako(?) Takashi
Lady: Tano Megumi

English Dub Cast

Birdy: Alex McCord
Tsutomu: Justin Thompson
Father: Kim Carrell
Mother: Mary Alice McGuire
Gomez: Cory Carthew
Hazumi: Debbie Rabbai
Hikawa: Ted Lewis
Natsumi: Matty O'Shea
Additional Voices: Scott Cargle, Mary Alice McGuire, Doug Markley, Peter Cascone

Episode 1:
Geega: Brian Schneider
Meguis: Tom Foral

Episodes 3, 4:
Meguis: Tom Foral
Christella Revi: Mary Alice McGuire
Yagabashi: Justin Thompson
Yamazaki: Doug Markley
Additional Voices: Scott Cargle, Mary Alice McGuire, Doug Markley, Peter Cascone


Original Story: Yuuki Masami (published as "Tetsuwan Birdy" in Shuukan Shounen Sunday, by Shougakkan)
Script: Chiaki Konaka (ep 1-3), Yoshiaki Kawajiri (ep 4)
Producers: Tsutomu Sugita, Fumio Ueda, Kazuhiko Ikeguchi, Masao Maruyama, Satoshi Yoshimoto
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Acting Director: Hideo Hayashi (ep 4)
Character Designer: Kumiko Takahashi (ep 1-3), Hirotsugu Hamasaki (ep 4)
Animation Director: Kumiko Takahashi (ep 4)
Art Director: Masashi Aoki
Photography Director: Hitoshi Yamaguchi
Monster Design: Yutaka Izubushi (ep 1-3), Yoshinori Sayama (ep 4)
Music: Kou Otani

Theme Song (ep 1-3): "Future Shock"
Lyrics: Tania Hiroko
Composer: Kawano Miki
Arrangement: Hayashi Yuuzou
Performed by: Cherry

Theme Song (ep 4): "Sayonara Kara Hajimeyou" (Let's Start With Goodbye)
Lyrics: Satou Arisu
Composition/Arrangement: TA, Cool
Performed by: The S-H-E

Animation by: Mad House
Produced By: Bandai Visual, Shogakukan, (and Yuuki Masami)


Formerly available in North America from the late US Manga Corps on two hybrid DVDs of two episodes each ("Double Trouble" and "Final Force," respectively); it hasn't been re-licensed after USM went out of business. USM had previously released it on two subtitled or dubbed VHS volumes.

USMs DVDs have been out of print for a while and at last check were quite difficult to find, not to mention very expensive when copies do turn up; Amazon has both listed, and used copies come up occasionally: Birdy the Mighty - Double Trouble, Birdy the Mighty - Final Force.

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