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Double-backed anime & Birdy The Mighty Decode

Tuesday 17th April 2012

Andrew Osmond gets his head around cut-up anime chronologies

Birdy The Mighty DecodeHere’s a handy tip for anyone embarking on the SF action show Birdy the Mighty Decode. The last episode in the collection – part 26, called “Between You and Me” – is not really the last episode. In fact, it should be part 14, as it bridges the two main story-arcs that make up the show. Even more confusingly, part 25 – which is the real final episode, with a terrifically animated skyscraper-smashing punch-up – has a “next episode” ad for part 26 tagged on at the end. The advert shows rough unfinished animation, suggesting it was only in early production when part 25 was broadcast.

In fact, the “Between You and Me” episode wasn’t shown when Birdy the Mighty Decode ran on Japanese television. Rather, it’s a video release, put out on Japanese DVD a few months after the TV series had ended. It extends the story of a character who’s central to the show’s first arc, and gives more of an introduction to some characters in the second. However, the episode isn’t vital to follow the series.

Darker than Black: Twilight of the GeminiThere was a different situation with another SF action series, Darker than Black: Twilight of the Gemini, which was released in Britain a few months ago. This was a sequel to the previous Darker than Black, with both anime set in a post-catastrophe world where people have developed lethal superpowers. However, viewers who watched Gemini straight after Darker than Black would likely be bewildered. A great many things have happened off-screen between the shows, including one of the main characters somehow attaining a deadly divinity.

Luckily, there’s a simple way for British viewers to avoid confusion; watch the third disc of the Twilight of the Gemini DVD first. The third disc, you see, contains a four-part video series, which was called Darker than Black: Gaiden in Japan. Like Birdy’s bonus episode, this spinoff was released in Japan after the TV show had finished. The story is set between the first Darker than Black and the Gemini sequel, and it explains exactly what happened in the interim, making Gemini far easier to follow. Perhaps the Japanese marketers set out deliberately to confuse the Japanese TV viewers, so they would invest in the video to learn what on earth had happened to the Darker the Black characters.

Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Demon WombBirdy and Darker than Black are far from the only anime with double-backed chronologies. Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Demon Womb, for example, is often called a sequel to Legend of the Overfiend when it actually seems to be a “midquel”; that is, it’s set during the events of the previous film. Then again, Womb curiously relocates the main characters from Tokyo to Osaka, which could be a continuity goof or proof that Demon Womb is set in a parallel universe to Overfiend.

The series She the Ultimate Weapon – Another Love Song fills in an elaborate “untold story” missed out of the TV She the Ultimate Weapon, spanning the first ten episodes. Anime spinoff movies can be midquels, telling “untold” adventures from characters’ pasts when their stories have ended (apparently) for good on TV. See the Cowboy Bebop movie, for example, or this year’s Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos.

Wolfs RainOne more example of story confusion caused by a crossover from TV to video is the fantasy lupine epic, Wolf’s Rain. On its TV run, the show was subject to production delays and wandering timeslots, leading to no less than four redundant recap episodes (parts 15 to 18). The TV run finished with a stirring finale to part 26, which viewers might well mistake for the ending. In fact, the real end was made as a four-part video, released on the seventh Wolf’s Rain disc in Britain and included in the collected editions. The video ends the story on a very different, tragic-yet-cathartic, note to the TV series, so be warned; if you only watch anime on Japanese TV, you can miss the best bit of the story.

Birdy the Mighty Decode: The Complete Collection, is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment. Sometimes we count ourselves lucky we can watch it all in one go…

Double-backed anime & Birdy The Mighty Decode


Birdy The Mighty: Complete Series Collection

was £39.99
The entire season! Collecting Decode 1 and Decode 2 for the first time!
Birdy is an interstellar space agent sent to Earth to investigate the appearance of aliens under the secret identity of a popular Idol. A frantic late night mission causes her to catch an innocent schoolboy in her deadly line of fire. Thanks to a special space technology, Birdy knows a way to restore his life by joining their two bodies into one. Now Tsutomu and Birdy must share the same body, mind and adventures while his broken flesh slowly heals.



Out Now: Naruto Shippuden 16

Ninja action sneaking to a store near you
Naruto Shippuden box 16 is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.


Tom Smith on the band behind Be As One
Unlike a number of the bands featured on the Manga UK blog, W-inds haven’t had much of a history with anime tie-ins despite their massive success. In fact, in 14 years they’ve only ever done two anime themes; their first in Akira Amano’s Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, and more recently with Hiro Mashima’s Fairy Tail, where their 29th single Be as One became its sixth ending.

Unspinning Fairy Tail

Hugh David argues that the treasure is in the detail
The biggest influence on this anime is not tabletop RPGs or even the long-standing fantasy fiction genre itself. No, the stamp of numerous Japanese role-playing videogames is all over Fairy Tail, from the Atelier series to the Final Fantasy franchise, in particular Final Fantasy XII

Guilty Crown Goes Dark

Andrew Osmond on anime that turn to the dark side…
If it sounds like Guilty Crown’s getting dark, it is. In particular, there’s been a lot of comment on how dark some of the main characters get, in a series that seemed relatively light, even cheesy, in its first half. Star Trek used to have episodes set in a so-called ‘Mirror Universe,’ where the familiar cast could be really bad. Guilty Crown does something similar, without the mirror.
Some of you may have heard that the US release of the hotly anticipated Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo has been delayed. Unfortunately we can now confirm that this has had a knock-on effect for the UK DVD and Blu-ray release and as a result we have been forced to amend the release date. We are very sorry for this but it is beyond our control.


It's back on the magic carpet for the second box set
In the aftermath of the Balbadd storyline, Alibaba and Aladdin must move on, stopping over in the lively kingdom of their ally Sinbad, before being obliged to enter another dungeon.

Naruto Music: 7!!

Tom Smith on the newest numero-enchanted musicians
It may sound odd to English ears, but 7!!’s choice of pronunciation makes sense (well, a tiny bit of sense) when put into the context of where the band grew up; Okinawa. It’s an area that’s closer to Taiwan than mainland Japan, and one that’s had a heavy US military presence since the Second World War. These factors, among plenty of others, have had an affect on the cultural evolution of the islands, and one of the most evident examples can be found in local popular music scene.

Bleach Music: Miwa

Tom Smith rings the ch-ch-changes…
Bleach series 13 continues the clash between Soul Society’s Shinigami and Sousuke Aizen’s Arrancar army. It also brings with it a new talent in Japanese pop-rock: miwa. This fresh-faced female, armed with a guitar and an arsenal of upbeat pop-rock songs, provides the series’ twelfth opening theme, ‘chAngE’.

Podcast: Speaking of Hugos and Gareths

More than one way to skin a catbus, in our 24th podcast
Jeremy Graves is joined by Jerome Mazandarani, Andrew Hewson and Jonathan Clements, for a series of rants and ill-informed commentary about anime, manga, the storm over the Hugo Awards, and your most awkward convention moment.

Who's Who in Dragon Ball 1

Ever wonder just how Goku and friends became the greatest heroes on Earth?
Wonder no more, as the original Dragon Ball reveals the origins of Akira Toriyama’s beloved creations! The faces may look familiar, but everything else is different in this classic series!
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