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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.



This Koko is no clown
Opening with a running fight down a freeway where anti-tank missiles and heavy vehicles are tossed around like party favours, the first episode never lets up, setting a standard that the show maintains throughout.


Cosplay: One Piece

Paul Jacques rounds up the best dressed fans
With a tip of the hat to the best-selling One Piece, Fayyaz Dawda cosplays as the bendy-limbed hero Luffy.

Soccer heroes in anime

Helen McCarthy on anime's football crazies
Sports have been around in anime from very early in its history, but the first identifiable sports anime, Yasuji Murata's Animal Olympics in 1928, didn't feature soccer. In fact, the beautiful game was a latecomer to the anime sports world. Compared with baseball, soccer had few fans.

Nura Rise of the Yokai Music: LM.C

Tom Smith on the rise of the UK clan
LM.C are amongst a very elite type of Japanese musician. The clan they belong to is so exclusive that its numbers barely reach into the double digits. And its members are also a diverse bunch, including a guitar legend named Tomoyasu Hotei, a boiler-suited new-wave trio called POLYSICS, to a dark, heavy noise making machine dubbed Dir en grey. There’s even pop goddess Hikaru Utada in there too to balance things out.

Birmingham Comic Con Announcements

For those that missed our panel in Brum...
Attack on Titan, the One Piece movies, Ghost in the Shell: ARISE and more...

Podcast: The Evangelion Two-Step

Box sets and brutal violence, in our 23rd podcast
Jeremy Graves is joined by Jerome Mazandarani and Andrew Hewson for our 23rd podcast., featuring cover woes, delayed shows, and several uses of the word Slash. Your questions answered, dodged or otherwise belittled, while Jerome confesses to his Facebook addiction, and Jeremy is reprimanded for flagging his own segues.

Time Travel in Anime

Paul Browne rewinds from Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower into the past
In the latest Naruto film The Lost Tower, the title character and his comrades embark on a mission to capture Mukade – a missing ninja who has the ability to travel through time. Mukade’s plan is to travel into the past and take control of the Five Great Shinobi Countries. During the battle with Mukade, Naruto and Yamato find themselves hurled back twenty years in time. Will Naruto and his friends be able to return to his own time? And will their actions in the past save the future?

Cosplay: Pokemon

Paul Jacques has gotta catch'em all at the London Super Comic Con
Lisa Moffatt and Natasha Fountain spread their wings as Moltres and Articuno from the unstoppable Pokemon franchise, snapped by our roving photographer Paul Jacques at the London Super Comic Con back in the spring.

One Piece Music: The Babystars

Tom Smith on the band behind the third opening
Babystars may want to change their name; Two of the remaining members are now pushing towards 40-years of age, making them more middle-aged than babies. As for being stars, a lot has changed since their debut back in 2002…

Magi the Labyrinth of Magic

In search of the animated Arabian Nights
The literary history of the Arabian Nights that underlies Magi is fascinating. The one point that any Magi fan should know to sound erudite is that three of the show’s main characters, Aladdin, Alibaba and Sinbad, are named after famous Arabian Nights heroes. However, none of these heroes were actually in the original collection.
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