Jason checks out Hideki Ohwada's politically-charged mahjong manga, The Legend of Koizumi.
Birdy the Mighty
VHS 2 - Final Force
You'd hardly know this was a Yoshiaki Kawajiri anime. Scenes in high schools, Japanese households... the man best known for bringing us stuff like Wicked City and Ninja Scroll shows himself to be surprisingly capable of the other side of the anime genre.
As we saw in the last volume, Birdy is an intergalactic police officer who accidentally kills high school student Tsutomu Senkawa on an assignment. The only way to save him is to merge their personalities a la Lily Tomlin/Steve Martin in "All of Me." Birdy can change the two back to her body so she can get her work done, but his future love interest saw him change, and she wants to know what's going on!
But there are serious matters at hand. A group of masterminds bent on turning the residents of Tokyo into mutant hell-beasts by poisoning the water supply sees Birdy as quite the adversary, and they've sent a cyborg girl out to bump her off. The location? The very amusement park where Tsutomu agreed to meet his girl!
The plot isn't all that original, but Kawajiri milks it for all it's worth, and the end result is not only worth watching, but has a certain sedated intrigue previously only captured by Mamoru Oshii in the Patlabor movies. School yard and domestic incidents have the same low-key appeal as a good epsiode of Maison Ikkoku, and the sci-fi aspect is quite nice as well.
The character designs are very nice (although the last episode it changes to the more cartoony), and are done by Kumiko Takahashi (Mermaid's Scar... No, I'm not talking about Rumiko). The music needs some work overall, but the end theme, "Future Shock," (performed by Cherry) is a lot of fun.
The dub is not bad overall, although Tsutomu's whining gets old. Birdy and just about everyone else is excellent. There are some minor slip-ups, but they're forgivable.
Overall, Birdy the Mighty has a pretty nice end chapter here. I wish there was more: This show is quite entertaining!
Overall (dub) : B+
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