It’s relatively common knowledge that the second season of Birdy the Mighty: Decode is better than the first. When I’d finished the first season I found that claim odd because although I echoed the sentiment of many people that it was good but not outstanding, I wondered how the second season could improve on the formula.
sees Birdy fight in a ruined city, bursting through crumbling buildings and trickling water mains with destructive abandon
Boy meets girl, boy ends up cohabiting girl’s body. It certainly feels familiar in the same way that any gender-bending situation is - Kokoro Connect, Ranma ½, Kämpfer et. al. - but here there is the quirk of the girl being an absurdly strong intergalactic investigator on the hunt for dangerous criminals on the “backwater” planet Earth. I thought I knew what to expect from that sort of introduction which perhaps explains why I stopped watching it when it first aired in 2008. It’s fair to say then that my expectations were challenged in the first season, then totally surpassed by the second.
A review of the first Sidonia no Kishi anime series
The first trailer that I saw for Sidonia no Kishi (Knights of Sidonia) was linked to by someone who was obviously very excited at the prospect of the series. For me, the trailer produced only indifference: giant robots, monsters, space; I’ve seen all of this before. Even the post-broadcast Netflix announcement trailer wouldn’t have convinced me, and I only saw that having watched the whole series. The core issue being that robots fighting in space is an easy sell but it’s not what makes Sidonia a special series. You can’t tout super-massive architecture, questioning the nature of humanity or glorious science-fiction as selling points in a minute and thirty seconds.
what humanity was before has ceded to pragmatism and necessity, to survive it must change and adapt
Many people have categorised the series as “hard” science-fiction which seems like a misuse of the term. Sidonia is very rich, but its use of laborious and detailed scientific explanations is extremely limited and most of the time non-existent - this isn’t Banner of the Stars. This is about a gargantuan colony “seed” ship, the titular Sidonia, floating through the cosmos defending itself against grotesque aggressors, the Gauna.
It's probable that Bodacious Space Pirates isn't what you expect. Based off the imaginatively titled Miniskirt Space Pirates light novel, this is not cute girls drinking tea in space. Well, not all of the time.
The series starts divisively enough by explaining the finer points of course plotting and the minutiae of electronic warfare between space vessels, hammering home the point with an encounter concluded through abstract blobs moving about on a computer screen and the futuristic equivalent of touch typing. It's an approach that nestles between the hard science-fiction of Sekai no Senki and the bombast of Nadesico.
A lot can be said for a good story well told. Ano Natsu de Matteru rockets into the romance genre with a concept that by all rights should be weary from overuse, but is instead energised by likeable characters and a story that is impassioned and dramatic with little triteness.
Crowbarring five teenagers onto a sub-tropical island was suspect enough but meeting up with a childhood friend...
Not surprising really given the talent behind almost every facet: the director has past triumphs with Toradora!, Ano Hi Mita Hana andA Certain Scientific Railgun, the writer is the same person responsible for Please! Teacher and music is provided by the imitable I'VE SOUND group including opening lyrics penned by none other than alumni KOTOKO - it's like getting the band back together. The creators indelible fingerprints are everywhere, whether it's the cerulean skies and over-saturated greenery encapsulating a youthful summer or the skilful manipulation of character affections and steady meting out of drama; to say it was well produced would be doing it a disservice.
"What are you watching?" "It's about a rebellion and government sponsored mercenaries, but in space." "What's it called?" "Bodacious Space Pirates" "..." "..." "Want to watch a documentary on polar bears?"
These are not today's surly pirates who kidnap and extort or even those of yesteryear who rape and plunder but- well, in three episodes there hasn't been much of any kind of piracy. The assumption is that there will be pillaging and perhaps even looting at some point, it may even take place in space but whether these endeavours will be bodacious is the primary question.