- Titles: BIRDIE WING -Golf Girls’ Story-
- Genre: Sports!, drama, crime, kinda yuri but not really
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: Bandai Namco Pictures
The Birdie Wing narrative is unnecessarily complicated if you ask me. Eve is this golf prodigy in some European country who was taught by a mysterious mentor. She now does golf scams and plays in dangerous underground golf tournaments (yup) to earn money for herself and her found family of all-girl orphans who is currently living and operating an illegal bar that apparently makes no money… but is always well stocked. With booze and very small children… Aoi is also a golf prodigy, from Japan. She is the daughter of two golf legends and has been pushed to preserve and honour her legacy her whole life. The two meet by chance and fall in love with each other’s golf. Then there’s like this whole mafia story, people get killed, they have to run away in the middle of the night, there’s a gold super villain that uses poison and after that, the story begins when Eve flies to Japan, enrolls in the same school as Aoi and they start working towards becoming the women’s par golf champions or something. Pretty ladies do golf together and it’s a little yuri but not really.
The ED of this show looks really nice. It’s visually quite different from anything in the show proper. And it features the brand Jack Bunny on all the clothing. Since there is no Jack Bunny mentioned in the show I got curious and looked it up. Turns out that Jack Bunny is a Japanese athletic clothing brand and Bridie Wing is a “collaboration” to promote their new golf clothing line. Well ok then!
I do think the ED is the best-looking part of the show. Otherwise, it’s just kind of ok. I would call Birdie Wing generally nondescript. The character designs are fine, some are pretty cute. But they’re not striking and kind of interchangeable with dozens of other cute anime girls. Also, the rendering of those characters is pretty inconsistent so they end up looking a bit derpy from time to time.
Similarly, the backgrounds look fine. In fact, all those lush grounds with mountains in the background are genuinely beautiful but they also get kind of repetitive. Golf courses tend to look a lot alike after a while. And other settings are lacklustre.
By far the most visually interesting spot was the mechanized mafia golf course that was literally underground. The way it moved to rearrange the layout was fun to look at and to me the most visually entertaining moment.
That’s about it. I don’t have much to say on the voice acting and aside from the OP music, I don’t really remember the sound design. And I just watched the show. I was mildly disappointed that they didn’t make an effort to make the “golf” sounds stand out more. You know, the wack of the club on the ball, the thud on the ground. Those sounds are there, it would be extremely weird if they weren’t, but they’re sort of dull.
Man, I complain a lot. Let me summarize. Bridie Wing looks fine. It’s fine.
Story & Characters
I wasn’t kidding in my synopsis, I think one of the biggest things playing against the plot and character development of Birdie Wing is the narrative. To story works against itself. Before I go on there’s a big caveat here so I’ll get one of my points out of the way right now.
Season 1 of Birdie Wing is incomplete. It really should have been a split cour instead of two different seasons. And this is not a case where there are a lot of loose threads and questions to answer but we leave off in a satisfying spot. It more or less ends right in the middle of a sentence. OK not a sentence but a match, in the middle of it… The last few episodes are set up for things that never come.
The second season of Birdie Wing has already been announced for winter 2023 and now I feel like I have to watch it. Still, I don’t like when anime do that. There is so much imoredictability in the industry that the chances of leaving your audience hanging are very high. I like it when they at least aim at finding a nice place to stop for now.
Anywho, what this has as an effect is that I find the first season very hard to judge. My impression of the story could change drastically once I see the second half. A lot of elements which seem superfluous and unnecessary might turn out to be brilliant. This post is basically reviewing half a show, so keep that in mind. I will have t revisit it after season 2. For now, I will do the best I can with what I’ve seen so far.
To me, the first half of the season, essentially the whole violent mafia storyline, was a waste of time. It’s not that I disliked it. I thought the idea of rough and tumble criminal golf tournaments was rather funny. And I do like the characters introduced but, they seem like they belong to a different show altogether. Ultimately, Birdie Wing felt like it was actually starting once Eve got to Japan and started on her traditional sports! anime journey. You know, training, getting used to a new team, meeting increasingly powerful rivals every few episodes. You know the drill.
Honestly, I liked that arc of Birdie Wing. I found it easier to get into.
However, the first half of the season set up this grimy crime drama with golf in it. There was amnesia, child prostitution, racketeering, mob hits, the whole shebang. And that could have been a cool show as well if they stuck to it. It felt a bit disjointed and not quite thought out all the way through which is why I personally had a bit more trouble engaging with the first half of the show but it also had the potential to become something truly fun and unique.
Instead, that entire arc, which was the entire arc of the show, is dropped suddenly over the course of half an episode, and the show becomes something completely different.
As it currently stands, I feel the time that was spent partially developing about half a dozen characters we might never see again would have been better spend fleshing out the girls at Raiou academy and making Eve and Aoi’s relationship a bit deeper than just liking each other’s golfing.
There are some little tonal quirks here and there as well. For instance, when Eve first gets to Japan from her imaginary European country of Nafrece she tries talking to the locals in broken English. Literally, the voice actress switches to English. But she gets quickly frustrated and just switches to Japanese. The other character is stunned that Eve can speak the language and asks her how come and Eve just looks stunned herself and says something along the lines of I guess I can speak Japanese, I wonder how come. And that’s it. It’s never mentioned again.
You can tell from the expressions on the character’s faces that this is a joke. And it’s the only instance of anything even resembling meta humour in the entire show. I loved it. It’s weird and for some may feel out of place but I think that makes it work even more. However, it works the other way as well. Tiny instances of high drama or tension pop up here and there and seem unconnected to the rest of the show. In my opinion, it hurts the momentum of the series.
At the end of the day, Birdie Wing is a fine half a surreal crime drama and a fine half a sports! anime. It’s fine.
You might like this anime if:
You want to watch a golfing anime. There aren’t all that many out there!
My favourite character:
Ichina, the aspiring caddy. I thought she was adorable.
an Arnold Palmer (delicious)
- Every time Eve says Bleu Bullet – take a sip
- Every time we see Aoi’s parents – take a sip
- Every time there are little kids in a bar – gasp!
- Every time anyone mentions the Under 15 – take a sip
- Every time there’s a wing motif – take a sip
- Every time anyone mentions Gundam – take a sip
- Every time we see a turtle – take a sip
- Every time we see Raiou Academy – take a sip
- Every time Eve wants to play – take a sip
- Every time your wonder why Amane is wearing a school uniform even though she’s clearly in her thirties – take a sip
- Every time an argument gets solved through golf – take a sip
- You can take as many sips as you want it’s just iced tea and lemonade
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.