Reviewed by: Eeeper
Released by: Crunchyroll
Age Rating: 12+
Region: 2 - UK
Length: 325 minutes
Audio: Japanese 2.0 Stereo
A youth story centring on two young women golfers named Eve and Aoi Amawashi. The two come from completely different backgrounds, with completely opposite play styles, and together they will shake the world of golf.
Between Golf and Cricket as the most detestable sports ever, for me, I would say I prefer watching golf since I can actually understand how you lose or win the game. Cricket is a bunch of edjits in knitted sleeveless cardigans running up and down and then England loses by 3 wickets despite making 258,000 runs. Golf, for all its elitism, at least offers the chance to be a winner if you apply enough skill and patience.
Birdie Wing is not an anime that takes patience as a virtue, more of a hindrance. But this works for the show because this show has something that regular golf hasn't got enough of:
Yuri Power TM Girls
Eve is a young female golfer working in the trick shot and gambling circuit of Nafrece, a fictional European country, plying her trade and taking care of her extended family. Clients queue up to take her on in the most deserted and ramshackle places and pay crazy money to be defeated by her. It might have something to do with the fact that she's a leggy, blue-eyed blonde who is fifteen years of age. Most rich guys go for that kind of felony. And before you say "Phillip, that's disgusting!" the show actually has a female mini-boss (bonus points because she looks like a snake, complete with a catsuit that peels off like a skin) actively try to make a penalty of losing to her that she gets to have her way with Eve all night. So, it's not my interpretation, it's the tone of the setting. On top of that, she hustles against some unsavoury characters, like the local mob bosses.
Aoi is another young female golfer from Japan who has had a very different trajectory from Eve. The scion of two world-famous golfers, she has risen up the ranks of female athletes to become a contender for the top spot in the country. Effortlessly calm and gentle, Aoi has never really come up against an opponent she couldn't beat. All her battles within the ranks have been calculated both by her and her team plus her mother's company. So when she takes on a rival, she already knows their strengths and weaknesses. But when she comes across Eve, that goes out the window. Nobody knows anything about her, where she came from, or why she's in the competition that Aoi happens to be in too. Once the two girls meet, sparks fly and the two find themselves drawn to each other, battling to meet again, test their skills, and find out the backstory of each other. Pretty soon Eve ends up in Japan, with no idea how she can natively speak the language, shacking up at Aoi's family golf academy and throwing all the girls off, including Aoi's rivals at the other academies.
So, the show's main thing is the rivalry between Eve and Aoi but it's not like a standard sports drama, like say Slam Dunk, where the two eventually become friends after battling each other for 52 episodes. Here, after only an episode or two, Eve becomes INFATUATED with Aoi. She wants to know everything about her after Aoi trounces her at the tournament. The two girls clearly enjoy the excitement of trying to beat an opponent. But the thing that fans of the show and I have noticed and actively encourage is that their infatuation sometimes crosses the line between friendly rivals and romantic teasing. You only must look at the moments when Eve, when she realised Aoi is jealous of her spending time with the other girls at the school, cuddles and kisses Aoi on the cheek. This makes Aoi melt down and her handlers freak out and demand that Eve spend the night in someone else's room. Which Eve then uses to further tease Aoi. I don't know if it was the intention of the show's makers (this is an original show by Sunrise spin-off studio Bandai Namco Pictures) to make the girls THAT into each other with the intent of paying it off. The fear from the season one second part preview is that Aoi and Eve are related to each other and honestly, half the energy of the show is from finding out if they end up together because the two voices for Eve and Aoi, Akari Kito and Asami Seto, are perfect together. Eve is brash and headstrong, while Aoi is reserved and passionate. Plus I haven't gotten the other reason to watch the show.
As I mentioned earlier, this show has Yuri Power girls in it. And by that, I mean the girls who compete here might look like regular golfers but when Eve walks amongst them, they take on Shonen fighting show logic: I have to have an inner monologue where I initially gloat that my secret power will destroy the hero but then the tables turn and I end up crumbling and wondering how I was beaten by my clearly superior rival before I blow up in a geyser of blood. Ok, the geyser of blood doesn't happen in Birdie Wing but you get the idea. Couple to that, Eve takes her OP shots by shouting "BLUE BULLET!" before launching with the strength of a NASA event. Truthfully, I laugh that we haven't had an after-credit gag about the people Eve's killed with these golf balls. On top of that, there's an underlying tension between all the girls that in any other show would be resolved by a romantic entanglement. At least one of Eve's rivals back in Nafrece are so entangled that it's hard not to see them being with the person they hang out with. I don't want to say the entire show gives off this Yuri vibe but certain characters (Aoi and Eve, Vipere, Rose) clearly step over the line into a blank spot where most anime either back up from or run right over. Couple all of this with the insane hijinks going on behind Aoi and Eve to destroy them ("Got you now, my pretties", that kind of thing) and the show looks like it is the real sleeper hit of the season.
Animation by BNP is very smooth, and I have to commend Takayuki Inagaki (Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, Chio's School Road) for their direction and Yousuke Kuroda for series compositions. It's not easy driving a show this crazy and off the wall but the Birdie train never comes off the tracks. The opening song VENUS LINE by Kohmi Hirose is catchy, repetitive, and sounds like something that a golf drama where the girls are crazy for each other should have. The second season which was supposed to debut at the end of 2022 hits in April instead due to delays so why not take the gap to check out a series that is to golf what Yu-Gi-Oh is to card games?
Birdie Wing is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.