Birdie Wing is an enigma of an anime series. It appeared in the spring 2022 anime season and while it didn’t really take the anime world by storm. Still, it gathered an audience of anime fans for people who like older anime, people who like anime to be a little queer, and both of those things. The trailer of it makes it look like just a normal sort of golf anime, but it is anything but normal. Especially when you put in the words of an underground golf mafia in Nafrece (Psuedo France), techniques that ruin normal golf, and wonderful characters you can’t get anywhere else.
This is the story of a young, blond girl named Eve who doesn’t remember anything about her past but actually knows how to play golf in the most insane and hilarious way there too. It really captures the imagination as this young blond girl just wants to play gold with the Japanese girl, Aoi Amawashi, who showed her a different path in golf. That gold can be fun. It’s too bad that Eve had to survive gambling with the mafia in their underground gold arena before ever making it to Japan to play with Aoi in a Japanese all girls gold championship. It’s a great journey though.
So that insanity and honestly about what Birdie is like and what its about is there. But there have been some other reasons why older anime fans have dug into it a bit more. There is a lot of older sorts of tropes and drama put into Birdie Wing that makes it appeal to those sorts of fans. I’m one of them and it feel so refreshing to see older style animation techniques and drama put into a newer anime series. It’s like Tokyo Mew Mew New now because that has a lot of 90’s style writing and character tropes. Very similar to that and it just creates a unique sort of anime you can’t see anywhere else. But what are those things? Let’s talk about some of them.
This is the most obvious part of Birdie Wing that everyone talks about. Gundam and Gunpla references. They are everywhere in this show. Here is Lilly with her collection of gunpla. She builds a lot of it on screen. Or we could talk about Ichina comparing golf gear to mobile suits? Or what about that fact that Shuichi Ikeda (Char Aznable) voices a character named Leo who trained Eve in his way of golfing? Or what about Coach Amuro voiced by Amuro Ray’s original seiyuu Toru Furuya? There is so much of it that Birdie Wing could almost be considered a gundam show. Almost, but not quite.
The Sunrise Pose
Yeah, this is the start of some older anime references. This was shot from episode 1 when Aoi pulled out her huge club she can hit golf balls at higher distances. Could she have pulled out the golf club in a normal way to show how huge it is? Yeah. So this is a very deliberate choice in referencing the scene that came from Exkaiser, the Sunrise pose. A pose that you see everywhere in mecha series or action series where people have insanely large swords. But no, golf. This is a gold anime and it shows that there is something about this series besides lesbians playing gold with each other.
Post Card Memories and other sorts of Dezaki references.
Do you know what this trope is? It’s usually like an anime’s end card that is made in some sort of style in order to create some kind of lasting impact or memory until the next episode. So that means capturing some sort of art style to it as well here too. There are a lot of dynamic sort of post card memories put into the show that it’s an obvious choice. It’s really cool and I love that they are all over Birdie Wing because they are such creative scenes into them here too.
There are a lot of other scenes that kind of replicated the older style of anime too. For instance, Eve staring out into the water that is colored a certain way that only old anime would. The very shiny and reflective style that you can’t find anywhere else. Birdie doesn’t do that itself, but the coloring of the water in those scenarios are there too.
Old Fashion Rivalries
A lot of the chemistry and rivalries between characters feels like something in Tomorrow’s Joe to me. Eve is a girl from the streets who had to play golf in order to make money. Aoi is a girl that has had everything set up for her because she is very skilled at gold but also innocent and sheltered because of that fact. What connects the two is them wanting to play golf with each other. Tomorrow’s Joe is like that with Joe and Rikishi wanting to box each other with Joe in the streets and Rikishi has a promising career while being attached to a company.
Then there is the fact that all the other rivalries in Birdie Wing are like that too. While the characters are interested in each other, it’s these girls wanting to play golf with each other in their super powered shonen abilities that makes it work. Once again, another thing that is similar to Tomorrow’s Joe too. Yeah, it just makes complete sense for that too. I don’t think that I’ve seen other sorts of anime rivalries like this recently.
It’s Gay and/or It’s Class S kind of story
Aoi and Eve obviously like each other quite a bit. Even if Eve doesn’t admit it, it feels like a true thing. Older shoujo is not something that I can really say a lot of about this, but it does feel like an older kind of set up where two people of the same gender get an attraction to each other of some kind and then its taken away. The usual sort of thing where an innocent girl gets infatuated with someone with a rougher life style and they really do like each other, but then that street girl dies and the other one never seeks someone of the same gender again.
So it would be something like Banana Fish did or even Vampire in the Garden recently. Birdie Wing feels like it’s doing the same thing with the innocent Aoi falling in love with the street born Eve. I’m hoping not, but I can’t help but think that Birdie Wing is going to go in that dramatic direction in the end because Nafrece’s mafia is still going after Eve and after Eve and Aoi win the girl’s tournament, Eve’s face is going to be everywhere. I hope that I am wrong, but that is my running theory at the moment. Yeah, I really don’t want to be right about this.
I don’t think that I got all the sorts of references or all the reasons why older anime fans are into Birdie Wing, but these are the ones that caught on in my mind. Once again, this is not the entire reason why Birdie Wing is good because these could be all gone or not as obvious and Birdie Wing would be so cool and insane to watch. Birdie Wing is its own thing and its so good for all the loveable characters put into such insane ways onto them there too. Yeah, I just really dig all of it onto it as well here too. Just watch Birdie Wing.