Why “Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story” Is a Must-See Anime
Lily is an underground golfer who competes to support street orphans, using her skills to destroy the spirits of her opponents. One day she meets her match, a Japanese girl who is just as skilled as her… and the match is on!
Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story is sports anime directed by Takayuki Inagaki. It centers on Lily, a girl who golfs illegally to raise money for three orphans, in a European county, Nafres, and the rich Japanese girl who matches her skill and determination to a tee.
As a warning, this recommendation discusses spoilers for the first six episodes of Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story.
Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story is much more than a common sports anime story. The latter is very popular. Some consider it an “outstanding” subgenre within shonen. Fans cheer for specific teams and become entranced in the plays of their favorite characters.
Eve (voiced by Kito Akari) is a scrappy, spunky teenager. She often works alongside her friend and caddy, Lily Lipmann (voiced by Akira Sekine). Eve uses her masterful golf skills to earn money through underground golf games. She strives to ensure that she, Lily, Klein Clara (voiced by Kinoshita Sayaka), Lily’s sister, and Klein’s three adopted children can continue living in their hovel in the slums.
This all changes when she meets Aoi Tenwa (voiced by Asami Seto). Aoi is a Japanese girl who likes playing golf for pleasure rather than for money. She is immediately impressed by Eve’s golf drives and challenges her to a game. Their talents collide. Eve, nicknamed the “Rainbow Bullet”, uses her skills to face off against Aoi, learning the pleasure behind golf itself.
Mafia bosses Catherine, Rose Alleon, and Nicholas, have dynamic personalities. The same is the case for Aoi’s caddy and adviser, Amane Shoijo and Rose’s right-hand woman, Anri. Aoi’s mother, and CEO of Tenwashi Group, has a strong personality as well. The famous underground golfer, Vipère, also known as the “Grim Reaper”, and junior golf champion Helene Robert leave a lasting impression.
The series also features characters such as Eve’s former golf “master”, Leo Millafoden, wanna-be professional caddy at Raijin Girls’ Academy, Ichina Saotome, Raijin Girls’ Academy adviser Reiya Amuro, and hard-working golfer at Raijin Girls’ Academy, Kinue Jinguji. Skilled voice actors such as Shuichi Ikeda, Saki Fujita, Toru Furuya, and Nakahara Mai voiced these characters.
Also appearing in the series is golf ace Mizuho Himekawa, a golfer who works with Mizuho at Nadanan Sports Girls’ Academy, Kaede Oikawa, a high-ranked golfer at Kaoran Girls’ High School, Kaoruko Iijima, Kaoruko‘s golfing pair, Kuyou Iseshiba, a skilled golfer at Raijin Girls’ Academy, Haruka Misono, an injured golfer named Chris Christie and Aoi’s father, Kazuhiko Hodaka. Yukari Tamura, Yuu Kobayashi, M ・ A ・ O, Satomi Arai, and Kiyoko Yonekura voice these characters.
The series theme song, composed and written by Kohmi Hirose, and arranged by Suketo Makusu, is full of energy. It makes you excited about watching each episode. Hirose, on the show’s official website, said that she arranged the song with “raw strings” and that she sang it with all her heart, hoping to give “more momentum” to the series.
Unlike other anime, diversity is central to Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story. In fact, a scene in the theme song hints that a Black female golfer, whose character has not been introduced yet, will appear in a future episode.
That is unique because anime and Black characters have a “sketchy past“. Even with some amazing Black characters in the past, Black characters are “a little under-represented” in anime.
Although their names and voices are not yet known, Klein reveals, in the show’s sixth episode, that her three adopted children, orphans who she took in, will be deported if she, Lily, and Eve are evicted from their home. The complexions of these cute orphans are shades of light to darker brown, implying they could be from countries in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.
Even though the orphans seem to bond more with Lily, than with Eve, they don’t ignore Eve. In fact, in one episode, Eve misses her match with Aoi, due to a late-night match with Vipère (voiced by Kaori Nazuka), a golfer contracted by Mafia boss Nicholas.
The orphans approach her in a childlike way, getting her out of her funk and pushing her to not wallow in her sorrow. This leads her to begin a virtual reality golf game later in the episode.
At the end of the fifth episode, and a major plot point in the sixth episode, is the issue of “urban renewal” and corrupt politicians. The former indicates racial injustices which are part and parcel of the system.
The neighborhood where Eve and her friends live is hinted to be a “dangerous” place, with shootings, corruption, and a presumed thriving black market. Even so, this is portrayed as a cold, hard reality, as part of a system imposed upon them.
There is more than political bribes, assassinations, and a Mafia-backed “redevelopment” plan in Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story. This show’s off-the-wall logic and over-the-top melodrama come to the fore with the scheduled demolition of Eve’s home. It is the opening salvo of gentrification, necessitating evictions and the destruction of residences. In their place will be a casino and the “necessary” accouterments.
There is debate on whether gentrification is a “process of change” creating conflict between new arrivals to a neighborhood and long-time residents or a process in which an influx of middle-class or wealthy people stream into a poor area of a city, rebuilding and renovating businesses and houses, often displacing the poorer residents. In any case, if the development plan is successful, the slum will be turned, over time, into an “upper-middle-class playground”.
Although some episodes of City of Ghosts, an all-aged animated series, talk about gentrification in San Francisco, this anime is different. It smacks you in the face with its focus on inequality, immigration, deportation, and political corruption. This anime makes clear that some, like Mafia bosses, will do anything to get what they want, rigging and manipulating the political system for their benefit.
With Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story, you can’t ignore, look away, or push off these themes as something that only exists in a fantasy world. They are something that the characters have to confront. After all, Eve’s determination to face Aoi in another match resulted in Catherine (voiced by Umeka Shoji) using underhanded methods to get her into the U15 Women’s World Championship.
This led Eve to unknowingly trigger the Mafia-backed slum redevelopment plan. The area, including the hovel where she, Lily, Klein, and Klein’s three adopted children, is being demolished, along with other illegal shops, as part of a racially tinged “urban renewal” plan.
This makes her feel guilty and furious with herself, and with Rose (voiced by Toa Yukinari). After training with Vipère, who has become her friend-of-sorts, she sides against Catherine and Rose. She plays on behalf of another Mafia boss, Nicholas, and against Rose, her former mentor.
Future episodes of the series, with a possible 12-episode order, will shine a light on this subject. It is a topic that I’ve never seen any other anime focus on. It is something that Western animation would shy away from, wanting to be “kid-friendly” and appeal to network executives.
The official site of Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story declares that this is the “first original anime series” which focuses on women’s golf. Whether that is the case or not, girls’ love, i.e. yuri, is a central component in the story. In fact, There’s No Heterosexual Explanation for the Golf Girl Anime” inspired me to start watching this series in the first place!
Steve Jones, writing for Anime News Network, states that like any other sports anime, the rivalry Eve and Aoi have is romantic, as much as “anything else”. This would be the case even if the series implies they are half-sisters like Cassandra and Rapunzel in Tangled.
Jones argued, in another review, that Eve dismisses Vipére’s flirtation, declaring that Aoi’s name is “already inscribed in her heart”. He rightly described this as an example of a “real disaster lesbian hours”. He adds that even if these romantic tropes are only a device to add more layers to the story, it “doesn’t make it any less gay.” I can’t agree more!
The series has been received positively by fans on Twitter and elsewhere. Some have shipped Eve and Vipére, noted beautiful female characters, and said the show is amazing, and a masterpiece.
The Eve and Vipére ship has some basis in the show. Both train together for the upcoming match between Eve and her former mentor, Rose. The game, taking place in the next scheduled episode, will decide the fate of her home at a special golf course owned and operated by Catherine, a shrewd Mafia boss.
Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story is more than “golf yuri” as Jones describes it. Rather the series is energetic, gleefully weird, and almost makes golf something that is cool and fun to watch, even if the sport itself is boring (in my opinion).
Accounts focusing on yuri anime news and anime fans have flocked to the show. Some have stated that the show has a lot of “girl bosses” and is “lesbians playing golf with mafia and explosions”. Others love Eve as a character and declared that the anime is full of “hot ladies.”
You could recognize, as Jones did, that the series takes place in the Madlax cinematic universe. This could imply that the fan servicey yuri drama, Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid, and this series, are in the same universe. He argues that the writing of Yousuke Koruda has a lot to the ridiculousness of this anime, making it feel, as Jones put it “so special and stupefying.”
All in all, there is no doubt that this anime is much more mature than Western animations, like The Owl House or The Ghost and Molly McGee. It has explosions, death, violence, blood, and all the rest, almost akin to Helluva Boss at some points. Even so, the orphans add a degree of cuteness to the series making you invested in the characters.
In fact, in the sixth episode of Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story, Eve revealed that she has no memories of her past beyond a few years ago. She tells Vipére that she had some sort of special golf abilities, implying that she is a golf supersoldier. This could be hinting that she is a long-forgotten half-sister of Aoi. In any case, human experimentation will likely be a future theme.
Episodes in the rest of this season, and a possible second season, may tackle Eve’s often-overconfidence, determination to do anything to beat her friends, and reckless golf playing. Such passionate playing got her involved in some shady dealings. It also resulted in her becoming a walking advertisement for certain products, as she was at the
a laser in Aoi’s eye so she would miss the shot. In another episode, Vipère used a poisonous scent to throw Eve off her game. It remains to be seen if Eve escapes the web of Mafia control.
I’m not a big sports person myself and dislike the whole sports culture. Previous sports anime I’ve watched, like Kandagawa Jet Girls and Tamayomi, were only mildly interesting. Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story is different. I liked it a lot better than I thought I would.
Eve might travel to Japan, meet Aoi, and challenge her to a game. She might continue underground golf games and intense training with Vipére. Her shady, underground dealings may pull in her friends. Again, golf matches will continue to “solve” disputes. Although
Those who work on this series are a talented bunch. The show’s director, Takayuki Inagaki, worked on Rosario + Vampire and Chio’s School Road. Kuroda, the show’s writer, wrote for Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, and My Hero Academia. A professional golf coach named Toru Inoue and the Global Golf Media Group worked with the show’s staff to make sure it accurately portrays golf games.
If Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story ever gets a dub, Black voice actors may voice some of the orphans and the Black female golfer. This would add to the growing roster of Black voice actors for anime dubs.
The series is currently streaming on Crunchyroll. The next episode, entitled “Aoi-colored Bullet“, will air on May 17.
Go watch this anime!
Author: Burkely Hermann
Burkely is an indexer of declassified documents by day and a fan fic writer by night. He recently earned a MLIS with a concentration in Digital Curation from the University of Maryland. He currently voraciously watches animated series and reads too many webcomics to count on Webtoon. He loves swimming, hiking, and searching his family roots in his spare time.
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