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Western Animation / Bird Boy: The Forgotten Children

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There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds.

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Spanish: Psiconautas, los niños olvidados; festival title: Psychonauts, the Forgotten Children) is a 2015 Spanish animated coming-of-age film written and directed by Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero, based on the comic Psiconautas by Vázquez. It is the follow-up to the pair's short film Birdboy, following the titular character, a shy outcast in a post-apocalyptic society, and Dinky, a teenage mouse runaway who wishes to leave her desolate island home.

No relation to the video game Psychonauts.


Birdboy provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Dinky's parents, especially the husband.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: After a speech with a guard, the bullies want to become policemen to own a gun.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: With its pastel colors and cast of cute animals, the art-style is something you'd easily find in any children's book. The actual content, however, is really quite gruesome, and even gory in some instances.
  • Berserk Button: Messing with Dinky and her friends is this to Birdboy, and the Forgotten Children learned it the hard way.
  • Cape Wings: Birdboy is always dressed in a suit and it's shown that the coat doubles as his wings.
  • Crapsack World: The island became this after the nuclear crisis. Best case scenario? You can live an unhappy life in the town. Worst case scenario? You have to survive trying to find copper to pay for food while dealing with violent, territorial rats in a massive scrapyard where there is no law.
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  • Cooldown Hug: After the Forgotten Children are slaughtered, Dinky hugs Birdboy to calm him down while he's stuck halfway between his demon form and normal form.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Dinky's first dad was more caring and loving than her second abusive dad.
    • It applies to Birdman as well.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The rubber duck wasn't made for traveling through the sea, much less during a rainy night, and gets capsized after less than two minutes.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: While traveling through the Forgotten Children's territory, Dinky's group is captured by them because they think they want to steal their copper and begin howling for their deaths. Dinky tries to explain they just want to leave the island, and the Forgotten Children's leader orders them to be executed anyway. Because the trio didn't know who they are.
  • Don't Tell Mama: The hobo mouse Dinky's group meets asks them not to tell anybody they saw him there. He is Little Mouse's brother, who was believed to be living a successful life in the city.
  • Hearing Voices: Sandra keeps hearing little voices (depicted as little black rabbits crawling over her) telling her to hurt her friends, like push Little Fox off a cliff or not to save Dinky from drowning. Sandra does her best not to listen.
  • Interspecies Romance: Dinky (a mouse) and Birdboy (guess) are in love with each other.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Birdboy decides to help Dinky and her friends after learning they're about to be executed by the Forgotten Children and transforms into a fiery beast.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The police almost undo the effort both Birdman, and later his son Birdboy, put into planting tree seeds to revive the island by killing them both.
  • One-Winged Angel: The demons inside Birdboy allow him to become a giant, ferocious bird.
  • Parental Favouritism: Dinky parents love more their dog son than her, specially her stepdad
  • Police Are Useless: The police only seem to care about bragging and killing birds.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Dinky, Sandra and Little Fox are nearly executed by the Forgotten Children, but are saved by Birdboy going on a One-Winged Angel rampage to rescue them. Then when they try to leave the island during a storm, they nearly drown when the inflatable duck raft they're riding gets capsized by a wave, and only survive thanks to Zachariah. Meanwhile, Birdboy is shot dead by the police mere moments after Dinky told Birdboy she loves him. Zachariah takes Dinky and the others back to the island, meaning she's still stuck with parents who love their dog more than they love her and don't seem to realize or care that she almost died twice in one day. However, the scrapyards could potentially become safer thanks to Birdboy decimating the Forgotten Children, and Birdboy's soul guides Dinky to a secret cave containing a tree which produces magic acorns, posthumously entrusting her with his task to bring the island back to life.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Implied. When the two rats and their sons fight and kill their respective opponent, the white rat father adopts his opponent's son as his own and is later seen along side him at the end of the film. Due to the culture and society of The Forgotten Children, it's implied that this sort of conflict and adoption happens frequently, as the white rat father and black rat son don't even question nor show grief over what's transpired. Almost as if this happens often.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Demons (especially Birdboy's) are always represented with a red monochromatic color scheme.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The supernatural elements can easily be seen as more allegorical rather than real.
    • The spider demon possessing Zachariah's mother represents her addiction. It controls her and causes her to become angry and spiteful towards him in the hopes of getting her fix, which only makes the demon stronger. Killing the demon "frees" her, and it's ultimately the withdrawal that kills her rather than the death of the demon.
    • The demons on Sandra's shoulders personify her mental illness. The students avoiding her is less because she's "possessed" and more just how society treats the mentally ill; with suspicion and fear.
    • The conscious creative decision to make Birdboy, well, a bird. Represents how birds aren't bound by the land and are thus free to explore the world without restriction, which is possibly why Dinky loves him. Because despite his unbound flight he chooses to stay with her on the island, until the end where he tries to leave with her and gets killed instead.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: Aw look; those Cute Animals are being incinerated by a Factory Explosion.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: The island the characters (largely cute anthropomorphized animals) live in used to be a Sugar Bowl, but then a nuclear disaster happened and the place turned into a hellhole in the aftermath.