Phoenix Vols 1-3 : 5 of 5
When I saw that my favorite manga of all time, Osamu Tezuka's masterpiece Phoenix, was being released as an anime on DVD, I was both excited and skeptical. I waited until I finished all three DVDs before writing this review, and I have to say that I'm overwhelmed by the majesty of this series! The beauty begins with the opening credits, featuring incredible images of the history of life itself set to a wonderful orchestral theme, and the episodes include some narration at the beginning and end to properly set each tale within its broad scope. Of course, only a fraction of the original manga could be included, but they selected many of my favorite stories, set in both the past and future. Saruta is included as a character in each story, weaving them all together, and the animation (although a bit modernized) stays true to Tezuka's character designs and certainly to his ultimate message. The stories included are The Dawn (4 episodes in the past), The Resurrection (2 episodes in he future), The Transformation (1 episode in the past, the beautiful story of the cycle of the nun), The Sun (4 episodes in the past, about Inugami the human/wolf and the plight of ancient religion versus the rise of Buddhism), and The Future (2 episodes in the future, with Masato who becomes the last immortal human on Earth and witnesses the rebirth of the planet). I watched the entire series on the edge of my seat, eyes wide open to take it all in - I'm amazed they could actually bring the feel of Tezuka's work to animation so well! The selected stories truly communicate the awesomeness of life - that which never ends. Even though I rented this series, I'm incredibly tempted to buy it so I can watch it again, since it's definitely something I want in my collection, so I hope they release it as a box set soon. I can't recommend this series enough for Tezuka fans - you won't be disappointed!